The NFL season is fast approaching and, although it's been 13 years and counting since the team's last playoff victory and the team has suffered through three straight losing seasons, Kansas City fans will have a lot more to look forward to heading into the 2010 season than they have in quite some time.
The team has rebuilt itself with young talented players and a proven coaching staff dedicated to reestablishing a winning tradition in Kansas City. No one may be picking the Chiefs to pull off a 10-game turnaround, like that of the 2008 Miami Dolphins, but fans still have 10 solid reasons to follow the team this season.
When players report to training camp on July 29th, it will mark the first time in 20 years that the Chiefs will hold camp within their home state of Missouri.
Since leaving Liberty, Missouri's William Jewell College for River Falls, Wisconsin two decades ago, local families who have wanted to make the trip to training camp have likely had to tap into their vacation time to make the seven plus hour trek to Wisconsin.
Now, with the team relocating it's camp to Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, fans in Kansas City can get by with only sacrificing a half day of work to catch one of the team's afternoon practices a mere 45 minutes north of town. That said, the team should enjoy heavier crowds for camp this season and in the future, something that has waned up north in recent years.
The team also worked with the Missouri Western to build state of the art new practice facilities, and will enjoy a "like home" feel with lockers and amenities very similar, if not identical, to those enjoyed at the team's practice facility next to Arrowhead Stadium.
In addition to the Chiefs new training camp location, the team and its fans will enjoy the all new amenities and exciting atmosphere resulting from Arrowhead Stadium's $375 million facelift.
The 38 year-old stadium has always been regarded as one of the best venues in all of football to watch a game. Noted for raucous Kansas City crowds when the team was a consistent winner, crowd noise regularly in excess of 100 decibels, Arrowhead is one of the loudest venues in the NFL.
Now, with stadium upgrades that should go a long way in bringing fans back out to watch a young improving team, the Chiefs are hoping their crowd is as loud as ever for each of their eight home games this season.
After ending the 2009 season with a rout of division rival Denver on the road, most fans are wondering how much better this team will be in 2010.
This season's opening game against defending division champion San Diego on Monday Night Football will go a long way in setting the expectations of fans for the rest of the season. If the Chiefs can produce a victory against a Chargers team that was 13-3 last season, it will go a long way in creating a buzz of excitement in the locker room and across Kansas City.
Rest assured, the renovated Arrowhead Stadium will be host to nearly 80,000 Chiefs fans chomping at the bit to turn around three seasons of losing, and win against the defending division champs would be a great sign that the team was moving in the right direction.
With Arrowhead being known for producing some of the loudest crowds in past Monday night games, Phillip Rivers might want to make sure he packs his ear plugs.
It's going to be loud.
When Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson were teammates at LSU, they were part of defensive units that were considered to be among the best in college football.
Today, the back to back top five picks from 2008 and 2009 are looking to prove to the Chiefs and their fans that they can be a dominant tandem once again at the NFL level.
A season ago, the two were bookend defensive ends in the Chiefs 3-4 scheme, and produced just one sack and 92 tackles between them.
With new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel now running the defense, Chiefs fans will expect these two to begin earning the millions of dollars the team is paying them. If they do, this entire defense should reap the benefits of that improvement.
During the offseason, draft pundits almost all agreed that the Chiefs would be remiss not to address the offensive tackle position with their first overall selection in April's NFL Draft.
Here we are three months after the draft, and not only did the Chiefs not select a tackle in the first round, the only one they've added at the position this offseason is rookie free agent Tyler Eastman from Maine.
That means that the Chiefs not only believe in Brandon Albert as their left tackle, but they have confidence in five year veteran Ryan O'Callaghan at right tackle as well.
O'Callaghan is an underrated and intelligent player, playing his college ball at Cal, and playing 26 games for the Patriots in 2006 and 2007. A fifth round pick of the Patriots in 2006, the Chiefs plucked him off the waiver wire after he was one of New England's final cuts last season after spending the previous year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
What O'Callaghan and Albert need to do this season, is something head coach Todd Haley believes they can, and that's show all their critics that the Chiefs offensive line is just fine the way it is.
After trading the team's best receiving threat, All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, to Atlanta prior to last season, the Chiefs passing game struggled all season long to find adequate targets for quarterback Matt Cassel.
While the team's mid-season signing of wide receiver Chris Chambers did provide a boost to the team's offense, the Chiefs still lacked a gamebreaker in the passing game.
Enter this year's second round pick: Dexter McCluster.
McCluster will serve as the team's third receiver and focus of plays designed to get him the ball in the open field. Because of his elusiveness and quickness in the open field, defenses will have no choice but to account for him and free up both Chambers and Dwayne Bowe to create mismatches in the passing game that the team did not enjoy all of last season.
The Chiefs pass defense was awful last year. Not only couldn't the defensive line get any pressure on the quarterback, but the team allowed some of the biggest receiving days seen in the NFL last season.
First round draft pick Eric Berry will be a gigantic upgrade at safety over last year's starter Mike Brown.
In addition to having cover corner skills in the passing game, Berry will quickly show Chiefs fans that he is fearless in his play against the run as well. Often compared to players like Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, the Chiefs will need Berry to live up to those expectations to make the defense markedly better in 2010.
If there's one coach in the NFL that knows how to coach defense, it's Romeo Crennel.
Crennel, who began his coaching career 40 years ago as the defensive line coach at Western Kentucky University, has worked with some of the best defensive minds in football throughout his career. As a coach under Bill Parcells and longtime friend Bill Belichick, Crennel coached defenses have appeared in six Super Bowls, winning five of them.
Fans are expecting Crennel work a similar kind of magic with the Chiefs this season.
With young talented players like Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, and Dexter McCluster on the roster, it only makes sense that the Chiefs hired an offensive coordinator who was a part of four Super Bowl winning teams.
Like Crennel, Weis' coaching career has been linked to the winning teams of Parcells and Belichick.
After struggling as a head coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame, Chiefs fans are expecting Weis to utilize every weapon in the Chiefs arsenal to produce a winning offense in 2010.
A couple years ago, Matt Cassel stepped in for an injured Tom Brady and had a pretty good season in leading the Patriots to a 10-6 record.
That Patriots team had guys like Wes Welker and Randy Moss for Cassel to throw to, this Chiefs team may actually provide Cassel with more weapons than he enjoyed in New England.
The first weapon he has is his new offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis.
Weis is a quarterback guru and if Cassel is ever going to step up his game as a professional, it will be under Weis' tutelage. Weis will design plays that will create opportunities for Cassel to get the ball into the hands of the Chiefs best offensive players. Cassel should just have to make good decisions and deliver the ball.
Cassel's second weapon is a much stronger running game than he had while in New England. With the two-headed monster of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones running the ball, Cassel will have many opportunities to exploit mismatches in the secondary.
Third, with the addition of wide reciever Dexter McCluster and tight end Tony Moeaki, Cassel will have two more solid young receivers to add to Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers.
With a group of young hungry playmakers at his disposal, a solid year from Cassel this season will be the single most important thing in getting this team back into the playoffs.