Tuesday, April 25, 2017

the pre-draft chiefs fake mailbag

“Throw your hands up to the sky,
And scream aloud “I’m free”!
‘Cause wrong?  Is the new right!
And we can cut loose tonight --
It costs a lot to look this cheap!

So get it like you like it!
Get it like you like it!
Get it like you like it!
Get it like you like it! …

In 1918?  The Great Bambino
Kicked a piano into Willis Pond.
Then Johnny Damon swung a bat!
86 years and the curse was gone!

Just like you like it!
Get it like you like it!
Oh, get it like you like it!
Get it like you like it! …”

-- “Get It Like You Like It” by Ben Harper and the (no doubt) Innocent Criminals.  Still one of the five best concerts I’ve ever attended in my life, in a freaking monsoon at Starlight on Friday, August 25, 2006.  God bless, how I miss things (barbra streisand voice) “the way we were”, sometimes, with you people …

--------------------

* “You wrote this four years ago.  Care to comment?” -- Blake P, KCK.

That I was pretty much right?

The only thing I whiffed on was predicting the playoff game Alex Smith would lead us to in January 2014 would be at Arrowhead.  It wasn’t -- trust me, I was there.

But I also noted he’d continue the tradition of former 49ers quarterbacks starting at least one playoff game in the Red and Gold on the sacred grounds of Terrorhead.  I was right about that.

Having noted that …

* “It’s time to move on, right?” -- Ryan M, Springfield.

Possibly.

Here’s the thing you Alex Smith non-fans have to realize: he was the single best realistic option available, through ANY form of realistic player pickup, not only in the 2013 offseason, but the 2014 offseason as well.

Here are the first five quarterbacks taken in the draft in 2013 -- a year the Chiefs held the first or second pick in every round of the draft: EJ Manuel (Round 1, Pick 16, Bills); Geno Smith (Round 2, Pick 39, Jets); Mike Glennon (Round 3, Pick 73, Buccaneers); Matt Barkley (Round 4, Pick 98, Eagles); Ryan Nassib (Round 4, Pick 110, Giants).

Here are your major free agent quarterbacks from the 2013 offseason: Joe Flacco (resigned with Ravens for 6 years / $120.6 million); “Our Lord and Risen Savior” Timothy R. Tebow (signed with the Patriots); Kevin Kolb (signed with the Bills); Matt Moore (resigned with the Dolphins); Ryan Fitzpatrick (signed with the Titans).

Name any of those ten you’d take, over “Sir” Alex Smith … and I’m aware Joe Flacco is on that list.  (Unrealistic, as the Ravens controlled his rights and franchised him, but still, do you want Joe Flacco’s last four years over “Sir” Alex Smith’s?  Because I don’t.)

Here are the first five quarterbacks taken in the draft in 2014 -- a year the Chiefs drafted in the 20-25 range for most of their picks: Blake Bortles (Round 1, Pick 3, Jaguars); Johnny Manziel (Round 1, Pick 22, Browns); Teddy Bridgewater (Round 1, Pick 32, Vikings); Derek Carr (Round 2, Pick 36, raiders); Jimmy Garoppolo (Round 2, Pick 64, Patriots).

Here are your major free agent quarterbacks from the 2014 offseason: Josh McCown (signed with Bears); “Our Lord and Risen Savior” Timothy R. Tebow (signed with Jets); Matt Cassel (resigned with Vikings); Josh Freeman (signed with Giants); Shaun Hill (signed with Rams).

If you want to say “Derek Carr -- I want Derek Carr instead of “Sir” Alex!”, then fine.  You can argue the Chiefs should have drafted him instead of Dee Ford.  

But for every reason I wouldn’t want Teddy Bridgewater, especially now?  That same reason applies to Derek Carr.  Namely, dude JUST BROKE HIS LEG!  You REALLY think a quarterback recovers fully from that devastating an injury?  

If you believe that, if you really believe Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr is going to ever again be even a relatively close to elite passer?  (Or, in Ol’ Ted’s case, serviceable)?  Joe Theismann has some ocean front property in Arizona he’s willing to sell you.  And yes, he’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.

The bottom line -- “Sir” Alex has led the Chiefs to not one, not two, not three, but four consecutive winning seasons.  He’s led the Chiefs to the playoffs in three of those four years, and the Chiefs whiffed on the 2014 postseason due to tiebreakers.  He led the Chiefs to their first franchise playoff victory in literally a generation (at Houston -- trust me, I was there).  His three playoff defeats can hardly be blamed on him.

The loss in Indy?  The Chiefs scored 44 points without Jamaal Charles!  They led 38-10 ninety seconds into the second half!  That defeat is NOT Alex Smith’s fault.

The loss in New England?  I blame far more on the coaching staff, than “Sir” Alex, who can only run the plays that are called in the order he receives them.  (Also, “Sir” Alex doesn’t manage … or rather, mismanage, timeouts).

The loss to Pittsburgh?  The defense was lit like a joint at Stubbs back in the day -- constantly, continually, 24/7/365.  (Or 366 in a Leap Year.)  And yet, despite their utter inability to stop the Steelers, the Chiefs had the ball, two yards from the tie, with barely three to play.  And I’d remind you, they CONVERTED the two to tie before the unfortunate holding penalty was thrown.

Like it or not, there’s a DAMNED strong argument to be made that “Sir” Alex Smith is the second best quarterback in Chiefs history.  A DAMNED strong argument.

And even if you want to argue the point, I think it’s inarguable that “Sir” Alex Smith gives the Chiefs the best opportunity to contend, win, and succeed on the field in a way most of us can only dream about up until now, in 2017.

Having said that …

* “Patrick Mahomes.  No Matter What!” -- Chase S, Houston.

Here’s the thing (and for the record, I agree -- Patrick Mahomes No Matter What): if the Chiefs trade up (or stay put) to draft any of the reputed Top Four quarterbacks in this draft, I’m not only not going to be upset, I’m going to be ecstatic.

If acquiring Mr. Mahomes (or whoever the Chiefs hierarchy may or may not prefer) means mortgaging half the 2017 draft?  Do it.  If it means whizzing away a 2018 second rounder, or even a first rounder if a second rounder in the mid 50s isn’t enough to move up?  Whiz away!  Christ knows we’ve all done that, a time or six, in the perfectly paved parking lots of the Truman Sports Complex.

I can credibly argue that only once in the last twenty five years, have the Chiefs been in a position to draft a franchise quarterback exactly where they sat -- 2005, when Aaron Rodgers fell to their laps at 15.  At no other time has the franchise salvation been there when they picked.  The Chiefs will have to move up in all likelihood to get who they need.  I hope they do it.

No Matter Who It Is.

Because let’s be honest here …

* “Does it really matter who the Chiefs draft (if it’s a quarterback)?  I mean, “Fat” Andy has never truly whiffed on the quarterback position, has he?” -- Anthony V, Overland Park.

Exactly.

“Fat” Andy’s very first major personnel decision in Philadelphia?  Drafting Donovan McNabb.  His very first major personnel decision in Kansas City?  Identifying the stench of the 2013 QB crop, and picking up the best option on the market through any reasonable method of acquisition (as noted above), Alex Smith.

The man turned a washed up Donovan McNabb into a first round pick, after riding him to not one, not two, not three, not four, but five -- five! -- NFC Title Games.  He turned Kevin Kolb into a second rounder on the basis of one start (ironically, against the god awful 2009 Chiefs).  The dude turned a guy who spent three years in the Kansas Penal League into a $100 million man -- Mike Vick.  He won a division and a playoff game with Jeff Garcia under center.

Throw in the fact that he developed not one, not two, but three Pro Bowl quarterbacks in Green Bay -- Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, and Matt Hasselbach -- and I implicitly and blindly trust this administration when picking a quarterback.

Or to put it another way?  If this administration (whose current general manager was the director of scouting (aka “ran the draft”) in Green Bay in 2005, when Aaron Rodgers was the pick for the Packers) botches a quarterback pick in this draft?

It’ll be the first time they’ve EVER failed, to identify a top talent and acquire it, at that position.

* “Uuh, Aaron Murray?  Major whiff dude.” -- Miranda P, Independence.

You can argue he whiffed on Aaron Murray and that’s fine.  But look at it this way -- he got him for a fifth rounder.  Had Aaron Murray NOT come back for his senior year?  He’s the number one pick in 2013 in all likelihood, a pick held by … you guessed it, Frank Stallone!  Naw, just playing -- a pick held by the Chiefs.

Would you rather whiff at pick 170, or pick uno?

Next!

* “Good God buddy, can you please let go of 2005 already?  Derrick Johnson was not a bad pick!” -- Gregg G, Bonner Springs.

Fine, let’s settle this, once and for all.  No, not via the “Tale O’ The Tape” … but via my favorite imaginary game.

Just for sh*ts and giggles, let’s play the “What If” game, shall we?

What If … the Chiefs draft Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, the University of California (Berkeley), at approximately 2pm on Saturday, April 23, 2005?

Let’s stick with what IS known, irregardless of who the Chiefs selected that day:

The Chiefs started Trent Green all sixteen games.  The Packers started Brett Favre all sixteen games.  So Aaron Rodgers would not have seen the field in 2005, in any case.

The Chiefs ostensibly drafted Derrick Johnson to solve a need -- inside linebacker.  Who was the Chiefs biggest free agent signing in the 2005 offseason?  Inside linebacker Kendrell Bell.  Their big 2004 offseason free agent signing?  Shawn Barber.  The linebacker they stupidly and indefensibly let walk after the 2001 season?  Donnie Edwards.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  No, I don’t see any connection between every statement written above in this paragraph.  Do you, Ms. Non Existent Stevo’s Site Numero Dos Editor Dudette?

The odds of Derrick Johnson or Aaron Rodgers being the difference between reaching the playoffs or missing them for the 7th time in 9 years back in 2005 were minimal, and in fact, inconsequential -- the Chiefs went 10-6, missed the playoffs by a full game, and given Trent Green made every start, and Derrick Johnson contributed a lot, this pick didn’t matter for the 2005 Chiefs.  Ditto the 2005 Packers, who went 4-12, and Brett Favre took every snap anyway.  This pick didn’t matter for them, other than Derrick Johnson might have gotten them to 5-11 with a well timed TaINT at some point.

But beginning in 2006?  Oh sweet merciful Lord Jesus, how history could be different.

Anyone remember the start to the 2006 season?  Because I sure as hell do -- me, staring at the field in horror, anguish and disgust, fearing Trent Green had literally just died on the field.  Into the breach stepped Damon Huard, who would start the next eight games (going 6-2), to help the Chiefs rally to steal the last spot in the postseason via the Immaculate Fourfecta.

So let’s say Aaron Rodgers is forced into the start, instead of Damon Huard.  The Chiefs got rolled by the Bengals in that opener 10-23 (it was 3-20 when Mr. Green nearly died), and I doubt Aaron Rodgers would have led a comeback that Damon Huard couldn’t author.  The Chiefs then lost in overtime as visitors of “those people”, in arguably the worst Chiefs / broncos game ever.  (6-9 in a battle of field goals.)  Let’s go ahead and assume that Aaron Rodgers loses that game as well.

Then, the Chiefs get the bye.  In real life, the off week enabled the coaching staff to get Damon Huard up to snuff, and he responded by winning 5 of 6 -- the 49ers (starting “Sir” Alex in his third start), the Cardinals (Matt Leinert in his NFL debut), the Chargers (Phyllis Rivers’ rookie season), the Seahawks (starting Seneca Wallace in his NFL debut), and the Rams (don’t ask).  The loss in that stretch was a blowout at the defending champion Steelers.

Does Aaron Rodgers go 5-1 in that stretch, as Damon Huard did?  I say yes.  So if Aaron Rodgers is drafted, and plays those eight games a year later, the Chiefs wind up exactly where they were -- a 9-7 wildcard team.  

Conversely, the 2006 Packers probably still go 8-8, as (a) linebackers rarely mean more than a net win to a season, and (b) Brett Favre took every snap, so Aaron Rodgers didn’t play.  But if you want, I can be generous and say that with DJ on the field, the Packers go 9-7 … and still miss the playoffs.

It’s post 2006 where I’d argue it gets (the great Mr. Hugh M. Hefner voice) REALLY interesting.  

Because if Aaron Rodgers is on the roster as your QB of the future, you don’t draft Brodie Croyle in the 2006 draft, right?.  And when you trade Trent Green in the 2007 offseason, you install Aaron Rodgers as your starter (instead of Damon Huard, then Brodie Croyle, then Tyler Thigpen, as happened), and you don’t have to give away the next three years (ok, fine -- 2 ½ years.  2007 didn’t start out as a rebuild, opening 4-3) as a total rebuild.  

You certainly don’t have to trade for Matt Cassel, or sign (let alone start!) Tyler Palko, or sign Kyle Orton off the street and throw him onto the field two days later out of sheer desperation, to save a lost season that Mr. Orton damned near did save.  

You don’t go THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE F*CKING DAYS between victories -- from Week Seven 2007 to Week Four 2008.  You don’t go 2-30 from Week Seven 2007 to Week Six 2009.  You don’t go 4-12 / 2-14 / 4-12, a stretch that looks even worse when you remove the 4-3 start to 2007 (meaning 0-9 / 2-14 / 4-12).

You don’t run Larry Johnson into a premature grave, because you have a competent passing game, or at least a competent quarterback.  

And given how god-awful the AFC West was in 2008-2011 (8-8 San Diego won on tiebreakers over 8-8 denver in 2008, and those people missed the playoffs on tiebreakers again in 2009, before the worst Chiefs team to ever win a division title stole the division in 2010, only to see every team finish 8-8 or 7-9 the year Our Lord and Risen Savior Timothy R. Tebow led those people to the division title in 2011), you have to wonder, if Aaron Rodgers was the pick twelve years ago, the following:

  1. Do you fire Herm after the 2008 season?  Given how reluctant Carl’s replacement was to actually fire Herm, I say no.  And that would have been a good thing, because
  2. Does Carl resign with two weeks to go in 2008 if the Chiefs are in the division race?  As bad as 2008 was, the Chiefs gave away multiple games in October and November that with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, probably go their way.  And if Carl doesn’t resign
  3. Is Scott Pioli ever hired?  Is Coach Asshat or Coach Baffoon ever employed by this franchise?  (Although a very interesting “what if” -- what if Coach Asshat got ahold of Aaron Rodgers entering his prime, like he did Ben Roethlisberger?  Or ahold of him exiting his prime, like he did Kurt “Butch” Warner?  Ooh, that one is intriguing, to say the least).

But to be fair, that also triggers another “what if” …

* “What if, given drafting Aaron Rodgers as noted above, the Chiefs don’t go into full-on rebuild mode, and don’t trade Jared Allen to the Vikings for three draft picks in 2008 -- the last of which turned into the greatest running back this franchise has ever employed?” -- Stevo, South Waldo.

Fine, I asked that one myself.  And thus am forced to concede, that while drafting Aaron Rodgers instead of DJ would have been really, really smart twelve years ago … perhaps it wasn’t as wr … wr … wr … possibly incorrect of a decision, as I’ve always played it out to be.

Because God bless, if Jamaal Charles had never been a Chief?

I’d be p*ssed.

Either way though -- Rodgers or DJ -- we can all agree on one thing:

Drafting James Harvey Grigsby with the 138th pick, was the best thing the Chiefs did in that 2005 draft.  

And that is not up for discussion.

Because sweet merciful Lord Jesus, do I miss “The Tailgate” from 2005-2007 damned near every home game.

* “OK, the schedule is set.  Time to do the annual tradition: rank the tailgating potential, worst to first!” -- Tyler M, Springfield.

Ooh, sounds good!  Because let’s face it folks -- the tailgate sets the mood for everything.

First, the ground rules:

  1. As of 8:21am on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017, I currently plan on attending 13 of the 20 games -- all ten at home, plus the roadies at Houston, Dallas, and the Jets.  I also can easily be talked into visiting those people on New Year’s Eve.  I also will be traveling north for the raiders roadie, to watch it with our raider friends and fans who come down here for the game every year.  Those fifteen will be the top fifteen.  The five I have no intentions whatsoever to attend, will be your bottom five.
  2. Weather plays a factor.  As does known friends coming into town, as does probable menu.  But especially weather.
  3. This is my listing.  You may be more geeked for a game than I am.  If so, great!  You may be less geeked for a game than I am.  If so, wonderful!  They have this thing at the bottom of every post called “comment”.  You can share your opinions there.  I don’t edit or block any comment, no matter how racist, insensitive, or mentally challenged it is.  Your comment reflects on you, not me.

Got it?  Good.  Here goes.

20. At Bengals (Preseason Week Two, Saturday, August 19th).  Doubt I’ll watch more than a quarter.  And that’s accounting for a television being poolside.

19. At Seahawks (Preseason Week Three, Friday, August 25th).  Doubt I’ll watch more than a half.  And that’s accounting for Tony Romo’s broadcasting debut.

18. At Chargers (Week Three, Sunday, September 24th).  At least The Deck should be opened for business to watch this one.

17. At Giants (Week Eleven, Sunday, November 19th).  Yeah, does nothing for me.

16. At Patriots (Week One, Thursday, September 7th).  Here’s to hoping my “career sabbatical” is over by then, and I get to use my first PTO day in the new gig for (maureen mcgovern voice) the morning after.

15. At those people (Week Seventeen, Sunday, December 31st).  Until it’s an official go, I can’t rank it ahead of the tailgate I know I’ll be at, that I dread the most.

14. Vs Chargers (Week Fifteen, Saturday, December 16th).  Prime time, at home, in December, in Kansas City, against an opponent nobody gives a flying flip about.  I don’t care how good that Charger Chicken tastes, this is going to be a rough one, barring “really unseasonable conditions” from the weather gods.

13. Vs Titans (Preseason Week Four, Thursday, August 31st).  I’m guessing the “tailgate” will be in the pool.  Which I’m perfectly fine with.

12. Vs Dolphins (Week Sixteen, Sunday, December 24th).  My mom and I actually had a solid thirty minute argument after the schedule came out about whether or not I would be at this game … or at 3pm Mass.  You can guess which person took which side.  You might be stunned to learn, I won said debate.

11. Vs 49ers (Preseason Week One, Friday, August 11th).  The 8pm CT kickoff means even if you work, blow it off an hour or so early, and you can get in a solid 2-3 hours of sun-soaked beer pong or washers or cornhole.  That’s not a bad day peoples and peepettes.  That’s not a bad day.  Especially with (literal) midnight volleyball in the pool afterwards.  (Pause).  I might need to rethink this listing as the season draws closer -- a 90 degree afternoon ponging it up, followed by some crappy football and drunken volleyball sounds pretty damned enticing right now.

10. Vs Bills (Week Twelve, Sunday, November 26th).  Thanksgiving weekend.  Total crap shoot for the weather, total crap shoot on which regulars will be there, and which ones won’t due to holiday travel, and total crap shoot on the menu.  In other words, it’s solidly middle of the pack.

(Note: from this point on, I’m stoked for all of these.  Everything before this I could take or leave.  Everything from this point on?  (ronnie milsap voice) I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.)

9. At Jets (Week Thirteen, Sunday, December 3rd).  Do I haul the Chadwick Pennington jersey out of the back of whatever closet it’s in?  Also, it’ll be great to tailgate on Jersey Bob’s turf for once.  Also, it’ll be great to try to reach out to various family members I haven’t seen or talked to in ages, to meet up for a $16 Sam Adams and $37 crappy appetizer the night before.

8. Vs raiders (Week Thirteen, Sunday, December 10th).  Looking forward to raider nation’s annual invasion.  Just wish it was earlier in the season … although having done Sioux Falls in October last year for the raider roadie, I’m not all that upset about the return trip being in December again.  Also, major prime time flex potential here if KC and oakland live up to expectations -- the current Sunday Nighter is Baltimore at Pittsburgh.  I don’t think much of the Ravens at this point.  And neither should you.

7. At Texans (Week Five, Sunday, October 8th.)  Could move higher depending on who all goes.  I’m guessing a lot of people who would have gone had this been a noon kickoff, won’t or can’t due to having to be at work on Monday October 9th.  Which sucks.  People, it’s called Paid Time Off for a reason, and as someone who didn’t get a true PTO day for nearly two years in the last job, trust me -- you WANT to take advantage of this perk.

Also -- this is guaranteed to happen, and it is guaranteed to make me smile, clap, sing, and cry, all at once.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Yes, I have sought mental health counseling before!  Why would you ask that?

6. At raiders (Week Seven, Thursday, October 19th).  The Garage will be rocking.  (Feel free to come knocking … although nobody ever does apparently.)  The OT Bites will be kick ass awesome.  Saturday at Eastway will be phenomenal.  Lunch at whatever that Meadery place is in Bellevue with Jeff and Paula on the way back will be incredible (and sloshy!).  Really, this is just going to be one phenomenal weekend, win or lose.  Especially win.

5. At Cowboys (Week Nine, Sunday, November 5th).  I might make a permanent vacation out of this one.  All I can say is, if you’ve never lived in Texas?  You just don’t get it.

4. Vs steelers (Week Six, Sunday, October 15th).  The 2015 visit by our “good friends” from my second most hated NFL team, was an upset Chiefs win that sparked an amazing eleven game winning streak to the Divisional Round.  The 2016 visit by our “good friends” that are rapidly reaching “those people” designation status ended the funnest season in a generation for the Chiefs.  Probably good that as a Jayhawks Football fan, I grasp the concept of “win or lose?  We still booze!”

3. Vs Redskins (Week Four, Monday, October 2nd).  A late summer / early fall all day tailgate.  I love it.

2. Vs Eagles (Week Two, Sunday, September 17th).  The home opener.  As sacred a day as exists in Football Nation.  Cheesesteaks for the main course.  “Perfect Stevo Day” conditions in play.  The balloon launch.  The oversized American flag with (hopefully) Ida McBeth or the Rev. Hal Weeks singing the National Anthem.  (Note: I’d settle for Patti DiParto-Livergood or David Cook … and I can be talked into Eduardo Dinero, who’s never failed to deliver the goods.)  Seeing friends and tailgaters and people I sit by for the first time in a few months.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  You’re damned right “Toes” by Zac Brown Band will be on the Mixology rotation that day!  

1. Vs those people (Week Eight, Monday, October 30th).  The Day I Live For.  

Looking forward to seeing you -- and everyone reading this -- out there, dude.

* “So what would have been your number one “do this no matter what” transaction for the Chiefs, had reality not interfered?” -- Dustin H, Olathe.

Sign Tyrod Taylor.  I mean, seriously -- did you people not see what “Fat” Andy did for Mike Vick’s career?  For Donovan McNabb’s?  Christ, he’s turned Alex Bleeping Smith -- who has the “Speed of Stevo” for god’s sake! -- into a credible run / pass threat.  Imagine what he could have done if he had gotten his hands on Mr. Taylor?

Sadly, Buffalo did what can only be described as the “no sh*t, Sherlock” move of their offseason, and kept him.  But man, what could have been.

* “No mock draft?  What the hell?” -- Chris N, Quality Hill.

The only thing that is a bigger waste of time and money than a mock draft, is a flyover.  It’s just a pointless exercise in futility.  

* “You going Thursday (to the Chiefs Draft Party)?” -- Jacob J, Shawnee.

Against my better judgment … yes.  Oh, and anyone else going that runs into me?  You can have my free Bud Light.  I wouldn’t drink that sh*t if it was the last alcohol concoction on earth.  (Pause).  Fine -- in that scenario, I would drink it.  But ONLY in that scenario.  (Pause).  Fine, that scenario -- and if it is the only libation available where I happen to be at.  But -- but! -- if I have to drink Bud Light, you should warn your toilet and/or sink, for the abuse it’s about to endure, from the wrath of my stomach.

Also, we’re in range.

* “What offseason move has you most pleased … and what offseason move has you apoplectic, Dan Dierdorf style?” -- Eric R, Blue Springs.

Resigning Eric Berry has to top the list, does it not?  I mean, I cannot in a thousand lifetimes, with a thousand laptops, and a thousand monkeys and/or midgets typing, come up with a way of expressing what the moments before introductions at the Divisional Round Game were better than Mr. Keysor.  (I won’t even attempt to explain, how tear-inducing inspirational the player introductions were on Thursday, September 17, 2015.  Trust me -- I was there.  The only people not crying were fans of “those people”.)

The Chiefs had to keep Mr. Berry, just like they had to keep Mr. Houston last offseason.  

Apoplectic?  Well, I’m not sure that’s the right word, but releasing Jaye Howard?  That pinged my phone up in Chicago last week, and I’m still stunned by it.  There has to be more to this than a numbers game, because if the cap is that tight, I can think of at least five other “more than deserving” cuts ahead of Mr. Howard, not the least of which is Dusty C.  God bless, how can the organization frame him for something to get his ridiculous cap number off the books?  Seriously, do the Chiefs no longer have Carlton Gray’s number on speed dial, to discuss how to blackmail someone into doing what you want for damned near a decade?

Also, we’re getting closer.

* “Five months out, who makes the playoffs?” -- Vineet T, Queens.

NFC: I think the Giants take the East, the Packers roll in the Norris, the Bucs steal the South, and the Seahawks retain the West.  Give me the Cowboys and Saints as wild cards.

AFC: I think your Miami Dolphins shock the world by winning the East, the Steelers severely underachieve but win the Norris with a .500 record, the Texans retain the South for the third year in a row, and the Chiefs win the West.  Give me the Patriots and raiders as wild cards.

All this subject to change, of course, when I run the schedules in late August / early September, to make my official predictions.

* “Are you really sure you want the Chiefs drafting a quarterback on Thursday?  Because you were so right the last time you lobbied for that to happen!” -- Brett H, Harrisonville.

I still think Ryan Mallett has potential.  Also, I have been drinking.

Finally ...

* “So what is the word on that job thing.  Not for me, but for a friend of mine!” -- Tena M, Lenexa.

I can say this with certainty: it has been a very, very, very, very, very long time, since I had two digits in front of the comma, in my checking account balance, without said balance being in red font (rimshot!)  That is guaranteed to occur, on Friday.  No, really, that’s not a joke -- I’ve seen the pay stub.  I damned near dropped dead seeing the amount “former employer” is paying me to simply (gregg and stevo’s old school doormat voice) GO AWAY!

The true answer is, damned if I know.  I have spent multiple hours meeting with my “career online life and management coach” about my “career sabbatical”, and I have no clue what it is I want to do.  

I want to remain in the world of accounting.  I’m not great at much in life (cue the “no sh*t, we’re reading this worthless tripe” response from Stevo’s Site Numero Dos’ Nation), but I can crunch numbers better than your average bear.  But after almost twenty years, I have no desire whatsoever to remain in reinsurance.  Which kind of sucks honestly -- you devote literally half your life to a specialized industry, and you’re not only respected in it, but are actively sought to be employed in it?  To walk away from that, stings a bit.  

(For the record, I already have fielded two calls from reinsurers here in KC to interview, after they found out about my unplanned (yet very welcomed) departure from “Former Employer”.  I turned down both requests, using the “technically I’m still employed” excuse that is, uuh, technically correct, through Friday.)

But the truth is, you got me an interview for a job I wasn’t qualified to do, for an opening not exactly, uuh, openly posted, eighteen years ago come October.  I somehow nailed the interview, got the job, and haven’t looked back with too much regret since at the professional side of my life.  I did the best I could, no matter how god awful the working conditions were.  I am OK with ending this chapter of my professional life, if that is what this is.

* “That might be the most bullsh*t response to a fake query I’ve ever heard.” -- Damien J, Lee’s Summit.

Actually, that might be the most sincere and credible response to a fake query, I’ve ever written.

I had three stated goals for 2017 (I know -- ambition!).  I wanted to move somewhere I might actually enjoy.  I’ve done that; I moved into a house in South Waldo almost five months ago, and haven’t regretted a moment of it.  I wanted to get the f*ck out of my job.  I’ve done that -- with a very, very (spanish voice) muy generoso going away present from “former employer” to boot.  And I’ll deal with getting a new car in the next few weeks.

When you accomplish every goal for your year inside of six months?  (jim valvano voice) That’s a success.  That’s a hell of a success!

My way of saying?

Don’t fear for me people.  I’ve survived worse than this stretch of my life.  Hell, I’m so incapable of NOT surviving, I couldn’t even kill myself.  I so, so appreciate all the reach-outs of support and “if you need anything” offers.  All I need is a summer by the pool, where I can so … hang on.  I already referenced this song earlier; might as well close with it.

“I got my toes in the water,
My ass (on The Deck);
Not a worry in the world,
A cold beer in my hand --

Life is good today.
Life is good today!”

I intend to travel some in the coming few months (look out Puerto Rico, I’m gunning for you first week in June!), I intend to write/post more (because it’s arguably the only thing of a non-chemical nature keeping me sane), and I intend to just enjoy this incredible gift God has given us called “life” as best I can, for as long as I can.  And at some point come mid-June / early-July, I’ll get serious about no longer living off the government (seriously Kansas, your unemployment package is SO much better than Missouri’s from 11 years ago), and figure out what the hell to do with my next ten to twelve years of my life.

Because that’s really all of us can do, if we’re being honest: just be the best you (or me) imaginable.  Just Be You.  And NEVER apologize for it!

Unless you’re like into kiddie porn or murdering people.  Then you might want to rethink who you are.

--------------------

So I guess I flipped the script of planned posts.  Your Chiefs Fake Mailbag came first.  The NFL Coaches Power Poll goes up eventually (it’s about 22.46% done).  I also would love to get a recap of my week in Chicagoland (where, contrary to what The Drudge Report would have you believe?  You don’t feel in constant fear of being shot!), and whatever other random sh*t enters my brain at whatever random moment it enters said brain.

Until next time?  Whenever that happens to be?  

(Sgt. Esterhaus voice) Let’s be careful out there ...