Huh!? Okay, so I forgot what it was like - expectations. You know...hope! When was the last time the Kansas City Chiefs turned a corner? Oh, I'd say the ninth game of the 2001 season. The Chiefs have won two in a row, and beating the San Diego Chargers would be huge, but a light came on where there wasn't one before. The Chiefs grew a spine and played with grit beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So now we're thinking...why not the Chargers? It's okay, savor it!
Surprise! Todd Haley is smarter than I give him credit for. It's just not the Steelers game that has me convinced Haley is onto something, but I saw the "it" factor. I witnessed a team who played together, and a coach who stuck to what he believes and is finally getting results. To win against the Steelers, an organization that has been mentioned several times by the Chiefs was big. This win came at the perfect time and the benefit will reap rewards. Let's say this; the fruit of this win will keep on giving the rest of the year and beyond. This was more than just a confidence booster, a short term win, but proof that hard work and persistence does pay. This was the evidence fans were looking for that Haley's plan can produce, and that he hasn't lost his players as some might think.
I've ate plenty of crow before, and if it means the Chiefs winning, I'll be happy to tell Haley I was dead wrong.
What, Scott Pioli's revolving door isn't a waste of time? I'll admit it, but who thought Chris Chambers would be headed right back out the door? Did you think he really had a chance? I saw a spent player who could no longer play. I mean, why else would the Chargers let him go? Now memories of Eddie Kennison come to mind, because the situation with Chambers is real similar. Kennison was done, played for three different teams before the Chiefs...a supposed trouble maker. I'd say Kennison fit in pretty well. Now Chambers...please light up the Chargers like Kennison would to the Broncos!
Chambers is confirmation that if you keep looking you can still find the "right" player.
When Tony Gonzalez left for the Falcons like everyone I wished him success, but inside I pondered who'd take his spot. Arrowhead was a bastion and Gonzalez was its last true knight. He left us searching for players to take his place. It's been tuff, but I think we saw several last Sunday. There needs to be more proof in the pudding for some, but for players like Andy Studebaker you couldn't have asked for a better entrance. DE Jared Allen makes the big bucks now, but once upon a time he was drafted to be a backup long snapper. You never know who might rise to the challenge when given an opportunity.
Players like LB Javon Belcher. Belcher has made his presence known since preseason. In my opinion Belcher fits Haley's "right 53". He works extremely hard and hustles non-stop. Another is receiver Lance Long. He's the storybook underdog. Long has guts, and he plays to win. There are players on the Chiefs roster who are starting to "pop" and be noticed. It took the Chiefs beating a team like the Steelers for folks to notice, but when you shed light on the situation things tend to get more positive...and players stick out.
Those old thoughts of Arrowhead and the players who made it a great place to be will always be there, but I'm looking forward to the "new" players and what Pioli and Haley will bring.
Just one game...
Yes it was. It was just one game, but not like the Dallas Cowboy game where they were awful and tried to give it away. Nope, this was a bona fide win for the Chiefs. They played like a competitor. They believed they belonged in the ring with the champs and the Chiefs prevailed. A snap shot of what could be.
My goal from here out is the Chiefs to ascend and look back at the Steelers as the spring board that changed everything. There was a point with Vermeil in 2001 that you knew something changed...it clicked for the Chiefs. From that moment on nothing was the same.
I wish all at Wild Bills a fantastic Thanksgiving. Please, please take time to realize what's truly important. Life's a gift to be lived and it's too short to think otherwise. Nothing's guaranteed, so be thankful and let someone know that you appreciate them.