ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Every year about this time, I fill my head with delusions of grandeur about the Kansas City Chiefs’ football season.
And every year it seems they rip my heart out by losing games to teams they should beat and winning games against teams they shouldn’t.
But with a rekindled offense and a new head coach, I am 100 percent optimistic this season.
OK, maybe 90 percent.
Coach Dick Vermeil appears to have a winning ingredient for the success of the Chiefs in quarterback Trent Green. But the question on the minds of most Chiefs fans is whether Green can stay healthy.
Quite frankly, my concern is with the K .C. defense, which in the last couple of years has struggled against the run.
Even before the untimely death of linebacker Derrick Thomas, the defense, under the tutelage of then head coach Gunther Cunningham, struggled to put together what I would call a good year on the defensive side of the ball.
I know they haven’t allowed a touchdown in both preseason wins. But let’s get real, it is the preseason.
Many Chiefs fans would disagree with me and say that the K .C. offense, resting on the shoulders of quarterback Elvis Grbac, was what hindered their success in the recent past.
While I don’t entirely disagree with this observation, I believe the offense had a lot more to do with Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Ray, who is now with the Washington Redskins, than with Grbac, who left the team this spring for the defending NFL champion Baltimore Ravens.
The “up-the-gut” smash-mouth football that Marty Schottenheimer and Gunther Cunningham tried to re-establish in K.C. is out, and the run-and-shoot offense is in with Vermeil.
Vermeil’s championship with the St. Louis Rams in ’99 is a testament to his style of offense, as his team racked up record passing yards and touchdowns.
I guess that’s why this Chiefs fan isn’t concerned about the offense.
Despite Vermeil’s impressive offensive numbers in ’99, his defense was one of the worst in the league.
With an already ailing defense in K.C. and a coach whose last team struggled defensively, I’m concerned that this combination could spell disaster.
While I’m concerned, I’m also excited. Vermeil’s style brings a certain gambling quality that should fit in well with the casino crowd in Kansas City and with Chiefs fans familiar with the style of offense in the past.
Vermeil has wasted little time in Kansas City. In their first preseason game, the Chiefs scored 20 points and the defense shut out the Washington Redskins, a feat that any Chiefs fan can appreciate.
I want to be encouraged by their effort and I want to believe without a doubt that this is their year. And I will inevitably do so because I’m an ardent fan.
When asked, “Who are you going for?” or, “Why are you wearing red?” or “Why are you so grouchy?” The simple answer is because I’m a Chiefs fan.
So I, like many other K.C. fans, will don the red sweatshirts, pick every Chiefs player in the Fantasy Football League draft, despise the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, and fall to my knees and cry when we lose to the worst team in the league. It comes with the territory.
Sometimes I wonder if any other sports fans go through what we Chiefs fans go through. They probably haven’t because that’s what makes us, well, Kansas City Chiefs fans.