Chiefs Fans Pray for Health over Substance

As the curtain rises on the Kansas City Chiefs 2015 preseason, it ain’t about who wins in Glendale. It’s about who walks away in one piece against the Arizona Cardinals.

Technically, overthinking is the third worst thing you can do with a preseason opener. The second worst is betting the mortgage on a Taxi Squad Bowl where four quarterbacks per side are scheduled to grace the stage. The worst is getting so cheesed off at the final score that you flush your kid’s hamster down the toilet in some sort of aquatic pagan sacrifice to the football gods.

The football gods care not for Mr. Snuffles.

Nor do they give two patooties who comes away with the brass ring when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Arizona Cardinals tonight in Glendale. Preseason NFL, Week 1, in a word:

‘\_(‘ ‘, )_/­`

OK, fine, 11 keystrokes. Ya get the gist.

Now that’s not to say there aren’t narratives. Narratives Chiefs fans can solder neatly into whatever drinking game they choose. (Anytime Cyrus Gray is mentioned by name, take three swigs in memoriam. It’s all we ask.)

To wit:

--Is this first-team offensive line a preview for next month, or just another of Andy Reid’s sampler platters?

--The first real test for Mitch Morse: Snapping versus live, angry, pro contact.

--James O’Shaughnessy: Diamond in the rough or a reminder that this roster might still be a tight end short?

--Where have you gone, Paul Fanaika? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

--Is Chase Daniel vs. Aaron Murray REALLY a thing? A THING thing?

--Wideouts: Jeremy Maclin aside, do they stretch the field? Or your patience?

--Charcandrick West: See Justin March.

--Smart cookies will tell you the defensive front won’t miss Dontari Poe as much as you might think. Your serve, Jaye Howard.

--Phillip Gaines, Marcus Peters, Jamell Fleming, or none of the above?

--Justin March: See Charcandrick West.

--Long snapper wars!

--Eric Berry. (At this point, you stop drinking and make sure everybody in the room raises a glass.)

There are more bullet points, of course, but that ticks a chunk of the larger boxes. For the most part, hitch your August wagon to that time-honored preseason prayer:

Dear (Deity Of Your Choosing) — Please, No Injuries, And Please, No Overtime, In Your Hallowed Grace. Amen.

Although that’s the trouble, isn’t it? The whole health thing is tricky, unpredictable and maybe a little bit inevitable: These are grown men at the top of their respective vocations, fighting for security in an insecure, fleeting profession, laying wood in front of the cameras for the first time in months.

Plus, they’re happy as hell to finally hit somebody in a different color of jersey. Accidents happen.

So put down the hamster and reach for a rosary. Ask Niles Paul or Julius Thomas: At this rodeo, it ain’t necessarily about who wins. It’s about who walks away in one piece.

You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @SeanKeeler or email him at

Photos Courtesy: Mark J. Rebllas USA Today Sports Top Stories