A Giant History Lesson

The Giants came into Arrowhead Stadium, throttled the Chiefs' offense, made their quarterback look like a mistake, and coasted to victory on the strength of their defense. You might think that's what took place Sunday during Kansas City's 27-16 loss to New York, but not before it first happened eight years ago.

It was 2001 when the Giants, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, stomped into Kansas City and embarrassed Dick Vermeil in the midst of his early efforts to fix the franchise. The Chiefs weren't dominated, but the 13-3 score that day was humiliating for any offensive guru, especially considering Vermeil's handpicked quarterback, Trent Green, was the main culprit in the loss.

Green was terrible, barely completing half his passes and throwing a crucial interception that snuffed out a chance for a touchdown. Kansas City's offense was so bad, they mounted just one drive greater than 50 yards all day, and didn't score until the third quarter.

That day in 2001, Green did not appear to be a quarterback worth the first-round pick the franchise had given up. Vermeil did not appear to be a coach who knew his offense from a hole in the ground. The Chiefs were a complete mess. They had scored three points, one for each turnover Kerry Collins handed them.

Sound familiar?

This past Sunday at Arrowhead the Giants stomped in, not so far-removed from their Super Bowl appearance, and embarrassed Matt Cassel and Todd Haley. Cassel, like Green, had a poor statistical day, and almost threw his own interception in the end zone. Haley's offense didn't mount a legitimate, lengthy scoring drive until late in the second half.

Right now Cassel does not appear to be worth the second-round pick or the $63 million the Chiefs have given up. Haley is making Herm Edwards look like Bill Walsh, and his offensive attack is generally a complete mess from week to week.

The Giants put clown shoes on Green and Vermeil eight years ago, and did the same thing to Cassel and Haley Sunday. History has repeated itself, and in more than one way – there's a lot of Chiefs fans and media barking their heads off about the quarterback and head coach. No one has any patience at the moment. Judgment must be passed immediately!

This is the second time I've compared the current situation in Kansas City to the genesis of the Vermeil era. While there's no way to tell if Cassel and Haley will turn it around the same way their predecessors did, the lack of patience is just disturbing. In fact, it's probably unfair to compare the 2009 Chiefs to their 2001 counterparts.

Those Chiefs had Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Tony Richardson and an offensive line that was at least more than a pathetic speedbump for opposing pass rushers. These Chiefs traded Gonzalez, lack any consistent, game-changing threat at running back (sorry, Larry) and we don't need to compare the offensive lines. The 2001 Chiefs were merely hungry for talent. The 2009 Chiefs are starving to death.

It's probably wishful thinking to suggest this year's offense will experience any sort of revolution akin to the one Vermeil's effected at the tail end of 2001. By the end of that season, the Chiefs were fifth in total offense and giving us a genuine preview of the following year's top-ranked scoring attack. At this point, if the 2009 Chiefs are just average on offense by the end of the year, it should be seen as major progress.

We need to re-evaluate our comparison. Remember, after Week 1, when I proposed that the Chiefs might actually have taken a step back? That's not really in question anymore, so we dive into the annals of NFL history and pull out another, more valid comparison: the 1989 Dallas Cowboys, who finished a scintillating 1-15.

Like the Chiefs with Gonzalez, the Cowboys traded their premier offensive threat, Herschel Walker, that year. Left with a true lineup of spares - Paul Palmer, Kelvin Martin, Derrick Shepard, James Dixon and Steve Folsom - Michael Irvin was Troy Aikman's only real playmaker, and even he struggled to a decline in his numbers. It's fairly obvious 20 years later Dwayne Bowe is Cassel's only real threat (see the Philadelphia game), and what do you know, his numbers are also declining. Ironically, Gil Brandt (a former Cowboys' scout) once compared Bowe to Irvin.

The over-matched Aikman, who had a terrible season even by rookie quarterback standards, was not highly regarded, and a bogus quarterback controversy spawned by over-zealous media erupted with Steve Walsh in the mix. Cassel is no rookie, but he's clearly over matched and headed for a poor season. The bogus quarterback controversy with Brodie Croyle is dormant, but will surely ignite again at some point.

Dallas finished dead last on offense that year, won one game, and the men running the franchise – head coach Jimmy Johnson and team owner Jerry Jones - were generally regarded as buffoons. The Dallas media hated both for running the legendary Tom Landry out of town in an unceremonious fashion. Because some felt hanging on to Walker and pumping up the roster could have resulted in an eight-win season, a single, solitary victory was seen as confirmation of a franchise led by incompetence.

Three years later the Cowboys were World Champions.

Hoping that feat will be replicated in Kansas City is overly optimistic. But it's fairly obvious, even in the face of harsh criticism and a mountain of disapproval for the way a team is being run, a little patience can be a virtue. Stock up now, because you'll need it if the Chiefs finish 1-15.

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