They say that New York City is the hardest city to be a professional athlete in. Having lived in the New York area most of my life, I would tend to agree.
However, being a Kansas City Chief fan all my life has given me insight into what it's like to be a professional athlete there as well. New York City, as well as New Jersey where the Giants and Jets actually play, have what seems like an endless number of teams, meaning hundreds of athletes to focus their passion, frustration and outright venom on, which they will if every team doesn't win everything, every year.
Not so in Kansas City, not at all. In some ways the microscope is worse because there are the Chiefs and the Royals. Seriously, there are just the Chiefs.
The quarterback of an NFL team is arguably the most visible and pressure filled sports position there is. Matt Cassel is finding this out, especially when it comes with a big contract, which is my first point of contention.
If you were offered more money for doing your job, would you say no? Would you say let me see if I perform well first and then I let you know if I'll take the money? No, I don't think anyone would and I think criticizing Cassel for his contract is an baseless and an irrelevant argument. He should perform no matter how much he makes. Good for him that he got a big contract.
Matt Cassel has underperformed as a Kansas City Chief, and if he does not improve, by quite a bit, they will not rise to the elite in the NFL, which where I believe this team is heading because of the foundation they built, starting at the top and working right down to their spectacular draft.
However, I watched many of the Patriots games when Cassel was their QB in 2008. He threw for over 3600 yards and had 21 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. I know the common reply is "It was the Patriots system and Randy Moss, etc.". I agree to a point. He still had to make the plays and he did.
Last year, life was very different for Mr. Cassel. Some gave him a bit of a free pass, but not many, at least not the fans on websites and blogs or many in the media. There was a lot of talk about the offensive line, the dropped passes and the lack of offensive weapons. All of those were valid points, not to mention Todd Haley firing the Offensive Coordinator right before the season began, which ended up one of the biggest problems. Haley's rookie year was just that, very much a rookie year and he performed as one.
Even under those circumstances Cassel still managed to pass for just under 3,000 yards with 16 touchdowns and 16 picks. Not great by any means, but again, this was the 2-14 Chiefs the year before, not the 11-5 Patriots.
The expectations were far different coming into this season, and needless to say, the first two games have the fans wanting to trade him a case of beer and anyone this side of Jamarcus Russell.
It is too soon folks. I am actually a little more disappointed in Charlie Weiss so far, but I have a great deal of faith in him as well. Also, like many Chief fans I am surprised at the lack of playing time for Jamal Charles, and this is obviously Weiss, and Todd Haley.
San Diego was suppose to pound the Chiefs like they did last year. To my surprise, many, if not most people were picking Cleveland to beat them as well. Now, after San Fransisco's performance on Monday Night it appears that almost everyone is picking them too.
Well, the Chiefs are 2-0 despite the poor play of Matt Cassel. The man can be a terrific quarterback in the NFL because I've seen him do it. This entire Chief team is evolving, and he needs to be allowed to evolve with them, no matter how much money he makes.