Wednesday, January 1, 2014

wildcard weekend: it's time

"I've been waiting for my dreams
To turn into something,
I could believe in ...

And looking for that magic rainbow,
On the horizon.
I couldn't see it ...

Until I let go;
Gave into love.
Watched all the bitterness burn ...

Now? I'm coming alive,
Body and soul.
Feeling my world start to turn ...

And I'll taste every moment,
And live it out loud!
And know this is the time,
This is the time to be ...

More than a name,
Or a face in the crowd!
I know this is the time --
This is the time of my life!

The time of my life!

...

And I'll taste every moment!
And live it out loud!
And know THIS is the time!
THIS is the time to be ...

MORE than a name!
Or a face in the crowd!
I know THIS is the time!
THIS is the time of my life!!!

The time of my life ...
The time of my life ..."

-- "The Time Of My Life" by David Cook, one of the five Stevo's Site Numero Dos Officially Approved National Anthem performers at Arrowhead, along with the amazing Ida McBeth, the inspirational Rev. Hal Weeks, the incomparable Patti DiParto-Livergood, and Jessica Harp.  (Pause).  You're damned right she's three for three, in beating denver at the second sweetest spot on earth, from a sports perspective.  

And go figure -- the time of our lives?  

Opens less than ten nautical miles -- or a healthy sixteen, seventeen minute drive east on 16th Street, from THE sweetest spot on earth, from a sports perspective ...

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Last Week ATS: 5-11-0.
Final Regular Season ATS: 107-140-8.  Wow, that is awful.

Last Week SU: 12-4-0.
Final Regular Season SU: 146-109-0.  That is not terrible.

Last Week Upset / Week: in the words of Peter Griffin’s snarky cat lawyer, Mousey McDermott: “you have GOT to be kitten me!”
Final Regular Season Upset / Week: 7-16.

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For the record, my favorite comment on the Chiefs regular season, was by PFT’s editor Mike Florio, in the Chiefs final power ranking of ninth.  “Steelers fans will forever spell Ryan Succop’s name with a K.  (Pause).  And a F.”  There’s comedy, there’s high comedy, then there’s the team I irrationally hate yet should love, getting absolutely screwed out of a playoff berth three different ways – via the Chiefs not hitting a 41 yard field goal, the refs not noting the Chargers committed a penalty on the kick attempt, and a fake punt that worked.  To say nothing of the fact that the only two starters the Chiefs employed on Sunday, were a rookie offensive tackle, and the fullback. 

You have to love this game folks!

Indy, here I come!!!

Seriously – I have never been to Indianapolis, for anything other than three reasons:

1. The Indy 500.  Been a time or ten.
2. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.  Been a time or five.
3. Passing through on my way to (insert city here). 

I have never traveled I-70 through Indy, without getting off on exit (hee hee) 69, to catch 465 North to exit 16 (Crawfordsville Road), then right (east) for the two mile drive to the greatest spot on earth: that humongous, decaying, so effing beautiful speedway that claims the corner of 16th and Georgetown as its’ home.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Hell yes, I am asking for a detour!  It simply isn’t right, to skip the hour detour, and avoid visiting the only museum on Planet Earth, I’ll pay money to tour …

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The Non Chiefs Predictions:

(As always, all lines provided by Danny Sullivan via USA Today.)

* “Super” Chargers (+6) 41, at Bengals 31.  My “Upset O’ The Week”.  I love the Chargers in this spot.  And for the record, I would have picked the Steelers to win in this spot as well.  The Bengals just don’t impress me.  They haven’t won a playoff game in even longer than the Chiefs – Wild Card Weekend 1990, when they beat a team that no longer exists (Oilers).  They have the longest playoff winless-streak in the league, barely topping Detroit (1991 Divisional round) … and our Kansas City Chiefs (1993 Divisional round).  The only time these two have met in the postseason, was one of the coldest games in NFL history, the 1981 AFC Championship game.  The wind chill at kickoff was a “not a chance in hell I’d be there” negative 37 degrees.  I skipped the Chiefs 2008 finale against Miami, because the wind chill was negative 15, for the record.  The Bengals won that game.  They ain’t winning this one.

* at Eagles (-2 ½) 41, Saints 30.  This line is patently absurd, and not in a good way.  You mean to tell me the Saints would only be a 3 ½ point favorite at home?  You have GOT to be kitten me!  These teams have met in the playoffs twice before – the Eagles won in a route at the Superdome in the 1992 Wild Card round, and the Saints won on a last second field goal in the 2006 Divisional round.

And since I believe in openness, honesty, and full disclosure*, allow me to say, I was wr … wr … wr … possibly incorrect, about Chip Kelly succeeding in the NFL.  I thought he was going to struggle to sustain any success, because his quarterback is going to have to turn over at least every other year due to the physical demands placed on him by the system … but what if that isn’t necessarily a liability?  Why not treat the QB position, like most teams treat the RB position now?  Ride the dude until he drops, then find someone comparable and ride him until he drops?  Nick Foles probably won’t be in the league three years from now … but if the Eagles win two division titles, make a run or two to a championship game, and break through to play once for the Lombardi, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

To put it in perspective, Chiefs fans – was it worth it for St. Louis to ride Kurt Warner for three years, to three playoff berths, two Super Bowls, and one championship, even if it spectacularly crapped out in the fourth year?  Especially if the backup (in St. Louis’ case, Marc Bulger), steps up and promptly goes 13-3, then earns a wildcard berth the following season, before he crapped out with injury issues? 

If the Eagles never pay their quarterback like a franchise guy, even if they have one, this can work.  And given what the rookie caps now in effect do (aka “allow them to do that”), I think this can work.  I was wrong.  Chip Kelly has unearthed a golden nugget. 

How long until someone figures out, he stole that nugget from (of all people) Mike Martz?

(*: this is an absolute bullsh*t statement; I am anything but open, honest, and fully disclosed.)

* 49ers 31, at Packers (-2 ½) 30.  This is the one game this weekend, I have no damned clue, how to predict.  What I do know, is this: when these two get together in the playoffs?  Something magical usually happens.  Their meeting on my 22nd birthday (The Catch II) is still, to this day, the single greatest NFL game I’ve ever watched.  My eyes didn’t leave the television for four straight hours.  And anytime you get the late, great Patrick J. Summerall excited, to say nothing of leaving John Madden speechless, you’ve just witnessed an instant classic.

I’m picking the 49ers because I think they’re the better team, and because I think Colin Kaepernick is going to have a “holy sh*t!” moment inside of two to play, to eke this one out.  But this is the one game this weekend, I wouldn’t be comfortable laying some cash with my old bookie Eddie on.  (Pause).  Not that I’ve ever used a bookie who may or may not have threatened me with physical violence at any point in my life.  (verne lundquist voice) No sir!

The “Klassy” Kevin Keitzman Tweet O’ The Week:

The Klassy One gets a pass this week … if only because every Tweet this week, either (a) I liked, (b) I agreed with, or (c) endorsed sports wagering.  KKK only posted three Tweets this week.  Dare we dream?  Has the Klassy One dumped “hypocrite” from his “reputable singles site”* profile description?

(*: to the best of my dogged research, the Klassy one is not a member of “reputable singles site”, and quite frankly, I am shocked – shocked! – that he’s not.)

The Poem:

What Saturday holds,
None of us knows,
But I know paying to witness it,
Is leaving my bank account hosed.

But it will all be worth it,
Come 7pm on Saturday,
When the Chiefs finally win
A game in January!

The Tailgating Plans:

I am headed up (hopefully) on Friday morning.  The latest I’m leaving is lunchtime Friday.  Ron and Ryan and the Springfield folks are pulling a page out of the old “Voice of Reason” playbook, and staying in Terre Haute Friday night; we’re staying at the Sheraton adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium.

When we figure out which lot Ron and his crew are buying a pass in to tailgate on Saturday, I’ll post it.  Feel free to join us.  We’re sitting (if I remember right) in 151, rows 28 and 29, so if you’re there, swing by and say hello.

The Flashback – Colts vs Chiefs (playoffs):

In the words of Scott Parks, “oh God”.

We have seen this before – three times officially, four for all intents and purposes.

1995: Colts 10, Chiefs 7 (at Arrowhead, Divisional Round).
1996: Colts 24, Chiefs 19 (at Arrowhead, Week Sixteen; determined AFC six seed).
2003: Colts 38, Chiefs 31 (at Arrowhead, Divisional Round).
2006: Colts 23, Chiefs 8 (at Lucas Oil, Wildcard Round).

I’m a very firm believer, that when a long-suffering franchise finally breaks through, they have to “exercise the demons”, to do it.  (See 2004 Red Sox as Exhibit A, of this theory.)  Saturday, the first domino is set up, ready to fall. 

More on this … in the Chiefs section.

Which just happens to be next.

The Chiefs Wild Card Belief:


I had planned, to haul out a lot of stats that show just how wacky the NFL playoffs have been since the revamped format began in 2002.

The only stat I choose to haul out, is this:

In nine of the 11 playoff seasons held since 2001, a team with 13 or more wins, has crapped out at home in their opener, at least once in every season save for 2009 (when the Colts were the only 13 plus win team), and 2002 (when no team won more than 12 games).

There are two teams that won thirteen games in the 2013 regular season: the Seattle Seahawks ... and the denver broncos.

History says, one of them is going down next weekend.

But that's a subject to tackle, when predicting the Chargers / broncos game, next weekend.

Peoples and peepettes?  Ladies and gentlemen?

Sh*t's 'bout to get real now!

Those of you who know me best, know I am not what any person would call "independently wealthy".  There are things that, quite frankly, would be far better to spend nearly $600 on, than a trip to Naptown this weekend.

But tell that to two weeks ago Stevo, who dropped $80 on a playoff deposit, for a game with little to no chance, of occurring at Arrowhead.

I have written these last few months, that this season feels different.  It has delivered one of my ten favorite Chiefs games I've ever been privileged enough to be at.

It even led to me finally posting why this team matters so damned much to me, my little (since it's Christmas) "Ode to Joy" about this franchise.

I believe our NFL record seven game playoff losing streak, is ending Saturday evening.  I believe the Kansas City Chiefs, are going to go into Indianapolis, and exercise the first of the two playoff demons, we have to exercise, to finally bring Lamar's trophy home.  To say nothing of heisting that Lombardi fella's bling.

Because this team?

Is about to give us, the time of our lives.

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Years ago, when the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield was alive, when my group tailgated in Lot N before migrating down to our current spot in Lot G with the Bus folks, every season started with a toast.

10:50am, at the home opener.  Be there or get blamed if the season ended in anything less than a championship.  Everyone would grab a glass of champagne, and someone would be designated, to offer the toast to the season to come.

The last time we truly had a toast beforehand to anything meaningful, was October 24, 2004 -- the first home game without Randy.  We all raised a can of Dr. Pepper, and chugged.

I won't lie -- I've thought a lot about Randy this season.  For starters, he'd have gotten so much damned fun, out of what has happened.  The only person shedding tears in 132 after Tamba Hali's strip sack of Case Keenum in week seven?  Would have been Randy.

He'd have forced me to go to the bathroom, before the Giants let the punt fly in week four, to ensure Dexter McCluster returned that thing to the house.  He'd have forced me to my knees, for Ryan Succup's field goal margin of victory so many times.  To say nothing of how much he'd have tormented the parking nazis with the "early in pass".  He'd have ...

You get the point.

But that's the point, folks.

You can't always live in the past.

Sometimes?  

You have to live, in the time of your life.

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Chiefs fans?

This is what we've asked for.  This is what us season ticket holders pay for, year after year after year after damned year.  

One damned shot at greatness.  

Just one.

This team is good enough ... to give us that shot.

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Few -- if any -- thought the Baltimore Ravens, would win the Super Bowl last year, when the playoffs began.

Few -- if any -- thought the New York Giants, would win the Super Bowl two years ago, when the playoffs began.

Few -- if any -- thought the Green Bay Packers, would win the Super Bowl three years ago, when the playoffs began.

Few -- if any -- thought the New Orleans Saints would win the Super Bowl four years ago, when the playoffs began.

Few -- if any -- thought the Arizona "Super" Cardinals would reach the Super Bowl, and have the lead at the two minute warning, five years ago, when the playoffs began.

And NOBODY -- and I mean NOBODY -- thought the New York Giants would win the Super Bowl six years ago, when the playoffs began, against an 18-0 Patriots team that had already won at New York.

The great Carl Peterson -- the man who, along with Marty Schottenheimer, is the only reason why we're cheering for the Chiefs on Saturday -- noted that the playoffs are a tournament.  "Just get into the tournament", and anything can happen.

What's a weirder scenario for you, Chiefs fans -- an 8-8 Giants team winning three straight road games, then the Super Bowl ... or the Chiefs doing that?

What's a weirder scenario for you, Chiefs fans -- a 10-6 Packers team winning three straight road games, then the Super Bowl ... or the Chiefs doing that?

What's a weirder scenario for you, Chiefs fans -- a 10-6 Giants team winning three straight road games, then the Super Bowl, against a Patriots team that was undefeated and relatively unchallenged ... or the Chiefs doing that?

What's a weirder scenario for you, Chiefs fans -- that this is, or isn't, about to be, the time of our lives?

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I plan to taste every moment Saturday.
And I plan to live every moment out loud.

Because I know that this?

Is about to be the time of our lives.

I have noted how this season is about erasing the indignity of January 4, 1998.

That towel is already packed, to head to Indy on Friday with me, as my Jerry Tarkanian Memorial "Bite On This When You're Stressed" tool for the game.

But before we can deal with the indignity of January 4, 1998?

We have to deal with the disgust, disappointment, and despise, that is January 7, 1996.

I believe in this team, like I haven't believed in a Chiefs team since 1997.  I'm dropping $500 plus on a road trip that I don't have, to watch this team finally erase the ultimate date of indignity, January 16, 1994.

This?

Is going to be the time of our lives.

And the time of mine.

It starts Saturday.

With a win.

* Chiefs (+2 1/2) 38, at Colts 31.

triple noose donkey?  Unless the Chargers (as I predict) get the first crack at ya?

You're next ...


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