You know what I'm talking about. Imagine meeting the bully who stole your lunch money and humiliated you in front of your school friends, 15 years later. How good would it feel to sock him in the nose, just once, for old times' sake?
If you're a Chiefs fan, maybe you're feeling that way today. Here's why – Todd Haley, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel just socked the Chiefs' disappointing past right in the nose.
Chiefs 31, 49ers 10.
The bullies – Mike Singletary, Jimmy Raye, Kurt Schottenheimer and Mike Solari.
Maybe it's unfair to call Raye, Schottenheimer and Solari bullies. They're nice men who coached in Kansas City, tried to win and had Chiefs' fans best interests at heart. Unfortunately, their incompetence led to some of the darkest days in recent memory. We can't ever forgive them.
If you want to cast Carl Peterson as Hitler, Raye, Schottenheimer and Solari were goose-stepping right in line with him late in the 90s. In case you missed the Arrowhead Apocalypse way back when, here's a refresher – Raye and Schottenheimer coordinated Kansas City's offense and defense during the downfall.
• • •
Following Paul Hackett's exit, the Chiefs made a foolish transition under Raye from one of the league's most consistent, powerful running attacks to a downfield passing game featuring Elvis Grbac. Pure statistics say it worked – Grbac threw 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons. His final year, he cracked 4,000 yards. Unfortunately, the Chiefs didn't win games.
The reason – Grbac and Raye constantly had chicken bones stuck in their throats. The Chiefs blew so many games late in the clutch through three years with this pair, you'd have thought illegal gambling was going on. If Bill Walsh and Joe Montana were the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby of offensive coordinator/quarterback tandems, Raye and Grbac were Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels – Dumb and Dumber.
It wasn't enough that the Chiefs ran one of the most unbalanced offenses in the league under Raye. He also had a distinct talent for calling the wrong play at the wrong time. Throw in Grbac, who once improvised a quarterback draw in a goal-to-go situation with no timeouts left and the clock running down, and you had a whole lot of sad Chiefs fans on Monday mornings. It was depressing.
Sunday, the Chiefs eviscerated Raye's offense with a defensive performance rivaling any we've seen in the last decade at Arrowhead. They shut down Pro Bowlers Vernon Davis (three catches, 22 yards) and Frank Gore (15 carries, 43 yards). Raye was fired, justifiably, Monday morning. Chiefs fans shed no tears.
• • •
When Marty Schottenheimer resigned as Chiefs' head coach, Gunther Cunningham was promoted in his place. That left a vacancy at defensive coordinator. Enter Kurt Schottenheimer, whose credentials for the job included his last name and a love for football. Maybe we shouldn't be too hard on Marty's brother. A career position coach, he was placed in a bad position. He was just following orders.
Then again, it's really difficult to forgive Schottenheimer for allowing Rich Gannon to single-handedly keep the Chiefs out of the playoffs in 1999. And this came with Derrick Thomas, Leslie O'Neal, Chester McGlockton, Dan Williams, Donnie Edwards, Marvcus Patton, James Hasty and Jerome Woods roaming around. Schottenheimer was last seen coordinating terrible defenses in Detroit, where NFL defensive coordinators go to die (see Gunther Cunningham).
It's taken the Chiefs over a decade to repair their defense. We shouldn't be in a forgiving mood.
Sunday, Schottenheimer's special teams had no answer for Dustin Colquitt or Ryan Succop. They pounded the ball deep on every kick, pinning the 49ers deep in their own territory constantly. The Chiefs' defense and crowd fed off the fantastic field position. Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster both ripped off long punt returns.
The Chiefs didn't get Schottenheimer fired, but they damn sure didn't let him beat them. It felt pretty good.
• • •
Chiefs fans don't need to be reminded of the crumbling, terrible offensive line in Kansas City following the retirements of Will Shields and Willie Roaf. The man who oversaw that disaster was Solari, who also chipped in with a two-year failed experiment as KC's offensive coordinator. Let's just say that it wasn't shocking to see a Mike Solari right tackle (Anthony Davis) allow Tamba Hali to almost single-handedly destroy San Francisco's offense Sunday (three sacks, one intentional grounding penalty, one holding call, constant pressure).
During Solari's final four seasons with the Chiefs, KC's right tackle lineup included Jordan Black, Kyle Turley, Chris Terry, Kevin Sampson and Damion McIntosh. They like to get together on the weekends and reminisce about who screamed louder – Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, or Chiefs fans who just watched another three-and-out.
Hali used Davis, the Chiefs' front seven turned Alex Smith into a rag doll, Gore had absolutely no room to run, and it felt pretty good. Did I mention KC's offensive line looks terrific this season, thanks in part to a young, ascending right tackle named Barry Richardson?
• • •
It's true that Mike Singletary never coached in Kansas City. But, if we're taking revenge on the past, fit him for a shoe. It will probably slip nicely on the foot of Herm Edwards.
Singletary is Edwards' brother from another mother.
Seriously. If you hated every minute of Herm's three-year, play-not-to-lose reign of terror, you should have been overcome with joy Sunday. The Chiefs – mostly thanks to Todd Haley and Charlie Weis – encountered an identical brand of football, laughed, and stomped on it like it was nothing.
The 49ers ran the ball on their first play from scrimmage. They ran the ball on their second play from scrimmage. On third down, they dumped a pass to their Pro Bowl tight end for a first down. If you squinted, you could almost pretend Huard was handing the ball to Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez was picking up the first down.
On the next play – no shock – the 49ers ran it again.
Through the game's first 20 minutes the 49ers either ran the ball or threw a short pass. Alex Smith threw a grand total of three passes past the first down marker through two and a half quarters. By then, the Chiefs were up 17-3 and it was over.
To Herm Singletary, two touchdowns was an insurmountable deficit, and it showed. The 49ers had no chance playing from behind. They looked lost and confused, as if someone had suddenly asked them to play Arena League football, instead of real football.
In a game the 49ers desperately needed to win, playing against a pair of rookie safeties and a rookie nickel back, they refused to challenge the Chiefs down the field. It was classic Herm Edwards football, circa 1957, and it had no chance against Haley's onside kicks, fourth-down gambles or wildcat, fake-reverse flea flickers.
Sunday, the Chiefs encountered their past and socked it right in the nose. It was beautiful, man.
Chiefs Defeat Their Past
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