Not a sound from the pavement.
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone.
In the lamplight,
The withered leaves collect at my feet.
And the wind begins to moan.
All alone in the moonlight.
I can dream of the old days!
Life was beautiful then.
I remember the time I knew
What happiness was.
Let the memory live again …”
-- “Memory”, from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats”, best performed by Barbra Streisand, but also well done by Jason Castro in season seven of “American Idol” …
Well, give the Chiefs this -- they pretty much let us know right off the bat yesterday that this was going to be a baffling, ridiculous, absolutely unconscionable afternoon of football when the worst hire in franchise history (that would be current head coach Romeo Crennel, forever more to be referred to on this site as “Coach Baffoon”) tossed a challenge flag after a long Chargers reception on the first drive of the game.
Was Coach Baffoon challenging whether the catch was valid? OF COURSE NOT! Was the catch valid? Of COURSE IT WAS! What, pray tell, was the challenge for then?
Because Coach Baffoon felt the Chargers had gotten six additional yards on the spot of the reception.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, peoples and peepettes, fellow Chiefs fans and haters, our idiotic, moronic head coach challenged the spot of the reception, on the first drive of the game. Set aside the fact that Coach Baffoon actually won the challenge, and managed to "gain" a whopping six yards for his defense. Here's my first question of the day: Coach? What in the HELL were you thinking there? You do realize you only get two challenges in a game, right? (Fine, fine, three if you win the first two, but you’re only guaranteed two.)
It seems to me, hell, it seems obvious to EVERYONE other than you sir, that when you have a very finite amount of challenges available to you? You sure as ALL HELL DO NOT WASTE ONE OF THEM ON A SIX YARD SPOT QUESTION! Jesus f*cking Christ, did that really happen? Did our head coach really challenge whether a long reception was 21 yards good, or 27 yards good, when the spot (a) did not overturn a first down gained, (b) did not move the Chargers out of field goal range, and (c) did not have ONE DAMNED BIT OF IMPACT on the game?
Other than to confirm to whatever last vestiges of Arrowhead Nation are preaching objectivity about Coach Baffoon, that their argument has no merit – the man is a f*cking baffoon!
You laugh, but that was my EXACT reaction when he chucked the flag -- I literally slammed my hand down on the back of the seat in front of me and released a very audible "Jesus f*cking Christ, please tell me he's not doing this!*"
And that, sadly, was one of the high points of yesterday's game, because Romeo won his challenge. An incredible coaching brain fart that should have led to rioting in the stands, was the high point of the contest!
Good. F*cking. God.
(*: I tried to warn Damien, who sat next to me yesterday, that I get into Chiefs games. I don’t think he was prepared for a “Jesus f*cking Christ!” hand slap not even two minutes into the game. To be fair? Not even I saw one coming that soon into a game.)
Let's do this, if only as a therapeutic release for me.
* We got there a little bit before seven yesterday. There were 8 of us on the bus, and plenty more coming later. Really guys -- this team doesn't deserve us. They truly don't. This team doesn't deserve dedicated die-hard fans who pay thousands of dollars to watch this craptacular franchise do its thing. This team, this franchise, this owner, this GM, this head coach, this quarterback, these players, deserve 78,625 empty seats, about 150 empty luxury boxes, and the broadcast booth to be unmanned during the contest. That's what they deserve. That's what they've earned.
If you choose to never return for the rest of the season, good for you. I wish I could do that. But as I've noted many times before, I am the worst kind of fan there is. I'm too blinded by love and loyalty to give this franchise what it deserves, which is me cutting it out of my life. But if you can do it, if you can exercise this demon that is posing as the Kansas City Chiefs? Please, do it. These guys don't deserve us. They deserve two gigantic middle fingers while shouting obsenities at each and every member of this organization, up to and including ...
* the parking attendants in Lot G. Let me set the scene. It's a little before 8am. The gates have just opened. Glenn (the guy who guides traffic in the main pathway between G and H) has waved the bus through (since the Chiefs do not allow buses to park in the actual parking lot anymore. Thanks guys! No really, Hunt Family, Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, and your overpaid and worthless "talent" posing as a roster, to say nothing of the freaking joke that is the Jackson County Sports Commission Authority (stealing our tax dollars to pay the Royals and Chiefs payroll taxes since at least 2006!!!), really -- you guys are the best!)
Anyways, Glenn has let the bus through, and Russ is clearly turning around in Lot G, to pull onto the grass pointing out, to make it easier to leave after the game.
Out of nowhere, a Lot G parking attendant comes hauling ass in my direction, shouting "what the f*ck are you doing! You cannot park here! You cannot park here!" Now, I know I love the f bomb (and fair warning: it will be gratuitously used going forward in this fourteen page post) ... but really? Before you assess the situation, you come up and tell your paying customers "what the f*ck are you doing!" Really, Chiefs parking guy? Really? Thanks buddy.
This was followed shortly by another parking moron hauling ass to berate me as I moved a cone out of the way to allow the Bus to pull onto the grass. As I told moron number two: “fine! Next week, we won’t be polite -- we’ll just run over your goddamned cones! As many as we can take out!”
This organization truly employs nothing but the dullest and dumbest in our fine city.
* Once we got the tailgate set up, me, Anthony and Jaimmie headed down to the Team Store. I needed a new windbreaker, and had seen one on the Chiefs Shop website for $45. I figured I'd buy it yesterday, to ensure I get the 10% discount as a season ticket holder. Plus, it’s supposed to turn colder later this week, through GameDay next weekend, so it made sense to buy one. Plus, I also wanted to see the thing first, before committing $50 some odd dollars to it.
So, we arrive at the Team Store, and in a surprise to absolutely noone, it wasn't open yet. Despite advertising that "the Team Store is open whenever the parking lots are", uum, yeah, they weren't. But, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, since the gates did open a half hour early, and figured they'd open close to 8:30, and all would be well.
FORTY MINUTES LATER, as in 8:50am, a full FIFTY MINUTES after the gates opened, the Chiefs finally open the store to the public. But not before a few more insults were dumped on anyone seeking to give their money away to this wretched franchise. First, we had to be wanded down to enter the store. Yes, Chiefs fans, to simply shop at the Team Store now requires a full on metal detection search. I was irate. And that? Was probably the least offensive thing about the visit to said Team Store.
So, we finally get in and start looking around. I ask an employee about the windbreaker I'd seen online, and this conversation ensues.
(employee) well, I'm sorry to tell you this sir, but we don't carry that here (at the Team Store).
(employee) we actually carry only about 20 or 30% of what you can buy online.
(stevo) well that sucks. Makes sense, but still sucks.
(employee) well, perhaps you would be interested in another item ...
Of course, all the "other items" in the windbreaker department consisted of a couple youth options, a couple female options, and two male windbreakers.
One for $105.99, one for $94.99.
So, as I'm standing there deciding if I want to get raped with a stick (the $95 option) or in the prison shower by some big black dude named Bubba (the $105 option), the Chiefs choose to keep piling on the insults, as this conversation ensues:
(employee) sir, may I see your ticket please?
(employee) you have to have a ticket to today's game to be in here.
(stevo) (beyond incredulous) are you kidding me?
(employee) no sir. I need to see your ticket.
So, I haul out my card, and the employee tries to scan it. I immediately stop him:
(stevo) wait! If you scan that now, will I still be able to get in a couple hours from now?
(employee) what? (in his defense, he wasn’t angry; he legitimately did not understand what I was saying.)
(stevo) Well, that card gets scanned when we enter the stadium, right? If you scan it now, how will I be able to get in later? There's only one ticket for today on there!
(employee) I'm sure it will be fine. (scans card).
I grab the $95 coat, head over and pay*, wait for Anthony and Jaimmie to check out, then head back up to the Bus. Upon reaching said bus, and attempting to explain why it took almost an hour to buy one item, I grab a huge beer tumbler, crack open a bottle of champagne, and fill the 22oz cup up to the top, with a splash of OJ on top. I earned it.
(*: the very nice lady who checked me out, had witnessed my prior two "customer service" experiences with her fellow employees. She gave me double the STH discount, as she took 20% off for the inconvenience. Well, that's a relief. So a $95 windbreaker ran me barely $90 after taxes. At least one person working at One Arrowhead Drive has an IQ above room temperature, and a positive, customer-friendly attitude. One out of what, 500?)
* Not much to report for the rest of tailgating. The menu was assorted grilled chicken, cheezy hashbrowns, some kind of salad I avoided, and some liquid courage. Slowly yet surely, the rest of the regulars started to show up. Gregg and his lovely sister, my brother and his father in law, Dusty and Kellie*, Damien, and a couple co-workers of mine. Good times.
(*: from the “what was he smoking” file: when I talked to Dusty on Friday, he swore they would “be out there early”. They showed up at 10:15. Even building in an extra 10, 15 minutes to pick up Doc, uum … if showing up with less than an hour to go before tailgating packs up is “arriving early”, I’d hate to see what “fashionably late” is.)
* About 11:15, we packed it up and headed in. Fortunately, my season ticket card did scan. If it hadn't, you would have seen riot-like conditions at Gate H, that's for sure.
* After a quick stop at the bano, and grabbing a Coors Light, we arrived at our seats. Sadly, the two guys I liked at the Falcons game weren’t behind me yesterday. Instead, it was some dude and his lady who kept getting up every two minutes to hit the concession stand or the bathroom*. Ridiculous. Good God, I have the smallest bladder known to man, and even I can hold it until there’s a timeout on the field.
(*: from the “whoa! I’m not completely insane!” department: when Doc and I hit up the bano on the way to our seats, he dropped the “you know, I miss the troughs. The line moved so much faster with those things”. A-FREAKING-MEN! Jesus, I’ve been saying that for five years now! Were they sanitary? Hell no! Did they reek to high heaven? Hell yes! Did you get in and out of the bathroom at least 50% faster than you do with individual urinals? Oh HELL yes! Bring! Back! The! Troughs!)
* According to the email the Chiefs send to season ticket holders before each home game, the Anthem was supposed to be done by some lady I’d never heard of. Uum, no, no it wasn't. The Anthem was performed (quite well) by "American Idol" finalist Skylar Laine*. I had no complaints ... up until they revealed who was standing behind her on the field.
(*: another reason I like Doc as much as I do: he hauled out “hey, she was on “Idol” last year, wasn’t she?” comment before I could even confirm it. So there’s two straight white guys who watch “Idol”! Suh-weet! Take THAT, fourteen year old girl texting your votes in every week! Also, we got off onto politics for awhile, and we're both backing Romney, which led to me noting "I think he (Romney) will win Missouri ... as long as we keep Mickey and his family away from the polls. Doc's response: "Yeah! I swear to God, the election is Wednesday November 7th! I swear, it got moved back a day!" 36 painful days to go folks. Only 36 painful days to go!)
But let me back up, and attempt to get this straight. You have a bona fide, certified gigantic superstar on the field, next to a mic, and you DON'T ask him to perform? Who the hell makes the decisions in the Chiefs front office, Mickey Mouse*? Goofy? Rolf**? I mean, good Lord guys! You have Eric Church on the field. There's a mic 10 feet from him. And you DON'T ask him to perform? In the words of John Candy in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", "what a moron!"
(*: gives me a chance to haul out my second favorite Robert Montgomery Knight quote of all time, in reference to the NCAA: "I'd like to call this a Mickey Mouse operation, but I don't want to insult Mickey Mouse." There's comedy, there's high comedy, and then there's a Bobby Knight press conference.)
(**: my favorite Muppets, in order: Rolf, the Swedish Chef, Fozzie the Bear, and the two old critics in the balcony. Whose lines in the greatest TV theme song of all time certainly bear repeating when it comes to the 2012 Chiefs: “why do we always come here? I guess we’ll never know. It’s like a kind of torture, to have to watch the show!”)
* Oh but wait, it gets better. That email from the Chiefs promised us a "historic" B25 flyover. Now, you all probably know my position on flyovers. (In case you don't, I believe they're the second biggest waste of money known to man, second only to strip clubs.) So on the bright side, at least a couple seasoned citizens will get their Medicaid and Social Security benefits this month by our local, state, and federal municipalities pissing away a couple hundred thousand on a stupid, pointless exercise.
But there were a good number of people infuriated that there was no flyover.
(dramatic pause as the light bulb clicks to the “on” position …)
I think I'm starting to get it folks! I really do! The Chiefs PROMISE you one thing, and SELL you something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from what they promised! They promise us some no-name Anthem singer; we get Skylar Laine ... and should have had Eric Church. They promise you a flyover; there is no flyover.
And they promised to field a competitive, talented roster that was a threat to beat anyone come January. The only thing these 53 underachievers and their worthless coaches are going to be beating in January, is their most private of parts, to whatever porno they're watching.
This team is just horrendous. I mean, I can deal with losing. I can deal with failure, with disappointment. I cannot, and will not, deal with utter incompetence. And the Chiefs, from the 53rd man on the roster, straight up to the most important man in the organization, are utterly incompetent. They are devoid of even a small semblance of a clue as to what makes a successful franchise, both on and off the field. They are utterly incompetent.
Utterly. And completely. Incompetent.
Somehow, I don't think that's gonna be the team's marketing slogan anytime soon ... even if it is utterly and completely true.
* Nice ovation for Bill Leavy and his crew yesterday during the coin toss. Welcome back guys.
* One quick moment where I deviate from the abject negativity, anger, and rage this franchise has driven so many of us to, and in my case, well, in the words of Al Michaels, "Stevo is apoplectic". THANK YOU, Chiefs organization, for returning the Ring of Honor. I know this is a stupid, petty, absolutely dumb place to draw a line in the sand ... but the Ring NEVER should have been removed. (Yet another glaring example of just how clueless this franchise's decision makers are). So if I'm going to spend the previous three pages, and the next ten to eleven pages, ripping your pathetic organization a new one, I at least need to recognize when you do something right.
And returning the Ring of Honor, is an absolute good. Thanks for that guys.
Now bring back Patti DiParto-Livergood and the TD Pack Band, and maybe I’ll overlook just how god awful the Pioli regime has been.
(And please, spare me the “he inherited a mess of a roster”. Really? And Carl Peterson DIDN’T? Carl’s first four years: 8-7-1, first team out. 11-5, wildcard. 10-6, divisional round. 10-6, wildcard. Pioli’s first four years? 4-12 doormat. 10-6 wildcard round. 7-9. and 1-3 and fading fast. We’re rapidly approaching that point where I have to haul out the Al Gore line from his 1992 acceptance speech at the DNC when discussing everyone affiliated with this god-awful team: “the clock is ticking, and it is time. It’s time for them to go!”)
Now back to trainwreck that is the 2012 Chiefs ...
* Chargers win the toss, choose to receive. That's what smart, well coached, well run franchises do: they make the right call.
I mean, let that previous sentence sink in. We faced an opponent yesterday that is coached by arguably THE biggest failure to get multiple shots at the head gig in NFL history. Nobody respects Norv Turner as a head coach. NOBODY. And yet, if you had to play a game tomorrow, and your two coaching options were Norv Turner or Coach Baffoon, who do you pick?
I go for Turner every time, and twice on Game Day.
That's how low it's gotten at One Arrowhead Drive folks -- Norv Turner is no longer the worst coach in the division. Christ, he might be the second best coach in the division! (Also known as “the ONLY reason any Chiefs fan has for optimism at this point”, the division is that awful.)
We, the Chiefs? We employ the village idiot now! Excuse me while I find my HHH Memorial Sledge Hammer and bludgeon myself to near death ...
* Chargers first drive ... God above. If any one drive perfectly encapsilates (I think that's a word) what the 2012 Chiefs are, it's this beauty. The Chargers were 2 for 2 on third down. They had first down gains of 14 and 12 yards. They drew not one, but TWO pass interference calls on Eric Berry. And the capper -- after damaging the Chiefs by pounding former Chief Jackie Battle down our throats, they conclude the drive by tossing a touchdown to a wide, wide open eddie royal, the former donkey who killed the Chiefs for years at fake mile high.
After that score, I turned to Damien and noted "this might be the fastest trip back to the beer line of my life". I wasn't kidding -- I pounded the Coors Light in about two minutes flat, that drive was so insulting.
This also was the drive that featured Coach Baffoon's baffling challenge decision mentioned in the opening of this post, which did lead to one moment of funniness:
(damien) why doesn't Romeo hold the flag?
(stevo) huh? (honest to God folks: I had not noticed this prior to Doc pointing it out.)
(damien) Romeo didn't toss the flag, that guy did! (points to an assistant coach)
(stevo) (flinging it against the wall and hoping it sticks) well, in Romeo's defense, he is pretty fat. He probably can't reach around to access his back pocket!
(everyone) (laughs all around)
All that was missing was a towel joke, and you would have thought Mark Mangino was the subject of conversation.
* The only other laughable moment in this game, was when the guy next to Doc sat down*. He was wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm available! Just don't tell my girlfriend!" OK, I thought it was funny. Then again, I find watching dogs get it on with a human's leg to be funny, so what do I know.
(*: this is a lie. There was one more laugh out loud funny moment out of Doc, at the two minute warning for the first half. The Chiefs cheerleaders perform in these lovely “barely there” white outfits, and Damien deadpans “I’d love to come home one night and see Shannon in that.” Made me laugh at least. Even if he was 100 percent serious about that. And in his defense, he should be. His wife’s very attractive, and that outfit the cheerleaders were wearing, dear God. They’d turn “Stevo’s Site Numero Dos”’s Official Gay Critiquer Donnie straight as straight can be. And I'm gonna guess the last time this site's Gay Czar slept with a girl was with his mom when he was 7, 8 months old.)
* The Chiefs respond ... with turnover numero uno, a Cassel pick that the Chargers return to the Chiefs 28. Cue the boo birds.
* And before I forget, good job fans! Normally I'm not a fan of booing the home team, but EVERYTHING about this franchise deserves to be booed. Hell, everything about this franchise needs to be torched, burnt to the ground, and started over with new leadership and players who give a crap (more on this when I get to the halftime remarks). So if you booed Matt Cassel yesterday? Good for you.
Because I was booing right along with you.
Middle fingers raised to boot.
* Chargers take advantage of the opportunity the Chiefs give them, and kick a field goal to go up 10-0. We're not even halfway through the quarter, and the warning signs are already flashing in ugly red lights.
* Chiefs second possession sees two plays. The first, a false start on Tony Moeaki. The second, a fumble by Jamaal Charles that the Chargers recover at the Chiefs 5. In section 336, this hot-as-hell wanna-be writer buries his head in his hands, shaking said head in disbelief. Thankfully, Damien took advantage of the time out with the possession change to buy another round of Coors Light*. It was greatly appreciated, since ...
* Two Jackie Battle runs later, the Chargers lead 17-0, not even ten minutes into the quarter. Yes, you read that correctly -- not even ten minutes into the game, at a stadium once known as the most feared stadium in sports, the home team is down 17, the home crowd is booing vociferously, and fans are turning to booze and other assorted products to deal with the depression that the stink on the field is inducing.
(*: Doc is my only friend who agrees with me, that Coors Light is the best cheap domestic beer. I knew I liked that guy!)
* The Chiefs get one first down before settling for a punt. Cassel's third down throw was insulting to anyone with a basic knowledge of the sport. He didn't progress through his receivers, he didn't check down, he locked in on the safety valve and fired it to Baldwin 11 yards away from the first down marker, apparently expecting Jon Baldwin to somehow drag five defenders those 11 yards needed for the first down. Go figure, he couldn't.
That, to me, is THE single biggest complaint I have about Matt Cassel. He's playing scared. Watch his feet this Sunday if you're among the unfortunate many who will be there to witness yet another double-digit ass whipping. Watch Cassel's feet. He is SCARED TO DEATH in that pocket. Scared. To. Death. As soon as he can release the ball, he does. When your quarterback is playing scared, it's a lost cause. And Matt Cassel is playing scared.
* Finally, the Chiefs defense holds, and after a horrific punt by Mike Scifres (who rarely if ever botches a punt), the Chiefs have it at their own 21.
This, at that moment, is what I was thinking:
“OK guys, you've survived the worst quarter of your season. You showed last week that you can rally from an insurmountable deficit. Let’s get started.”
Uum, no. Not this week, anyway.
On second down, Cassel appears to fumble the ball as he's hit. Fortunately, Bill Leavy declined the Chargers challenge, and gives the Chiefs a break and possession.
And then, on third down, well, in a nutshell, THIS is “Coach Baffoon Football” at its apex.
3rd and 4. Cassel takes a five step drop, and Dwayne Bowe is streaking wide open down the sideline. Cassel throws, actually hits Bowe in stride, it's a 35 yard gain, and the Chiefs are in business. The stadium finally is cheering rather than booing.
Oh, wait. It's the Coach Baffoon coached Chiefs. So OF COURSE Tony Moeaki is flagged for his second false start in as many drives, and instead of the Chiefs having 1st and 10 at the Chargers 40, they've got 3rd and 9 at their own 20.
3rd and 9. Cassel drops back ... fumble! Thankfully Eric Winston recovers the fumble, allowing the Chiefs to punt (and avoiding the Chargers having it inside our ten yard line for a second time). But that, folks, is your Coach Baffoon coached Chiefs -- a flash of greatness destroyed by utter incompetence.
How, Mr. Moeaki, how in the hell do you get flagged, AT HOME, for two false starts in 20 minutes? How, Mr. Cassel, do you fumble twice in the same drive after being hit? (I thought the Chargers were valid to challenge the "incompetion".)
And how, Mr. Baffoon, do you justify continuing to trot out these same pathetic losers series after series, expecting a different result from what they've delivered for you all season long up until now?
* Chargers kick a field goal to go up 20-0 with about 8 minutes left in the half. I turn to Damien and note "well, if we win this, it'll be the second week in a row we post the biggest comeback in franchise history!" Your Coach Baffoon coached 2012 Chiefs, everybody!!! (kazoo voice) (unsure whether to play or not ...)
* After the kickoff, the Chiefs take over at their 25. So let me set the scene: the Chiefs are trailing 20-0. The fans are booing mercilessly. It cannot get worse, right?
Cue turnover number four, as Jamaal Charles lays it on the ground for his second fumble lost of the day. We're barely 20 minutes into this game, and the Chiefs are already -4 in the turnover category.
* Somehow, the Chiefs defense rises to the occasion (this is the third drive already San Diego has started inside the Chiefs 30), and Brandon Flowers picks off a horribly thrown Rivers pass to temporarily halt the Chargers momentum.
* And to the Chiefs credit, they capitalize, on one of the most amazing runs from scrimmage I've ever seen. Jamaal Charles, on a play designed to go offtackle right, is bottled up behind the line of scrimmage, and somehow breaks out of two would-be tacklers grasp, reverses field, and darts nearly 40 yards for the touchdown, and the key block that sprung the left side open was thrown by Matt Cassel of all people. Sometimes, one play can change a game. We saw it last week -- Charles' 91 yard run after an interception got the comeback going. Now, here, yesterday, were we going to witness the same thing?
* Of course not! Because as only a Coach Baffoon team can do, the Chiefs botch the extra point. The snap bounces two yards short of the holder, who then muffs the recovery, and the play ends with Ryan Succup tossing an interception in the end zone. I swear to Christ, clown college* isn't as goofy as a Coach Baffoon coached team is.
(*: hey, another pointless side point! My favorite clowns in order: the drunk clown who shows up in the mouse car in “Uncle Buck”, Bozo (every person my age watched Bozo on WGN every morning), Krusty, and ... uum … that’s about it. I count Coach Baffoon as a clown, but he’s certainly not on any of my favorites lists.)
* After the Chargers draw a third defensive pass interference call on the Chiefs, the D holds and forces a punt. Scifres kicks it out of the end zone, and the Chiefs have it at their 20, only down 13, with a little over three minutes to go until the half, and all three timeouts (plus the two minute warning) to work with. And the Chiefs get the ball at the half. For one brief, beautiful moment, an aura of hope, of faith, of opportunity returned to the sacred grounds of Arrowhead.
And then Matt Cassel happened.
With a horrific "oh God no, he did NOT just throw that!!!!" pass that lands in Donald Butler's hands, and 21 yards later, the Chargers have extended the lead to 20 once again. Cue the rush for the exits. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Chiefs were so awful yesterday that at least half the people there were leaving BEFORE HALFTIME. On Alumni Day.
And I can't blame them one damned bit for doing so.
I only wish I had joined them.
* The Chiefs actually mount one last gasp of a drive to close the half, getting as close as the Chargers 22 yard line, before Matt Cassel unleashes his fourth turnover of the contest so far, throwing a pass that is picked by Antoine Cason. The Chargers take a knee, and hit the locker room up 27-6.
D checks out to go have a beer with some friends and family. I figured he’d reached his breaking point and wasn't coming back. And to be honest, I’d reached mine as well. But despite his generous offer to tag along, I had to decline, because it was …
* Alumni Weekend! In the interest of full disclosure, this is always my FAVORITE halftime of the year. Well, other than the year the Chiefs had the Frisbee Dogs perform at halftime. Lots of ex-Chiefs were there yesterday*, but there's two I want to focus on, because they drew the loudest, longest ovations.
And Marty Schottenheimer.
(*: for the second straight year, my “favorite” ex-Chief was not in attendance. It’s not a true, traditional Alumni Weekend without getting to trade “holding, 69, offense”, “leg whip, 69, offense”, “personal foul, 69, offense”, “chop block, 69 offense”, and other assorted offensive penalties assigned to “69, offense” with “The Voice of Reason”. Dammit Jeff Criswell, I MISS YOU! And since it’s tradition, for the fifteenth straight year, I haul out Norman Chad’s greatest one liner of all time, back when he was making weekly NFL picks for Dallas Morning News’ “SportsDay”: “The NFL honored Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas by presenting him a plaque for his 100th sack last Sunday. They also honored Chiefs OL Jeff Criswell with a flag in honor of his 100th holding penalty.”)
The reason why I think these two will always be revered and cheered in this town is simple: they were the face of the franchise when the turnaround began.
But more importantly – they GOT it. They not only were the face of the franchise for the turnaround … they were the face of the franchise that was so accessible, so fan-friendly, so dedicated to the community, that literally, you felt you could approach one of these guys in a Hen House at 119th and Roe, and ask him to autograph a picture you had just bought at Ace Sports of him making a tackle, and ask him to autograph it to your mom, for a Christmas gift*. THAT was the Chiefs organization that USED to be.
(*: that is a true story. My buddy Jasson got Mark Collins to sign that photo. Mr. Collins also signed other items, unasked for by Jasson. THAT is the Chiefs organization we knew and loved, that has been dead for three years, eight months, and counting …)
As time went along, more and more Chiefs became well known to the locals -- Tim Grunhard, Mark Collins (as noted above), Neil Smith, Derrick Thomas, Bill Maas.
Think back fifteen years ago, the Chiefs organization of 1997, versus the Chiefs organization of 2012. Where, exactly, are the fan-friendly players today? Where, pray tell, is the front office interaction with the paying public? Where's the respect due to the fans of this team from the organization?
The answer: it ain't there. There isn't any. The Clark Hunt / Scott Pioli run Chiefs don't give two shits about their fans. Or if they do, it's only to take two shits on them, on us, the people who keep them in business. There's no respect anywhere for the fans of this team from the franchise we love and support. None.
The Chiefs of 2012? Are nothing like the Chiefs of 1997. I think this bears shouting from the rooftops, and deserves to be hammered home.
Fifteen years ago, this team was beloved in this community, because it loved us. There's a reason why people in this town literally cried at Derrick Thomas' funeral, there's a reason why a funeral for a sports figure was held at Kemper, why it touched us so much. Why people had 58 stickers on their cars everywhere back then, why many still do today.
There's a reason why Neil Smith somehow keeps popping up on Channel 9's pregame show, despite his utter inability to utter a coherent sentence. There's a reason why Marty gets a standing ovation anywhere in town he shows up.
Those guys loved us, the fans.
And in return, we loved them. Still to this day.
In 2012? The love is all flowing one way, from fan to team. There's nothing coming back towards us, other than utter contempt, a belief that the organization is better than its fans, and a treatment that reflects that philosophy. This organization has made everything twenty times harder than it needs to be for the typical fan -- be it a foul-mouthed parking attendant dropping f-bombs unprovoked, a team store employee kicking out the paying public if they didn't have their ticket card on them, concession attendants who refuse to fill your cup to the top, despite paying $7 for a Coke or $11 for a Coors Light.
It's players that half ass it, then apologize for it afterwards. Here's a hint guys: play with your WHOLE ASS the first time, and you won't have to apologize for another shitty performance. It's coaches that are clearly in over their head, have clearly bitten off more roles than they can chew, but they refuse to acknowledge it, and rather than delegate the duties to capable assistants, they maintain their hold on power, ensuring the team and the season sinks to the bottom of the sea with them.
And it's a general manager who, despite four years of evidence, continues to double down on the belief that Matt Cassel can lead this team to a Lombardi Trophy. Scott? Ol' buddy, ol' pal? IT AIN'T HAPPENING!
All overseen by an absentee landlord of an owner, watching from afar in his Highland Park abode nearly 500 miles away.
It's disgusting. It's repulsive. It's outrageous.
It's the Kansas City Chiefs, 2012 edition.
It's a disgrace.
And in the words of our former vice president, whom some of us bitterly and ridiculously claim as our "President in Exile as of 2000": “It’s time for them to go.”
* The second half saw more of the same -- turnovers, penalties, and failure. Let me try to illustrate this.
The Chiefs open the half with arguably their most impressive drive of the season, a 13 play, 80 yard drive that mixed the pass and run well, that seemed to catch the Chargers off guard at times, and that ended with a sweet swing pass to Jamaal Charles for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14, at 27-13. With 22 minutes to play, 14 is absolutely a margin that can be overcome.
Here is how the Chiefs responded after temporarily breathing hope into the fanbase:
* Chiefs force a three and out. Cassel throws incomplete on 3rd and 7 at the Chiefs 38. Even if the pass had been complete (intended for Dwayne Bowe), he would have been tackled well short of the down-to-gain marker. Really, plays like this drive me bat shit crazy -- you need seven yards for a first down. Why is your primary receiving threat running a two yard out pattern then? Your safety valve should be your short receiving option, not your best receiver. This is just idiotic.
* Chiefs force a second three and out. Cassel again throws incomplete on 3rd down, this time 3rd and 3 at the Chiefs 45. Should probably note: this drive could have started at the Chargers 30. Javier Arenas had a sweet punt return. So OF COURSE Tysyn Hartman holds on the play.
* Amazingly, the Chiefs D forces a third consecutive three and out. For the third straight series, the Chiefs start at their own 35 or closer to the Chargers end zone. Four plays later, on a 3rd and 13 at the Chiefs 42, Shaun Draughn fumbles, the Chargers recover, and for all intents and purposes, that was the ballgame.
But in the words of Paul Maguire, "let's go back to that", the "that" in this case being the 3rd down playcall.
Why in the bluest of blue hells are we calling a DRAW PLAY, on 3rd and 13, in a MUST CONVERT situation?
A draw on 3rd and 13 when you're up 14 with 13 minutes to play? Not only makes sense, it's probably the best play to call.
A draw on 3rd and 13 when you're down 14 with 13 minutes to play? Is a FIREABLE offense.
I don't know if Brian Daboll made that call, or if Matt Cassel audibled out of another play and into the draw at the line. But whichever one of them decided that running on 3rd and 13 on a MUST CONVERT third down?
Should be drawing unemployment compensation this morning.
I literally turned to Doc after that fumble, and I was speechless. I just looked at him, shook my head in disgust, and had my jaw wide open. What that play was? Was unbelievable. I have a myriad of rules in my life, and Stevo Rule 34 got invoked on that play. And anytime Stevo Rule 34 is getting invoked?
It's a disaster of Biblical proportions.
Because Stevo Rule 34 is simple, concise, and dead on accurate. "The surest sign you’re making a mistake is when someone drops the “you’d have to be mentally retarded or named Steve to do that” blast on your decision.”
Brian Daboll? Matt Cassel? That play is the worst example of Stevo Rule 34 I can recall in a Chiefs game since Todd Haley's idiotic fake punt against denver three years ago, a play that still remains unrivaled as "the worst play call in franchise history".
And just like what happened three years ago after that fake punt, when the fans streamed for the exits, knowing the game, season, and all hope was lost? Yup, the remaining fans began pouring for the exits, me and Damien included. We'd had enough.
* Postgame, not much to report. I got back to the Bus, where this conversation happened:
(kellie) aw, there he is!
(kellie) (not sure how to approach me)
(kellie) you ok Steve?
(stevo) yeah, I'm fine.
(mona) we were going to fix you a drink, but didn't know what you wanted.
(stevo) no problem. I don't need a mixer right now anyway.
(stevo) (sees cooler)
(stevo) (opens cooler)
(stevo) (grabs bottle of champagne)
(stevo) (opens bottle of champagne)
(stevo) (chugging bottle of champagne)
(dusty) (late to the scene)
(dusty) what, you're celebrating?
(stevo) no. I'm medicating.
Now, in my defense, if the first thing I had seen was a bottle of vodka? I'd have chugged that. Ditto if it had been a Coors Light, a Boulevard Bully Porter, or even one of Russ' High Life's. The champagne was the first thing I saw.
Three bottles and 25 some odd minutes later, it was time to head for home. But not before at least some form of détente was reached between me and The Kid, thanks to his wife that he so punted beyond his coverage to achieve, it should be in the Guiness record books. I have zero respect for what went down. But sometimes, you have to swallow hard and accept that shit happens. Consider this my swallowing moment.
* If you had "half a pint of vodka, plus two more bottles of champagne" as my medicinal remedy to deal with yesterday once I got home, congratulations, you're a winner. Double winner if you guessed "grape juice" as the mixer with said vodka.
* Amazingly enough, I was wide awake, ready for work this morning. I'm not sure how I pulled it off either.
* So let me close with this.
I am aware that this entire post (14 Word Doc pages and counting!) is one massive overreaction to yet another debacle by the Chiefs on the football field.
I overreact to each loss (and win) … because this is the team I live and die with.
Every one of us has a passion in life. Probably multiple passions (at least for me).
But when it comes to sports, when it comes to football, NOTHING moves me like the Chiefs.
I remember when I was 9 years old, attending a game in early December 1986 at Arrowhead against the soon-to-be AFC Champion denver broncos. The Chiefs limped in at 7-6, needing to win out and get a ton of help to reach the playoffs for the first time in my lifetime.
They won 37-7.
From that moment on, I was hooked.
I remember getting into a shouting match -- at age 9! -- with my mom's best friend over how idiotic firing John Mackovic was. (To this day, I'll defend Coach Mac.)
I remember how pissed I was when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn’t spring the upset in a monsoon in the season finale in 1989 to get the Chiefs into the playoffs. I cried at Dave Kreig to Paul Skanzi to cost the Chiefs the division in 1990. I can still recall five straight false start penalties the crowd drew the raiders into on the deciding drive in the Chiefs first playoff win in a generation in 1991.
I remember the euphoria of Derrick Thomas’ sack, strip, and fumble recovery for a touchdown in the “winner’s in, loser’s out” de facto playoff game against denver to end the 1992 season. I will NEVER forget Kevin Harlan’s epic call of the play, a game played right after Christmas. “Not even Santa Claus can save the denver broncos today!”
I remember the doubt, the “not a shot in hell we can do this” feeling of defeat the entire week in mid January 1994, when the only person I knew who believed the Chiefs could somehow roll into Houston and beat an Oilers team that hadn’t lost since September … was (go figure) “the Voice of Reason”.
And I still remember my mom, at about 11pm the night of the Chiefs epic upset of Buddy and his boys, coming downstairs for something, seeing me still on the phone in the kitchen with said “Voice of Reason” FIVE HOURS after the game had ended, and her just shaking her head at two friends discussing a Chiefs game, again, FIVE HOURS after it had ended.
(God Bless MLK Day as a holiday!!! Otherwise her response probably would have been a Carl Peterson-esque “shut the f*ck up and hang the phone down!” moment.)
(story of the year voice) “Until the Day I Die”, I will never forget 11:30ish on Monday, October 17, 1994. Montana to Davis. Touchdown. Greatest Monday Night Game ever. And my dad, pulling into the driveway after his shift was over right as I exploded out the front door screaming my lungs out at the miraculous comeback, leading to one helluva sweet moment, a moment so genuinely pro-Chiefs (and apparently frightening) that my mom locked us out of the house.
We didn’t care. OUR team had gone into hell itself, and beaten the damned donkeys.
To this day, as soon as I hear the phrase “boy, did he loft that one!”, I immediately tear up, because I know what’s coming next.
“Vanover fields it … up past the twenty! Vanover is almost gone and now … he … is … OFFICIALLY GONE! No flags! This game’s over!”
I could go on and on, but here’s my point:
I LOVE this team. Hell, they’re my crystal meth, they’re my crack, they’re my achilles heel, my addition.
When they lose? I hurt.
When they win? I beam with pride.
And when they look as inept, incompetent, utterly clueless as they have for pretty much every moment of the season so far?
I want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.
I HATE what this team has become. This is NOT the Chiefs team, management group, and franchise I fell in love with 26 years ago on a crisp December afternoon.
This is NOT the Chiefs team, management group, and franchise I have blindly backed in the 26 years since the Chiefs opened a can of whoop ass on Satan’s team on that December day, to jump start an improbable playoff berth that nobody saw coming.
Chiefs fans? We DESERVE better than this.
We've EARNED it.
And if Clark Hunt, Scott Pioli, and Coach Baffoon can’t deliver, then at least two of those three (and we all know which one ain’t going anywhere) need to get a swift kick in the ass out the door.
So please, consider this my open invite to Mr. Hunt to drop the “confident and classy” comment to Mr.’s Pioli and Baffoon as said door slams in their ass when this crappy dinner of a season finally has the bill come due in early January.
(Oh, and absolutely, I'll be there Sunday before the gates open, ready to endure more punishment, abuse, and insult. I guess Ali MacGraw was right in "Love Story" (a top 5 all-time favorite Stevo movie, along with "Saturday Night Fever", "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", "The Godfather Part II" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World": maybe love really does mean never having to say you're sorry ...