One big incentive working for the Chiefs in their finale is the team's desire to see Priest Holmes set the NFL record for single-season rushing TDs (25, a mark he shares with Emmitt Smith) or combined touchdowns (26, by Marshall Faulk in 2000).
Vermeil admitted this week that he would take extraordinary measures -- such as calling Holmes' number as many times as necessary in the red zone -- to get him the record.
"But first we've got to get down there (in the red zone)," Vermeil said. "(Chicago) is a pretty darn good football team.
"But I'd like to see Priest Holmes get the record. He's earned that right. I'd like to see him finish this season with an NFL record."
"I put both parties in the room with me at the same time behind closed doors," Vermeil said of his Sunday meeting with Hicks and Sims. "We aired the problems and vented them, then came into a squad meeting and talked about it."
Vermeil, saying he's witnessed fistfights between NFL teammates in airplanes during his coaching days with the Los Angeles Rams in the early 1970s, insisted that the angry exchange of words wasn't that big a deal.
"I think the only thing to come of this will be a positive, not a negative," he said. "It demonstrated how much they care about winning and how much they hate losing."
Vermeil said this week he will not let the press or public pressure him into firing defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, whose job is not in jeopardy -- "Not while I'm here," Vermeil said -- despite its slide to a dead-last ranking in rushing defense and a No. 30 ranking in total defense.
"If you let what people say on talk radio affect what goes on in your meeting room, you'd never have a stable organization," Vermeil said. "That doesn't mean I don't respect the media -- I worked in the media for 14 years -- but they don't know what they don't know.
"Now, I know people in leadership roles who are influenced by the media. They listen to everything -- radio talk shows, read every article. That's why they're screwed up. It kills them, it eats them up."
Vermeil, in throwing kudos at under-fire Chicago coach Dick Jauron -- called the Bears a team "playing at a playoff level" in winning four of their last five games.
"It just didn't start soon enough," Vermeil said. "But he's got a new quarterback now (Rex Grossman) who's playing well and has a real future there. He's got an offensive line big enough to eat hay, and a defensive line playing real well. He's got the best middle linebacker in football (Brian Urlacher) and the No. 1 kickoff returner (Jerry Azumah). He's got a lot of things going for him right now."
BY THE NUMBERS: 15-2
KC's record against NFC opponents at Arrowhead since 1995. 15-1 -- KC's record against first- or second-year quarterbacks making their first appearance at Arrowhead, such as Rex Grossman will do this week. 32 -- the number of consecutive starts the Chiefs' offensive line will make as a group Sunday.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We had one of better practices of the year. We didn't have pads on, but it almost sounded like we did. It's an indication that they were embarrassed, as I was, and they're getting ready to do something about it." -- Dick Vermeil, on his team's first full practice after their 45-20 shelling in Minnesota.