First of all, contrary to popular opinion, I haven’t been depressed the entire time since the Chiefs were demolished in the Super Bowl, 31-9, by Tampa Bay in February. But my agent, I.M. Slick, stopped by recently to find out why I never wrote a column about the game. The conversation follows:
Slick: How in the world have you not written one word about the Super Bowl? Are you depressed or something?
Joe: Who, me?
Slick: Any columnist worth his salt can’t ignore the major sporting event of the year without writing something, anything.
Joe: Okay. The Chiefs lost. It happens. Maybe next year they’ll win it all. Are you happy now?
Slick: Whoa. I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. You need to provide some analysis and commentary on what went wrong. You can’t just say, “It happens. Maybe next year will be different.”
Joe: So you really want me to explain to Chiefs fans why their team flopped in the biggest game of the year?
Joe: Okay, let’s start with multiple offensive line injuries. When you’re playing with the equivalent of a junior varsity line against a varsity defensive line, you’re in big trouble. Trust me, if Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady had been playing behind the Chiefs offensive line, he would have gotten hit so much he probably would have retired before the game ended.
In addition, the Chiefs coaching staff hardly had a stellar performance, including a major coaching blunder at the end of the first half. The Chiefs were only behind 14-6 with a minute left. The Chiefs weren’t doing much offensively anyway, so why try to get another possession before halftime when Tampa Bay appeared willing to run out the clock, especially when you get the ball to start the second half?
But noooooo. The Chiefs called two timeouts. The first wasn’t too egregious. The Bucs had second and eight, and you might get a stop. But to call timeout on third and one didn’t make sense. Sure enough. Tampa Bay easily made a first down and suddenly tries for another score before halftime. A moment later, it was a Tampa Bay touchdown. Game, set, and match.
And don’t forget the accident involving Coach Andy Reid’s son, one of the assistant coaches, a couple of days before the big game. The accident left a young child with critical injuries. You can’t tell me that didn’t affect the psyche of Andy Reid, the coaching staff, and the entire team.
There also were a couple of borderline / lousy calls by the officials in the first half. One was a ticky-tack personal foul penalty against Chris Jones that gave the Bucs a first down, after he and another player shoved each other. Tampa Bay went on to score a touchdown on that drive.
The other call was a pass interference penalty against Kansas City that nullified a pass interception. It was a questionable call at best, and was a huge call at the time when the game was still a game.
Granted, you can’t blame the loss on those two calls, but the game would have been much closer at halftime, and more competitive overall.
Let’s be honest. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes didn’t have his best day, but when you’re running for your life behind a porous offensive line, it’s hard to put much blame on the quarterback.
The Chiefs defenisve line also was a little disappointing. You could make the case that Chris Jones and Frank Clark underperformed considering they’re being paid top dollar by NFL standards. They weren’t bad by any means, but they weren’t great either.
Are you happy now?
Slick: Wow. You really are depressed aren’t you? How about giving Tampa Bay and Tom Brady some credit for outplaying the Chiefs?
Joe: Okay. Tip your cap to the Bucs and Brady. By the way, who do you think you are, a psychologist or something?
Slick: Hardly, but getting your feelings off your chest will help you feel better going forward.
Joe: Well, thanks for having me and all Chiefs fans relive the debacle all over again. And no, I’m not depressed. I may be disappointed, ticked off and in denial, but not depressed!