A month ago, the team did not look professional. The team was embarrassed by the Denver Broncos. The team appeared to be a collection of undertalented, incompetent and overpaid losers who couldn't get out of their own way, let alone stand in someone else's way. It was depressing and sad.
But after that embarrassment, something changed. The undertalented found skill. The incompetent found intelligence. The path to success became clearer. The ability to resist became stronger.
Over the next month, the team averaged 416 yards and 25 points per game. Extrapolated over 16 games, that yardage total would lead the entire National Football League. The scoring average would rank ninth. The team also averaged 188 yards rushing over the next month. That, too, would lead the entire NFL over the course of 16 games.
The team, which began the month losing to other undertalented, incompetent and overpaid losers, ended it by first competing down to the wire, on the road, against a playoff team. The team then destroyed the Denver Broncos in a role reversal, denying them a chance at a playoff berth. It was sweet, perfect revenge, the kind you usually only see in Hollywood movies.
The team, of course, is your Kansas City Chiefs. If you were looking for progress, you just found it.
We can't possibly sweep an entire month's worth of football under the rug or pretend like it doesn't count. Four-hundred and sixteen yards per game? At the beginning of the season, the Chiefs could barely total 416 yards in two games. Look it up.
And forget about competing with playoff teams on the road, or blowing anyone out. The 2009 Chiefs laid down for the Eagles in the season's first month. They scrapped and clawed their way to a pathetic eight-point margin of victory over the Redskins. A few weeks later they embarrassed themselves against the Chargers.
It was pathetic and sad, and we thought it would never end. The last month proved otherwise. The Chiefs have outgained their opponents by more than 40 yards per game over the last four weeks. Sunday, they put the finishing, glorious touches on hope.
They were highly professional.
In beating the Broncos, the Chiefs didn't just cement progress, they statistically separated themselves from the Chiefs of the past. Instead of putting the cap on the worst decade in franchise history, they made marks in franchise history to be proud of.
January 3, 2010 – First Chiefs win at Invesco Field.
January 3, 2010 – Jamaal Charles runs for 259 yards, a franchise record.
Scott Pioli, Todd Haley, Charles and the rest of the Bronco Slayers have separated themselves from failure, even if only in small ways. They saved the last decade from being the worst in Chiefs' history. Where winning percentage is concerned, the worst decade in Kansas City football still belongs to the 70s.
By way of blowing out the Broncos, the 2009 Chiefs have left Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards the honor of fielding the team with the worst point differential in franchise history. Statistically, it's official - the 2008 Chiefs are worse (they also won fewer games, which counts for something apparently).
Haley has even succeeded where Dick Vermeil and Edwards failed. Not only did he win in Invesco, he fielded a team that busted up the place like King Kong was stomping around Colorado. The Chiefs whipped the Broncos and there was nothing lucky about it. They invaded Denver, pillaged, plundered and brought doom. They showed us something we had never seen before. That's what this franchise needs.
Haley inspired a 3-12 team to play like a throwaway game had meaning. Charles deserved to wear the Wrestling Championship belt Clinton Portis donned after dropping 218 yards and five touchdowns on Kansas City six years ago.
Heavyweight Champions of Colorado. That's our Chiefs, for the rest of the offseason. Charles floated like a butterfly and Derrick Johnson stung like a bee.
The buzz in Kansas City this offseason should be that we saw progress at the end of 2009. It doesn't mean the Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl, nor does it validate Pioli or Haley as successful leaders. But it should provide hope that they know what they're doing, that the team is finally pointed in the right direction.
A month ago, neither of those things seemed true, or even possible.
But by accomplishing what previously seemed impossible, hope has been kindled. The Chiefs are undefeated in 2010. It's a new decade, and so far it's a hell of a lot of fun. That's why the Chiefs were smiling at the end of Sunday's game.
The 2010 Chiefs - Reason For Hope?
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