The disaster scenario that arose as a possibility early last week, and has likely since kept Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and owner Clark Hunt awake at night, has finally become a reality.
Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco. The world, as we know it, is coming to an end.
Well, maybe for Pioli.
If luring Manning to Kansas City was the team's main objective this off-season, then surely getting shunned by the future Hall of Famer and upstaged by the rival Broncos was a nightmarish possibility no one even began to consider.
Head coach Romeo Crennel spoke of the Chiefs' interest in Manning even before his official release from the Colts. Hunt appeared on the NBC Sports Network just two days after his release to discuss the prospects of his franchise adding the four-time league MVP to the roster.
Neither could have expected this.
Tuesday, John Elway's Denver Broncos introduced a smiling Manning to the world, while Pioli and Hunt went on a local media-tour hoping to divert Kansas City football fans' collective attention from their hometown franchise's seemingly eternal bond with irrelevance.
Hunt looks clueless, Pioli looks incapable, and each will regretfully be spending the rest of Manning's historic career praying his marriage with the Broncos ends undesirably.
Interestingly, Pioli's fate may depend on just that.
After three years of deferring to "the process" and "the right 53", the Chiefs have zero playoff-victories and a roster full of pre-Pioli regime players carrying the majority of the weight.
The 2012 off-season — the 19th consecutive since the franchise's last playoff win — presented a golden opportunity to right all the wrongs, and then some.
Manning was to be available. The missing piece, the void between Kansas City and football relevance, was ripe for the taking.
If the Chiefs were to snag Manning, they'd become as Super Bowl-ready as can be. Everyone involved knew this.
Instead, after an embarrassing swing-and-miss, the Chiefs are left — still — with mediocrity at its most important position, and a general manager whom, given every resource needed, couldn't find a way to put his team over the top.
Foolishness may allow this to play-out in the Chiefs' favor. Manning could flop. The Broncos could tank. The Chiefs could win the division.
Reports would surface that the Chiefs never really considered signing Manning, and that's why Manning never really considered Kansas City as a possible destination.
Pioli would come off as some sort of genius — his deficiencies as an NFL general manager properly disguised.
Oh yeah. They'd spin it.
Don't be fooled, Chiefs fans. Manning's performance in 2012 and beyond is of little significance. His acknowledgement of the Chiefs' inferiority with Pioli is what's important.