Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Reasons the Chiefs Made the Playoffs

The Kansas City Chiefs magical 2010 season has concluded where few thought it would: The playoffs. But, how did the Chiefs go from one of the league's laughingstocks to winners of the AFC West? Lets examine the top ten reasons ri now....

1. Scott Pioli- The man with the best long-term vision in the NFL. It's becoming more and more apparent that he played a huge part in building the New England Patriots into what they are today (or even more so, what they were yesterday). I believe his biggest and best move to date was overloading Todd Haley's plate with responsibilities (head coach, offensive coordinator, QB coach) in his first year. Although the move may have cost the team a few wins that season because Haley was stretched too thin, it gave him a better understanding of the proper aspects of the game to focus on as a head coach, while shrinking his head in the process, proving to Haley that he couldn't handle everything by himself. I believe it is also Pioli who is masterminding the under-usage of NBA Jam Charles, thus keeping him fresh for the entirety of the season, in hopes that he'll avoid the Chris Johnson drop off next season (pure brilliance). On top of that, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis would not be here if it wasn't for Pioli. So, you could say he is getting the job done. He could be the face of Kansas City sports when it's all said and done.

2. Their schedule- Some of my favorite radio of the year is when KC haters call Nick Wright and continually state that the Chiefs have yet to beat anybody, believing that fact somehow takes away from the Chiefs' accomplishments. Wright handles it the wright way by responding with silence, and then berates them, asking what their point is. The fact of the matter is that the Chiefs were very beneficial in who they played this year, drawing the worst division of all time as their interconference pairing. On top of that, their own division was relatively weak, and their AFC South draw had an uncharacteristically down year to boot. Pair that with their flexible games coming against the Bills and Browns, and you could make the argument that the Chiefs avoided the 10 best teams in the NFL (Colts rank 10th in ESPN's Power Rankings). But what IS the point? The Chiefs don't owe the other teams in the league any favors. Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don't (I believe the 2005 Chiefs were one of the five best teams in the league, but had an impossibly tough schedule). When you get a break like that, the best thing you can do is take advantage of it. The Chiefs took advantage.

3. Matt Cassel- When I'm in my ultimate zen-state of mind inside the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs get rolling on offense, I can't help myself but yell Tom Brady following every completed pass by Icy Matt. They just strike me as very comparable. I'm sure the reason being that Cassel studied Brady's each and every move for 4 years (just wait til he grows out his hair in about 3 years). Cassel is putting together a top-5 quarterbacking performance this season. I'm not saying he is (although I'm not saying he isn't) one of the 5 best QB's, he has just played at that level. (The QB's from around the league I would take over Cassel at this point read like this: Definitely- Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Roethlisberger, Rivers. Maybe- Ryan, Bradford, Freeman, Vick, Seneca.) I won't soon forget the heartbreak I felt when he came down with the appendectomy, and how I thought that might derail our season, only for him to come back 10 days later and play terrifically against the St. Louis Rams in the biggest game of the season. Nobody has ever doubted this dude's heart, nor his haircut.

4. Todd Haley- He came in a young hot shot Offensive Coordinator fresh off a Super Bowl trip. He clashed with his reigning Offensive Coordinator and wanted control of his offense. He took his lumps in his first year, but he learned from it, mostly via the hard way, which can often prove to be the best way. He responded by relegating power to incoming coordinators Weis and Crennel. Haley withstood criticism all year about his unconventional wisdom applied to this year's team, especially when it came to 4th downs. But, he didn't waver all year. I'm still a firm believer that it was a tone setter for the team. His players absolutely loved him for it. He gave Shaun Smith a carry on the goalline. He wore a skull cap to the NBA preseason game in Kansas City. He displayed true emotion aimed at our rival's head coach. He gets mad (not Bo Pelini mad, but mad) at silly pass interference calls on his defensive backs. He offends people by not shaving. He calls for onside kicks at crazy times. But, above all else, he wins.

5. Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel- They are impossible to separate. It was easier to say Crennel was doing a better job throughout much of the season, but Cassel's turnaround has to be accredited to Weis. While Weis's job was singularly focused, Crennel had the task of turning around one of the NFL's worst defenses from top to bottom. And he did so without much of a talent upgrade from last year. The biggest turnaround was seen in the team's ability to rush the passer, racking up 34 sacks through 15 games thus far, good enough for 12th in the NFL. This after only accumulating 22 in 2009 (31st in the NFL), and an NFL-record low 10 in 2008. I would argue the two most surprising teams in the league this year (KC and Chicago) have the best assistant coaches in the NFL (Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli for the Bears). This isn't a coincidence. You have to wander with so many head coaching jobs opening up around the league, if either of these two names will be mentioned for them.

6. Herm Edwards- It's awfully easy to bash on Herm after his downward spiral of a tenure with the team. However, one aspect of his that cannot be disputed was his knack for evaluating talent (aside from Crodie), specifically the 2008 Draft class he oversaw. That one class produced a potential future Pro Bowl Left Tackle, the best pair of young Cornerbacks in the league, the team's best defensive lineman not named Wallace, and another starting offensive lineman. Wow! Thanks Herm, enjoy your ESPN gig. Oh, and there was one more guy in that class you may have heard of....

7. JamaAL (pronounced Juh-ma-ALL) Charles- The Chiefs are solid in a lot of areas, but their one big difference maker, which every great team needs, is The Swivluh. From the team's first touchdown of the season, his 56 yard gallop on Monday Night against the Chargers, to his 80 yard statement run to put away the Rams game, he is the best unknown player in the NFL. If people WERE paying attention, they'd realize that God Jam Charles is better than Chris Johnson now, who was run into the ground trying to prove a point by getting to 2,000 yards last year. Good thing we got #1 in charge.

8. Monday Night Football Win- This was THE game. Without this victory, the team probably doesn't get off to the hot start. Without this victory, the Chargers might not get off to their slow start. Without this victory, the Chargers most likely sweep the season series, and are most likely representing the AFC West in the playoffs. There was so much to love about this game from the rain which befuddled the Chargers, leading to Phil Rivers yelling at his teammates every chance he got, to the highest blood alcohol level in NFL history, to Dave throwing up anywhere and everywhere, to cuddling with my closest friends in the very top row, to the heart the team showed holding on to the lead at the end. The best part was that everybody knew the season was on the line going into the game, which produced the loudest crowd I've ever heard for an NFL game. And I was there.

9. The Arrowhead Stadium crowd- The magic has returned! A year after breaking the consecutive sellout streak that Chiefs fans could always point to when making their claim as the best fans in the NFL, Arrowhead made a comeback at just the right time. The Chiefs are well on their way to an undefeated season at home, a feat they also accomplished back in 2003. Without just one of those wins, the playoffs would not be a reality today. It's ironic that the Chiefs road problems might stem from their monstrous homefield advantage. With a lesser advantage at home, the difference between home and road would be much less, which would make it much easier for the team to adjust. Should we change a thing? Um, no.

10. Tamba Hali- Wanted to give my man a special shout out after he got hosed out of the Pro Bowl. I've been Muhammad Hali's biggest supporter for the past couple years, telling anyone that would listen that he was playing at a higher level than his sack numbers would lead you to believe. My faith, which stemmed from the belief that he would make a better 3-4 OLB than he did a 4-3 DE, paid off this year, where he was basically doing the work of two men (while Vrabel is slowly being transferred over to the coaching staff). I will never forget the bloodied up Tambahawk screaming in Peyton Manning's face "You don't know where I've been!!!" earlier this season. Below was my forecast for TambaHawk's 2010 season, written while the team was still in training camp...

~As far as individual players go, I'm predicting that Tamba Hali makes the Pro Bowl this year. Last year was his first year at a new position, and while 8.5 sacks isn't too shabby, a handful of others slipped out of his hands, and he drew numerous holding penalties that were leading to obvious sacks. Comfort in the position, the addition of Romeo Crennel, and capitalizing on last year's missed opportunities will lead to 13 sacks and the Pro Bowl this year.
That's it! That's the list!

Take it with you,
His Dirkness

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CHIEFS are in the Playoffs?!?!

The Christmas season just keeps on giving. As excited as I was to wake up on Christmas morning (and I do celebrate the holiday like a joyous little girl), waking up on Chiefs gameday morning the very next day was much more exciting. And as much as I needed to nap following the Chiefs thrashing of the mentally wounded Titans, watching the Chargers throw away their season against the hapless Bengals may have been just as pleasing to the eyes.

Before celebrating the Chiefs unforeseen accomplishments, lets first bash on those Chargers for bit. With their playoff hopes on the line, the deciding play totally summed up the overrated, underachieving, heartless San Diegites. Down 7 with 6:30 left in the most important game of the season, the Charger defense breaks the huddle late, and while the cornerback is still peeking into the backfield to decipher the huddle, boom the receiver has blown past him for an easy touchdown. Unprepared, undisciplined, lazy. An absolutely Norvelous effort. Oh, and if that wasn't enough for you Chiefs fans, the Chargers announced Norvin will be returning for 2011. It's almost as if a Chiefs fan was running the Chargers. Or maybe a chimpanzee.

(Here is that play for those who missed it)

Now lets soak in the Chiefs glory for a bit with some stats. The Chiefs are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. It is their first AFC West division crown since 2003. The Chiefs have won the same amount of games in 2010 as they had in 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined (and have a chance to surpass that total next week). It was the biggest one season turnaround in team history, going from 4-12 in 2009, to 10 wins so far in 2010. His Dirkness attended 5 games this season, and witnessed the Chiefs go 4-1 in those games (only loss was in Houston).

So the Chiefs are in the playoffs. And they will be hosting a wildcard game on January 8th or 9th. But who will they be playing? Well.......

If the Chiefs win: They will get the #3 seed in the AFC and would most likely host the New York Jets. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, at which point we would host the Steelers. That wouldn't be good, although we'd be facing a team fresh off a loss to the Browns, so when in Rome.

If the Chiefs lose: Would be the #4 seed unless the Colts lose to the Titans. But, if the Colts win, we would most likely host the Baltimore Ravens. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, and then we'd be back on the Jets. UNLESS the Jets lost too, at which point we'd draw the Pittsburgh Steelers.

You still with me? If not, play with this thing for a while. If you have an iota of geek in you it can be quite fun (that's known as a playoff perk). Basically, what these projections tell you is that if we win we'll play the Jets, and if we lose we'll play the Ravens. I, along with most other people, would prefer to play the Jets, but would be cool with kickin either of their asses.

What most people don't realize is that we could be a dangerous team in this tournament. They say the playoffs are all about running the ball and defense. We know we do one of those things very well, and we think we do the other thing pretty well. Plus, we will have the added motivational advantage the week of the game with every NFL talking head babbling about how lucky Team A is that they'll be playing the Chiefs instead of the Chargers. Don't underestimate things like that. Every time you hear the Chargers mentioned the week of the game it helps us a little bit more.

And while this may sound silly to some of you reading, what if the Chiefs make the Super Bowl this year? I'm not saying it's likely, but we find ourselves in a single elimination tournament where any team can get hot and win four straight games. In a year where everybody thought they would lose their first playoff game for sure, the Arizona Cardinals held a lead in the Super Bowl with under 2 minutes to play. I'm not predicting it, nor saying you should expect it, but at least consider the possibility of your Kansas City Chiefs playing in the Super Bowl. That's what the playoffs are all about baby!

His Chiefness

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Josh Selby: The Exception or The Rule?

Can Josh Selby singlehandedly lead H'dirkness to change his beliefs on the one-and-done player?

Mmmm not so fast my friends! Atleast, not yet. I've been very public about my distaste for one-and-done players coming to KU. I don't believe it's the best way to build the foundation of a program (hard to replace players every year), nor do I believe it's the best way to win National Championships, which is what it's all about. I base most of my beliefs around what it takes to win it all around the 2008 Kansas team, the most successful team I've ever followed from day 1. That team wasn't the only team void of a one-and-done type player, but rather every College Basketball team that has won a championship in the past 20 years, with one very large exception, the 2003 Syracuse team led by Carmelo Anthony (next closest contributor may have been Marvin Williams to the 2005 North Carolina team, who didn't even start).

I believe that it takes a certain desire, a willingness to lay it all on the line, to win in March. One-and-dones treat the NCAA Tournament like it's a showcase for them to get noticed by NBA scouts. Xavier Henry was the perfect example of this last year. As the ship was going down, and it was time to see what the Jayhawks were made of deep down, I think I spotted Henrization X in the stands getting a hot dog. "Oh, sorry guys, did you need me?"

Now maybe my distaste for Xavier is too fresh on my mind for me to see the big picture. After all, The Selbinator will probably have a shot at going #1 in the NBA Draft, so he might actually care about what happens to the team (hard to go #1 if you get bounced early). But, with my full disclosure of predetermined beliefs now out in the open, let me get to what happened on Saturday against USC.

Selby's huge 3-pointer that he hit with just under 30 seconds left in the game, putting KU up by 1, may have created a stigma for himself. And it may be just what these Jayhawks needed. Already stacked with a National Championship caliber frontcourt (no, frequent commenter Rickaaay, that does not include ChenoWithey), Selby may provide the final piece to the puzzle. Tyshawn Taylor, Eli'Jah Rule Johnson, Travis Bobbleheadeford, and the Whitey Tighties are all nice complimentary pieces, but none of them really inspire confidence in taking a big shot (I'd actually trust Tyrel the most).

That 2008 Kansas team's calling card was balance. A team that could attack you with any player on the floor, from any spot on the floor. This 2011 team is very similar in that aspect. However, with the '08 team, everybody knew who would take the big shot (except the Calipari Monster I guess). Who is that man on this team? Mar-Mo would probably be the answer as of now, but you'd prefer a guard that could create his own shot. Selby might have to be that guy. Fortunately, he looks like he's up for the challenge. He did not hesitate to shoot it in his very first game in a KU uniform. This is a very good thing. He is young enough to believe what people are saying about him, and people had to be slob-knobbing him after his performance on Saturday.

However, Selby was far from perfect. He was a bit of a chucker, but that might not be the worst thing for these Jayhawks, who have yet to develop a true identity. He also showed some rust with a couple of Ty-Tay-like turnovers that had you scratching your head. Hopefully, those kinks get worked out with a few more games under his belt though (just like Tyshawn right?).

So, while I was hesitant to embrace the arrival of Josh Selby, I can't deny that the Kansas Jayhawks just became a whole lot more interesting. While merely trudging along through the winter sludgery (their beginning to the season has been rather boring), they were being forgotten by Ze Dirkness due to the playoff push by the Chiefs (GO CHIIIIIIIIIIIEFFSSSSS!). And while the Chiefs are dominating 95% of my brain right now, the Jayhawks are now atleast on the radar, which is good news for all my KU Crodies out there.

(P.S. The lack of Chiefs writing can be attested to my approach to these last three games as more of a fan than a writer. Writing about the Chiefs is fun, but my passion doesn't run as high with an eye on the big picture at all times. I want both eyes on the here and now, with all perspective thrown out the window. That being said, I'll try and pump out some thoughts before next week's game against the Titans, which I will say, scares the dickens outta me.)


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Worst QB of All-Time?

It was painfully obvious to me what happened to the Kansas City Chiefs in San Diego on Sunday. The players went into the game with little belief that they could win. You can blame Todd Haley and company if you want, but it's very difficult to go into war led by a bonafide, gen-u-wine loser. A reeeeeeal Munson.

Crodie freakin' Broyle.

People that read my quasi-preview from Saturday night will know that I wasn't surprised at what we all were forced to watch on Sunday. What is surprising, shocking, and even astonishing, is the number of people that believed Crodie wasn't a big drop off from Matt Cassel. Shockingly, I haven't heard much of the same sentiments thrown around today.

However, there they were there during the game, offering up all the excuses that will eventually be engraved into Crodie Broyle's tombstone. "His receivers are dropping balls." "The offensive line isn't blocking." "It's the defense's fault." "His hair was in his eyes." "His man-pon fell out." These excuses may have once been valid, but now lack any credibility (I can tell you 10 reasons why). These will now be referred to as 'Crodieisms.'

So all of this got me to thinking...could Brodie Croyle (I'll use his real name for record's purposes) be the worst NFL Quarterback of all time?

This got me scouring the Internet in search of who people are calling the worst QB of all time. Almost every list included the names Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, and Rick Mirer. These QB's were admittedly terrible, but are all making the lists because of expectations placed on them due to where they were drafted. Also, while most of them possess worse overall stats than Crodie, they all managed to at least win an NFL game, something Cruddie cannot claim. And while stats are easy to use for this type of designation, they don't tell the whole story with Cruds. His extreme absence of toughness wouldn't inspire an ADHD-diagnosed 10-year-old-on-crack, which isn't an official stat. Yet. The stat that does shed some truth would be 0-10. That's oh and ten.

In fact, the record for most losses to start an NFL career is held by Troy Aikman, with 11 straight losses (don't think anybody will argue he's worse than Crodie). Yes, Crodie is one more loss away from immortality. I can't deny that I want to see him earn that record, I just pray that it doesn't come in a Chiefs uniform. I can't take anymore of him to be honest. He's so hard to root for that I created a word describing my feelings while watching him: Sporture. It's sports torture. Definition: Being forced to root for someone you hate. I wouldn't say I was rooting against the Chiefs on Sunday (although I never thought we stood a chance), but Crodie pushes me closer to that unfortunate reality than any Chiefs player ever has. It's complete and utter sporture.

Now for the good news. While drinking away my sorrows last night, my buddy Cook Andopolis presented an interesting theory to me. This was the best game of the final four for Matt Cassel to miss. There was a good chance we were going to lose it anyways, but losing another game is when the division lead is lost. So now, hopefully, we'll have Cassel for the easier games left on the schedule. Also, in that process, we all have a scapegoat for what was a total team lay down in San Diego. We can all pretend the game never happened, which is exactly how the Chiefs are treating it apparently (my sources tell me the Chiefs didn't even send out a press release following the game- my theory is that not enough yards were gained to change anything in the record books).

My optimistic take on the game will not survive another poor effort next week against the Rams, which is shaping up to be the biggest Chiefs game in some time. We'll either have Cassel, suddenly with the entire city behind his back, or Crodie, going for the record in futility. So eat your wheaties, do your homework, and say your prayers to heal the most relevant useless organ in the body this city has ever seen.

His Dirkness

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NFL Week 14 PicksAndThought's and CHIEFS!!

Well, the biggest game of the year is upon us, which the Chiefs were all set for until God stepped in said, "You will not win this game, ya jackass!"

As most of you know, Matt Cassel is out with an appendix, so in steps Crodie Broyle (he can shake that nickname forever if he wins on Sunday. Or if he just ever wins a game period.) Crodie is my least favorite Chief on the team, and in my eyes was born a genuine loser. The Chiefs only chance in this game is to rally around Cassel, who didn't even make the trip out to San Diego. I have an interesting dividing line between close friends who I watch the games with (who all think Crodie is cruddy), and trusted sports personalities who I swap insights with (all seem to think Crodie is credible). If he leads the Chiefs to a victory, I might just head to the local barber shop and demand the Brodie haircut.

Hopefully, we attack the game with a nothing-to-lose type mentality, muster up some big plays, and rely heavily on our running game. However, I expect 9 men to be stacked in the box with the intention of shutting down God Jam Charles (who should be showing up to the game in an Armani suit). Although I will say, there is a chance the Chargers blow it somehow. After all, we are talking about the most undisciplined team in the league, a team that doesn't like to start trying until they're down 17-0.

Now for the bad news. If the following scenario were to happen, the Chargers would make the playoffs over the Chiefs:

  • Chiefs: Lose to SD, lose to STL, win over Tenn, win over Oak
  • Chargers: Win out (KC, SF, @Cin, @Den)

This would leave both teams at 10-6, while Oakland would be 9-7 at best. The teams would have split their two meetings, and would share equal 3-3 records from within the division. The next tiebreaker is common games. The Chargers would hold a one game edge in that department and would be the division winner.

This makes the game at St. Louis loom large. I am already kinda looking past this game in San Diego (yes, I'm allowed to because I'm a fan, not a player, however I do crush alot). I leave it to all of you Chiefs fans to wish upon every birthday, shooting star, blown eyelash, and 11:11 clock reading that comes your way this week for Cassel's health. Some of you owe it to the team after questioning Cassel all season long, leading to his stress-induced injury. This is your chance to make up for it. We need Matt Cassel for St. Louis.

Now for the very good news. His Dirkness' season goal was to stand at 6-6 at this exact point in the season. My reasoning was that we'd have a good chance at making the playoffs at 10-6, which means we'd still be playing relevant games at this point in the season. The Chiefs have greatly surpassed mine and probably your greatest expectations. Do you realize what we, as fans, were worrying about at this point last year? Draft positioning, draft prospects, and waiting for an unknown player to stand out (thank you JamaAL). Essentially, they were preseason games. Now, we're essentially playing playoff games. What a difference a year can make.

Now on to some picks.......

Didn't get week 13 picks up, but I went 10-6.

  • Indianapolis over TENNESSEE (Anybody who said Randy Moss wasn't a risk - Nick Wright - needs to watch the Titans post-Randy)
  • Cleveland over BUFFALO (I'd take the Browns over any non-playoff team right now)
  • Green Bay over DETROIT (If I had a shot at the World Tag Team Championships, I'd pick The Ndominant One as my partner)
  • NY Giants over MINNESOTA (I just hung out with Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss at the KCI airport. Nice guys. An event like this can unite a team - remember I said that)
  • PITTSBURGH over Cincinnati (The first home team I've picked, which could be a recipe for disaster)
  • Tampa Bay over WASHINGTON (Josh Freeman got fined for his late hit following the game-ending INT - I've really come around on him)
  • Atlanta over CAROLINA (Will be cheering for the Falcons out of the NFC for Tony Gonzalez)
  • JACKSONVILLE over Oakland (The big game that you won't hear about because of Brett Favre tomorrow)
  • SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle (Love that Troy Smith rocks the #1 jersey, not sure why)
  • NEW ORLEANS over St. Louis (I just wrote 'Can't cheer for a Sam Bradford injury' 500 times on a chalk board)
  • CHICAGO over New England (Pats due for a letdown and the Bears are surprisingly frisky)
  • Miami over NY JETS (J-E-T-S could be O-V-E-R.....rated)
  • Denver over ARIZONA (The Cardinals may be starting the most unknown QB of all-time: John Skelton from Fordham- same school as Tony Reali)
  • SAN DIEGO over Kansas City (Prediction: 31-14)
  • Philadelphia over DALLAS (Faced a difficult decision in fantasy with Vick or Rodgers to start- I went with Vick)
  • HOUSTON over Baltimore (Do we know anything about Joe Flacco?)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) Thoughts

(This post was somewhat inspired by Sports Illustrated's Peter King who writes the Monday Morning Quarterback, which is so epic I need to devote an entire night to read, comprehend, and properly analyze it. Tis incredible.)

My Arrowhead experience was filled with a little bit of everything on Sunday. We were wrongfully directed away from fancy-boy parking towards common-folk parking, which was tough for our pinky-extending carload to accept, until some nice Kansas City tailgating folk filled our bellies with baked potato soup. Then, we cut it too close to game time by trying to pound the last of our Red Dogs, forcing me to sprint through the concourses with juke moves that JamaAL would envy, while listening to this. Then while trying to ignore the "F-you Mays" and "F-you club level" chants being hurled from over my shoulder, my Chiks-appeal took full effect with a Denver fan sitting next to me offering to take me home in his suitcase. Not so fast my friend, you're gonna have to wait in line behind this Chiefs fan next to me, who's making moves I tend to only accept from Asian philly's. Luckily, I was wearing multiple layers of protection.

I was not surprised to see Josh McDingleberry (not to be confused with Wallace Dean Gilberry, who has been too busy playing peacekeeper to get after the QB - he will get a sack against San Diego) fired after the game on Sunday. His inexcusable decision to punt on a 4th and 5 with under 3 minutes to play reeked of McDude giving up on his team. It almost makes me wonder if he knew of his fate prior to the game. They faced a 4th and 4 and their own 39 yard line with the score at 10-6. Even if you don't convert, a Chiefs field goal doesn't end the game. However, one Chiefs first down DOES end the game. This was the single worst in-game coaching decision I've seen this season. Gary Pinkel was screaming at his TV.

On the other end, Todd Haley really has his hand on the pulse of this team. His players love him. When Mike Vrabel and Shaun Smith enter the game on offense, the entire Chiefs sideline gets invigorated, while the Arrowhead crowd goes from diesel truck loud to rock concert loud (I'm picturing a Gwar concert). The same goes for his 4th down decisions. Young NFL players love going for it on 4th downs. Harvard educators love going for it on 4th downs. Old conservative people dislike going for it on 4th downs. Well I say put down the Kentucky Gentlemen old man, and get yourself a Four Loko, because this is a new generation of Kansas City Chiefs football.

This leads me to the Barry Richardson situation. He threw a Dirkness-like (Taylor Martinez-induced) tantrum on the sidelines. He even pushed special teams coach Steve Hoffman (wait, I know Steve Hoffman! You bastard!). Instead of villainizing Richardson after the game, Todd Haley stuck up for him. He spoke about how he loved the passion he was seeing from his players in the middle of a playoff race. It was pretty special to listen to. Again, Kansas City's players love him.

Jack Harry didn't think so though, nah-unh! He makes a ridiculous analogy in the following video that I can't make any sense of. Go to the 1:00 mark of this video and tell me if you understand....

Yea Jack Harry! Way to set sports journalism back another 10 years! Moving on....

Matt Cassel is starting to look more and more like Tom Brady. No, it's not the awesome haircut. And no, it's not the game winning drive that we're going to see from him in the Super Bowl this year. It's the way he's perfecting the art of the checkdown. Brady is the checkdown master, oftentimes converting 3rd and 7-10's by way of accurately swinging the ball to a running back (used to ALWAYS be Kevin Faulk, now it's more the rich man's Rex Burkhead- Danny Woodhead). This play is wildly effective if you hit your running back in stride, who should have a decided speed advantage on a linebacker in man coverage. These can be the easiest yards in football to gain.

To conclude my Chiefs thoughts, the best two players on the field on Sunday were Champ Bailey and Brandon Carr. It was hyped as a game between two top-flight receivers Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Lloyd. Cha(u)mp Bailey shut down the NFL's hottest player, holding Bowe to 0 catches (should have had one that was called back due to a ridiculous offensive pass interference call). Carr helped limit Lloyd to only 2 catches, while tallying 5 pass breakups, an incredible number. Big props to Carr, who's worst games of his career have come against the Denver Broncos. Well, he made up for it on Sunday, turning in the best game of his career.

For those of you clamoring for my thoughts on Nebraska's defeat in the Big 12 Championship, read this.

His Dirtyness

Friday, December 3, 2010

NFL Parity and Power Rankings

It's the return (the turn, turn). The return (turn, turn). It's the return. It's. The. Return. You're welcome OutKast fans. Thankfully, the aspect that the NFL strives to promote so greatly has returned to the league for the 2010 season: Parity.

After watching the Patriots and Colts dominate the AFC for the last ten years, and lasting through the undefeated stints of the Saints (13-0) and Colts (14-0) in 2009, the 2010 NFL season is void of any true favorite (Yes, the Patriots, Colts, and Saints are still around, but not in the same dominating ways of the past). This is when the NFL thrives. It's a league that depends on the names on the front of the jersey. And it's a league that's designed to give every team a chance at the Super Bowl. We remember the 1999 Rams as fondly as the 49ers/Cowboys/Patriots dynasties.

Despite promoting parity, there has been a certain disparity in the league the last ten years. It seems nobody was ready to handle the salary cap upon its inception in the mid 90's. Teams didn't understand how to build around the cap, which ensured that great teams didn't last more than a handful of years. Then the Patriots and Colts figured things out, got star QB's, and broke the NFL mold by contending for championships every year. Since then, teams have slowly caught up (although, still not all the way), and their franchise QB's have grown older. Suddenly new quarterbacks are mentioned in the same breath (Brees, Rivers, Rodgers, Thigpen - still nobody mentions Ben Roth Biglisberger).

This will inevitably lead to an exciting finish to the season with all the close division races, and a playoffs that's wide open to all 12 teams (well, 11, minus the NFC West winner). So when all you young'in's are ordering rounds of shots this weekend, make sure you toast to parity, the most underrated aspect in all of sports, and the difference between a good NFL season and a great NFL season (there are no bad NFL seasons, although 2009 was as close as it gets).

Previous NFL Power Rankings:

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. New York Jets
5. New England Patriots
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Green Bay Packers
8. Baltimore Ravens
9. San Diego Chargers
10. Chicago Bears
11. New York Giants
12. Kansas City Chiefs
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14. Indianapolis Colts
15. Miami Dolphins
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Cleveland Browns
18. Oakland Raiders
19. Washington Redskins
20. St. Louis Rams
21. Houston Texans
22. Buffalo Bills
23. Tennessee Titans
24. Minnesota Vikings
25. Seattle Seabags
26. Detroit Lions
27. Dallas Cowboys
28. San Francisco 49ers
29. Denver Broncos
30. Arizona Cardinals
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. Carolina Panthas

Power Ranking Statistical Analysis:

Biggest Risers (compared to my Week 7 Rankings):
1. San Diego Chargers +14
2. Cleveland Browns +12
2. Oakland Raiders +12
4. Jacksonville Jaguars +11
5. Buffalo Bills +10
5. Chicago Bears +10

Biggest Fallers:
1. Tennessee Titans -14
2. Cincinnati Bengals -12
3. Minnesota Vikings -10
4. Seattle Seahawks -8
5. Indianapolis Colts -7

Most Overrated Teams (compared against ESPN's Power Rankings):
1. Baltimore Ravens -4
2. Tennessee Titans -4
3. Houston Texans -4

Most Underrated Teams:
1. Cleveland Browns +7
2. Detroit Lions +5
2. Buffalo Bills +5