The Kansas City Chiefs have given fans all over the Midwest plenty of reasons to be thankful with their 10-1 start and the class in which they've represented the city. With that praise, here is why I'm thankful on this Turkey Day to be a Chiefs fan.
Lamar Hunt. Nobody has given more to Kansas City then Mr. Hunt. After battling prostrate cancer and then the removal of his prostrate just a month ago, Hunt has signed, sealed and delivered some of the best NFL talent in the game. His long term contract commitments to players like Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Shawn Barber, Dexter McCleon and Trent Green to name a few have filtered the Chiefs team with legitimate superstars. He has never been afraid or bashful in spending money for premier players. I hope that Lamar Hunt receives the AFC Championship Trophy that bears his name at the conclusion of the playoffs. He's never won it and no one deserves it more.
Dick Vermeil. Not since Hank Stram patrolled the Chiefs sidelines have players had this much respect for a head coach in Kansas City. To a man they would walk through fire for Vermeil. As a player, Vermeil would do the same for each and every person on the roster. When Vermeil came to Kansas City he cleaned the house, sacrificed wins and built a solid roster with high character guys that have a chance to be super this season. Vermeil's passion and skill as a motivator has the Chiefs playing at a high level. If Vermeil gets the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, he will be the only coach to take three separate teams to the Super Bowl.
Carl Peterson. The man has been persecuted by the local media but he's put the Chiefs back on the map as the premier game in town. Peterson for his detractors has done his job running Lamar Hunts team. That's not an easy task when fans want a winner. Peterson did a great job in convincing Vermeil to return to Kansas City as a head coach and he's been rewarded by having the best coach in the NFL. Peterson has been stymied and disappointed by one five year plan after another but this current plan might end shortly. He deserves a lot of credit. In this months issue of Warpaint Illustrated the Magazine, we offer more insight on Carl Peterson.
Priest Holmes. No one understands the violent nature of the NFL better than Holmes. The focus, the pain and the sacrifices he makes each week just to play at a high level for the Chiefs is nothing short of miraculous. Biting on the cusp of becoming a thirty-something running back, Holmes is the best at his craft in the NFL. Nobody is more prepared or works harder at his craft. He can run, catch or sacrifice his body to block. He makes no excuses and understands that his legs, heart and soul will carry the Chiefs to the Super Bowl. He is the coal that drives the engine to the Chiefs express. Not many players are team guys and Holmes is at the center of the team and he accepts and relishes his role. He is the soul of the Chiefs.
Trent Green. He reminds me so much of Lenny Dawson. I'm old enough to remember Dawson in his prime. Dawson was a throwback. He called his own plays and he had the respect of his players and coaches. Green has been Mr. Clutch especially in wins over the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders. He has a calm demeanor in the huddle and outside of Steve McNair and Peyton Manning; there is not a better quarterback in the NFL. He's the first Chiefs quarterback who can actually be compared to my childhood hero, Len Dawson.
The defense. Numbers aside this defense is so much better. They are giving up less than 100 yards per game in total offense compared to last season. They lead the league in turnovers and their opportunistic flair for the dramatic is bringing them together. Yes they don't tackle as well but they give it 100% on every down. Newcomers Shawn Barber, Dexter McCleon and Vonnie Holliday have lifted the defense. Ryan Sims is close to becoming a dominant player inside and Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley are the best safety tandem in the NFL and they play for the Chiefs. Scott Fujita has made everyone forget about Donnie Edwards. The bottom line is they are keeping their team in the game and at times have carried the slack when the offense or special teams has not performed at its best.
Dante Hall. What Hall has done is simply unbelievable. He has dramatically changed the face of the NFL game. His impact has teams wondering, pondering and over analyzing how they're going to stop him each week. Will the next game be the one that Hall breaks the NFL return record. Who knows? But every time he touches the ball of offense or on special teams, he's capable of scoring a touchdown. But his return against Denver was the most electrifying moment in Arrowhead stadium history. He is a special young man and the Chiefs are glad he's on the roster. So am I.
I'm also thankful to the loyal followers of Warpaint Illustrated.com and Warpaint Illustrated the magazine. I'm thankful for Jon Miller who brought me in and thankful to Barry McBride for making the site look great. It starts with a great subject like the Chiefs, great people like Jon and Barry who make the site funtion and some new loyal fans who have made Warpaint Illustrated the fastest growing Chiefs website around.
And the best part?
Our season and our coverage is nowhere from being finished. The Chiefs will win the AFC West and then its onto the playoffs and hopefully, if the NFL Gods continue to shine on the Chiefs, a Super Bowl trip and Championship.
Nothing would be finer than that.