Taking out the Garbage: Sudden Expectations

Prognosticators and experts alike thought this 2010 Chiefs squad would be sitting at home come January. But as they have been proving all season, writing this team off as merely a work in progress has been a mistake. However, as the accolades come rolling in, the expectations will continue to rise.

Measuring the tangible success of this team will hinge on how they react on the big stage as they host a perennial playoff team in the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Saying altogether that there were no expectations for the Chiefs coming into the 2010 season wouldn't be entirely accurate. Some in the community said they would be content with six wins; two more than the Chiefs could accomplish last season. Maybe the realists may have been a bit pessimistic, but at least it would have been improvement, right?

Others said 8-8, which would have proved that the direction of the franchise was on target and Chiefs fans could move forward with the hope of sneaking into the playoff picture at the earliest in 2011.

Then there were the most optimistic of the bunch who said that the schedule was favorable and the balance of young and veteran talent could lead the team to a surprising 10-6 or even an 11-5 record. I for one fell into this category, but before you marvel at my mind's eye, as the season wore on I flipped and flopped back and forth, unable to put this team into focus.

Based off of the responses we receive on the Warpaint Illustrated Forums throughout the season, it seems as though I was not the only one struggling to find this team's status quo.

And who could? This team has been streakier than the first floor window at FAO Schwartz, and getting a read on who this team really is has been nearly impossible.

Early on, Thomas Jones was receiving too much of the load over the speedy and game changing ability Jamaal Charles. Had he had one more or one less carry on Sunday against the Raiders, he would have broke Jim Brown's NFL record for yards per carry over a single season. Adding to the complications on offense, quarterback Matt Cassel was not living up to the hype of the infamous Brodie Croyle and the coaching staff, as a whole was more conservative than Grover Cleveland.

However, most of those misconceptions have been turned upside-down or at least put on the back burner as the Chiefs are preparing to host their first playoff contest in six years. The Chiefs officially have a franchise QB in Cassel and a Pro Bowl running back in Charles, who, despite having nearly 100 less carries, fell just 149 yards shy of the NFL rushing title.

There are fewer questions as to why this team is so vastly improved this season, but when was the genesis of our expectation born?

Some would say it began with a butt kicking at the hands of the Denver Broncos back in November. This team expected more and responded with a 31-13 drumming of the Arizona Cardinals.

For me, the turning point for this team came just a few weeks back when Cassel checked in for emergency appendectomy surgery just days before he was to hit the road to face a San Diego team that was nipping at the Chiefs heels.

Although it turned out to be the Chiefs worst performance of the season, I learned more about this squad in that loss than I had in any of their victories. Cassel made a heroic return in a 27-13 victory over the Rams that not only solidified his role on this team but also endeared him to the Chiefs Nation overnight.

But with admiration comes expectation.

Last Sunday, this entire squad struggled against an Oakland Raiders team that was lead by a lame duck coach and a castoff QB. Division foe or not, playoff caliber teams are expected to win these games and the Chiefs completely laid down, leading most fans to walk out before the start of the fourth quarter.

As of today, tickets remain for Sunday's playoff game. And that says a lot about what this team still needs to do to prove their worth to the previously scorned fan base.

The Chiefs 2-4 home playoff record is not exactly impressive, and the last time this franchise won a game in Kansas City was when Joe Montana and kicker Nick Lowery broke the hearts of the Pittsburg Steelers back in January of 1994.

That's almost 17 years ago!

But despite their ups and downs since the Pioli regime took over, the fact that only a single game has been blacked out is a testament to the fans of this storied franchise. It is hard for anyone to believe a playoff victory is even possible after consistent letdowns, but this organization can change the mentality of its fan base overnight with a victory on Sunday.

Paramount though is proving to the fan base that the curse is broken. Should that happen with a win Sunday, fans can expect more wins in the postseason. And that would be a great step for the future of this team's success. It would prove that this team can win in January and might bring talk of the Chiefs becoming a dark horse candidate for the Super Bowl in 2011.

WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will the Chiefs manage expectations on Sunday?

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories

\r\n\r\nMeasuring the tangible success of this team will hinge on how they react on the big stage as they host a perennial playoff team in the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.\r\n

Saying altogether that there were no expectations for the Chiefs coming into the 2010 season wouldn't be entirely accurate. Some in the community said they would be content with six wins; two more than the Chiefs could accomplish last season. Maybe the realists may have been a bit pessimistic, but at least it would have been improvement, right? \r\n

Others said 8-8, which would have proved that the direction of the franchise was on target and Chiefs fans could move forward with the hope of sneaking into the playoff picture at the earliest in 2011.\r\n

Then there were the most optimistic of the bunch who said that the schedule was favorable and the balance of young and veteran talent could lead the team to a surprising 10-6 or even an 11-5 record. I for one fell into this category, but before you marvel at my mind's eye, as the season wore on I flipped and flopped back and forth, unable to put this team into focus.\r\n

Based off of the responses we receive on the Warpaint Illustrated Forums throughout the season, it seems as though I was not the only one struggling to find this team's status quo. \r\n

And who could? This team has been streakier than the first floor window at FAO Schwartz, and getting a read on who this team really is has been nearly impossible.\r\n

Early on, Thomas Jones was receiving too much of the load over the speedy and game changing ability Jamaal Charles. Had he had one more or one less carry on Sunday against the Raiders, he would have broke Jim Brown's NFL record for yards per carry over a single season. Adding to the complications on offense, quarterback Matt Cassel was not living up to the hype of the infamous Brodie Croyle and the coaching staff, as a whole was more conservative than Grover Cleveland. \r\n

However, most of those misconceptions have been turned upside-down or at least put on the back burner as the Chiefs are preparing to host their first playoff contest in six years. The Chiefs officially have a franchise QB in Cassel and a Pro Bowl running back in Charles, who, despite having nearly 100 less carries, fell just 149 yards shy of the NFL rushing title. \r\n

There are fewer questions as to why this team is so vastly improved this season, but when was the genesis of our expectation born?\r\n

Some would say it began with a butt kicking at the hands of the Denver Broncos back in November. This team expected more and responded with a 31-13 drumming of the Arizona Cardinals. \r\n

For me, the turning point for this team came just a few weeks back when Cassel checked in for emergency appendectomy surgery just days before he was to hit the road to face a San Diego team that was nipping at the Chiefs heels. \r\n

Although it turned out to be the Chiefs worst performance of the season, I learned more about this squad in that loss than I had in any of their victories. Cassel made a heroic return in a 27-13 victory over the Rams that not only solidified his role on this team but also endeared him to the Chiefs Nation overnight. \r\n

But with admiration comes expectation. \r\n

Last Sunday, this entire squad struggled against an Oakland Raiders team that was lead by a lame duck coach and a castoff QB. Division foe or not, playoff caliber teams are expected to win these games and the Chiefs completely laid down, leading most fans to walk out before the start of the fourth quarter.\r\n

As of today, tickets remain for Sunday's playoff game. And that says a lot about what this team still needs to do to prove their worth to the previously scorned fan base.\r\n

The Chiefs 2-4 home playoff record is not exactly impressive, and the last time this franchise won a game in Kansas City was when Joe Montana and kicker Nick Lowery broke the hearts of the Pittsburg Steelers back in January of 1994. \r\n

That's almost 17 years ago! \r\n

But despite their ups and downs since the Pioli regime took over, the fact that only a single game has been blacked out is a testament to the fans of this storied franchise. It is hard for anyone to believe a playoff victory is even possible after consistent letdowns, but this organization can change the mentality of its fan base overnight with a victory on Sunday.\r\n

Paramount though is proving to the fan base that the curse is broken. Should that happen with a win Sunday, fans can expect more wins in the postseason. And that would be a great step for the future of this team's success. It would prove that this team can win in January and might bring talk of the Chiefs becoming a dark horse candidate for the Super Bowl in 2011. \r\n\r\n

WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will the Chiefs manage expectations on Sunday? \r\n","mobileBody":" Measuring the tangible success of this team will hinge on how they react on the big stage as they host a perennial playoff team in the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Saying altogether that there were no expectations for the Chiefs coming into the 2010 season wouldn't be entirely accurate. Some in the community said they would be content with six wins; two more than the Chiefs could accomplish last season. Maybe the realists may have been a bit pessimistic, but at least it would have been improvement, right? Others said 8-8, which would have proved that the direction of the franchise was on target and Chiefs fans could move forward with the hope of sneaking into the playoff picture at the earliest in 2011. Then there were the most optimistic of the bunch who said that the schedule was favorable and the balance of young and veteran talent could lead the team to a surprising 10-6 or even an 11-5 record. I for one fell into this category, but before you marvel at my mind's eye, as the season wore on I flipped and flopped back and forth, unable to put this team into focus. Based off of the responses we receive on the Warpaint Illustrated Forums throughout the season, it seems as though I was not the only one struggling to find this team's status quo. And who could? This team has been streakier than the first floor window at FAO Schwartz, and getting a read on who this team really is has been nearly impossible. Early on, Thomas Jones was receiving too much of the load over the speedy and game changing ability Jamaal Charles. Had he had one more or one less carry on Sunday against the Raiders, he would have broke Jim Brown's NFL record for yards per carry over a single season. Adding to the complications on offense, quarterback Matt Cassel was not living up to the hype of the infamous Brodie Croyle and the coaching staff, as a whole was more conservative than Grover Cleveland. However, most of those misconceptions have been turned upside-down or at least put on the back burner as the Chiefs are preparing to host their first playoff contest in six years. The Chiefs officially have a franchise QB in Cassel and a Pro Bowl running back in Charles, who, despite having nearly 100 less carries, fell just 149 yards shy of the NFL rushing title. There are fewer questions as to why this team is so vastly improved this season, but when was the genesis of our expectation born? Some would say it began with a butt kicking at the hands of the Denver Broncos back in November. This team expected more and responded with a 31-13 drumming of the Arizona Cardinals. For me, the turning point for this team came just a few weeks back when Cassel checked in for emergency appendectomy surgery just days before he was to hit the road to face a San Diego team that was nipping at the Chiefs heels. Although it turned out to be the Chiefs worst performance of the season, I learned more about this squad in that loss than I had in any of their victories. Cassel made a heroic return in a 27-13 victory over the Rams that not only solidified his role on this team but also endeared him to the Chiefs Nation overnight. But with admiration comes expectation. Last Sunday, this entire squad struggled against an Oakland Raiders team that was lead by a lame duck coach and a castoff QB. Division foe or not, playoff caliber teams are expected to win these games and the Chiefs completely laid down, leading most fans to walk out before the start of the fourth quarter. As of today, tickets remain for Sunday's playoff game. And that says a lot about what this team still needs to do to prove their worth to the previously scorned fan base. The Chiefs 2-4 home playoff record is not exactly impressive, and the last time this franchise won a game in Kansas City was when Joe Montana and kicker Nick Lowery broke the hearts of the Pittsburg Steelers back in January of 1994. That's almost 17 years ago! But despite their ups and downs since the Pioli regime took over, the fact that only a single game has been blacked out is a testament to the fans of this storied franchise. It is hard for anyone to believe a playoff victory is even possible after consistent letdowns, but this organization can change the mentality of its fan base overnight with a victory on Sunday. Paramount though is proving to the fan base that the curse is broken. Should that happen with a win Sunday, fans can expect more wins in the postseason. And that would be a great step for the future of this team's success. It would prove that this team can win in January and might bring talk of the Chiefs becoming a dark horse candidate for the Super Bowl in 2011. Will the Chiefs manage expectations on Sunday? 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