First Look: What Monday Night means to KC

It's been nearly six years since the Kansas City Chiefs have showcased Arrowhead Stadium to the nation in prime time. The last time the Chiefs were featured at home on Monday Night Football took place on November 22, 2004, when they lost to the New England Patriots 27-19.

Looking back on that game, it's odd to see how ironic that game seems now, both for the history of the National Football League and the two teams involved. And not just for the Chiefs and Patriots, but also the Chiefs' upcoming opponent, the San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs were just one year removed from a 13-3 season in which they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional playoffs. The team had high hopes heading into 2004, where they planned on letting their high-powered offense steamroll the opposition once more. That certainly wasn't the case.

The Chiefs entered that 2004 primetime game at a dismal 3-6, while the Patriots boasted an 8-1 record. Not to mention that the Patriots were the defending champions of Super Bowl XXXVIII and well on their way to repeat in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Scott Pioli must have either been sitting in his cozy seat in the stadium, gleaming at the thought that the Chiefs were simply another pushover team for his powerful Patriots. Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel were both there at the game too, serving in the same capacity they hold now with the Chiefs. They must have been licking their chops at the Chiefs' abysmal defense and weakened offense.

In KC's last Monday Night game at Arrowhead, the Chiefs battled the fog and the Patriots back in November of 2004.
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Six years later, things have changed for both teams. While the Chiefs are rebuilding with Pioli, Weis, and Crennel all in Kansas City, the Patriots are stuck in their own rut trying to replicate their past success. Times have changed and with so much parity in the NFL from year to year, there's a chance for every team to make a name for itself.

Until then, another team has posed a bigger threat to the Chiefs and has dominated their division for the past several years. The upcoming game against the San Diego Chargers isn't just about the Chiefs proving that they're no longer pushovers like they have been in past seasons, but that they're on the right path towards a championship. This game needs to be the Chiefs' moment of glory, their moment when they prove to the nation that they aren't on the losing end of primetime football affairs. It's time for the Chiefs to prove to the entire nation that they're no longer a joke.

The Chiefs' last primetime network television game came against none other than San Diego on the December 17, 2006 edition of NBC's Sunday Night Football. By then, the Chiefs and Chargers were both primed to make the playoffs, but the Chargers were boasting the most powerful team in the entire NFL.

The Chargers had the entire NFL buzzing and plenty of viewers watching their team head towards glory. The Chiefs, on the other hand, were still struggling with a season in which starting quarterback Trent Green fell victim to a serious concussion, but their starting running back Larry Johnson was surely the most powerful offensive threat in the league. Neither team managed to make it past their first playoff game, but when it came to primetime television, everybody wanted to watch.

The Chargers sacked the Chiefs twice in 2009.
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Primetime NFL games always showcase the best teams around. This upcoming Chargers-Chiefs game gives not only the Chargers a launching point as they try to finally win their first Super Bowl, but more importantly gives the Chiefs a chance to shock the nation. They have one of the most impressive renovated stadiums in the NFL and it would be a shame to see empty seats at a game where the Chiefs are hoping to start over.

While it would be more impressive for the Chiefs to make the postseason this year, I believe this one game against San Diego is the most important game of the season. This game gives the Chiefs a chance to truly start a new era at Arrowhead Stadium, and what better way to reward the fans than to have it when everybody's there or everybody's watching?

If the Chiefs win, this game won't just prove to be the most important game of the season, but also for the foreseeable future. In the past (and even presently), the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers have been staples for primetime games because they boast the best squads around. Now is the time for the Chiefs to enter that same category and be the topic of chatter on ESPN's postgame show.

NFL history will be witness to whether or not the Chiefs can finally turn things around, or if the Chargers still have a comfortable spot atop the AFC West. Regardless of the result, the football world will be watching.

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