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View Full Version : Posnanski: After a long, dark road, Arrowhead is a welcome sight for the Chiefs


Count Alex's Losses
09-22-2007, 11:24 PM
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/286867-p3.html

Well, it looked pretty bad out there the last couple of weeks for the Chiefs. The offense coughed and sputtered — only the Vickless Atlanta Falcons have scored fewer points. The guys on special teams looked as if they were not entirely clear about the rules of the game. The defense drifted. The game plan was apparently found in an ancient crypt somewhere in Egypt.

But it’s all right now. In fact it’s a blast.

The Chiefs are coming home to Arrowhead.

This is supposed to change everything, right? You could hear that sentiment expressed in everything Chiefs players and coaches and management types said last week. “Finally, we’re home,” they said. “It will be good to play in front of our crowd,” they said. “Remember last year,” they said. The Chiefs started 0-2 last year too. They came back to Arrowhead to face San Francisco, they won that game 41-0, they won six of their next eight after that, they went to the playoffs. See, it’s not so bad. Arrowhead saves the day.

“We need to get things turned around,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “And Arrowhead is a good to place to get that started.”

Yes, one more time, it is Arrowhead Stadium to the rescue. Since 1989 (the year you-know-who arrived) the Chiefs have won 74 percent of the time at home — just about three-quarters of the time. That ties them with the Denver Broncos for the best home record in the NFL. And the Broncos have that light Rocky Mountain air to help them wear down opponents in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs have to do it with noise, wind and perhaps a little barbecue power.

The Arrowhead success has been extraordinary — look at the last five years. The Chiefs are 31-9 at Arrowhead over those years, and only the Indianapolis Colts have been better. But while the Colts have been a pretty good team away from home, the Chiefs have not. They are 16-26 on the road, counting the two losses this season, and in many of those games they were breathtakingly bad. The last two seasons they have lost at Cleveland, Buffalo and Miami — lousy teams all — and in recent memory they have been destroyed, dismantled and embarrassed in Pittsburgh, Denver, Minnesota and New York.

“We have to be tough enough to go away from Arrowhead and play well,” Edwards says, and he no doubt means that, but right now, today, he would be plenty happy just to see his team play well at Arrowhead.

•••

Home-field advantage isn’t what it used to be in the NFL. Last season, for the first time, road teams won the majority of games in the NFC. Last year, home teams throughout the NFL won just 53 percent of the time, the lowest winning percentage since the schedule expanded to 16 games in 1978.

Now, this might just have been a fluke. But there are other signs of the home-field advantage disintegrating. For many years, it was considered impossible to go into Lambeau Field in Green Bay and beat the Packers. The last three years, the Packers are 10-14 at home.

Oakland was once a fearsome place — it still is for visiting fans. But visiting teams have done just fine there; they have won 18 of 25 games the last three-plus seasons.

San Francisco had the biggest home-field advantage in the NFL in the 1990s but has a losing record at home over the last five years.

Now, obviously the big reason for all this is that those teams ain’t what they used to be. Stadiums don’t win games by themselves. New England became a tough place to play just about the time New England became a good team. Same with Indianapolis, Seattle and Baltimore.

Still, NFL teams have always taken pride in their ability to win at home (“Nobody is coming into our house …”) and there’s a sense among coaches and players around the league that is changing. There are various reasons for it. Some think it is because of the radio receivers in helmets (which reduces the impact of crowd noise), some think it’s about field turf and domes (which take bad weather more or less out of the equation), and some think the change is because of the movement of players through free-agency (which reduces the connection some players have to their city — many people want to blame everything on free-agency).

“Winning on the road is all about confidence,” former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil used to say. Well, it seems that players and teams have never been more confident that they could go into another team’s stadium and take them out.

The Chiefs have managed to keep winning at home through it all, though, and it might be because they have avoided many of the modern trappings. Arrowhead is, of course, all grass and open to whatever rain or snow might fall. So that helps.

Crowd noise may not make as much of a difference, but Arrowhead is still about as loud as any outdoor stadium in the NFL, and that can still change the game.

“I cannot wait until I get into Arrowhead and play as a Chief again,” Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards said. “You just feel so much energy in there. Defense is all about attitude anyway, and there’s nothing like that feeling of playing defense when you can’t even hear yourself think.”

Also, Chiefs players are taught, from the moment they arrive in town, that they had better win at home. The Chiefs have only had one losing record at home in the last 20 years, a statistic that is especially meaningful to Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson. It’s well established that Peterson has never led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl. But he can honestly say to Chiefs fans that if they come to Arrowhead for a game, they probably will see the team win.

As Herm Edwards says: “You better win your home games, man. You start losing those, and it’s lights out.”

•••

So, will Arrowhead Stadium cure what’s ailing the Chiefs? The simple answer is: No. The Chiefs have shown over the last couple of weeks, and all through the preseason, that their offense simply can’t score points. The offensive line is struggling, the receivers are unproven, the coaches do not trust quarterback Damon Huard to make plays, and star running back Larry Johnson has not gotten into the flow yet.

Throw in confused special teams (remember, the Chiefs in their winning years had dynamite special teams) and a defensive unit that so far has not shown an ability to dominate (and with this offense, they need to dominate), and the Chiefs seem to have too many problems to overcome simply by returning home.

But the simple answer is not always the right answer — Arrowhead Stadium has provided a lot of magic for this team. Last year’s Chiefs had many of the same problems of this year’s team, but at home they handed San Diego one of only two losses, beat defending NFC champion Seattle, and knocked out Denver. At home, the defense sometimes looked dominating, the offense often overpowered teams, the Chiefs usually looked like one of the better teams in the NFL.

Will that happen this year? We start to find out today.

“It’s good to be home, I know that,” Edwards says. “No place like it. No place like it in the world.”

A final story: Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, when he was head coach, would sometimes stare at the huge photograph of a sold-out Arrowhead Stadium. And he would start crying.

“Why are you crying?” someone would ask him.

“You just have to be there to understand,” he said.

Count Alex's Losses
09-22-2007, 11:29 PM
For the first time in my life, I will be there for the home opener. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mecca
09-22-2007, 11:40 PM
Here we go, "arrowhead will save the day"

Count Alex's Losses
09-22-2007, 11:42 PM
Here we go, "arrowhead will save the day"

So, will Arrowhead Stadium cure what’s ailing the Chiefs? The simple answer is: No.

Mecca
09-22-2007, 11:45 PM
Yes I know that is in there but the whole article is premised on Arrowhead saving the day.

el borracho
09-22-2007, 11:51 PM
Lies! Gunther has never cried in his life.

the Talking Can
09-22-2007, 11:55 PM
Gun cries because he's a simpleton.

Coach
09-22-2007, 11:59 PM
Won't be much of a welcome sight when the Chiefs offense goes 3 and out on the first series.

orange
09-22-2007, 11:59 PM
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So, will Arrowhead Stadium cure what’s ailing the Chiefs? The simple answer is: No.
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__________________


This thread is no good without pictures.

From the article:

http://media.kansascity.com/smedia/2007/09/22/19/648-nm_ChiefsXtra_b_092307.1_09-23-2007_I2UN2J0.embedded.prod_affiliate.81.jpg

Otter
09-23-2007, 01:46 AM
The beginning of 8-8

ClevelandBronco
09-23-2007, 02:19 AM
Crappy literary device of the day: Beginning the article with "Well,..."

How folksy and friendly.

ClevelandBronco
09-23-2007, 02:23 AM
I should admit that I didn't bother reading anything after the first comma. It's conceivable that the writing deteriorated after that.

DaneMcCloud
09-23-2007, 03:10 AM
I should admit that I didn't bother reading anything after the first comma. It's conceivable that the writing deteriorated after that.

Yeah, of course you're right. What else would you expect from the man who won AP's best sportswriter of the year in 2003 & 2005? :rolleyes:

Thanks for the "insight". :shake:

Count Alex's Losses
09-23-2007, 07:28 AM
I should admit that I didn't bother reading anything after the first comma. It's conceivable that the writing deteriorated after that.

Joe Posnanski put's anyone that writes in Colorado to shame.

CupidStunt
09-23-2007, 08:03 AM
Joe Posnanski put's anyone that writes in Colorado to shame.

Why the '?

"Joe Posnanski puts anyone that writes in Colorado to shame."

Phobia
09-23-2007, 08:10 AM
Why the '?

"Joe Posnanski puts anyone that writes in Colorado to shame."

He put is.... don't you know anything?

cookster50
09-23-2007, 08:19 AM
Gun cries because he's a simpleton.
Gun's tears cure cancer, someone should save those tears.

Hog Farmer
09-23-2007, 08:22 AM
I just scratched my butt with my index finger.