It was a tough Sunday to be a Kansas City Chiefs fan, for sure. You spent all offseason feeling pretty good about your team, training camp was pretty solid, and the preseason… well, the preseason is infamous for giving misleading indicators (ask the New York Jets about that one), so no one thought too much of the Chiefs going 1-3. In the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, everything was going great in the first half, offensively speaking. The Chiefs were moving the ball down the field with relative ease and it looked like they might have a chance to win the shootout. That’s where I was wrong.
Kicker Ryan Succop came out to attempt a field goal. Not a huge deal, right? Well, I should have known better. Kicks have been nowhere near automatic in recent history for this team, and Sunday was no exception. The football hit the upright and bounced off, leaving a very deflated-looking Succop looking on, surely disappointed with himself. That’s when things started to turn. The offense started playing horrendously. Matt Cassel looked very vanilla and the running game was shut down. The defense continued as it had in the first half, looking about as bad as you can look. If the Falcons hadn’t given up towards the end of the game, I have no doubt they could’ve put up a 60 burger.
What happened? How did the game turn from so good to so bad in such a hurry? Well, when I was watching, I noticed there was definitely a change in atmosphere. The team’s mood went from being very competitive to being almost defeatist. When interviewed, running back Jamaal Charles and offensive tackle Eric Winston spoke to this effect, saying that the missed field goal was the turning point in the game that took the wind out of their sails.
So, hold on. You guys are professionals. I know things aren’t always going to be good and I understand being disappointed. I could never compete in the NFL (nor any other football league, for that matter), but come on guys, you make millions of dollars per year doing something you love, you better toughen up. There are still 15 games to be played and you’re going to sit there and tell me that just because you can’t go score-for-score (like I think they wanted to, knowing the defense wasn’t going to be able to keep up), you’re just going to act like it’s over? Put yourselves down for a winless season then, because you’re not going to win with that attitude.
Oh, and then there’s a story that recently surfaced (and went viral, I might add) that this guy on Twitter named ‘Travis’ sent a message to the Chiefs, saying “I’m not much of a @kcchiefs fan anymore. Clark Hunt‘s yearly 30m under the cap B.S. is unethical. Greedy bastard owners can F.O. cc @nfl”. The Chiefs then responded (uncharacteristically, as you don’t often get responses from organizations like this) by telling this guy, “Would help if you had your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue”. Terrific. Oh yeah, then the Chiefs blocked him. Mature.
But that’s where I draw the line. Whoever the Chiefs’ Twitter guy is better have been reprimanded for that. The last umpteen years of being a Chiefs fan haven’t exactly been a cakewalk, fellas. Believe it or not, he’s not the only one that feels that way. While I wouldn’t have addressed the Chiefs on Twitter using vulgarity and aggressive language, there is nothing wrong with what ‘Travis’ said (other than the Chiefs aren’t exactly 30 million under the cap). Why? Because the heart of what he’s saying is true. The organization knows that. If the response the Chiefs sent back to this guy hadn’t have gone viral, you can bet they’re not making an apology. Oh, and by the way, the apology wasn’t that great either. Get a load of this.
” I apologize to the fans for my response to a tweet sent to me earlier. No excuse for my actions. I am truly sorry and it won’t happen again.”
Dandy. That might be the most generic, insincere apology I’ve ever heard. On the surface, the apology looks okay. But when we look into it a little deeper, you’ll notice there’s no mention of anyone named ‘Travis’, as the apology solely mentioned ‘the fans’. Also, it may interest you to know, the Chiefs allegedly never unblocked him. To me, this reflects the overall organizational attitude, from the top down. They keep mentioning ‘the fans’ and ‘it’s all about the fans’. Really? Because from this vantage point, it doesn’t seem like give a you-know-what. So, ‘Travis’, while I may not have done what you did, you represent the frustration-ridden sentiment of Chiefs fans everywhere, and for that, sir, you should be applauded. In fact, I’ll do you one better. If the Chiefs really thought they could go into the game against Atlanta, plagued by injury and suspension, without making any moves while being this far under the cap, then not only do the Chiefs have a “Greedy bastard [owner],” they have an arrogant “Greedy bastard [owner] .” An arrogance based completely in falsehood, I might add, as this team has not shown they can be true contenders for the playoffs (and don’t quote the 2010 season, as the strength of schedule was very favorable).
The intensity of criticism in this town is building. If the Chiefs really do have thin skin syndrome all the way around, then I have two things to say. First, to the players, toughen up Frances. This the NFL. Kansas City is one of the best football cities in the entire country. My sympathy for these players on Sunday is very low, because they all get to go out and do something they love to do with the opportunity to make a ton more money during their contract periods than the average human being will see in a lifetime while doing it. The fact that a missed field goal killed their momentum is pathetic on a few different levels.
Secondly, to the owners, think about this. Average Joe is a hard working dude who gets up every morning and goes to work at places like steel mills or insurance companies. In fact, because of the hard time the United States is currently going through right now, guys like those are becoming increasingly-lucky nowadays as a growing number of U.S. citizens are becoming unemployed. The only football those guys likely ever get to see is on Sunday, and you’re going to sit there and tell me that you can’t put a winning product on the field for them for the sake of being thrifty? Why not lower your ticket prices, then? Well, we won’t get into that.
Now, it’s true, you can spin the salary cap numbers any way you want. But guess what? When you even begin to do that, you’re making excuses because you know something is wrong. Stop with the sideshows, quit trying to save a buck, and let’s put together a team that has a shot to do good things. I swear, if I have to see Jacques Reeves get burned on a pass play one more time, I might just lose it. The fans of Kansas City pay good money to go to these stadiums to pay for your product, you sure as shootin’ better start treating the fans better. Just because the fans of this team have shown tremendous loyalty through the tough times, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be blind, fat, and happy with the decisions that the organization makes. The fans deserve better than to see this garbage every Sunday. And okay, I guess it is “our choice” (as Mr. Chiefs Twitter guy pointed out) on whether or not to be a Chiefs fan, but that’s just giving fans the middle finger. Guess what? You don’t get many brownie points that way and you sure as diddly won’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes time to play on Sunday. ‘Travis’ has spoken. He’s fed up… and so am I.
Thanks for reading, and as always, be respectful when you comment.