12-23-2012, 05:21 PM
Count the checkdowns, too.
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Bob Gretz brings the hammer down on Pioli!
There’s one more game on the schedule for the 2012 Chiefs. Next Sunday in Denver will be one more meaningless afternoon of football where 46 men will play out the string and hope to do it with as little physical damage to their body as possible.
The emotional, mental and psychological damage was done long ago. No matter what may happen against the Broncos, this season has been established as the worst in franchise history. Now 2-13 after falling on Sunday to Indianapolis, there are other Chiefs teams that posted equal records of incompetence.
But no previous season in Texans/Chiefs football so totally destroyed the team’s standing in the community and with a dwindling fan base. Twenty years of excitement and hope that was built on the run of Carl Peterson, Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil has been wiped off the sports radar screen in Kansas City. Thanks to the handiwork of an incompetent general manager Scott Pioli, a once proud franchise has been reduced to tatters, worried more about candy wrappers and locking down the building than finding the type of talent that would have returned the Chiefs to contender status.
It appears the Chiefs are about a week away from being freed from the clutches of the megalomaniac that’s been in charge for four years. Team chairman Clark Hunt simply has no choice but to make a change.
The Chiefs have not sent out the paperwork for season ticket renewals yet. Normally that type of thing would have found the mailbox around the first of December. But Hunt and his minions know it would be a waste of time right now to send those renewal notices without trying to renew the enthusiasm for the franchise with their long suffering fans.
For anyone that experienced what Chiefs football was in the 1990s and 2000s, what happened on this last Sunday at Arrowhead was sad testimony to the arrogance and ignorance of what the last four years have been about. The stands were as empty as they’ve been in sometime around Arrowhead, going all the way back to the 1980s. There were sections in the upper deck and the club level where there were more empty seats than actual fans. The Chiefs claimed 62,938 tickets sold. That’s a laugh – there were no more than 45,000 people in the building
The weather was cold and it was the weekend before Christmas – all factors that did not help the in-house attendance. But what killed the crowd and eliminated any enthusiasm for the event were the 2-12 record and the last four years of stumbling and bumbling at the very top of the organization.
Much was made by the Chiefs four years ago when the old regime was swept out the door and the “Young Guns” of Hunt, Pioli and Todd Haley grabbed the wheel. The organization itself sold the idea of these three guys, all relatively the same age, ready to take on the task with their youthful energy.
Yet, as we know four years later, they also took over the franchise and had no idea what they were doing. While many of their mistakes and miscalculations took place behind the locked and guarded doors of the team’s offices, the incompetence eventually leaked out and contaminated the product on the field.
That’s where the most damage has been done. Four years in the careers of players like Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Flowers, Branden Albert, Dustin Colquitt and others have been allowed to fly off the calendar and they can’t be replaced. A player’s opportunity to play is fleeting; it’s a business where the average career is just over three seasons.
Four years ago, Todd Haley supposedly told Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters that he could have pulled 22 guys off the street and won two games like the 2008 Chiefs accomplished. Whether it happened or not, that moment has become part of football’s urban legends, and the reason it gained traction as believable is the type of arrogance those “Young Guns” carried into the building.
They had all the answers. Unfortunately, they didn’t know what the questions were. They had the answer: the right 53 on the roster. Yet, they had no idea of how to go out and make that happen. In four seasons the talent level on the roster has at best been marginally improved. The team has good players. There just are not enough of them. The 2008 Chiefs had good players; there just were not enough of them.
There is one cliché that is part of the DNA of football – a player, a coach, a GM, an owner and a team are either getting better or they are getting worse. The Chiefs over the last four years have gotten worse. The 2010 AFC West title and trip to the playoffs was a mirage, an anomaly.
We watch a wonderful talent like Jamaal Charles bust his ass, take days, weeks, months off his future with the pounding he’s taking and it’s so sad. His name now sits with the likes of Jim Brown in the NFL record books; he’s one of the best players in the NFL.
Chiefs fans wait one more week for the type of moves that need to be made. For the sake of Jamaal Charles, let’s hope they come and come soon.