Two Plus Two: Whither Booger?

Considering the Chiefs game wasn't scheduled to begin until 3:15, my family and I agreed to join a couple other families for a delicious chili lunch shortly after attending Sunday morning services. After I consumed two bowls heaped with cheese, chili and fritos, three teenage boys asked their old fathers to join them in a pickup game.

My mind told me we were just going out to throw and kick the ball around with the boys, especially considering I was still in my khakis, loafers and golf polo, but then it happened - those young men challenged the old men to a game.

We told them no, but they kicked off anyway. What were we supposed to do? Nobody wants to disappoint young men like that, so Mike caught the kickoff and raced around the right side as Sean and I offered blocks. Ten seconds into the game it was Old Guys 7, Young Guys 0. During the ensuing kickoff, our opponent couldn't decide who was going to field the ball, so one of the other fathers picked it up. Kickoffs are live in the Neighborhood Football League. I can't believe they didn't review the rulebook. Two plays later and the old guys scored on a touchdown pass. The old guys have two scores and the young guys haven't even run a play.

The boys decided to field the next kickoff and actually had pretty good field position because the old guys are getting tired. Tired old guys don't make very good kickoff gunners, but I found a way to get my second wind. The boys decided they were going to make up the score with one play and throw the deep ball. I understand how pathetic I must have looked as I leaped and snatched the ball from the sky with one hand before trotting up the sideline for a pick six. I'm getting old but I'm still a competitor. Two minutes into the game and the old guys lead the young guys, 21-0.

I know you didn't click into my column to read about my athletic exploits, but I think you know what I'm getting at. The Steelers looked like men amongst boys on Sunday. The Chiefs were outmatched, outwitted and outscored - by a vast margin. It was pathetic and downright painful to watch. Finding two positives to complete my column today is going to be a challenge.

I brought a pencil and tablet to my chair while watching the game Sunday afternoon. I knew I'd need some bullets to recollect the positives. Until the fourth quarter, "No Major Injuries" was one of my bullets. And then Ronnie Cruz was carted off the field. Incidentally, he's out for the year. I think you'll agree with me that an NFL game lasting only 60 minutes is a blessing. Had the Steelers been permitted to pillage for 90 or 120 minutes, can you imagine the results? Would the Chiefs have scored again? Probably not on that Sunday, and not in that stadium.

Under these circumstances, most Chiefs fans, players and staff are pretty downtrodden. That's understandable. In the face of all this turmoil, Herm Edwards remains upbeat. This is his first Chiefs team. He's making changes and has 23 new players this year. While I'm not certain any of these are valid excuses for Sunday's disaster, they're contributing factors. You can't judge a marriage based on the first month, and you can't judge a coaching tenure based on the first five games. Even while many fans and even some sportswriters are screaming for Mike Solari's replacement and wide sweeping changes, the Chiefs are up at Arrowhead reviewing film of the San Diego Chargers and planning to upset the heavily-favored AFC West leaders this coming Sunday afternoon. They've completely forgotten the trip to Pittsburgh and that is what's required as a professional in the NFL. The staff guiding your Kansas City Chiefs consists of professionals. Most of them have devoted their entire lives to the game of football and are infinitely more qualified than any of us. When I hear suggestions like "I can call plays better than Solari" or "I can block better than Jordan Black," I have to remember those comments are made out of frustration and perhaps ignorance. Solari probably can't do your job, what makes you qualified to do his? You might be 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, but smart money says Black would pulverize you in any NFL-centric skills challenge.

The NFL trading deadline came and went this week with no trade-related changes made to Kansas City's roster. If you're keeping score at home, you're wondering if that's a positive or a negative. I'm wondering as well. One part of me really wanted to see Leonard Davis blocking for Larry Johnson. The other part would rather see the Chiefs apply that $5 million in cap space in another area and save that second-day draft pick for a prospect. Davis has proven nothing in Arizona except that he was drafted way too high and makes way too much money. Would a change of scenery also result in a change of production? Sometimes that works, but it's not guaranteed. When the Chiefs talked to Davis' representatives about coming to KC, they probably wanted him to restructure his contract for a long-term deal with incentives. I doubt Davis' agents would even consider it. Barring a suspension, Davis is guaranteed the remainder of his contract this year.

The Colts traded a second-round selection for defensive tackle Booger McFarland. Almost unanimous is the opinion that they overpaid. Do the Chiefs need an improved push up the middle? Certainly. Would McFarland improve that push? Virtually assured. Should the Chiefs have invested the second-round pick on the 29-year old McFarland instead of whomever they'll inevitably select next April? That's a question nobody knows the answer to for at least four years.

For the sake of simplicity, the title of my column has been "Two Plus Two." Today, I raised a few grey areas and posed questions that won't be answered for several years. If we were to accurately modify the title of this particular column, it would likely look more like an algebraic equation. I wish that being a fan of the Chiefs were as simple as "Two Plus Two." There are so many dynamics and unknowns that it's more like an unsolvable mathematics problem. Everybody is waiting for Mr. Edwards to take chalk in hand and diagram a solution on the board. Will the Edwards solution continue to sound like a discombobulated press conference full of confusing spin and indefensible defensiveness, or will it present itself as an undeniable answer - a shiny Lombardi Trophy?

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