PDA

View Full Version : Chiefs Babb: Chiefs of ’08 bring comparison with terrible team of ’77


Tribal Warfare
11-29-2008, 09:35 PM
Chiefs of ’08 bring comparison with terrible team of ’77 (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/914804.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star


Bill Grigsby has seen some bad ones in his years, but this year’s Chiefs team is down there with the worst.

The old man with the familiar voice has been in the press box for most every Chiefs game since the team came to Kansas City in 1963. He’s an 86-year-old radio man, and he has tried to pump enthusiasm into all of them. He did miss three games five years ago.

“Had a little heart operation,” he said.

That little operation was a quadruple bypass. Grigsby guesses he has seen more than 700 Chiefs games. He has a saying he likes: the good, bad and the ugly.

“Right now, it’s ugly,” Grigsby said, negotiating a panini last week at a golf course in Parkville. “It’s not the first time.”

There were the Chiefs who lost 11 games in 1987, when the NFL used replacement players to end a strike. And the 1975 bunch, which needed an offensive lineman so badly that officials visited a used-car lot in Lawrence and signed a salesman to a contract. Started him the next Sunday.

It’s the 1977 team, though, that makes Grigsby put down his sandwich. The Chiefs won two games that year, and as of now that is the fewest in team history. By the time that season was over, two coaches were fired, fans lost interest, and the team was in such disorder that it wouldn’t reach the playoffs for nearly a decade.

Grigsby has made a nice living being optimistic about things. This conversation wasn’t an easy one. He kept saying this year’s team was not bad; he said it was young and lacked experience, and maybe that’s a reason the Chiefs were 1-10.

The Chiefs have five games left, but they probably won’t be favored in any of them. If they don’t win again, they would be the ninth team in NFL history to lose 15 games in a season. No team has ever lost 16.

Grigsby said he has seen positive things this year: youth, direction, a foundation for the future — things missing in 1977. But that team wasn’t part of losing 19 of 20 games, as this year’s Chiefs team has done over the past two seasons. The ’77 team never allowed 54 points in one game, as Kansas City did last week in a home loss to Buffalo. Even so, Grigsby could not bring himself to say what others would: This year’s team is on track to be remembered as the worst in Chiefs history.

“I haven’t seen anything like it,” said Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson.

“To say they’re struggling is very generous,” said Tom Bettis, one of the coaches of that 1977 team.

“I can’t even imagine,” said Willie Lanier, a linebacker in ’77.

Grigsby thought about that ’77 team and compared it with today’s group. Players weren’t as fast back then. They weren’t as strong and weren’t nearly as big. It was a different time, he said.

But if there was some way to have the 2008 Chiefs play the 1977 team some Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, which group would win? If Grigsby were a gambling man, as he once was on the golf course, which team would he put his dollar on?

Grigsby took a bite of the panini and thought for a long time. He was not proud of this.

“I’d take 1977,” he said. “Just my opinion.”

•••

The man on the other end of the phone was there in 1977. He walked the halls and saw the faces of listless coaches, the beaten-down expressions of the executives who put the Chiefs together.

Denny Thum was a 26-year-old staff accountant in those days, and he has hung around Arrowhead long enough that he is now the Chiefs’ executive vice president and one of the men who put this team together.

Chiefs
Posted on Sat, Nov. 29, 2008 10:15 PM
reprint or license print email
Digg it del.icio.us AIM
Chiefs of ’08 bring comparison with terrible team of ’77

Which is the worst Chiefs team ever?
1977 (2-12)
1987 (4-11)
2007 (4-12)
2008 (?)
Other
Your vote has been counted, thank you for voting.

“You just don’t expect something like this to happen,” he said.

This season has gone worse than even the most cautious team insider could have predicted.

The team’s top two quarterbacks suffered season-ending injuries. Star running back Larry Johnson missed four games because of two arrests. Tight end Tony Gonzalez asked for a trade, then lashed out at team President Carl Peterson when it didn’t happen.

“Such turmoil,” Dawson said.

But amid all of it, Thum said the mood was better this season than in 1977. He said team employees were hopeful that things would improve soon. The Chiefs long ago set 2010 as the season they hoped to contend for a Super Bowl, and team insiders said that remained realistic.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Thum said.

Thum said there was no vision 31 years ago. The team was packed with players nearing retirement, and no succession plan was in place. This year, rookies make up a third of the roster, and coach Herm Edwards joked last week that he coached a college team. Edwards said those players would someday represent the Chiefs’ foundation. Now, they’re overmatched.

Thum said that one way to measure a team’s ineptitude was to follow what happened next. After the Chiefs went 2-12 in 1977 — the NFL went to a 16-game schedule a year later — attendance plummeted and fans lost hope. The Chiefs’ average home attendance dropped 5 percent from 1976 to ’77, and it dropped an additional 5 percent in 1978.

“People got tired of looking at that situation,” said former coach Bettis, who replaced Paul Wiggin after seven games in 1977, then was fired after the season.

Thum has been around long enough to know that fans don’t like paying to watch a loser, particularly one that might be historically bad. Tickets to this season’s games often go unused, and Arrowhead is dotted with thousands of empty seats each home game.

“It’s not on my agenda,” said Howard McHenry, 42, a season-ticket holder who recently stopped going to games.

Frustrated fans have stayed home more often, but that doesn’t mean they have lost interest. They crowd Internet message boards to complain about coaches and executives. They read blogs and watch 24-hour sports networks, reliving the Chiefs’ clumsiness in ways that didn’t exist in 1977. Fans are better informed than they were 31 years ago, Thum said, and that is not doing this team any favors.

“Because they know more,” he said, “they expect more.”

Thum said he thought this team was better than the one in ’77, and said he was encouraged by what he thought would come next. He said the team 31 years ago was too hung up on the past, and this team was bracing for the future. Thum said walking the halls wasn’t easy these days, but it wasn’t as depressing as it once was.

Still, Thum acknowledged that if the 2008 team ended the season without another win, history might remember it as the worst Chiefs season ever. Because of the media saturation, Thum said, this team could leave a deep footprint.

Even so, Edwards said it would all be worth it if the Chiefs’ long-term plan was followed through.

“If you go 1 and 15 and two years from now, you’re in the Super Bowl,” Edwards said, “I’ll take it anytime.”

•••

The double doors opened, and the noise pushed through. Music blared in the Chiefs locker room. Players laughed about whatever it was that added spice to an uneventful Wednesday. If the Chiefs were feeling sorry for themselves, they didn’t show it.

“Internally,” veteran guard Brian Waters said, “we’re going to think differently about ourselves. Then again, we’re a little bit biased.”

Waters said that players had no delusions that their team was a good one. It’s young, and that’s the story the Chiefs are sticking to. Waters knows that years are precious in the NFL. But he hopes history will forget this season.

Waters said he thought Kansas City would be better for this. He said the youngsters in this locker room were, for better or worse, adjusting to the feeling of losing. He said that would help them respond after future losses because they wouldn’t be shell-shocked. Waters laughed, knowing this team has had plenty of practice.

“Definitely, we’re not a good team,” he said. “But people might not even remember this. People these days, the historical factors don’t really mean as much as they used to.

“Maybe this is the worst team.”

Waters is one of the Chiefs’ eldest players, born the same year Kansas City won two games in a season. He looked around the sprawling locker room and said something about youth and potential. The Chiefs see several future Pro Bowlers in there. He said this somehow was good for them.

“They’re going to say, ‘You know what? I learned a lot from that season,’ ” he said. “ ‘We were so bad then that I learned how to appreciate wins.’ ”

Waters said he didn’t think the Chiefs would finish 1-15. But he admitted the odds were against them. Kansas City has five games left, and Waters said the team was still practicing hard, lifting weights and trudging through meetings. He said the future was his motivation because the present wasn’t doing much for anyone.

There’s a meeting, and Waters had to go. He started toward those double doors but stopped with one more thing to say.

“This will all be forgotten,” he said, then he smiled and walked out.


1977 Category 2008
2-12 Record 1-10
44-7 at Cleveland Worst loss 34-0 at Carolina
225 (16.1 per game) Points scored 196 (17.8 per game)
349 (24.9 per game) Points allowed 327 (29.7 per game)
4.5 Yards gained per play 5.1
25 Sacks by defense 6
Mike Livingston (1,823 yards, 9 TDs, 15 interceptions) Chiefs’ QB Tyler Thigpen (1,577 yards,13 TDs, 7 interceptions)

Claynus
11-29-2008, 09:35 PM
Grigsby thought we could go 8-8 this year.

StcChief
11-29-2008, 10:23 PM
yeah. alot of folks on here thought that 3 or 5 wins was doable....

blueballs
11-29-2008, 10:36 PM
it's a good thing the Bronco's game was our Super Bowl/donkos

CrazyPhuD
11-30-2008, 02:26 AM
No team has ever lost 16.


yet....

Big Chief Homer
11-30-2008, 07:58 AM
If you go 1 and 15 and two years from now, you’re in the Super Bowl,” Edwards said, “I’ll take it anytime.”


Why in Gods name does he think hes going to be here in 2 years? Does he know something we dont or is it wishful thinking.

Superbowl????? Superbowl????????HAHAHAHAAHAH



( cue Artie Lange) DREAMIN' he must be Dreamin!

Reerun_KC
11-30-2008, 08:06 AM
yeah. alot of folks on here thought that 3 or 5 wins was doable....

While some thought 9-7/10-6 was very doable....

And there are some that think next year is the year Herms Plan starts coming into its own and we go to the playoffs...

Reerun_KC
11-30-2008, 08:06 AM
If you go 1 and 15 and two years from now, you’re in the Super Bowl,” Edwards said, “I’ll take it anytime.”


Why in Gods name does he think hes going to be here in 2 years? Does he know something we dont or is it wishful thinking.

Superbowl????? Superbowl????????HAHAHAHAAHAH



( cue Artie Lange) DREAMIN' he must be Dreamin!

Not going to happen... Has to be wishful thinking on Hermies part..

RedThat
11-30-2008, 08:36 AM
It's nice to know we have a coach who's thinking about 1-15.

Reerun_KC
11-30-2008, 08:38 AM
It's nice to know we have a coach who's thinking about 1-15.

Even better that we have a coach who can take this team to that level! We should be proud for what we have accomplished over the last two years!:clap:

RedThat
11-30-2008, 08:43 AM
Even better that we have a coach who can take this team to that level! We should be proud for what we have accomplished over the last two years!:clap:

Yeah 1-19 in the last 20 games:rolleyes:

Possible that could be 1-24?

Hope that Herm sucks so bad he gets the axe. Then call me "proud" for what he accomplished. Call me "proud" if they hire a winner.

Deberg_1990
11-30-2008, 09:06 AM
Yeah 1-19 in the last 20 games:rolleyes:

Possible that could be 1-24?

Hope that Herm sucks so bad he gets the axe. Then call me "proud" for what he accomplished. Call me "proud" if they hire a winner.

18-41 since 2005!

Reerun_KC
11-30-2008, 09:11 AM
Yeah 1-19 in the last 20 games:rolleyes:

Possible that could be 1-24?

Hope that Herm sucks so bad he gets the axe. Then call me "proud" for what he accomplished. Call me "proud" if they hire a winner.

LMAO

It was pure sarcasm on my part... But 1-24 or 3-22 would be epic!

Skip Towne
11-30-2008, 09:33 AM
That '77 team had decent DB's. Gary Green, Gary Barbaro and Emmitt Thomas.

RedNeckRaider
11-30-2008, 09:46 AM
That '77 team had decent DB's. Gary Green, Gary Barbaro and Emmitt Thomas.

The game has changed much sense then, that and the size speed factor. The 2008 Chiefs would destroy the 1977 Chiefs IMO

Reerun_KC
11-30-2008, 09:51 AM
The game has changed much sense then, that and the size speed factor. The 2008 Chiefs would destroy the 1977 Chiefs IMO

Your giving Herm WAY TOO MUCH Credit to his lack of coaching abilities!

RedNeckRaider
11-30-2008, 09:58 AM
Your giving Herm WAY TOO MUCH Credit to his lack of coaching abilities!

Not really the NFL started hand cuffing defense in 77. The look how many subs run in and out on each play nowdays. It is a much different game. I am to lazy but look up the rosters and compare size, did the 77 team even have a 300 pounder? The rules have changed the game has changed and so have the players. Different era and IMO it would be a huge mismatch.

milkman
11-30-2008, 10:05 AM
Not really the NFL started hand cuffing defense in 77. The look how many subs run in and out on each play nowdays. It is a much different game. I am to lazy but look up the rosters and compare size, did the 77 team even have a 300 pounder? The rules have changed the game has changed and so have the players. Different era and IMO it would be a huge mismatch.

Chiefs SB year, I'm pretty sure Jim Tyrer was the biggest player on the O-Line at 280 lbs, and that line was considered huge in those days.