Boo Birds Not Welcome at Arrowhead

It's third and goal, and the opposing team has the ball on Kansas City's three-yard line at Arrowhead. My stomach is in knots as 80,000 screaming fans pound on their seats and raise the decibel level so loud that the quarterback cannot hear, much less get into the end zone.

Then the defense makes a crucial stop, the crowd gets even louder, and Arrowhead lives up to its intimidating name. Witnessing the unity of the crowd and hearing this deafening sound is one of the greatest experiences in the NFL.

The only thing more amazing than Arrowhead's decibel level is how the once-deafening screams of the fans are silenced when the Chiefs offense takes over. When our quarterback gets over center on third-and-inches, it's easy to forget that there are nearly 100,000 people watching the play with baited breath. There is no question that Chiefs fans get behind their team and know when to turn on the noise and how to get inside the heads of the opponent.

But all it takes to get those same fans to turn on the hometown team is a run on third-and-long. Just ask Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, who was criticized before the beginning of the season for being too conservative. One glimpse of that conservative philosophy and a lost opportunity for a first down earned Herm his first round of boos at Arrowhead Stadium on opening day. Nothing turns my stomach more than hearing these so-called die hard fans boo their own team. Where is the respect and loyalty?

Of course, the sound of these Boo Birds is music to my ears when it's at Mile High Stadium and Jake the Snake is feeling the wrath of upset fans. It's even better when the Chiefs are frustrating Denver fans and causing Plummer to make foolish decisions. Then again, it doesn't always take much to get into Plummer's head and cause mistakes, and Denver fans are ready for a change at the quarterback position.

Chiefs fans do have reason to be frustrated with the team's playoff record – Kansas City has not made a playoff appearance since 2003 - this from a team who went to the playoffs six consecutive years in the 1990's. But that can't all be blamed on coaching. Every year, we see teams that have once been the laughing stock of the league turn into true contenders, such as the Bengals and Colts. This year it's the undefeated Bears and vastly improved Saints making headlines.

In recent years, the Chiefs have not been bad enough to earn a top pick, but they have not been good enough to win a Super Bowl. Things have to get dire before they get better, and Chiefs fans have not had to experience extreme lows. Basically, the Chiefs have always been average, or just above average, so any coach that comes into Arrowhead has to work with what they are given.

In my opinion, the Boo Birds came out a bit early in their criticism of Edwards and Mike Solari. Miracles don't happen overnight, and the new coaching staff needs time to get everything performing like clockwork. Chiefs fans are not used to having the complete package – it was either a shaky offense with an outstanding defense, or an electric offense with an unstable defense and an average special teams unit. This new coaching staff is working on perfecting all three, and there will be some growing pains. A miscommunication between the coaches in the first game is hardly a reason to call for Solari's job.

Yes, the coaches lean towards more conservative play, even more so now that Trent Green is injured, but they managed to pull one out in Arizona thanks to some conservative play calling. I'll admit, after the ground attack in Denver, I was preparing to watch a bunch of handoffs to Larry Johnson until Green returned, and that prospect was not too exciting. But Solari surprised us all in the San Francisco game, calling plays that allowed Huard to air it out and build some confidence. I think I can speak for a majority of fans when I say that I was impressed by Huard's ability and breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that we are in capable hands for the time being.

Huard is playing more like a former starter, not like a former third-string quarterback. In the Arizona game, he got angry at a conservative third-and-long call and made the coaches aware by screaming at them. He has proved himself these past four games and given Chiefs coaches and fans a reason to believe that the season is not lost. If they can continue to win the tough games while Green recovers, the Chiefs will be in great shape at the end of the regular season.

You can't put the blame on Huard alone for the lack of offense against Pittsburgh. I believe Edwards and Solari solidified the fact that they are not confident in Huard's ability with the play calling on Sunday. Despite an ineffective running game, the Chiefs seemed content to throw short passes early in the game. That's not going to get it done.

Kansas City's lack of performance on all sides of the ball was a sign that the team has a lot of work to do this week, but we've seen what they're capable of. It's still early in the season, and I'm not ready to give up and curse the team just yet.

When the booing started that first home game, I felt shame and disappointment in the fact that Kansas City fans were so quick to turn on the team. When I think of tough crowds and difficult places to play (for the home team), Denver, Philadelphia and Oakland are the first ones that come to mind. I don't know about any of you, but that is not the kind of company I like to keep.

Chiefs fans need to be patient during these initial growing pains, though they may be severe at the moment, and support our team when they come back to Arrowhead next Sunday. The San Diego game is huge, and our team needs all the help they can get from the crowd. Boo Birds, please stay at home.

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