Vermeil's Influence Guides the Way in KC Win

There is something to be said about having a veteran Head Coach on the sidelines. Not many NFL teams have coaches who are as experienced as Dick Vermeil. Even further there are very few coaches that could have prepared his team to play a football game on a single days notice. Count Dick Vermeil as someone who can do just about anything to motivate a team as his leadership was the driving force in the Chiefs 30-20 victory Friday night in Miami.

When the NFL told the Chiefs on Thursday morning that they would be playing the following day in Miami, Head Coach Dick Vermeil threw down the gauntlet. He would have no part of his team feeling sorry for themselves about playing on Friday instead of Sunday. He took it at as a challenge and proclaimed if any team could handle this slap by the NFL his Kansas City Chiefs team could do it.

He was profound in his statement as his team went down to Miami and played one of their best, if not the best, game of the 2005 season. This was a monumental victory for the Chiefs and this is the kind of victory that could catapult them to even greater success the remainder of the season.

The Chiefs are in a dog fight for the top spot in the AFC West. The Broncos are riding a five game winning streak and the Chargers have been up and down all season thanks to a brutal road schedule and inconsistent play at home.

But I can't believe that if Mike Shanahan or Marty Schottenheimer were in the position that the Chiefs were in on Thursday, that their results would have been the same as it was for Kansas City in Miami.

I have to admit that I was very critical of the NFL for handing down this sentence to the Chiefs. In the end, the result was what Kansas City had hoped but I don't think Friday night's victory would have happened if not for Dick Vermeil.

Most if not everyone in the media has questioned the way Vermeil has rested his players from the onset of training camp. He rests them every chance he gets. Vermeil gave the entire team a week off after the Eagles loss and the players won't be back on the practice field until Tuesday afternoon thanks to their 30-20 victory over the Dolphins in Miami.

Dick Vermeil is a rare brand of person. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and he brings it from the hip to the media, to the fans, his coaches and his beloved players. That's what makes him so unique. That's also what makes him so special.

But what he did the last 24-48 hours was truly remarkable. In his four plus seasons with the Chiefs, Friday might have been his finest coaching achievement as the teams Head Coach.

Now to some that might be a stretch because most feel Vermeil won't be considered a success until he takes this team past the first round of the playoffs. Even further some won't consider his career in Kansas City legendary unless he guides them to a Super Bowl victory.

I've had my doubts that either would happen this year especially after the team lost back to back games to the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. But over the past six days that's all changed.

After the Chiefs held on and defeated the Washington Redskins on Sunday; Vermeil was very emotional after the win. It wasn't like other times where he broke down after defeating a good football team. No it was a sense that you could feel in the press room that Vermeil knew something none of us understood.

You see Vermeil sensed that his football team had turned a corner last Sunday. It was in his eyes, in his words. None of us really saw it until Friday night in Miami. I get it. I understand that this is not the same Dick Vermeil teams of the past.

What happened in Miami was what Vermeil has been preaching since he arrived in 2001. He wanted to build a team that had one common goal. Team unity was important and you could sense that players on this team share his vision and his passion.

This veteran laden team has plenty of Superstars on both sides of the ball. You could sense it in Miami that under bizarre circumstances this team was ready to play football Friday night. From the opening play of the game to the final play, each man on that roster knew they were going to win. They knew that because they're Head Coach told them they could rise against all odds to win a game they were clearly handicapped to win.

There are no conspiracy theories in the events of this week. Hurricane Wilma wasn't born in April when the 2005 schedule was announced. She reared her ugly winds earlier this week. But even she slowed down just enough for the Chiefs and Dolphins to get in a football game Friday night.

Maybe she did it out of respect for Vermeil. For the most part her winds were calm and her rain was more drizzle than monsoon like. Her air was humid but her thunder was in the distance for most of the evening. It's clear even Wilma has respect for Dick Vermeil.

She knows a great thing. And now the rest of the NFL understands that the Chiefs are a good football team. Even though most of the country didn't see the game, news will travel fast about how impressive the Chiefs were against the Dolphins. It's even more impressive when you factor in all the obstacles this team had to overcome the last two days just to play this game.

This victory sets up the most important match up the year for the Chiefs as they'll travel to San Diego next week to play the Chargers in a game that could determine the winner of the AFC West.

With a couple of extra days, Vermeil and his coaching staff will likely come up with a few new wrinkles that will help the Chiefs defeat the Chargers a week from Sunday.

With Friday's victory in Miami, Vermeil has shown any doubters about how talented this football team is right now.

He took on Hurricane Wilma, the NFL and willed his team to unite to face this challenge head on. His team did that and the players responded. Not because he told them to do it but because he knows that this is a very good football team and he made sure they knew that before they boarded that plane Friday morning.

Vermeil also knows that this team is nowhere near the team it will be in November or December. But he senses it and so should the rest of us.

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