Kansas City's 2011 campaign was sidetracked by an injury bug that had an unhealthy appetite for destruction.
However, under Romeo Crennel's supervision, Kansas City was a blocked field goal away from finishing flawlessly at 3-0. He was also responsible for writing the abrupt ending to Green Bay's undefeated dreams.
There are six reasons why Crennel, along with a roster of rehabilitated superstars, will reclaim the AFC West throne.
Players genuinely like Crennel.
Honestly, if somebody disliked him after listening to an interview, they should be surrounded by padded walls.
He treats us like men. He does expect a lot from us, but he knows what it takes to work this business, and how the body feels, and we’re people, too. He’s one of those coaches who has been a coach in this league. He has five Super Bowl [championships]. With that type of résumé, you want someone around who can help us get to the top. (National Football Post)
An abundance of professional athletes have fragile psyches that are a stone's throw away from shattering.
However, that stone can evolve into a boulder that burdens team chemistry if it's cast. Crennel understands this, and he walks the tightrope separating discipline and confrontation.
The 2012-13 was released last week, and Arrowhead Stadium dwellers should feel relieved.
Kansas City only will only face five opponents that accumulated at least nine wins the previous season.
A relatively weak schedule will contribute to Kansas City bouncing back and mimicking its 2010 form.
The AFC West was about as strong as Urkel last season.
Philip Rivers garnered the most interceptions and fumbles in his eight-year NFL career. Once tagged as a top-five quarterback, his QB rating regressed from 101.8 in 2010 to 88.7 last season. San Diego's offense also looked in need of oil after Darren Sproles packed his bags for New Orleans.
"Tebow-mania" traveled eastward to New York as Peyton Manning was introduced in Denver. Still, the legendary quarterback has a multitude of questions regarding his health, and the Broncos' offense is less than threatening at the skill positions.
With key offseason acquisitions such as Eric Winston, Peyton Hillis and Stanford Routt, and key starters returning from injured reserve, Kansas City is in prime position to recapture the division title.
The Chiefs looked like a different team under the guidance of Crennel.
Kansas City's Week 15 dismantling of Green Bay was the first instance of associating "cheese" with frowns in 2011.
Not only was it Crennel's debut as head coach wearing red and yellow, but it was also Kyle Orton's first start for the squad against the NFL's only undefeated team.
The following week, the Raiders blocked two field goals in a three-point loss for Arrowhead's hosts.
Crennel has been cooking up defensive strategies for 30 years in the NFL, and his five rings are proof that it's the recipe for success.
In 2009, a year before Crennel arrived in KCI as defensive coordinator, the Chiefs finished 29th in the league in points allowed per game (26.5).
His presence improved the team to 11th (21.4) in the aforementioned category by the end of 2010.
Kansas City also progressed from 22nd in passing yards per game in 2009 (231.7) to 6th (201.3) last season.
Linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson were elected to the Pro Bowl in 2011. Safety Eric Berry was also tagged as an All-Pro in his rookie campaign, before suffering an ACL tear in the first game of last year. Cornerback Brandon Flowers is on the brink of following in the footsteps of his aforementioned play-making teammates.
The Chiefs' defense has the potential for its best statistical season in recent memory, and Crennel's defensive genius will only enhance in the odds of that.
Kansas City's offense runs with Jamaal Charles.
Eric Berry is the defensive ball-hawk that opposing quarterbacks mentally mark in the secondary before every snap.
The trio virtually missed the entirety of 2011.
Quarterback Matt Cassel's role was also reduced to scouting as he missed seven games with an injury to his throwing hand.
Kansas City still managed to finish just one game (7-9 overall) behind Denver, the eventual division leaders.
The Chiefs have playoff aspirations, and these four will be on the frontline leading the charge.
Considering these six factors in 2012-13, the briskly chilling January air should be consumed by barbecue fumes encapsulating Arrowhead.