sk: post theme comes at the end.
(cheezy jim nantz voice) Hello, friends.
Today, we gather to discuss the beautiful, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring clusterf*ck, that is the AFC Wildcard picture. Where the team currently sitting tenth, controls its own destiny.
It’s who that tenth team is, that makes this post relevant. It’s my (and hopefully yours) Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, the Chiefs have dropped three straight, and I’d argue two of them were indefensible losses. (Losing on the road to the current NFC one seed is a justifiable and defensible loss. Losing to oakland or denver anywhere, is a fireable offense in my world.)
Incredibly enough, the Chiefs virtually control their own destiny. If they win out, they almost assuredly will be at worst the six seed. They’d have beaten Miami, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and San Diego straight up (going 5-0 against that grouping). They’d have a better conference record than the Browns (already at six losses) or the Ravens (already at five losses). And if Baltimore gets to eleven? If the Chiefs get to ten, they have all applicable tiebreakers.
The last time the AFC Wild Card field was this clusterf*cked, was 2006, when the team sitting tenth entering that Sunday, wound up taking the six seed. When that New Year’s Eve day dawned, the following was the AFC Wild Card standings:
(5) broncos 9-6-0
(6) Jets 9-6-0
(7) Bengals 8-7-0
(8) Jaguars 8-7-0
(9) Titans 8-7-0
(10) Chiefs 8-7-0.
The Chiefs not only needed all the other 8-7-0 squads to lose … they needed either the Jets or denver to lose as well, and both had layup wins at home on tap – the Jets against the raiders, the broncos against the 49ers. (The Chiefs also needed a few results in Week 16 to go their way, and all three did: they won at oakland, the Bengals lost to the donkeys, and the Bills lost to the Titans).*
This time, all the Chiefs have to do is win, and they’re virtually guaranteed to get in. I like that scenario much better personally.
(*: here’s how miraculous the Immaculate Seven-Fecta wound up being. The ONLY outcome the Chiefs had to have that was never in doubt? Was the Patriots winning in Nashville in the finale. The Titans beat the Bills by one in Week Sixteen, 31-30. The donkeys beat the Bengals on a blocked / shanked extra point, 24-23. The Steelers beat the Bengals in overtime to open Week Seventeen. The Chiefs held on for a 35-30 win in the snow at Arrowhead over the Jaguars. And the 49ers rallied from down 0-13 at the half, to win in overtime 23-20, at fake mile high.)
So here’s where we stand as Week Fifteen dawns, and for the purposes of this exercise, the only division leader I am including in the Wild Card standings, is the Bengals. The other three division leaders (the Patriots, Colts, and broncos), all can clinch with wins this week … and all are at least two clear of the second place team, so even if the Dolphins, Texans, and “Super” Chargers upset the three of them this weekend, it won’t change the standings a bit.)
One cool thing, in looking at the schedules remaining, is that every contender faces at least one contender down the stretch. Nobody has a gimme layup schedule (although Baltimore’s is as close to foolproof as possible).
As Chiefs fans, here’s the outcomes I think we should be rooting for this week.
* Bengals to beat the Browns. But if the Browns win, it doesn’t affect the Chiefs chances whatsoever. A Bengals win, however, all but eliminates the Browns.
* Falcons to beat the Steelers. There is a crazy cuckoo scenario where the Chiefs can get in with a loss in Pittsburgh, but it’s almost as bat sh*t crazy as 2006 was. And history isn’t striking twice in eight years.
* broncos to beat the Chargers. This one is self-preservation for the Chiefs. We need the donkeys to win the West. We don’t want a 10-6 denver team in the wildcard participant pool. A bronkey win clinches the AFC West for the fourth straight season for satan’s squad.
* Jaguars to beat the Ravens. It ain’t happening. But a kid can dream.
* Colts to beat the Texans. THIS is the outcome we most need, Chiefs fans. (Other than us winning on Sunday.) Put on your Blue and White, and root for our January enemy like you’ve never cheered for those assholes before. (Because some of us never have cheered for them before.)
An Indy win clinches the AFC South for the Colts, and really hurts the Texans chances. (Again, the Texans are the only team that can get to ten wins, and have tiebreaker over the Chiefs.) Conversely, a Houston win, and not only are they very much alive for the South title (they’d be one back, own tiebreaker over Indy, and Indy goes to Dallas Week Sixteen), but they’re in great shape to get the six seed, if they win out at home.
* Packers to beat the Bills. As a Syracuse fan, and a believer in the Doug Marrone hiring for Buffalo, I will struggle to do this, as Mr. Marrone’s job is all but on the line Sunday. And if the Bills win, it won’t hurt the Chiefs at all – they already beat the Bills, and the Bills can’t get above ten wins anyway. (Pause). On second thought, here we go Buffalo! (Here we go Buffalo!)
* Patriots to beat the Dolphins. This would clinch the AFC East for the Patriots for the sixth straight season, tenth time in eleven years, and eleventh time in the thirteen years Tom Brady has been under center. That is a run of excellence, I’m guessing we might never see again. (The only two years they didn’t win the division? They finished in a three way tie for first at 9-7 that the Jets took on tiebreakers (2002) and they went 11-5 and somehow missed the playoffs (2008).
A Dolphins defeat all but ends their season. Which would be really, really helpful, considering they have two relatively easy home games left.
That’s your rooting interest. What I think will happen?
* Browns upset the Bengals.
* Falcons beat the Steelers.
* satan’s squad beats the “Super” Chargers, clinch AFC West.
* Ravens pole-axe the Jaguars.
* Colts demolish the Texans, clinch AFC South.
* Bills upset the Packers.
* Patriots give the Dolphins the business, clinch AFC East.
And I project the Chiefs will pound the raiders on Sunday. I think you’re going to see a month’s worth of frustration taken out on that hapless squad, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of (marcus spears voice) hoodlum, thug, and thieve. (Cue every donkey fan nodding in agreement.)
That would make your standings entering Week Sixteen look like this:
Setting up one (definitely) awesome, (probably) "winner takes all" showdown at the Ketchup Bottle, next Sunday.
This is gonna be fun, folks. (Pause). What? (Pause). He is? Well, spectacular, patch him through!
Ladies and gentlemen, to most accurately reflect what these next three weeks are going to be like, please welcome the one, the only, the legendary, Mr. Hugh M. Hefner!!!!!
(mr. hugh m. hefner voice) This is going to be something … REALLY special!
Enjoy the games folks.
I have a brutal week at work this week, so this might be the only post I get up. With that in mind, a few housekeeping items:
* If you’re coming out Sunday, feel free to swing by. Russ is smoking raider ribs and raider turds (aka baked beans). It’s my favorite tailgating menu of the season, bar none, and you have not lived until you’ve had one of his smoked ribs. I believe he’s also emptying out the freezer and smoking a corned beef or two, and as someone who hates corned beef, allow me to say, it’s so damned good, even I’ll eat it, and again – I hate corned beef.
* The Springfield folks are bringing the sides and desserts, and I’ll wager even money one of those sides is the (the late, great mr. william grigsby voice) Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrresidential Platter from Gates.
* I’m on alcohol duty (I know, stunning, right?); depending on who all is coming out, I might throw the Beer Pong table on The Bus. At the very least, I’m bringing Drinko for your alcoholic enjoyment, and Quadruple Noose donkey will be there, in case you feel like getting violent for whatever reason. (Pause). What? (Pause). Of course it was me who cracked his helmet when we lost to those people three years ago! It’s a wonder I haven’t violated his personage with a stick at this point!
* If you don’t want to deal with traffic or pay for parking, you’re always welcome to ride out on The Bus, which leaves at 6:30am, give or take half an hour. (Usually take; one of us is almost never ready on time. * Cough me Cough *.)
* If you need me to save you a spot to park, just let me know; either Brad or myself is more than happy to plant a chair for you.
* As always, we’re doing the Early-Entrance pass, so we should be set up and rolling by 7:30ish. At least two of our South Dakota raider friends are coming down, so try to be polite to the guests. I know, I know – it’s damned near impossible to be polite to someone wearing silver and black, but let’s be honest, it’s still a million times easier, than being even semi-civil to anyone wearing blue and orange. That, and the South Dakota folks are some pretty damned cool people, who are simply misguided in who they root for. That’s fixable.
* The weather at this point … not bad. We should be rain-free, and in the mid 50s. The projected low when we leave Sunday morning is 53. I’ll take it. Hell, if the sun pops out, it might be shirts off weather! (Pause). Ok, fine, probably not. But still, mid 50s in December! About as perfect as you can ask for in this fine metropolitan area!
* If you got any requests for the Mixology list, let me know. I loved the suggestion to add “The Man” by Aloe Blacc last game. That song fires you up.
* Finally, the theme is my favorite non-religious Christmas song. And I truly, hopefully, and honestly pray, that someday, we live in a world, where this is reality. That someday, we live in a world, where we can settle our differences peaceably, through diplomacy, through simply treating each other as we desire to be treated, through talking through our issues, rather than holding those issues against each other.
"Someday at Christmas?
Men won't be boys.
Playing with bombs,
Like kids play with toys.
One warm December?
Our hearts will see?
A world where men are free ...
Someday at Christmas?
There'll be no wars.
When we have learned,
What Christmas is for.
When we have found,
What life's really worth?
There'll be peace on earth!
Someday all our dreams will come to be!
Someday in a world where (all) are free!
Maybe not in time, for you and me --
But someday at Christmas time!"
Take the time the next couple weeks to embrace those you love, to make peace with those you have issues with. We are not guaranteed tomorrow; honestly, we're not even guaranteed today. There is nothing anyone has ever done to you, that cannot be forgiven, that cannot be overcome, that cannot be talked out over a few frosty cold ones, provided you're willing to be open and receptive and decent enough, to allow the conversation to occur. (Well, unless they killed you ... but then, you wouldn't be reading this anyway, so moving on.)
Don't let petty sh*t get in the way, of how you truly feel about someone, especially at this time of the year. If ANYONE has a reason to hold petty sh*t against someone at this time of year, it has to be God against us humans, right, for killing His Son? And even He has risen above the disgust that must have caused, to forgive our stupidity.
I had a friend, a former tailgating member, who I will never have the opportunity to make amends with. My friend Bill passed away unexpectedly last May. His birthday would have been yesterday. I actually cried reading the Facebook postings last night on his wall.
I was the rarity in the group split; I'm still friendly with the other side, as they've never made any issues personal with me, and I appreciate that. But this was a relationship that one conversation could have saved ... a conversation that will never occur. Please, don't make that mistake, that I (and a few others in my tailgating group, as it used to exist) have made, to let the moment, overwhelm the memories.
We are guaranteed nothing in life. Least of all one last conversation, to make things right.
In case the next post isn't until "The Annual Column" (which is about half done), I wish you reading this nothing but the best in this awesome holiday season, whatever your religion is, and however you celebrate this time. If you read this, you're a friend. Know it, and believe it.
Because there's nothing you could ever do to me -- save for, you know, killing me -- that would ever make me truly turn my back on you.
I hope, and I pray, the inverse is also true.
(And (cute eight year old in the "fan expectations" ad at Arrowhead voice) Go ... Chiefs!))