Chiefs Get Knocked Down, But Stand Up

The Chiefs suffered another bitter loss Sunday, falling 38-31 to the Miami Dolphins. In a contest where the Dolphins were supposed to deliver a Pacquiao/De La Hoya-esque beating, the Chiefs managed to put up a fight, but eventually went down swinging.

When the Dolphins scored 18 seconds into the game via a 60-yard kickoff return by Patrick Cobbs and a 31-yard touchdown run by Ted Ginn Jr., it looked as though the Dolphins might register a first-round knockout. But the young, resilient Chiefs weren't about to lay down in front of the few home fans who braved the frigid temperatures to make it out to Arrowhead Stadium.

This game was a microcosm of the entire 2008 season. Despite being knocked to the canvas by haymaker after haymaker, the Chiefs staggered to their feet and lifted their gloves in preparation for another combination. The best part about this young team is that every time they staggered to their feet, they still believed they had a chance to win the fight.

After being hammered in the first round of Sunday's tussle with Miami and facing an extremely early 10-point deficit, the Chiefs clawed their way back and made a game of it, scoring touchdowns on consecutive drives and taking the lead. The Chiefs and Dolphins would exchange the lead four more times before Miami grabbed the final advantage.

Throughout the grueling 2008 campaign, the Chiefs have endured many big blows, from Brodie Croyle's injuries to Larry Johnson's hiatus. Yet, since the Carolina game, they've managed to brush off every loss and mount a counteroffensive.

After blowing a seemingly secure lead to the Chargers last week, this team was crushed. Head Coach Herm Edwards admitted that game stung more than most, and the mood in the locker room was as somber as ever. It would have been easy for the Chiefs to mail it in for the next two weeks and check out of this historically bad season both mentally and emotionally like much of their fan base, but they didn't. Rather, they pulled themselves together and came at the wildcard-race leading Dolphins like they were the team with something to play for.

The Chiefs winning or losing Sunday doesn't really matter now, and won't really matter in the long run. Tyler Thigpen's three interceptions against the Dolphins won't matter either. What matters are the experiences and lessons the Chiefs have learned throughout the season.

Players like Brandon Carr, Brandon Flowers, Glenn Dorsey, Maurice Leggett, Jamaal Charles, and Tyler Thigpen gained valuable experience this season. Hopefully, this year can be chalked up as a gray shirt season of sorts for them. Most of those guys will undoubtedly be back next year in one capacity or another, but many players who suited up Sunday won't.

Edwards has said that 90 to 95 percent of the players on KC's roster this year would return next season, but that may not be true for a couple of reasons. First, we don't even know if Edwards will be back next season. If he's not, we can't put any stock in his prediction about next year's roster.

The second reason is the upcoming offseason. With somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million to spend in free agency and seven draft picks, the Chiefs ought to plan on adding at least 10 new players between the end of the season and the start of training camp. Finally, when a team is so bad it costs the President/CEO/GM his job, potentially the head coach his job, and surely a few other assistant coaches their jobs, how could so many players be kept around? They can't.

The point is, whoever survives this offseason and returns as a Chief next year will always have the painful memories of 2008 in the back of their minds. Sure, those painful memories alone won't assure improvement, but you better believe they'll breed a strong desire to get better over the offseason and win next year. Top Stories