The worst part about the Chiefs' season-opening debacle Sunday wasn't the Dexter McCluster fumble on the opening kickoff, the injury to Eric Berry, or the four touchdown passes by Bills' quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
It wasn't the predictable play-calling by first-time offensive coordinator, Bill Muir, the lack of touches for Jamaal Charles, or the almost surreal 41-7 final score.
Hell, it wasn't even the $75 ticket, $27 parking or the $8 beer for a game that was over before the grills in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot had cooled.
No. The worst part about the biggest opening-day loss in Chiefs' franchise history was how predictable the outcome was.
Let's step back a minute.
The Chiefs, led by General Manager Scott Pioli, spent the better part of the off-season gloating about the team's step forward in 2010 and how the "right-53" was finally starting to come together instead of improving the talent on the roster. Meanwhile, underachievers like Tyson Jackson, Jovan Belcher, Barry Richardson and Branden Albert held onto their starting spots.
There were improvements. The Chiefs selected wide receiver, Jonathan Baldwin with their first pick in the draft and snagged wide receiver, Steve Breaston, and defensive tackle, Kelly Gregg in free-agency.
Then, with no shortage of arrogance, Head coach Todd Haley chose to ease his post-lockout players into training camp with conditioning drills and very little contact. Baldwin, an oft-called "head case" while in college, scuffled with a Pioli hand-picked veteran, Thomas Jones, injuring his hand and knocking him out for the entire preseason. The first preseason game essentially became a glorified practice (full price to get in, of course), as Haley sat out most of the starters.
In the final preseason game, one traditionally used to rest the starters and get a glance at younger players, Haley chose to play his starters into the fourth quarter, risking injuries to key players coming into the regular season.
The result? Starting tight-end, Tony Moeaki gets knocked out for the year with a torn ACL, and quarterback, Matt Cassel gets a cracked rib.
And you thought this team would be ready? Ok?
Sunday the Chiefs looked horrific from the head coach all the way down to the punter. Breaston had a whopping 26 yards receiving (9 more than Dwayne Bowe), Baldwin didn't even suit up, and Gregg's former defense in Baltimore missed him so much they caused seven turnovers in a rout of the Steelers.
But should it really have been that surprising?
A team's whose general manager grossly overestimates the talent on the roster and head coach is constantly and desperately trying to prove he is more than just a former golf-pro by attempting to reinvent the game is bound to show its true colors sooner or later.
It happened Sunday against former Chiefs offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, now head coach of the Bills, whom Haley fired just before his first season as head coach in 2009.
Yep. This start was predictable.
So what now? The Chiefs have a demoralized, injury-plagued roster, whose last three games that counted were all blowout losses — at home. The coach seems clueless and hasn't won a game sans-Charlie Weis (the second offensive coordinator in two years Haley chose to burn bridges with) in 20 months. The fanbase is already fed-up, and it's early September.
This season seemed doomed from the start.
We thought last year's season-opening Monday night victory over San Diego was something of a changing of the tides for football in Kansas City. This year's fiasco may be a sign it was all just a fluke.