The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a far-too-familiar start to the 2012 season. The team sits at 0-2 after two lopsided losses and heads into a seemingly impossible game on Sunday with another team that surprisingly owns an 0-2 record, the New Orleans Saints.
The Chiefs also kicked off the 2011 season by being trounced by the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills by a combined score of 89-10. While this time around has been a bit more competitive, the feelings around Kansas City are no different than in years past.
However, time is running out for General Manager Scott Pioli to produce a winner.
Falling to 0-3 after Sunday’s matchup with the Saints would perhaps drive the last nail in the coffin of any shot at returning to the playoffs. While both have their shortcomings, the San Diego Chargers are humming along and the Denver Broncos are a better team with Peyton Manning at the helm.
But the Chiefs need this win for many reasons other than preventing their dreadful win-loss record from becoming even more hideous.
Pioli seemed to make the right decisions as last year wound down and through this past offseason.
He fired head coach Todd Haley and replaced him with Romeo Crennel—someone who the players rallied around to finish strong last season, something that provided 2012 with plenty of optimism. And Pioli identified the most visible needs on the roster and filled them with quality NFL talent.
While the 40-24 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons can be absolved due the team not being at full strength and the Falcons being a better team, last week’s defeat to the Bills raises serious questions as to whether or not this entire regime is capable of returning the Chiefs to a winning culture.
Countless articles have been written in the past couple days questioning Pioli’s ability to construct a competent roster, Crennel’s yielding demeanor and his capacity to run the defense and make the crucial calls as a head coach, and the team’s desire to actually win—something that should be the primary focus of everyone involved in the organization.
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It seems that the entire city has flipped its stance on the Chiefs this season. From the media to the fans, every decision that seemed right at the time is now being questioned and the results are simply not adding up.
As reality sets in, it looks as if the players added this offseason simply aren’t enough, that Crennel was the wrong choice as head coach and that Clarke Hunt ultimately failed by anointing Pioli with the power in the front office.
The Chiefs’ win-loss record this season will be meaningless if the end result is the need to clean house and start from scratch, something the downtrodden fanbase has grown accustomed to with the tailspin of rebuilding that the Kansas City Royals are stuck in.
The Chiefs cannot afford to be compared to the Royals in any way—from ownership all the way down to the product on the field. But at a certain point, the 2012 season will again become about saving face and picking up the pieces for next year.
But if the Chiefs cannot right the ship soon, next year might not happen for Pioli, Crennel and a lot of familiar faces up and down the roster.