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If you are into talking about the Kansas City Chiefs, this is the place to be. I am Aiken_Drum and I am a Chiefaholic. If you are too, great! Let's discuss this team that we inexplicably love to follow. Don't be afraid to be critical here. Positive or negative, they are all thoughts about the Chiefs. Also, do not tell ANYBODY here that they shouldn't respond in a certain way. You don't like what they said? Just stop commenting. Be the bigger commentor.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It Couldn't Get Worse...Right?

  Unfortunate.  Ill-fated. Ill-starred. Luckless. Unlucky.
All the above are synonyms for the word Hapless.  The Chiefs are a hapless team.  No matter how you slice it, no matter what excuse you choose to use (and OH, the excuse machines are running overtime today!!), and no matter what perspective you wish to observe from, this is a Hapless team.
In fact, you could even say that Joe Montana was unable to overcome this haplessness.  He got injured on what would have been his final Super Bowl run while wearing a Chiefs jersey.  For Joe, that was a bit out of the ordinary.  Just another nail in the hapless coffin that surrounds the Kansas City Chiefs.

I don't know how else a rational person can really explain what this team continually does to it's fans.  I mean, surely it cannot be intentional.  Unless Clark makes more money from fans who are in a perpetual state of anger, then it just doesn't make sense to piss us all off year after year after year.  No, I have to believe it's just being hapless.  Sad Sack, Schleprock and Andy Capp all rolled up in one big ugly, hapless ball of fun.

Sorry Andy, I had to!

Haplessness also breeds an exceedingly healthy excuse machine business.  Everywhere you look, we have fans running them as fast as they will go.  Here's a few I've seen in this less than 24 hours since the worst playoff game the Chiefs have ever lost:

 It's not Alex's fault.  That's a big one right now for all of those fans who want to be exonerated in their belief that Alex is the man that can take us to the promised land.  Pardon me while I barf.  Let me be clear here.  I'm not saying that this was ALL Alex's fault.  This was a team loss.  Alex played one of the better games of his career yesterday and he did so at a time when the team needed it.
Unfortunately, he was not mistake free in that performance.  I cannot stress enough, once again, that this isn't about just being better than last year's Romeo Rodeo.  This is about having the creds to beat the best in the league.

The Colts defense was just as porous as the one that Andrew Luck faced yesterday and Alex did OK.  Not lights out, not unbelievable (as many fans now want to say it was), not unbeatable.  He did fumble the ball once and he did miss a pass to a wide open Cyrus Gray.  There were other problems too (such as his panic in the third quarter that Reid had to talk him down off the ledge from), but suffice it to say he owns the performance.  Good and not so good.  I know the Alex Smith homers will point to this as just another example of how Alex isn't the problem, he just didn't get the support of his team.  Really?  Who in the hell was on the field while Alex Smith was single handedly scoring 44 points?  Oh, wait...

I know many will be fine with giving him a pass for these foibles.  In this case however, it would seem that he needed NOT to make those mistakes in order to win this game.  Regardless of how the rest of the team played, Alex's exploits are his own and they must stand alone to a certain degree.  He did well, but his performance merely cemented (statistically speaking at the very least) even deeper his resemblance to one Matt Cassel.  See week 11 of the 2008 season

On that day, Cassel went 30-51 for 400 yds, 3 TDs, No INTs and still lost to the New York Jets 34-31.  Throwing for lots of yards, not turning the ball over (Cassel did not but Smith did) and making plays is not always enough to win a football game.  Sometimes you just lose.  Hapless is as hapless does, mama always said.

Why do certain players beat these odds and others lose to them?  While the answer to that question would be nice to know, we can at least react to the truth of it's presence and run like our ass is afire from the latter group...can't we???  This is the part that is most concerning to me.  The Chiefs just keep picking players and coaches that lose.  The Chiefs hang a 40 burger on the Colts in a playoff game and lose? This is like a replay of Vermeil's '05 team with the volume turned up to 'melt the knobs off the radio'.

In particular, Alex was THE losing choice of a coach that has a history of losing important games.  When will this franchise wake from this ugly, repetitious nightmare?  Was Marty really so fucking good that we just want to forever emulate his tenure with this team?  A portion of this loss absolutely goes to Alex Smith.  You can decide how much that is, but the only way for it not to count against him at all is if he was not a Chief when the game started.

It's all Bob Sutton's fault.  While I'm the last person to look to for defending Bob Sutton, by no means do I lay the entire blame for this loss at his feet.  Bob is now just another losing choice (this time of a coach), made by a coach with a history of losing important games (is the direction that my blame finger is pointing getting clearer?).  I wrote a post way back when the choice of Bob Sutton was made that outlined my opinion that Bob was either a homerun or a strike out with little room in between.

His history up to that time was pretty dismal as a DC and if not for the ridiculously easy competition that his defense took advantage of during this last regular season, I think Bob would have been outed much sooner.  Mayock was talking during the game about a conversation that he had with Bob over the last couple of days about what he learned from Rex Ryan during his tenure with the Jets.  Bob's reply was that he learned he must make the opposing offense worry about him and his defense rather than he worry about what they were doing.  Sun Tzu bullshit to the end, eh Mr. Sutton?  Maybe you should change that shit up, you know, since it's been working so well for you.  Sheesh.

Either Bob failed miserably at getting Pagano's attention or Andrew Luck was just too damn stupid to realize he should have been cowering in a corner, because he/they lit our defense up, unapologetically throwing pass after intercepted pass until they outscored our offense.  Should Bob bear the brunt of the blame for allowing an opposing QB to go 29/45 for 443 yds, 4 TDs with three INTs in a loss?  Absolutely, but given Bob's history as a DC, what was the expectation? I can tell you what it should have been, but the quality of the competition that the Chiefs defense faced this season created the perfect storm for a paper tiger to live in.
Conversely, should not Bob be given kudos for the INTs his defense made that enabled the Chiefs offense to possess the football for 37 minutes and 33 seconds out of the Sixty that were available in the game?  Just exactly how did that offense score 44 points after all? How much blame does Bob Sutton get?  Let's hope it's tempered slightly by those kudos.  Whatever the case, he's now 0 for 2 in playoff games.  Please God, let it be the last one he authors for these Chiefs.

Even so, he's NOT the one I would give the lion's share of blame for this terribly ridiculous loss.

We lost SIX players--how are we supposed to overcome that?  This has got to be one of the more absurd excuses that the machines have been cranking out.  Really?  Do you have any idea how STUPID/HOMERISTIC you sound making this excuse?  The TEAM scored 44 points and took the ball away from the opponent 4 times and YOU want to lament how it would have been different if we hadn't lost those players?????  You simply cannot expect ANYONE to take this seriously.  It's like saying if we hadn't sustained those injuries we would have scored 100 points.  Ludicrous.
This was about the play on the field, plain and simple.  The Chiefs got BEAT.  In a game where the defenses chose to mail it in, the Chiefs got outscored.  In that, BTW, this team was a whole lot more similar to Vermeil's 13-3 team than any Marty Team that ever took the field.  Yet another reason to re-evaluate the quality of our offense and defense and make a change.  This was no well fought loss folks.  It was an example of poor game management.  And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, belongs mostly to our fearless leader, Andy Reid.
I thought Reid's game plan was a good one.  From the beginning it seemed to me that he wanted to use the pass to set up Jamaal.  When Jamaal went down, it looked like he continued on with Davis.  I posted on AP that I believed we needed to get a lead and not let our foot off the gas in order to beat the Colts.  The first half looked like we had a chance, but the first indication that Andy was willing to reign it in was just before the half.

When we got the ball back with 21 seconds left, the play calls that were made were terrible.  At that point, ahead by 21 points with a full half to go IN A PLAYOFF, WIN OR GO HOME SCENARIO, is no time to just lay down. Many of us have been Chiefs fans for a long time and I think a lot of you would share my concern that after 20 years of winless playoff football NO amount of a lead in a Chiefs playoff game is enough to coast.  

When we got the ball back with 21 seconds to the half, Smith lined up in the shotgun scrambled straight ahead for one yard to the 44.  Huh?  From there it would have been a 61 yard FG with 13 seconds left.  Too long for comfort so we run another play.  What do we do?  Smith lines up again in the shotgun, throws the ball to Davis to the left for a gain of three.  WTF?  Were we trying for FG range?  If so, what kind of play call is that?  Wouldn't you go downfield on the sidelines?  Apparently, the idea of a swing pass is that it won't burn time off the clock?  I just don't understand the call.  Even so, wouldn't you now line up and let Succop do his thing?

Instead with 5 seconds left we throw deep, like a hail mary type pass.  WTF number two?  If that was the idea, why not take three shots at the end zone instead of one?  This is the reason that Philadelphia didn't win a SB folks.  Whether Pedersen or Reid was calling the plays is irrelevant.  It's just a microcosm of the poor play calling that happens when Reid et al. come under pressure in big games.

Then at the end of the game, Reid and the Chiefs can't get their shit together on their last drive so they call time out and then go to the two minute warning.  TV break.  Coming out of the break after all that, the Chiefs still don't have their shit together?  So we take another (our final by the way) time out.  This type of game management is simply inexcusable folks.  It indicates that somebody is incapable of making a decision on that sideline.  Could that somebody be Andy Reid?  The answer my friends, is unequivocally, yes.  Andy Reid just showed you why he should never coach the Kansas City Chiefs in another game.

Why Aiken?  Why shouldn't Reid get another chance?  Look at all the good he did.  We had a winning record, we made the playoffs.  Why not just change the DC and move on?

IMO, Andy just showed you why.  What good is making the playoffs every season if that is the kind of game management he is capable of when the spam hits the fan?  It makes all the rest of it an exercise in futility.  No amount of good coaching, good game planning and 'players coach' mentallity will make up for freezing in the headlights.  It's not like we are dealing with a newly anointed HC here people.  Reid in all his Red Walrus Glory has done this before--fourteen years worth to be exact.  Reid has done it enough to be pegged for what he is.  He's not going to change.  He's done it enough to show he isn't getting better.  He's done it enough.  Period.  

And now for the worst of it.  No one at One Arrowhead Drive is going to see this for what it is.  This team is going to regress next year.  One member at AP recently posted about how the Chiefs are in cap trouble now since we made the moves we made in the last off season.  I'm no cap expert and I will leave the cap calculations to them, but if he is even close to being right, what we just witnessed will be the pinnacle of Andy Reid's tenure in KC.

With no money to spend on better players, the Chiefs will have to begin trading one decent player in one area for a decent player in another area.  This is the WIN NOW strategy at it's worst.  Combine that with the fact that Smith played just well enough to cost us that second, second round pick that nobody thought was important.  Wait til April.  Thanks again Andy, may we have another?  Jesus.  
Albert was franchised last year.  What are the odds he is a Chief next year?  Many think he's not needed.  I would disagree.  During the game the cameras caught a knot of players taking direction on the sidelines.  Funny, it wasn't Reid or Pedersen or even Smith giving that direction, it was Branden Albert.  Veteran Leadership folks.  Unfortunately, even that can't over come a weak in the knees, fart in the whirlwind HC who can't or won't make a decision.

No, what we have now is a mess.  We will now be subjected to exactly what my objection to this whole thing was in the beginning.  We are now going to be exposed to another 3-5 years of poorly run Chiefs football with no serious playoff runs.  Hell, even if Reid gets in the playoffs again (I wouldn't count on it) how could you possibly not watch that game without waiting for the other shoe to drop after watching what just happened?  I said it from the get go.  This was my worst nightmare and now it's come true.  For all the hype about how 'happy' Big Red was that he's 'back to coaching' now, what good has it done?  It's all crap.  Andy Reid is the same, well seasoned, non Super Bowl winning, poor game manager HC that he has been all along.  We are stuck in the mire once again folks and it's depressing as hell.

Somebody needs to tell Clark to put away the trophy polish.  The Chiefs won't be needing any in the forseeable future.  What an absolute waste of a Football Franchise.  What an unbelievable shame.  Pioli could never in his wildest dreams, strike this deeply into the heart of Chiefs fans.  He was a jerk and it was easy to dislike a jerk.  Reid and Dorsey are 'nice' guys that everyone wanted to be successful.  It's hard as a boss to get rid of those kind of employees because even though they don't win much, they are nice people.  Bosses tend to keep them around too long.  Clark will too.  
Just a short word to all my 'fans' who don't like it when Aiken is right.  I wish I wasn't.  I wish I was eating my words right now, but unfortunately that isn't the case.  My intuition has been correct again.  I understand that you don't like it, but don't you think it's time to lay off with the insults and worse at AP?  Admit it folks, I was one of very few who saw this move as a potential disaster.  I should at least have some respect for that.

My nightmare resumes...


  1. Well, if the Chiefs are geniunely hapless, then I guess it doesn't much matter who coaches or QBs. I suppose there could be some Karma at work, but it's pretty difficult to make decisions or conclusions based on that. Trying to stay grounded in reality then, it's hard to make a case for any better head coach and quarterback picks than what the Chiefs made last year.

    I agree with your assessment of the end of the half playcalling, and you may be right about Andy Reid as a playoff coach. Then again, professionals can and sometimes do learn from their mistakes.

    I also agree that the injured players excuse is weak. But the facts is, in any NFL game with a win margin of "1", and especially when 89 total points are scored, there are a million tiny factors that could have changed the outcome. Funny how a 2 point swing would have made most of your argument here moot.

    Perhaps my head is not right, but I was not devastated by the close game yesterday as I would have been by a 21-3 loss. The team was "in" 16 out of 17 games this year. I am trying hard to avoid using the word "improvement" or any other traps laying in wait here, but I enjoyed the season. Cap space? That's the same issue every team faces. I'm not going to worry about it just yet.

    1. Thank you EL. And thank you for your very civil reply. I knew it was possible for someone to disagree with my points without including personal attacks simply because they don't like the message. You have proven that it is indeed possible. Thank you again!

      Your comment on haplessness is understandable unless one believes that haplessness is a state of being that is created by the entity that exhibits that haplessness. In other words, i believe that the Chiefs are their own worst enemy. They are hapless only because of their own choices. In that regard, not only does it indeed matter who coaches and QBs, it matters greatly what decisions are made in the running of this franchise. It's pretty obvious that the Chiefs have made too many bad decisions in the last 40+ years. Andy Reid is, IMO, the latest in a long string of these bad decisions.

      You are also correct that professionals can and do learn from their mistakes. Unfortunately, Andy Reid has been making the same bad play calling and game management mistakes throughout his entire career. How many chances does a 15 year veteran coach get before someone realizes that's just who he is?

      A 2 point swing in the score would indeed have made my post moot. In fact, I would not have made this post if the Chiefs had won. I still wouldn't have been happy with Reid, but a win vs. the Colts would have hushed me until next season played out. I've been saying that all season and I would have stuck by my word. The really telling thing about your hypothetical 'funny' situation is that it didn't happen. You are correct that there were many opportunities for that 2 point swing to occur (my preferred option would have been a Succop FG at the end of the first half but that isn't material to the fact that the Chiefs lost) the reality is that IT DIDN'T.

    2. Your head, my friend is fine. I completely understand the POV that many fans share here. It's all about the defense mechanisms. If I asked 1000 fans at this point if we should go forward with Andy Reid et al, I expect the answer to be over 90% yes. If I could prove to those same fans that Andy Reid will never win a playoff game with the Chiefs and asked them the same question, how many would say it's time to move on? That, in a microcosm, is the difference between me and 90% of the fans. I've seen enough of Reid to convince me that he won't get it done and therefore, I'm ready to move on. That's it. Nothing sinister, no desire to be right at the 'expense' of the Chiefs or anything like that. I just made up my mind faster than many fans.

      I saw RDOs post about how the team has improved and how great the massive turnaround was blah, blah, blah. I trust what I saw on the field this season and inspite of the wins, it just wasn't good. I've outlined why I think that and it mostly has to do with the ridiculously easy games we played this season. 5 games versus backup QBs? Even Romeo could have won those (well, maybe). You suggested a hypothetical above about a 2 point swing. I'll suggest one here. What if those 5 games were against teams with winning records whose QBs started the game as normal? In my hypothetical situation, the Chiefs don't win all those games and quite probably miss the playoffs. Would you still have enjoyed the season as much had that happened? If so, there is nothing wrong with that, it's just that I would not.

      I've spent many years watching the struggle of this team and losing football does not make for an enjoyable season for me. Nor does winning football when the conditions are such that we are watching a paper tiger. As you say, 2 points would have made a difference. Unfortunately that 2 points just didn't show up.

      Cap space? As you say, every team faces that problem. It's part of why Jerry Jones hasn't won a playoff game past Wild Card weekend since winning the Super Bowl in 1996. It's part of the reason the Dan Snyder has made the Redskins a laughing stock in the NFC. It's also part of what teams like the Patriots successfully overcome as an obstacle to winning Super Bowls. Some teams manage it well and some don't. The Chiefs don't have much track record with cap problems so we'll see what they do. It sure doesn't help matters that Reid gave up 2 second round picks for Smith.

      Thanks again for your comments. I would like to suggest to anyone else that would like to do the same, I would be happy to discuss things with. :)

  2. I'll keep it simple. Defense blew this game. Plain and simple. Piece of shit defense.

    1. I'll agree with you that the defense wasn't good, but it was the same defense we had all year. The only reason people were believing it was better was because of the terrible competition we had. Fans are one thing, but Reid is the coach. He KNEW the defense was what it was. He should have been better at figuring out the game plan, and he should have been seriously better on the sidelines. Reid had a big hand in losing that game. Smith was part of it as well. Smith looked better than he had all year in part because the Colts defense had several weaknesses and the Chiefs had just played them. The Chiefs knew their weaknesses and exploited it, just like any team would have. That game should have been a Chiefs win. The fact that it was not, and the way that it was lost is all I need to see of Smith and Reid. It's a new coach/QB for me. I can't change what I see or how I feel.