Brigadier General Robert Neyland wrote the “Seven Maxims of Football.” He was a West Point graduate and knew just a little about sports and war. He was a standout defensive lineman in football and a national champion in collegiate boxing. He was a veteran of World War I and he coached football at Army under then superintendent General Douglas MacArthur.
It’s rumored that he had a dog named Oskie that would follow him everywhere, including to practice as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Neyland would get his dog’s attention by holding up a ball and asking “Pass?” His pet would start running away and he’d throw it informing his dog that it was in the air with the command “Ball.” When his furry friend got to it, the General would exclaim “Oskie!” and the dog would return the ball to him.
Maxim No. 5 states “Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle… for this is the WINNING EDGE.” The University of Tennessee football team still recites the entire list before every game inside Neyland Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs utilized maxim No. 5 to go 6-0 on Sunday. The Chiefs were one sack shy of tying the single-game club record of 11 set in 1984. They also had three “oskies” (interceptions as they’re now known), including one returned all the way home against the Oakland Raiders in a 24-7 victory.
I did mention that General Neyland was a defensive player, right? Quarterbacks and kickers don’t much care to have the ball returned to them. The exception being when it’s crossed the goal line or cleared the uprights and a record has been set. Punters have a particular disgust in seeing the football headed their way; it’s never a good thing.
Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt is a former Volunteer and no doubt has maxim No. 6 memorized. “Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made,” it says.
Leading the league in punting yards per attempt is a deceptive stat. It usually means your offense sucks. They’re not getting first downs and are leaving a lot of open field in which you can “air it out.” In the first five games of the season, Colquitt averaged 23rd in that statistical category, last week he was sixth. That is a bad thing.
Time to teach the oldest AFC dog a new trick. A friendly reminder from Colquitt to his offensive teammates that fewer and shorter is better could help Kansas City further sharpen the winning edge they have this season.
The defense just needs to keep running them down and bringing them back.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia or “Like” him on Facebook.