Changing the Story

If the Kansas City Chiefs want to become perennial AFC West Champions, it all begins Sunday Night when they host the Denver Broncos. With five games left in the season, none is more important to the future of the franchise than this highly anticipated divisional showdown.

Head Coach, Andy Reid, has done a Herculean effort in rebuilding the Kansas City Chiefs. He has taken them from a disastrous 2-14 season in 2012 and turned them into a franchise that could find a post-season birth for the second year in a row.

However, if there is one vital punctuation ticket Reid has yet to punch as the head coach of the Chiefs, it’s that signature win. You know the one that turns franchises around with a singular defining moment that begins an avalanche of success for years to come.

In facing the division leading Denver Broncos on Sunday Night at Arrowhead Stadium, Reid and his Chiefs team have a chance to do just that. The fact I’m even mentioning this key item is remarkable in itself.

The 2014 version of the Kansas City Chiefs have been ravaged by injuries, a brutal six game stretch to begin the season and issues on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they’ve yet to develop a strong passing game with their wide receivers, and defensively the unit has had some nice highs but still too many lows in the Chiefs four losses this year. Even on the coaching front they’ve gotten in their own leading to losses at Denver, San Francisco and Oakland.

So the fact this football team is in this spot, remains a testament to Reid and the players who have finally bought into his style of coaching. With that in hand, it’s time the Chiefs change their future by altering the present.

On paper, the Broncos are a better team than the Chiefs. Obviously the biggest difference between the two AFC West combatants is at quarterback. Peyton Manning, though not as lights out as he was in 2013, has more weapons than his counterpart, Chiefs Quarterback, Alex Smith. Manning has delivered in the clutch where as Smith hasn’t as often.

Defensively the Broncos have a better overall group of pass rushers, who have shown the ability to get the big sack when it’s needed. However, the Chiefs might have the edge in coaching and toughness.

Sure the Chiefs lost to the Raiders a week ago Thursday but the Broncos laid an egg against the St. Louis Rams two Sunday’s ago. So it all evens out in my book.

Each team has had their share of bad losses in 2014 but they’ve also had some big wins. So does that give either team an edge in their second meeting of the season? Honestly, probably not.

Sure the Chiefs are playing at home and the Broncos are just 2-3 on the road this season. It’s clear when they get away from the Mile High City; they tend to become an average football team. At home, it’s a far different story, thus the further importance of this game for Kansas City.

Still none of that really matters because the Broncos have owned the Chiefs of late and that’s not lost on anyone as this prime time game approaches. With Denver leading the division by a single game, they’ll still maintain the head-to-head tie-breaker win or lose Sunday evening so they certainly can play looser than the Chiefs.

Kansas City must win this game, or they’ll be scrambling to find enough wins to make the playoffs as a wild card entrant, because they’ll have no shot to win the AFC West. However, that’s just a part of the story.

For as long as I can remember, the Chiefs haven’t had that turn the corner game since Marty Schottenheimer was their head coach. Though Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards and Todd Haley, all reached the post season, like Reid did a year ago, none of them have a single playoff victory on the books. Still they beat the teams that pushed them into the post season but they didn't have a single regular season game that made anyone believe they can be champions.

Yes I know this isn’t a playoff game but it could be the start of something special in Kansas City. The Broncos and the New England Patriots are the class of the AFC. The Chiefs fall in that second tier but they can change their position should they defeat Denver Sunday night.

As I stated, at every point in a teams evolution to become a world champion, they can always look back at one game from their recent past, that ultimately turned into a singular watershed moment into a franchise game changer.

It has been decades since an opportunity this big has presented itself to the Chiefs. The Broncos are in last grasp mode. If they don’t win a Super Bowl this year under Manning, it will never happen on his watch.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs won’t get to the Super Bowl until they defeat Manning and set the tone in the AFC, that only a win can accomplish Sunday evening.

That’s because it’s a fact Manning is the one player preventing the Chiefs path from winning the AFC West and changing their destiny for years to come.

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