There is a storm brewing in Kansas City, and, unfortunately, it seems to be one of the “perfect storm” variety.
Chiefs fans were lucky enough to see the stars align perfectly last season. A great schedule, the emergence of a couple of rookies and the growth of several players elevated Kansas City from the laughing stock of the AFC West to division champions in a single season.
Why would there be a reason to doubt that the Chiefs would be even better in 2011? It was a young team that added some much needed talent to their squad in the offseason, grabbing a talented rookie wide receiver and adding depth on defense. The front office looked to be in control of the Chiefs’ future and it looked very bright.
Of course, there are some things you cannot control. These things have all lined up to create the storm that Kansas City finds themselves in.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left. Chiefs’ fans minimized his role in their minds, thinking nothing would be different.
The 2011 schedule came out and Kansas City would be pitted against several of the league’s top teams. While fans were worried, there was still hope. Yes, they were benefited by their schedule last season, but surely the Chiefs had enough talent to overcome a more difficult schedule.
Then, as a sign of things to come, rookie wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin was injured in a preseason fight with veteran running back Thomas Jones, causing him to be inactive for an unknown amount of time. All signs pointed to a team in trouble.
Now, with a rash of injuries that claimed safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki as two of its victims, the Chiefs fan base is in full panic mode, and rightly so. A 41-7 trouncing by the Buffalo Bills, a team that only registered four wins in 2010, has changed Kansas City’s outlook.
In just a few short months, the Chiefs have gone from potential division champions to a team that could be lucky to lose less than ten.
If the Chiefs hope to turn around and avoid one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, they need to start sooner rather than later. What seemed like an easy game against Buffalo turned into a game void of any offensive or defensive presence by Kansas City. The Chiefs will be hard pressed to find another opponent like the Bills on the schedule.
The first step for Kansas City to rebound is to not give up. It is still very early in the season. Does a loss against the Bills make the rest of the schedule look even more difficult, particularly with a lack of personnel because of injuries? Yes, but it is not impossible.
The Chiefs’ front office has shown their unwillingness to throw in the towel, signing a veteran presence in tight end Anthony Becht as well as re-signing Brandon Flowers. Becht will give Kansas City a more experienced player on the depth chart and, while the re-signing of Flowers was an inevitable happening, seeing it this early shows the Chiefs’ faith in this current group of players.
The second step is to get the fan base back on board. In Kansas City, it is easy to be discouraged as a sports fan. The Chiefs have not won a Super Bowl since 1969 and the fans have watched teams like the 2010 Chiefs amount to nothing.
If the Chiefs are able to keep Kansas City supporting them, the massive advantage that is Arrowhead Stadium will be able to help the Chiefs. More importantly, the support of the city will help motivate the Chiefs down the stretch when every ounce of motivation will be necessary.
Can the Chiefs escape from the perfect storm they have found themselves in? While the likelihood is not high, there is still hope for Kansas City.
The 2011 season is not a lost season yet.