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tk13
11-18-2004, 01:09 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10209217.htm

Monday revives thoughts of '98
Chiefs don't fear Meltdown reprise

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star


The task facing the Chiefs on Monday night almost appears to be a can't-lose situation.

At 3-6, the lofty aspirations they once held for their season are gone. Another loss can't possibly deepen the wounds, but they can salvage some pride by beating 8-1 New England at Arrowhead Stadium.

Yet that's what the Chiefs thought the last time they sent a moribund team to face a defending Super Bowl champion on the Monday night stage at Arrowhead. They ended up as the laughingstock of the country.

It's impossible to predict that things will turn as disastrous for the Chiefs this time as they did on that mid-November night in 1998. Not only did the 4-5 Chiefs lose 30-7 to the undefeated Denver Broncos, but the game degenerated into a farce that to this day is known as the “Monday Night Meltdown.”

The Chiefs committed 13 penalties, many of the cheap-shot variety. With the game's outcome long since determined, Chiefs defenders took five roughness, intentional facemask or conduct penalties on one fourth-quarter Broncos drive.

The next day, as damage control, the Chiefs suspended one player, Derrick Thomas, and released another, Wayne Simmons.

The similarities between that 1998 team and the current Chiefs are unmistakable. They are an underachieving team with a penchant for penalties. They will face an opponent fully capable of embarrassing the Chiefs if given the chance.

There are differences, too. Dick Vermeil's Chiefs, unlike their '98 counterparts, almost always give an honest effort whether they play well or not.

Vermeil indicated this week that quality will help prevent not only another Monday night meltdown but also a six-game losing streak like the '98 team suffered.

“That's controlled by the character of your football team,” Vermeil said. “Have these guys ever at any time in the last couple of years displayed a lack of character? Have they? I never feel it. I've had very few football practices that I'm embarrassed about or upset with — very, very few. Fewer here than any time I've ever coached anywhere. These are (high-) quality, hard-working kids.

“I look for them to be down like I am, like Carl Peterson is, like Lamar Hunt is. I know these guys well enough. I've already had a few of them in my office (Monday) who came in and wanted to know how I felt. I think the character of this football team is outstanding. I think they'll prove it Monday night.”

The Chiefs have had occasional locker room issues, like last year's shouting match between Eric Hicks and Ryan Sims after the loss in Minnesota. The Chiefs are going to great lengths to deny that they are a team divided.

“There's going to be no finger-pointing in this locker room,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “We're just going to have to pick each other up.”

Their penalties are a concern to everyone, seemingly, except Vermeil. Gonzalez railed about the senselessness of most in the moments after last week's loss in New Orleans.

The Chiefs have been penalized 73 times, behind only Oakland and Carolina. They have been penalized 629 yards, behind only the Panthers.

Those numbers aren't off the charts as they were in '98, when the Chiefs set NFL records in both categories. Some, though, indicate a lack of discipline, the Chiefs' major problem in '98.

Vermeil's attitude toward the penalties is that video reviews have shown many not to be legitimate. If that's the case, clearly the Chiefs are the victims of some of the worst officiating ever.

“When you're a good football team, you win anyway,” Vermeil said. “It's when you're battling and struggling to win by three or one point, or to prevent a guy from scoring because you're struggling a little on defense … it's then it becomes more glaring. The best football teams of all-time are the most-penalized football teams of all-time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, for example. We don't try to operate that way because today nobody's so good that you can do it and get away with it.”

If the Chiefs aren't disciplined against New England, they figure to get carved up. The Patriots have an efficiency that is the envy of any coach, Vermeil included.

“They handle all the variations of the game, situations in the game, as well as or better than anybody,” Vermeil said. “If you look at where they rank, I don't think they're in the top 10 offensively and I don't think they're in in the top 10 defensively. But they're in the top five in points given up and points scored.”

The Patriots are actually sixth in scoring, but Vermeil's point is well taken. New England almost seems immune to the many ups and downs all other teams inevitably experience.

“That whole football team … is put together for a purpose and put together better than anybody else can put it together,” Vermeil said. “It's hard to say who the most talented team is. Sometimes people rate talent by the number of first-round picks. That can be a real fallacy. Who's our best football player? He wasn't even drafted. Maybe they have six Priest Holmes over there.

“They've got some very fine football players who weren't high draft choices. They also do a great job of supplementing their roster with specific guys that can play a specific role. They do that better than anybody in football.”

Demonpenz
11-18-2004, 01:13 AM
i vaugely remember that game (Good i guess) i remember thinking, wow they are getting the best of DT

Nzoner
11-18-2004, 01:21 AM
Vermeil's attitude toward the penalties is that video reviews have shown many not to be legitimate. If that's the case, clearly the Chiefs are the victims of some of the worst officiating ever.

Don't know in the broad scope if it will end up making a difference and whether good teams overcome bad officiating or not this team should be 4-5 if not for some of the worst officiating ever in the Texans game.

BigMeatballDave
11-18-2004, 02:22 AM
Don't know in the broad scope if it will end up making a difference and whether good teams overcome bad officiating or not this team should be 4-5 if not for some of the worst officiating ever in the Texans game.Penalties or not, this team could/should be 7-2. Houston, Jax, Tampa, and N.O. The offense made too many mistakes...

Coogs
11-18-2004, 03:54 AM
Penalties or not, this team could/should be 7-2. Houston, Jax, Tampa, and N.O. The offense made too many mistakes...

And the defense made too many mistakes. And the special teams. And the coaches......

Ari Chi3fs
11-18-2004, 03:58 AM
Penalties killed the Radio Star.

Hoover
11-18-2004, 07:54 AM
All offseason I was worried that last years team got all the breaks, Turnovers, kick returns for TDs, an offense that scores 30 pts a game. You can't count on all that year in a nd year out.

We need to build a defense.

Chieficus
11-18-2004, 07:59 AM
“That whole football team … is put together for a purpose and put together better than anybody else can put it together,” Vermeil said. “It's hard to say who the most talented team is. Sometimes people rate talent by the number of first-round picks. That can be a real fallacy. Who's our best football player? He wasn't even drafted. Maybe they have six Priest Holmes over there.

“They've got some very fine football players who weren't high draft choices. They also do a great job of supplementing their roster with specific guys that can play a specific role. They do that better than anybody in football.”

Well... perhaps its time then to see what our not-so-high draft picks in the past copule of years can do... it certainly can't be any worse...