Monday, September 19, 2011

Blame 'em all, Chiefs fans

It's okay, Chiefs fans. I understand what you're going through.

You're upset. You're angry. You're utterly confused.

You want to know who's responsible for a team so young and talented and fun to watch just a year ago turning into the joke of the NFL just two games into the season.

Should we blame Scott Pioli, the egotistical general manager, for the paper-thin roster that looks like a shell of its former self after a few key injuries?

Or do we blame Todd Haley, the underqualified head coach, for the unorthodox usage of training camp and preseason that would ultimately prove to be disadvantageous to the team's regular-season preparedness?

Or can we blame Clark Hunt, the business-first owner, for giving us the franchise's worst four-game performance in its 51 years of existence?

Nevermind, Chiefs fans. I've got the solution.

Blame 'em all.

The team lost 48-3 to the Detroit Lions Sunday, remarkably topping its record-setting, no-show effort against the Buffalo Bills a week before, and effectively ending its 2011 season just nine days in.

So how'd we let this happen?

The team selected wide receiver, Jonathan Baldwin in last April's draft having much more glaring needs on the defensive front-seven. The result? After two weeks, the Bills and Lions are the two highest-scoring teams in the NFL, and we all know what they have in common.

Blame Pioli.

Since the announcement of Charlie Weis' departure for the University of Florida last December, quarterback Matt Cassel is 57/109 for 437 yards passing with one touchdown and nine interceptions — in four games. The team has been outscored 150-27 in those same games (three of which were at home), and that stretch involved just one playoff-team from 2010.

Blame Haley.

The Chiefs' payroll is more than $30-million under the NFL salary cap in 2011 after having the league's lowest payroll the previous two seasons. Speculation is mounting that the reason the team has gone cheap is to soften the blow the $125-million commitment the Hunt family made for the stadium renovations years ago would have on the bottom-line. Meanwhile, the franchise hasn't won a playoff-game since the year George Brett retired from the Royals.

Blame Hunt.

The team treated the first two weeks of training camp as if it were filming an episode of The Biggest Loser, while other teams made use of their precious post-lockout time a bit more wisely. Contact drills were a rarity until late in camp. The coach then chose to play his ill-prepared starters deep into the fourth preseason game after treating the first three like scrimmages. Many of those starters were dinged-up heading into the regular-season, including Cassel, but tight end Tony Moeaki was the biggest casualty, being lost for the year.

Blame Haley.

The general manager has now had three offseasons to improve the roster, yet most of the stars and major contributors on the team were brought to Kansas City during the King Carl/Herm Edwards regime. That includes but is not limited to:  Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Flowers, Branden Albert, and Glenn Dorsey. And of the 10 players acquired during the 2009 draft (Pioli's first), including Cassel and Mike Vrabel (who were acquired by trading New England a second-round draft choice), only three — Cassel, defensive end Tyson Jackson, and kicker Ryan Succop — are still on the roster.

And after losing safety Eric Berry for the season just minutes into the first game of the year, the team's secondary went from a thought-to-be strength to an absolute joke due to a lack of depth.

Blame Pioli.

NFL owners conspired to lockout the players years before the league's newest CBA was agreed upon in July, in an effort to improve the ever-so-slim $9-billion profit they were turning prior. This resulted in a much-shorter offseason, with no team workouts occurring prior to the new CBA. Injuries are up this year because of it, and it's possible no team has been bitten worse by the injury-bug this season than the Chiefs. The team has lost arguably its best offensive and defensive players in Charles and Berry, along with Moeaki, to torn ACLs. Newcomer Brandon Siler was also lost during the preseason to a torn Achilles.

Blame Hunt.

The Chiefs have nationally-televised, primetime games scheduled with the Chargers, Patriots, and Steelers they'd likely opt-out of now, so the worst of the embarrassment is yet to come.

Sadly, last year's magical turnaround feels like a dream.

Haley will surely fall first, though his role in this may have had the least negative impact. The storyline the rest of the way — past Haley's exit and speculation of who'll be his successor — will be whether or not the team can be bad enough to get the first pick in next year's draft and snag Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (and, if given that chance, whether or not Pioli can get over his love affair with Cassel long enough to draft him).

Hunt's first hire was Pioli, whose first hire was Haley. All three are in unfamiliar territory, occupying roles they've yet to prove themselves worthy of occupying.

Jointly, they are responsible for the current state of the team. They're in this together.

So blame 'em all, Chiefs fans.


  1. Great article, Eli-- And, yes, I will take your advice and BLAME 'EM ALL.

    This season (2 games which have felt like 6!!) has been a train wreck, with the hapless hometown team looking like buffoons to 2 teams that I suspect may well be a mirage. --The Chiefs entered both games looking sloppy and undisciplined, and they played both looking poorly coached and out of shape. The preseason's lack of preparation is evident every time I see our offensive line gasping for breath and allowing a seeminly unimpeded path to Cassel. Our QB looks as though he is performing dance steps in the pocket as he is not quite sure from what side he will be enduring another blast.

    The Chiefs are unequivocally the cheapest team in the NFL, and there is nary a hope that Clark Hunt will open his wallet to assure that the team has any depth whatsoever. Signing other team's leftover "goods" and landing over-the-hill veterans screams of stopgap measures, drafting these LSU buffet-eaters proclaims a lousy scouting department.

    For 20 years, the Chiefs have tried to emulate winning formulas both in San Francisco, and now in New England. This team has no innovative qualitites whatsoever, and they copy successful systems with spare parts that fit the Hunt family's budget plans. Detractors may well point to Joe Montana's success, but:
    A. That was 20 years ago
    B. Montana was followed by a couple of bay area duds in Bono and Grbac.

    There is a side of me that is appreciating the heat that is beginning to roast these "Big 3." Pioli, Haley, and Hunt are going to be looking out on a near-empty stadium during the Chief's 2ND HOME GAME OF THE SEASON! This will certainly be the year of the paper-bags atop head, television blackouts, and Jay Leno one-liners.

    How can change NOT be dramatic when 20K fans show up to watch the hometeam get annihilated, when parking costs $25 a pop, when the organization continues to ignore the fans?

    I am glad that the Chiefs are FINALLY giving us a reason to boycott their product. Even the most loyal of sheep will be priced out on THIS garbage.

    Cross your fingers for continued losses-- for every L that gets racked up in the standings, there is continued pressure for the franchise to listen to the fans, something they have failed to do for so many years.

    And, that plan of Pioli to give the coaching reign to Josh McDaniel (a former Pats asst, of course)? Good luck selling THAT pile of burnt trash to this fan base!

  2. Oh, the Josh McDaniels thing makes me want to puke.

    And about the team trying to emulate other teams' successes... Don't forget we snagged Vermeil and tried to rehash his magic with the Rams, and then got Herm to show us his best impression of Marty-ball.

    The Chiefs have never been inventive. They're stuck in the past.

  3. Good analysis. I wish I could say differently, I wish I could say you were overreacting but I agree with you. Still though, I’m just happy we’re getting a season this year. I’m definitely going to be doing some tailgating this season. With a grill and a TV to watch the pregame show on! People all across the country have been looking for an easy way to watch TV in HD anywhere they go, and now they can with DISH Network’s Tailgater. The Tailgater is affordable and works with DISH Network’s ViP 211k single-tuner HD receiver. For added flexibility, DISH Network offers customers a convenient solution that allows them to pay month-to-month for programming, ensuring they only pay for the service when in use. As a DISH customer and employee I know The Tailgater has full access to DISH Network’s programming and makes it the best option for outdoor enthusiasts and tailgaters. More info online at