For the second year in a row and just the seventh time in team history, the Chiefs have started the season 0-2. This is only the third time that both opening losses occurred at home. Based on historical performance, that 0-2 start will translate to the team finishing with a losing season. Based on the team's performance on the field thus far, there is no reason to believe that history will be altered.
The first three 0-2 starts occurred from 1975 through 1977. The 1975 and 1976 teams each started the season 0-4 before finishing with 5-9 seasons. The 1977 team started 0-5 (0-3 at home) and finished 2-12. The 1980 Chiefs started the season 0-4 (0-3 at home) but rallied to finish with an 8-8 season. The 1988 and 2000 editions of the Chiefs each started 0-2 before winning a game. The 1988 team finished 4-11-1 while the Y2K Chiefs finished 7-9.
Other than Vermeil, the only other first year coach to start 0-2 was Paul Wiggin in 1975. Marv Levy was in his third season in 1980. Frank Ganz (1988) and Gunther Cunningham (2000) were both in their second (and last) season at the helm. Only Levy and Wiggin (1976) started a season with two home losses. The 1976 team was 0-6 at home before finally beating a dismal Cleveland Browns team in the season finale. The 1980 team lost its first three home games, but rebounded to take three of the remaining five.
Wiggin had inherited a team that was literally falling apart from age. It wasn't any better off when he was fired mid-way through the 1977 season. Levy inherited the mess Wiggin left behind. After a rough start in 1978, the team was starting to show promise by 1980. Frank Ganz showed zero ability as a head coach. There are those who would argue that Cunningham wasn't any better. Vermeil certainly has more talent to work with than Wiggin did. He has more coaching ability that either Ganz or Cunningham had. Whether he has the motivational talent Levy had remains to be seen.
Before training camp started, I went out on a limb and predicted that the Chiefs would do no better than 8-8. I haven't seen anything in the first two games that would make me change my mind. Injuries at wide receiver have certainly limited the team offensively, but Hank Stram faced the same situation in 1968 and still found a way to win. It's tough to say that this team is at a crossroads, especially this early in the season. Unfortunately, it's true. Vermeil, his staff, and the players can either rise to the challenge like the 1980 team did or they can sink in the mire like Wiggin's & Ganz's teams did. Sunday's game against the Redskins will go a long way toward telling us just how dismal this season will be.