While general manager Scott Pioli and the Kansas City Chiefs have done an outstanding job of preparing for this season, 2011 is still fresh in the minds of everyone in and around the organization.
The demise of the 2011 season was visible on many fronts: Season-ending injuries to Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel...the historically bad start to the season with losses to the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions by a combined score of 89-10...and a lame-duck head coach in Todd Haley who came into the season ill-prepared, lost all hope as the season progressed and was eventually let go prior to Week 15.
But buried under all the rubble was a silver lining.
The Chiefs actually went into the Week 16 matchup with the division rival Oakland Raiders with a good chance —if they came out with a victory—of controlling their own postseason destiny the following week against the Denver Broncos.
However, in true Chiefs fashion (circa 2011), the team was denied after the Raiders’ defensive lineman Richard Seymour was able to block two field goal attempts (one in regulation and one in overtime).
Pioli and Co. picked up the pieces, spackled the cracks in the wall and, as a result, the 2012 season is already headed in an entirely different direction compared to last year.
All of the hard work that the players, the coaching staff, the front office and even the fans did—by toughing it out last season—will be on showcase tonight at Arrowhead Stadium in the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Gone are the frail justifications of being limited by the lockout. And gone are those who were not on par with how Pioli envisions the “Chiefs’ Way."
While it is still the first preseason game and will probably be planned as such, it is imperative that the Chiefs begin tonight in making the 2011 season the exception and not the rule as it relates to football in Kansas City.