Podcasting: Len’s Look 12/31

An end of the 2008 season look at the Chiefs with Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson.  He speaks of the Chiefs performance in Cincinnati, what he saw during the ’08 season and what’s ahead for this team as they wait for the arrival of a new general manager.

Happy new year and enjoy!

…Read More!

Wednesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

It took less than four hours Tuesday night for the folks in Denver to begin the campaigning for John Elway to return to the Broncos now that Mike Shanahan is gone as head coach.

No really, here’s the link to a Denver columnist and his theories on the situation.

That anything like this could even be discussed was the stop-dead, bolt from the blue that rattled the NFL early Tuesday evening when the Broncos announced that owner Patrick Bowlen had axed Shanahan after 14 seasons as head coach.

Everybody in the league expected guys like Rod Marinelli and Romeo Crennel to lose their jobs. But Shanahan was considered bulletproof because of his total power over the franchise and his relationship with Bowlen. Some in the league called him the “Teflon Coach” because when things went wrong with the Broncos, little of the blame seemed to stick with Shanahan. He was not afraid to fire assistant coaches, coordinators and even the team’s general manager. Shanahan led the effort to bounce Ted Sundquist from that role last year.

So it’s ironic that his refusal to fire a coordinator supposedly cost him his job. Bowlen wanted him to dismiss defensive leader Bob Slowik. When his head coach refused, Bowlen gave him his walking papers.

Slowik joined Shanahan’s staff three years ago as a secondary coach and the ’08 season was his first as a defensive coordinator. The Broncos surrendered a franchise-record 448 points this season, up from the 409 points they gave up in 2007.

Bowlen is not one of the NFL owners with deep pockets, but his decision on Shanahan could cost him a lot of money. Shanahan is due almost $21 million for the final three years remaining on his contract. Plus, all of the Broncos assistants are under contract through the 2009 season and one, QB coach Jeremy Bates is under contract through 2011.

All this tells me there’s something more to this story that will eventually come out. It’s hard to believe this football marriage would crack because of a defensive coordinator, not after all the guys in that spot that Shanahan has fired in the past (Greg Robinson in ’00, Ray Rhodes in ’02, Larry Coyer in ’06 and Jim Bates after the ’07 season.)

Shanahan has been the Broncos head coach since the 1995 season.  His 14 seasons gave him the second longest coaching tenure in the NFL, behind only Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher.  Denver won Super Bowl titles after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, but the Broncos have struggled in recent seasons to make the playoffs.  In the 10 seasons since that last championship, Denver made the post-season field just four times, and they’ve missed the last three years straight.

Overall in Denver, Shanahan was 146-91 over his 14 seasons.  He was 15-14 against the Chiefs, including a victory in the ’97 playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here’s an update on what’s going on with the other openings around the NFL.

CHIEFS – Without citing his source, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that the Chiefs were looking to interview New England VP of Personnel Scott Pioli, Ravens pro personnel director George Kokinis, Ravens college scouting director Eric DeCosta, Colts assistant GM Chris Polian and recently fired Browns GM Phil Savage. All of those names can be found on our updated A-LIST and have been there for weeks. …Read More!

Podcasting: The NFL & Czar 12/30

John Czarnecki, the information man for the Fox-TV NFL Pre-Game Show and columnist for FOXSPORTS.com joins us for our weekly chat and we cover all the NFL ground, including the stunning dismissal of Mike Shanahan in Denver, the search for a Chiefs GM, the situations in Cleveland, Detroit and the New York Jets, along with what may happen in St. Louis and Oakland, where Czar sees Al Davis hiring Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh any day now.  Plus, we talk about this weekend’s wildcard games.


Broncos Stun AFC West; Fire Shanahan

It has been a volatile couple days since the end of the 2008 regular season capped by the most shocking move yet coming Tuesday afternoon:

The Denver Broncos fired Mike Shanahan.

That news came down early in the evening after a meeting between Shanahan and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.  Denver just completed an 8-8 season with that late three-game slide where they blew the division lead and eventually lost out on a spot in the playoffs when they were crushed on Sunday night by San Diego.

Bowlen wanted Shanahan to fire his defensive coordinator Bob Slowick.  Shananhan refused.  He was fired.

“After giving this careful consideration, I have concluded that a change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos,” Bowlen said in a statement released by the team. “This is certainly a difficult decision, but one that I feel must be made and which will ultimately be in the best interests of all concerned.

“I appreciate the 21 years that Mike Shanahan has given to the organization as an assistant and head coach, and the two Super Bowl wins in that time.”

Shanahan has been the Broncos head coach since the 1995 season.  His 14 seasons gave him the second longest coaching tenure in the NFL, behind only Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher.  Denver won Super Bowl titles after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, but the Broncos have struggled in recent seasons to make the playoffs.  In the 10 seasons since that last championship, Denver made the post-season field just four times, and they’ve missed the last three years straight.

Overall in Denver, Shanahan was 146-91 over his 14 seasons.  He was 15-14 against the Chiefs, including a victory in the ’97 playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium.

More to come Wednesday morning on the Shanahan decision and the rest of the movement around the NFL.

Tuesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Monday was a very active day around the National Football League.

And the guy who got busy the fastest was Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

On Sunday, Lerner fired his GM Phil Savage. On Monday, he relieved Romeo Crennel of his coaching duties. On Saturday night, Lerner met with Bill Cowher in New York to see if he wanted to coach the Browns. Cowher turned him down. On Tuesday, Lerner is reportedly going to meet with Scott Pioli, the VP of Player Personnel for the Patriots and the No. 1 GM candidate in the league right now.

The Chiefs have also received permission from the Patriots to speak with Pioli, but the details of a meeting are unknown.

Joining Savage and Crennel on the firing line were Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli and New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini. How Jets GM Mike Tannebaum escaped the ax is one question folks around the NFL were asking by the time the smoke cleared on Monday.

Let’s summarize what we know and what’s been reported.

CHIEFS – We told you last week the Chiefs had conducted an interview with a GM candidate. According to Fox-TV’s Jay Glazer that man was Marty Schottenheimer, who would take a Bill Parcells like role as VP of Football Operations and then hire a GM and coach. On Sirius NFL Radio on Monday, Schottenheimer said: “I had a conversation with the people in Kansas City but it was merely as ‘What do you think the situation is?’ Because I have a very long-standing relationship, I have great respect for Clark and others in that organization.   And so we had some dialogue and I told them what I felt, how I felt about it.  That was all.”

As for future interviews, Denny Thum is actively involved in this process and he was at the team’s offices on Monday morning for Herm Edwards press conference.

BROWNS – Savage got the boot and then Crennel followed on Monday. Both were hired in 2005; Savage from the Baltimore Ravens and Crennel from New England where he was the defensive coordinator on the Patriots three Super Bowl championship teams.

In their time in Cleveland, the Browns went 24-40 and did not make the playoffs. The organization was also plagued by various off-field incidents involving players like TE Kellen Winslow. Crennel was stripped of his authority to hire assistant coaches after making a mistake with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon. The coach also didn’t have much input in personnel decisions and it was apparent along the shores of Lake Erie that Crennel and Savage were not on the same page.

“As it turned out, we were both held accountable, both Phil and myself for our record and we’re both out of a job and that’s the bottom line,” Crennel told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Whatever the reasons are, no one really cares. It’s just like on Sunday — did you win or lose? That you’re playing with the fourth quarterback doesn’t matter. We’re both accountable and we have to answer for that.”

Conversation has been had with Cowher, Pioli is coming up and the Browns have expressed an interest in New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

LIONS – That Marinelli was given the boot comes as no surprise, not after leading the team to the first 0-16 season in NFL history. In three seasons with Marinelli as head coach the Lions finished 10-38.

“You can’t go 0-16 and expect to keep your job,” Marinelli said in a Monday news conference. “I didn’t conquer anything. I got defeated.

“Our record speaks for itself, but when I look at worst, that is worst. This group of men, we didn’t succeed on the field in terms of our record, but they succeeded in everything I wanted them to do. We came a long ways in terms of how to be a football team. The record doesn’t show it, but it’s a start and it’s a foundation.”

Not only did Detroit ownership announce the firing of Marinelli, they said Tom Lewand would be team president and Martin Mayhew would be general manager on a permanent basis. Both men were appointed to those positions on an interim basis when Matt Millen was fired in September. …Read More!

Herm Speaks Finale

From the Truman Sports Complex

Herm Edwards met the media horde for the final time in the 2008 season. Like everyone else, he now waits for the hiring of a new general manager and a decision on whether he will remain as the team’s head coach.

Edwards won’t sit back and wait. He will approach the next several weeks in the only fashion he can: as head coach of the Chiefs. He’ll spend this week evaluating his players and coaches and he’ll then get prepared for the Senior Bowl and looking at college players in preparation for the 2009 NFL Draft.

As one might imagine, many of the questions to Edwards were about his situation. Here are the highlights.


“Well, I just think the new guy is going to have the same vision that we started with, this rebuilding vision that we’ve been trying to do as an organization. I think that’s going to be a key too. He’s going to have to come in and evaluate players and then he’s going to evaluate what we’ve done to try and do this. I think that will be the criteria in hiring a guy like that too.”


“I’m the kind of guy, and maybe it’s just my upbringing, but I’m not one to try and build cases. I let my work speak for itself. That’s the bottom line. I’m not big on promoting Herman Edwards, never have been and I’m not going to start now. I’ve been in this business too long and I think I try to do things the right way and try to do things right for this organization and this football team. I know it was the right thing to do. That’s all you can do. You do the right things for the right reasons. You don’t do them personally; you do them for what you know and you feel is right. At this point in time we knew we were going to be in this situation. We all accepted it. I’ve got to accept it as a coach. That’s where it’s at.”


“I’m pretty sure if it’s a new GM who gets hired he’s going to know who I am unless he’s not in America. I’ve been in this league 30 years; what do I have to do? He’s got to make a decision on what he wants to do. He’s got to look at it and say is this guy the right guy and if he’s not that’s okay. That’s his decision. I’m okay with that.”

Comment: Sometimes it’s hard for fans and the media to understand one of the facts of life when you are in the coaching profession. That is simply this: if a coach hasn’t been fired yet, more than likely he will be before the end of his career. Whether it’s called relieved of duties, not retained, no contract offered, released or fired is semantics. The reality is you are out of a job. Edwards experienced that once before with the Chiefs, when Marty Schottenheimer did not retain him as secondary coach after the 1994 season. There isn’t a coach on the Kansas City coaching staff that hasn’t been fired at least once.

Coaches learn quite early that the only thing they control is the job they do. Spending time speculation or worrying about matters out of their control does nothing but create ulcers and sleepless nights. Coaches on a team with a 2-14 record have enough sleepless nights because of what happens on the field, without making matters worse.

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to give Herm Edwards credit for one thing: he’s done it his way. If that doesn’t work out, he’s going to be able to live with that. There are a lot of coaches who don’t have that kind of fortitude. …Read More!

Players Aren’t Celebrating End Of Season

From the Truman Sports Complex

One would think the end of a 2-14 football season would be celebrated by those who had to slog through the long six months of disappointment.

That wasn’t the feeling at all around the Chiefs facility on Monday morning as the 2008 team met for the last time and headed out the door to begin an uncertain off-season. More than a few players said they would love to start again right now, anything they could do to help fix the problems that led to so many bad outcomes.

“There’s a little bit of a relief that it’s done, but it’s not something I’m celebrating,” said veteran guard Brian Waters. “It feels incomplete. This season has been so disappointing and so incomplete. I walk away from this season feeling like we were on the brink of getting this thing turned around. The game yesterday in Cincinnati was an aberration. We were getting better and I’m sure there are a lot of guys that wish we could go back and get to work and hopefully get a victory.

“I feel like it ended a little short for us.”

Herm Edwards spoke to the team on Monday morning and as he always has been, he was very blunt in his comments to his players.

“He talked about showing up and knowing you are an NFL player and being consistent,” said safety Bernard Pollard. “That you have to come in and know your job. You have to be a professional.

“I don’t think we did that. We were not consistent and it showed in our games. Our biggest thing is we have to learn how to win.”

Center Rudy Niswanger was one of those guys that got no joy out of the end to the season. …Read More!

It’s Official: Chiefs Get Third Pick In Draft

With the outcome of Sunday’s action the Chiefs know that they’ll have the third selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.  That’s what the NFL office announced Monday afternoon.

The Chiefs 2-14 record puts them behind Detroit in the No. 1 spot and St. Louis in the No. 2 spot.

At No. 4 will be Seattle, followed by Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland, Jacksonville and Green Bay.

For reference, here are the last 10 players selected in the third slot of the first round:

Year Team Player Position College
2008 Atlanta Matt Ryan


Boston College
2007 Cleveland Joe Thomas


2006 Tennessee Vince Young


2005 Cleveland Braylon Edwards


2004 Arizona Larry Fitzgerald


2003 N.Y. Jets Dewayne Robertson


2002 Detroit Joey Harrington


2001 Cleveland Gerard Warren


2000 Washington Chris Samuels


1999 Cincinnati Akili Smith



Tony G. MVP; Leggett Wins Mack Lee Hill

From The Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs announced on Monday that the team’s players had voted TE Tony Gonzalez as the club’s most valuable player and CB Maurice Leggett as the team’s Mack Lee Hill Award winner as rookie of the year.

The announcement came as the Chiefs held their final meeting of the 2008 season on Monday morning.

Gonzalez was named the Derrick Thomas Award winner for the first time in his 12-year career with the team. He led all NFL tight ends in receiving with 96 catches for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs. The ’08 season is also the time when he established himself as pro football’s career tight end leader in catches, yards and touchdowns. He now has 916 receptions for 10,940 yards and 76 TDs.

Leggett got the honors for the Mack Lee Hill Award over a host of others who were considered, including four rookie starters. But Leggett truly embodies the spirit of Hill, who joined the team in 1964 as an undrafted free agent out of Southern University.

Hill died in December of 1965 while undergoing knee surgery in Kansas City. The Mack Lee Hill Award was created the next season, with RB Mike Garrett being the first winner.

Joining the team as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Valdosta State University, Leggett played in 12 games. He had 32 tackles and one interception. He returned that pick for a touchdown against Denver. He also returned a botched fake field goal by the Oakland Raiders for a touchdown.

Leggett joins a select group of players that have won the Hill award, including pro football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud and others like Christian Okoye, Derrick Thomas, Will Shields, Jared Allen, Tama Hali and last year’s winner Dwayne Bowe.

Gonzalez won the Hill Award in 1997 and he becomes the seventh Chiefs player to win both awards during his career. The others are Thomas, Allen, S Gary Barbaro, CB Gary Green, S Lloyd Burruss and RB Christian Okoye.

Both players will receive their hardware at the 39th annual 101 Banquet set for March 7th.

L.J.: ‘It’s Time For Me To Go”

From Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati

If it was up to Larry Johnson, Sunday’s game against the Bengals would be his last in a red and gold uniform.

Speaking in a calm, measured voice, Johnson said what he’s said before: he doesn’t see a place for him in the Chiefs’ future.

“It’s time to move on,” Johnson said. “For me and for the Chiefs.”

With the conclusion of the ’08 season and the 10-point defeat against the Bengals, Johnson made it very plain he wants to end his time in Kansas City. He said he needs a new start.

“I’ve been through a lot being in this city and there are certain things you feel, certain things you just can’t get corrected,” Johnson said. “You take your losses and you move on.”

When asked what he thought his chances were of being with the Chiefs in the 2009 season, Johnson said:

“Slim and none. You can tell. When I came back, I was coming back ready to play and for some reason it just didn’t fit. Even when my rushing yards were pretty good, it felt like my role diminished. That’s a telltale sign for anybody in that situation so you know what’s coming.

Since he returned after missing four games in the middle of the season for disciplinary reasons and his one-game NFL suspension, Johnson felt like he no longer fit into the offensive plans of head coach Herm Edwards and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. The Chiefs had gone to the spread offense and Johnson acknowledged that he did not fit that scheme.

“They did what they had to do,” Johnson said. “I understand that. They moved on. It’s time for me to move on.” …Read More!

The 2008 NFL Playoffs/Wildcard Round

There are a lot of things happening around the NFL beyond the 16 games played on Sunday.

Phil Savage is out as general manager in Cleveland.  Romeo Crennel will likely get his walking papers on Monday.

Mike Singletary has signed a new deal to remain as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

And we’ve got the schedule set for wildcard weekend in the AFC and NFC playoffs.  Here’s how the games will play out:


3:30 PM CDT: The Atlanta Falcons visit the Arizona Cardinals.  The game will be on NBC.

7 PM CDT: The Indianapolis Colts visit the San Diego Chargers.  This game will also be on NBC.


Noon CDT: The Baltimore Ravens at the Miami Dolphins. This game will be on CBS.

3:30 PM CDT: The Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings.  This game is on Fox.

A Record Setting Day

From Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati

The 2008 Chiefs etched their name in the NFL Record Book on Sunday.

There’s nothing good about the notation that will go next to their name: the team that had the worst pass rush in pro football history.

The Chiefs up the ’08 season with 10 sacks. They got one from DE Jason Babin against Cincinnati to at least reach double digits.

“Oh man, I don’t want to talk about that,” said Babin after the game.  “We really weren’t thinking about it, but we couldn’t help but have it because people were talking about it all the time.”

The Chiefs 10 sacks breaks the former record of 11 sacks, set by the Baltimore Colts in  the nine-game 1982 season.  The 16-game record was 13 sacks, by Baltimore in 1981.

It easily shatters the franchise record of 15 in  the nine-game 1982 season.  The fewest sacks the Chiefs have ever had over 16 games is 23, and that was back in 1988. …Read More!

Podcasting: Post-Game Cincinnati with L.J.

From Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati

Here’s a post-game report from the Chiefs locker room after their 16-6 loss to the Bengals.  I’ve kept it short and the real meat here is my interview with Larry Johnson and his comments that he wants out of Kansas City.

Check it out.

COMMENTARY: The Worst One Yet

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

Clark Hunt stood inside the entrance to the Chiefs locker room and provided what little consolation he could to the players and coaches that walked through the door.

The Chiefs had just lost to the Bengals 16-6 and as they trudged into the room, Hunt gave them a handshake, a slap on the back, a nod of the head. There was little consolation that could be provided.

“This is embarrassing,” said wide receiver Mark Bradley as he walked in with Dwayne Bowe.

Oh my yes, it was embarrassing, maybe the worst of the team’s 26 defeats over the last two years. OK, second worst. Losing last year to Detroit, the only game the Lions have won in their last 24 games would have to rank on top.

We will keep the focus of this epistle strictly to what happened on Sunday here on the north bank of the Ohio River. There will be plenty of time in the future for post-mortems on what happened to the 2008 Chiefs.

Bradley was right on the mark; what happened on the last day of the season was embarrassing. Yes they only lost by 10 points and they got drubbed earlier in the season by teams like Carolina and Tennessee by wider margins than that. But those teams are in the playoffs and rank near the top of their conferences. Losing by 10 points to the now 4-11-1 Cincinnati Bengals is just the most disgusting defeat one can ever imagine for a team like the Chiefs in a season like this one.

The Chiefs are a bad football team. The Bengals are a bad football team. And on top of that, Cincinnati started this game without starting wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson who were inactive. Also inactive were the starting tackles Stacy Andrews and Levi Jones. And, the team’s franchise quarterback Carson Palmer was the third inactive quarterback. They would have used a wide receiver to throw the football before they would have put Palmer in the game with his bad elbow. …Read More!

It’s Over; Chiefs Drop Finale to Bengals

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

Last week, the Chiefs were able to score four touchdowns against a Miami Dolphins defense that was fighting to go to the playoffs. A week later on the final Sunday of the 2008 NFL season, they were able to score only a single touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals, losing 16-6 and finishing the season with a 2-14 record.

After playing well for the better part of the last two months, the Kansas City attack was stymied and held to just 220 yards by a Bengals defense that was allowing 332.5 yards per game.

QB Tyler Thigpen struggled all afternoon, finishing the day completing 19 of 36 passes for 191 yards. The running game produced just 31 yards. The Chiefs had 14 first downs, but six came on their final possession in the fourth quarter that produced the Chiefs only score: a five-yard TD pass from Thigpen to TE Tony Gonzalez. The offense also lost the ball on a fumble in the fourth quarter.

And the Bengals had just enough offense to put a touchdown and two field goals on the scoreboard. RB Cedric Benson had the TD, running in from two yards away in the second quarter. K Shayne Graham added a pair of field goals and Cincinnati finished the season at 4-11-1 and with three straight victories.

The Bengals won the toss but elected to defer their selection until the second half. So the Chiefs got the ball first and Thigpen hit his first two passes, going nine yards to WR Devard Darling and eight yards to WR Dwayne Bowe. But the drive stalled and P Dustin Colquitt booted the ball away.

Cincinnati’s first drive picked up three first downs, but the Chiefs defense stiffened and held on a fourth-and-six play when CB Brandon Flowers knocked down a pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to WR Glenn Holt.

But the next time the Cincinnati offense got the ball, they put together the only scoring drive of the quarter, moving 63 yards on 11 plays with four first downs. The big play in the drive was a 14-yard run by Benson. Again, the Chiefs defense stopped the march towards the end zone and Graham hit a 38-yard FG to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead. …Read More!

Game Day Inactives 12/28

From Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

The Chiefs have gotten a gift from the Cincinnati Bengals today as both starting WRs T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson and both starting tackles Levi Jones and Stacy Andrews are on the game-day inactive list.

The game-day inactive players for the Chiefs against the Bengals are

  • CB David Macklin
  • TE Michael Merritt
  • G Tavares Washington
  • T Barry Richardson
  • DT Derek Lokey
  • T Andrew Carnahan
  • WR Jeff Webb
  • DE Wallace Gilberry

On Friday, the Chiefs promoted LB Wes Dacus from the practice squad, replacing CB Maurice Leggett who went to the injured reserve list.  Dacus is wearing No. 57 and will be active today on special teams.

To show what kind of season it’s been for the Chiefs, only two of those eight (Richardson and Webb) were on the team’s roster for the season opener against New England.

Inactive for the Bengals along with the receivers and tackles are: RB Chris Perry, RB Kenny Watson, and DT Jason Shirley.  Carson Palmer is the third inactive quarterback.

Starting at wide receiver for the Bengals will be rookie Andre Caldwell (six catches for 44 yards) and Chris Henry (20 catches for 71 yards).  Starting at LT will be rookie Anthony Collins out of Kansas and at RT Dennis Roland, a first-year player from Georgia.

The weather in Cincinnati this morning is sunny, cool, with high winds.  Paul Brown Stadium is open on each end and sits northwest to southeast.  The flags on the north end are flying straight out. The wind will be a factor, especially in the kicking game.  There is no rain expected today with game-time temperatures in the mid-40s. 

The crew of Bill Carollo will work the game.  They rank among the least active flag throwers in the league, averaging just 9.1 penalties walked off per game.  In the last two weeks, Carollo’s crew has had just seven penalties accepted for 54 yards.

Cincinnati will be wearing their orange tops for today’s game.  They are 8-1 when wearing their alternate tops.

Sunday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

From Cincinnati, Ohio

The 2008 NFL season ends today around the country, including the game between the woeful Chiefs and the equally woeful Bengals here in the Queen City.

This game doesn’t figure to be remembered for very long, or by very many people.

Not like the game that was played on December 28, 1958.

The site as Yankee Stadium in New York and it was the NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts.

It has become THE game in NFL history. The Colts overtime victory over the Giants helped shape what the league became in the next 20 years and elevated pro football into a position as America’s favorite pastime.

There’s not even a question about the NFL’s status as the country’s No. 1 sport. Today, hundreds of thousands of people will watch the Chiefs and Bengals, even though the game is totally meaningless. There are 10 of the 16 games this weekend that can chance the picture for the playoffs that will begin next week.

That attention and that passion can be traced to this game. It helped that it was played in New York, which at the time set the trends for everything in this country. The television coverage, the players, the first overtime game … it was all like it came out of a Hollywood script.

The game itself was quite an affair. Here’s the lead on the game story that appeared in the Baltimore Sun the day after the game. Written by then young football writer Cameron Snyder, it capsulizes the game quite well in just a few paragraphs:

“Six years of sweat and frustration bore fruit today as the Colts stormed 80 yards in thirteen plays to win the National Football League championship, 23 to 17 in a sudden-death playoff with the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium.

“Propelled by John Unitas’ passes and Raymond Berry’s catches, the Colts forced the game into the first sudden-death extra period in pro history when Steve Myhra kicked a 20-yard field goal with nine seconds left in regulation time.

“That placement evened the game at 17-17 and gave the Colts their winning chance, which Alan Ameche cashed on a 1-yard scoring plunge after 8:15 minutes had elapsed in the sudden-death period.

“The first team to score in a sudden death period is the winning team, no matter how the score is achieved.”

Players on the field did not know there was such a thing as overtime. Some of the Giants started walking off the field, thinking the game was tied. They were shocked when told they would play on until a winner was determined.

The Colts had 460 offensive yards compared to 206 yards for the Giants. Unitas was 26 of 40 for 349 yards and one TD pass to Berry, who caught 12 passes for 178 yards and Lenny Moore had six catches for 101 yards. Amece had a pair of TD runs for the Colts

So much of what has come after that game is what the NFL is about. The game established the sport in the eyes of advertisers in New York. It helped convince Lamar Hunt that he wanted to own an NFL team. When he couldn’t get one, he created the NFL. …Read More!

How The Chiefs Can Beat The Bengals

From Cincinnati, Ohio

The Chiefs boots hit the ground here along the Ohio River Saturday afternoon after a turbulent flight in from KCI. The storm that blew through Kansas City early Saturday morning made for a bumpy ride to the Queen City.

Herm Edwards and his team arrive here with a 2-13 record to face Marvin Lewis and his Bengals who are 3-11-1. But Cincinnati has won two straight, beating Washington and Cleveland. The Chiefs have won just once in the last 11 games.

There are a lot of similarities between what these teams have gone through this season. Specifically they’ve been ravaged by injuries. The Bengals have only five players who will start all 16 games; the Chiefs have 10. Cincinnati has had 22 players on injured reserve at various points this season.

They are without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who has battled an elbow injury all season. He actually practiced this week, but he will not play against the Chiefs. His replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled and the Bengals offense is ranked 32nd in the league.

Of course, the Chiefs defense ranks 31st in the league when it comes to yards allowed.

Here are three things that would help the Chiefs pick up their third victory. …Read More!

Saturday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

You know sometimes you’ve got to go home to find out what’s really inside a man.

Take Herm Edwards. Every week he talks with a reporter from the Monterey County Herald back home on the Monterey Peninsula in northern California.

Edwards answered a lot of questions in the last week about whether he was burned out from the season, whether he was quitting because his position is not assured right now as the Chiefs search for a new general manager and whether the losing had simply eaten away at him.

Many of the people writing and saying these things know Herm Edwards. They’ve been around him. They simply haven’t been paying attention to what makes up the core of this man and his beliefs. He is not burned out, he is not going to quit and the losing has hurt, but it hasn’t destroyed his confidence or desires.

In his diary entry for this week at the Herald, Edwards once again explains that he’s not planning on going anywhere.

“I have no idea why someone even brought up the question about quitting,” Edwards said. “That’s not even an option for me. I think they (media) were just searching. I’m not going anywhere as long as they want me.”

In talking about his future, Edwards said: “Whatever they decide, I’m fine with that. The foundation for the future of the franchise is set. I can say I was a part of that. Whether I continue is not up to me. I’ve got nothing to complain about. I could never repay this league for what it has done for me. I’ve been in the NFL for over 30 years.

“I’m not who I am because of football. I’ve just used it as a platform to help people. Regardless of what happens I’m going to be fine and will continue to do what I do.”

If you doubt what Edwards says, then check out the picture above. See that NFL shield on his sweatshirt? He wears that every single day around his team. Whether the sweatshirt is grey, black, red or white, they all have the NFL shield on the front. He tells his players on almost a daily basis how playing in the NFL is a privilege.

As the Chiefs go to Cincinnati to finish up the season, what’s ahead is not something he’s spent a lot of time thinking about.

“I have not thought at all about this being my last game as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Edwards told the Herald. “I don’t get caught up in all that. I n ever have. I’m just focusing on this game and seeing if we can get a win. After that, I’ll worry about that.

“If I’m not here then I’ve got some choices to make. What they are, I don’t know yet. But my goal is to come back and coach this football team and honor my contract … In my mind, we’re about seven players away from being a playoff team. I can get that in the draft and through free agency. We’re close.”

You can read the whole Herm Edwards diary entry right here. …Read More!

Search For Chiefs GM Update 12/26

The situation around the Chiefs search for a new GM has been pretty quiet this holiday week.

That doesn’t mean nothing has gone on.

Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt held at least one interview with a potential GM candidate early this week.  The person and location of the meeting is unknown, but the process of interviewing and gathering information is very definitely underway.

As noted in our podcast with Fox-TV’s John Czarnecki on Wednesday (access here), Denny Thum the man who will soon be the Chiefs interim president and general manager is actively involved in the process of finding a replacement for Carl Peterson.

We’ve updated our A-List of potential candidates in the last few days.  No great revelations here, but all the names are in one spot.  Click here.

Chiefs Update 12/26

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs held their final practice of the 2008 season late Friday morning, working for just over an hour indoors.

They also made a roster move.  Injured rookie CB Maurice Leggett was sent to the injured-reserve list becaue of his right shoulder injury.  Replacing him is rookie LB Wes Dacus.

The only player on the team’s official injury report to the league will be DT-DE Alfonso Boone, who is listed as probable with a thigh injury.

Herm Edwards called Friday’s practice a good one, and along with the work the team got done on Thursday the coach said it was evidence that they remain focused on the task at hand.

“They are focused in and they are loose,” said Edwards. “They want to try and get a win and finish up with that.”

Said QB Tyler Thigpen: “Considering it’s been Christmas week, the guys have been really focused. I give the guys a lot of credit for not letting the outside stuff get in the way.  When they came in, they came to work.”

Podcasting: Football with Goose 12/26

America’s best pro football writer Rick Gosselin joins us for our weekly chat and you don’t want to miss this one.  In clear and concise terms, Goose spells out the qualities that make for a top talent evaluator in the NFL.  We also talk about how the best evaluators are worthless if the entire organization isn’t on the same page when it comes to identifying and then developing talent.   Rick then talks about Scott Pioli, the No. 1 personnel man in New England and the person who is likely on the top of any list of a team seeking a GM-type.  Plus, the conversation includes disussion of the finaly weeks of the NFL season, as we cover Tennessee, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Denver in the AFC, and the New York Giants, Carolina and Arizona in the NFC. 


Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

There were no victories in the stockings of the Detroit Lions on Christmas.

No matter how many wish lists to Santa came out of the Motor City, old Kris Kringle couldn’t help out Rod Marinelli and his Lions.

“I don’t need anything from anybody,” Marinelli said this week. “Never have, never will.”

The way things are going, he may need a job. The Lions are the cusp of becoming the first team in NFL history to finish with a 0-16 record. They’ve already matched the expansion 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs and its 0-14 record.

The Lions last chance at victory comes on Sunday in Green Bay. If you don’t think this is one for the books, then listen to this: NFL Films will have six cameras at Lambeau Field to chronicle what happens for a season ending game with two teams that have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

“This is history,” Steve Sabol of NFL Films told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re covering it almost as if it were a playoff game.”

Think about it: there might be as much to lose for either team as a game in the post-season. For the Lions, there’s the ultimate embarrassment of finishing the season without a victory. For the Packers, a loss would leave them as a note in history as the only team that couldn’t beat the ’08 Lions.

“The reality of right now hasn’t set in right now; it set in a month ago,” said kicker Jason Hanson. “There’s no miracle that can happen to make it better.”

The reality for the Packers is this: they’ve lost five straight and are now 5-10 on the season. They are struggling and this is not a good situation to stumble upon at the end of a lost season.

“We’re going to treat the Lions no different than any other opponent we’re playing,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Green Bay reporters this week. “I’m sure there will be a lot of outside media attention around the situation, but we’re not going to spend any time on that. We have no opinion on it.”

So bad are things with the Lions that maybe their most vocal leader is a rookie, running back Kevin Smith. He ripped his own team after last Sunday’s 42-7 loss to New Orleans.

“As a team, we laid down,” Smith said. “I’m just so sick of hearing the coaches this and the coaches that. After awhile your players start to feed in it and they start to believe that. And that’s definitely not gonna get you a win. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/25

From the Truman Sports Complex

After opening their presents Thursday morning, the Chiefs went through a one hour, 40-minute practice sessions Christmas afternoon.

“They must not have gotten any coal in their stocking,” said head coach Herm Edwards. “They practiced pretty good today.”

The Chiefs reported the same injury situation as they did Wednesday, listing Alfonso Boone (thigh) as full participation and CB Maurcie Leggett (shoulder) as limited.

They’ll have one more practice Friday morning in preparation for Sunday’s season finale in Cincinnati against the Bengals.

Marvin Lewis gave his team the day off, so the Bengals injury report remains the same as Wednesday.  Out is T Stacy Andrews with a knee injury.  Those who did not participate in practice were QB Carson Palmer (elbow), WR Chad Johnson (hamstring), T Levi Jones (hamstring) and DT Pat Sims (arm).

Limited in practice were RB Cedric Benson (ankle) CB Jamar Fletcher (back) and RB Kenny Watson (hamstring).

Podcasting: Len’s Look 12/25

Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson joins us for a discussion on many things Chiefs and football related on this holiday.  Len speaks of Tyler Thigpen’s recent performances, whether football players and teams need to learn how to win, what he would do if he were to be become Chiefs GM and as the Chiefs close out the season at Paul Brown Stadium against the Bengals on Sunday, Len remembers some stories about the great coach.


Hank’s Gallery: Miami Game

Our man Hank Young braved the raw elements last Sunday and again captured the Chiefs and Dolphins in action at Arrowhead, from the play, to the cold, to the pagentry.

Enjoy! …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/24

From the Truman Sports Complex

Chrismas Eve was just another Wednesday in the 2008 season for the Chiefs, more a holiday because it’s the last Wednesday on the schedule.

The Chiefs went through a two-hour workout and all hands on deck participated.  Sixty players took part, as the Chiefs are down two bodies on their practice squad.  CB Maurice Leggett (shoulder) was a limited participant while DE-DT Alfonso Boone (thigh) participated fully in the work.

They will practice again on Christmas Day, although Herm Edwards has moved back the schedule so players can leave home a little later and those with children can enjoy a few minutes around the tree.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is giving his players Thursday off, but that was after practicing them on Tuesday, their normal day off.

Lewis also talked on Wednesday about his coaching counterpart Herm Edwards:

“He’s got a great perspective on things with his background as a player and with coming up through the ranks there in Kansas City, both coaching and scouting with the Chiefs. So he’s got a great perspective on the league. And, he’s really been a great resource and somebody I’ve spent a lot of time with. He holds the NFL, and the privilege of playing and coaching in the NFL, in high regard. So I think when you’re around him, he has that aura about him, which is outstanding. He has a real appreciation for what he’s had an opportunity to do. The way he carries himself all the time as a person and a man is exceptional.”

Lewis was asked if he has great empthay for what Edwards has gone through this year with the Chiefs:

“He and I talked in Mobile last year (at the Senior Bowl practices).  Herm talked at that point that he felt they really needed to find a way to get a younger football team together for this season. That was going to be one of their goals as an organization. It’s difficult. They had been a successful team, always on the brink of moving on in the playoffs, and being able to enjoy the playoffs, and so you hang onto some of your older, mature players a little longer, because of that. The fans have an affection for them, and so everybody thinks, `Because he’s here this year, he should be here next year and the year after that and the year after that,’ and then you look up and see they can’t do the same things anymore. That gets to be an issue, because people they’re competing with are at a different speed.  So I know they felt the need to make some of those kind of moves. And then what we’ve been through, it looks like they did, too. You lose your quarterback like that, so you’re playing with people you didn’t expect to, and I think that compounds the issue a little bit. They’ve done a great job defensively this year. Gunther (defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) has stuck to his guns, and they’re getting turnovers and takeaways, keeping them in football games, and lately they’ve been very explosive on offense.”

Podcasting: The NFL & Czar 12/24

Our man John Czarnecki of the FOX-TV NFL Pre-Game Show and FOXSPORTS.com joins us to talk about the Chiefs search for a general manager, Scott Pioli and his interest in the job, the situations with Detroit and St. Louis and their GM jobs, the status of other coaches and GMs around the league as the season comes to an end and his thougths on the hottest team going into the final weekend (San Diego) and the coldest team (Arizona).


Wednesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

There are generally three things that create a rivalry in the world of sports.

First, its geography. KU vs. K-State. Mizzou vs. Illini. Packers vs. Bears. Texas vs. Oklahoma.

Second, it’s a history of big games played in important circumstances like the Chiefs vs. Raiders or Redskins vs. Cowboys.

The third way to create a rivalry is to show disrespect. The old diss can turn a couple of teams into foaming at the mouth dobermans at the mere mention of their rival.

The NFL has a new rivalry, and it doesn’t qualify under No. 1 or No. 2. But it definitely meets the criteria for No. 3.

That would be the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

You may remember those two faced off this past Sunday in Nashville. It was a meeting of the two teams with the best records in the AFC. Both teams were already in the playoffs. Both were already assured of a bye week and at least one home game.

This was really more about pride, and here the advantage went to the Titans. Tennessee drubbed Pittsburgh < and on the way dissed the iconic Terrible Towel that’s part of the wardrobe of just about every Steelers fan.

DE Jevon Kearse (above) blew his nose on one, while LB Keith Bulluck (below) stomped and wiped his feet on another.

If these two teams should happen to meet in the AFC Championship Game (again in Nashville) then expect the actions of the Titans to become very big points of discussion with the Steelers.

“We won’t forget it,” said Steelers CB Deshea Townsend after the game.

Apparently Bulluck had some second thoughts about his actions on Tuesday. In an interview with the folks at Sirrius NFL Radio, he said

“It was definitely no disrespect to the players on the Steelers or players from the past because the Pittsburgh Steelers they are one of the foundations of this league.  So it’s definitely not like that. Look, we don’t get a lot of respect.  We have the best record in football and we’ve been playing the same football all year round and people have been wondering, ‘How is this team doing it?’  In the playoffs they’re going to get to see.  We were just excited.  We were just happy.  And I don’t care who we play, if they come with 15,000 fans and we happen to be the victors that day, yeah, I’ll probably stomp their towels, too.”

That appears to be what ticked off the Titans so much this past Sunday. They were playing at home, but somehow an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Steelers fans made their way into LP Field. Because they have been so consistently good for so long, the Steelers have fans everywhere. Plus, the team has been sold out since the early 1970s and very few tickets ever leave the hands of a family; they get passed down from generation to generation and have now for over 35 years. That means a lot of Pittsburgh fans can only see their team when they play away from Heinz Field.

Yes, we know it’s all going to be meaningless if these teams do face each other again. What will get them there is the talents of their players and coaches and both teams have plenty of those qualities.

But this is the stuff that puts some pizzazz in the game. Hey, we focus more on the football aspects of the NFL, but there can never be any doubt that this is show business.

Nothing helps show biz in the pigskin world more than a good rivalry. …Read More!

Herm Speaks 12/23

From Arrowhead Stadium

It may have been the shortest Tuesday session with the media horde that Herm Edwards has experienced during three years in Kansas City.

And, it wasn’t because Edwards lacked for anything to say or was in ill-humor. The media group was a skeleton crew at best and they’ve grown tired of asking the same questions week after week.

There were some good questions and some good answers from the head coach. Here they are.


“I’ve got a lot of energy and I think the thing that gives me the most energy is these young guys we have. Their ability to recover after a bunch of hard losses; we’ve been in a bunch of football games that we haven’t won this year and I think that will pay dividends with this football team next year. With youth, every time they show up after a hard loss, we go through film with them and they’re optimistic and they’re excited about the next week’s opponent. It’s a credit to the players, how they bounce back after a tough loss every week.”

Comment: I’ve been around Herm Edwards nearly every day since the season started way back in the last week of July in River Falls. I know there have been times when the season weighed on his shoulders. I’m sure with others around the team’s building who are his confidants he shared moments of anger and despair. But publicly, in front of his team, in front of his coaches and especially in front of the media, the frustration was buttoned up and it was always about the next game, the next day, that afternoon’s practice. “One of the greatest examples of leadership I’ve ever seen,” said special teams coach Mike Priefer, who saw leadership in a different forum than football when he was flying helicopters in the Navy. That the Chiefs bounced back from 10-0 last Sunday and made a game of it with the Dolphins was testimony to their pride. That pride has been grown by the way Edwards has handled himself and this season. …Read More!

Draft Slotting With One Week To Go

For fans looking ahead to 2009 – and what else is there to get excited about at this point – the Chiefs have assured themselves no lower than the third pick in the first round of the ’09 NFL Draft.

Detroit has wrapped up the No. 1 pick with its 0-15 record. That was assured with their defeat this past weekend.

Tied for No. 2 are the Chiefs and St. Louis, both carrying 2-13 records. With a game to play, the Chiefs have the No. 2 spot thanks to a weaker schedule than the Rams. But it’s not by much. The 13 opponents of the Chiefs are 109-85-1, or a .562 winning percentage. The Rams’ opponents are just one game better at 110-84-1, a .562 winning percentage.

The teams share five opponents: New England, Buffalo, the New York Jets, Miami and Atlanta.

So if both teams lose their final games: the Chiefs to Cincinnati and St. Louis to Atlanta, then it will come down to the outcomes of the eight other teams on their schedules.

For the Chiefs it’s the outcome of games played by Denver, Oakland, San Diego, Carolina, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Tennessee and Cincinnati. Throw out Denver and San Diego, along with Carolina and New Orleans, and Oakland and Tampa Bay because those teams play head-to-head. If the Chiefs lose to the Bengals, baring ties that’s a 4-3 record. The outcome in doubt would be the Tennessee at Indianapolis game.

For the Rams the focus is on the outcome of games involving Philadelphia, Washington, the New York Giants, Dallas, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco and Chicago. Throw out Dallas and Philly, along with Seattle and Arizona and Washington and San Francisco; those teams play head to head; again a 3-3 record. That leaves the outcome of Chicago at Houston and the N.Y. Giants at Minnesota as key games for the Rams when it comes to strength of schedule.

Here’s the grid:

Team Rec. Opp. Record Final Game
Detroit 0-15 111-84/.571 at Green Bay
CHIEFS 2-13 109-85-1/.562 at Cincinnati
St. Louis 2-13 110-84-1/.567 at Atlanta
Cincinnati 3-11-1 109-85-1/.562 Chiefs
Seattle 4-11 103-91-1/.531 at Arizona
Oakland 4-11 108-87/.554 at Tampa Bay
Cleveland 4-11 112-81-2/.580 at Pittsburgh

Tuesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

There are 16 regular season games left on the 2008 NFL schedule.

This weekend, 10 of those 16 have something on the line for at least one of the teams.

With one weekend of games to play, only half of the division titles are spoken for right now. The other half will be decided in the outcome of those 10 games.

After the Bears overtime victory on a Robbie Gould FG (left) against Green Bay Monday evening, 18 of the league’s 32 teams has a rooting interest in what happens on the field. Seven teams are already in, with 11 others in various states of possible.

There are six teams that can make the playoffs this weekend simply with a victory. Those teams holding destiny in their own hands are Minnesota, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, Baltimore and Miami. Five other teams need help: Chicago, Philadelphia, New England and the New York Jets.

Here’s how it breaks down.


Tennessee (#1), Pittsburgh (#2) and Indianapolis (#5) are locked into their spots in the first round.

The No. 3 spot will go to the winner of the AFC East: Miami, New England or the Jets. The No. 4 position will go to the AFC West champion, either Denver or San Diego. The No. 6 spot will feature either Baltimore or the New England Patriots.


The New York Giants have the No. 1 seed and the other five spots are up for grabs among six teams. Even though both Carolina and Atlanta have wrapped up positions in the playoffs, they are not locked into particular positions.

Here are the games that matter this weekend in the NFL:

  • St. Louis at Atlanta: Falcons need victory and Carolina loss.
  • Jacksonville at Baltimore: Ravens need victory.
  • New England at Buffalo: Patriots need victory and one by Jets.
  • Chicago at Houston: Bears clinch NFC North with victory, Vikings loss.
  • New York Giants at Minnesota: The Vikings are in with a victory, or Bears loss.
  • Carolina at New Orleans: Clinches frost with intensity of pass rush.
  • Miami at the New York jets: Dolphins win and they are in.
  • Dallas at Philadelphia: Cowboys win they are in, while Philly needs all sorts of help.
  • Oakland at Tampa Bay: Buccaneers only chance is with a victory.
  • Denver at San Diego: winner takes the AFC West; loser goes home.

One of those six games that means nothing in the post-season picture of course is the Chiefs and Bengals in Cincinnati. …Read More!

2009 Opponents Set

With a week to go before the 2008 season is finished, the Chiefs 13 opponent for the 2009 season are set.

Here’s how it breaks down:

HOME – Oakland, Denver, San Diego, Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh.

AWAY – Oakland, Denver, San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Washington.

Under the NFL schedule formula, the Chiefs face the NFC East and the AFC North this year.  Because they will finish fourth in the AFC West, they will face the fourth place team from the other two AFC divisions (Buffalo and Jacksonville).

A Fitting AFC West Conclusion

The San Diego Chargers were somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, heading home after battering the Buccaneers in Tampa when they learned they would have a chance to play for the AFC West championship.

Buffalo 30, Denver 23.

“We were at 30,000 feet and I think the plane shot up to about 40,000 feet,” said Chargers safety Clinton Hart told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Give it to the Chargers. Left for dead a month ago, they did what they had to do. They started winning.

Who knew the Denver Broncos would choke and make the impossible come to life. They’ve led the AFC West since day No. 1 of the 2008 season. But if they can’t find a way to go to San Diego and beat the Chargers this coming Sunday night, Denver’s season will end.

It’s all an appropriate finale for what has been a strange year in the AFC West. If the Chargers beat the Broncos, they will win the division with an 8-8 record. The Chargers own the tiebreaker through a superior division record, so if they win, the Broncos are done.

Since the NFL division era began in 1967, no team has held a three-game lead with three to go and not made the playoffs.

“This is what football’s all about, and we’re going to see what type of guys we have in our locker room,” Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall said after the game. “This is going to determine a lot of things. What guys I want to take in my foxhole, we’ll see.”

The last time a team with a .500 record has been a division winner was 1985 when the Cleveland Browns won the AFC Central in a season when the Broncos went 11-5, but did not make the playoffs as a wildcard team. The last team to make the playoffs with an 8-8 record was the St. Louis Rams in 2004.

The winner of this AFC West bowl will get a first-round game at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

Denver quarterback Jay Cutler tried to find solace last night in the fact the Broncos were not preseason favorites to win the division.

“If you had told us in the beginning of the year that it was a one-game series with us and San Diego to go to the playoffs, we probably would have taken it,” he told reporters in Denver. “We’ve got to keep our heads up. We’ve got one game left and winner gets in.”

Where’s Joey & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

Joey Porter is having one of the best seasons of his career and he’s headed to the Pro Bowl for thanks to his 17.5 sacks for the Miami Dolphins this season.

But on Sunday against the Chiefs, Porter was invisible.  He was not a factor in the Dolphins defensive effort.  In fact, in the post-game press box stats for the Miami defense, Porter did not appear.  No tackles, no assists,  no sacks, no quarterback hurries, no pressures.  Porter was a non-factor.

He tried both sides of the Chiefs offensive line, going against rookie left tackle Branden Albert and veteran right tackle Damion McIntosh.  Several times he lined up so wide that the running back had to take care of his rush, something both Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles did without problems.

“We were able to block him striaght up,” said  McIntosh. “We don’t double team on anybody, really.  It’s not the first time I faced him.  Granted he’s done very well this year but we’re not going to go and do something special.”

Porter always has a lot to say on the field during games, and the Chiefs reported he was yapping away like he always does.  But afterwards, he kept  his comments short.

“We were just focused  on trying to get a win,” Porter said. “They played pretty good on the offense.  They had some situations where they were going for it on fourth downs.  They had nothing to lose, so they were taking more chances. They made some plays.”

The Chiefs did make some plays.  Joey Porter did not.


The Chiefs were two out of four on converting fourth down plays,  but they were only 30 percent (three out of 10) on third down.  That’s just some of the stats you can find in the NFL Game Book for this game. Click here.


The Chiefs reported no new injuries after the game.  CB Maurice Leggett (shoulder) and DE Alfonso Boone (thigh) were not active for the game because of injury.  Also, Wade Smith started at right guard for Adrian Jones, who did play.

The Dolphins were without their defensive leader,  ILB Channing Crowder who was inactive because of injury.


Herm Edwards challenged a no fumble call in the first half,  but lost the replay review.

Jeff Triplette’s crew walked off only seven penalties  in the game, five of those against the Chiefs.  Triplette flagged DT Tank Tyler for unnecessary roughness, saying he went low on Chad Pennington and hit him in the knees.  Replay showed it was a bad call, that Tyler stumbled into Pennington and did  not arrive with any force at all.  The flag wiped out a Miami fumble that was recovered by the Chiefs.

SS Bernard Pollard was hit with a personal foul for a horse collar tackle.  LT Branden Albert was called for a false start.  The Chiefs were offsides on a PAT-defense play and CB Brandon Flowers was hit for a facemask penalty.


TE Tony Gonzalez caught seven passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

That leaves him at 91 catches for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns.  It’s the fourth time in his career that Gonzalez has gone over 1,000 receiving yards.  That’s  more than any other tight end in pro football history.

His consecutive games streak with a catch went to 130 games and his nine TD passes now is the most he’s hand since scoring 10 times in the 2003 season.

How Cold Was It?

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was cold, very cold, the second coldest day for a Chiefs game in the history of Arrowhead Stadium.

Temperature at kickoff for the Chiefs and Dolphins was 10 degrees. With a strong wind from the west-northwest, the wind-chill factor made it feel like minus-12.

The Chiefs announced their paid attendance of 73,689 during the game. The team does not release an actual in the house count, but a veteran Arrowhead observer (me) pegged the crowd at about 25,000 fans.

Obviously it was the smallest crowd that Arrowhead has seen for a game in some time. But then the Chiefs haven’t had a game played in these types of weather conditions since 1996 and the came in the playoffs against Indianapolis. That day was 11 degrees with a wind-chill factor of minus nine. It was a full house that day as the Chiefs fell to the Colts 10-7.

But it was certainly a bigger crowd than what showed up for the coldest Arrowhead game, on December 18, 1983. With the game-time temperature at zero and the wind-chill factor at minus-30, only 11,377 were counted in the house for the victory over Denver 48-17.

It was the coldest game in franchise history for the Dolphins. Oddly, Miami’s coldest home game (kickoff temperature of 40 degrees) was played against the Chiefs as well.

Remarkably, it seemed to have little effect on the performances of the players. With nearly 900 yards in total offense and the team’s combining for 75 passes, they played like there wasn’t a problem.

“I thought both offenses did a good job of throwing the ball and running the ball in this kind of weather,” said Herm Edwards. “Chad (Pennington) played well and I thought Tyler (Thigpen) did as well, although he made a few mistakes and turned the ball over too many times.” …Read More!

Chiefs Defense Hits Another Low

From Arrowhead Stadium

Try as one might, it’s hard to find any improvement when it comes to the 2008 Chiefs defense.

In game No. 15 of this horrid season, the Chiefs defense turned in another horrid performance. Even though they forced a pair of turnovers by the Dolphins, they couldn’t keep the visitors out of the end zone.

Miami scored a touchdown in each quarter and only once had to settle for a field goal.

The Chiefs defense couldn’t get the Miami offense off the field. The Dolphins had a time of possession advantage of eight minutes, 20 seconds. In the fourth quarter, Miami had the ball for 12:02 of the 15-minute period.

The Chiefs defense seemed to run out of gas.

“They created big plays,” said SS Bernard Pollard. “They ran the ball very well and broke tackles. Yards after that first hit were really big for them. That’s on us.

“This is very disappointing. We’ve got to step back and look at it and improve. We’ve got to get something out of this.”

Right now, the Chiefs are getting nothing but a giant pain in the neck. To be considered a good defense a unit must at the minimum do several things. Forcing turnovers is one and the Chiefs have done a good job of taking the ball away this year. FS Jarrad Page had an interception and LB Demorrio Williams recovered a fumble. There were several other plays where the Chiefs felt they had grabbed a loose ball, but the officials ruled otherwise. …Read More!

Pennington Wins; Thigpen Struggles In Second Half

From Arrowhead Stadium

Oh, if only the Chiefs could turn back the clock to the early days of August and remake history.

The 20-20 vision that hindsight provides tells us that when Chad Pennington became available, the Chiefs should have found a way to get him to Kansas City. Successful NFL starting quarterbacks don’t often become available while they still have tread on their tires. When that occasion comes, a team without an established starter should be knocking down doors to get him.

But the Chiefs wanted so badly to develop their own quarterback, to have a guy with a pure pedigree. That’s why they put all their eggs in Brodie Croyle’s basket, and when the Jets were moving Pennington out so they could acquire Brett Favre, they weren’t able to offer the quarterback wanted he wanted most: a starting job.

Miami had some young quarterbacks as well, draft choices like Chad Hennie and John Beck, but they went after Pennington and got him.

And now they are a victory away from winning the AFC East and making the NFL playoffs. They are already one of the greatest one-year turnaround project in NFL history, going from 1-15 to now 10-5.

So much of that is because of what Pennington has brought to south Florida. He showed that again against the Chiefs and those few hearty fans who braved the frigid conditions and came to Arrowhead got to see why the Dolphins have gotten so much better.

Pennington isn’t going to wow anybody. He doesn’t have the arm of a Philip Rivers, the panache of a Jay Cutler, or the aura of a Favre. He just gets things done. Against the Chiefs on Sunday, Pennington completed no pass for more than 19 yards. He only had six passes for more than 13 yards. …Read More!

COMMENTARY: A Big Lesson Left To Learn

From Arrowhead Stadium

Give it to these 2008 Chiefs. With every opportunity in the world to give up the season, they continue to fight and compete with the rest of the NFL. They are learning valuable lessons in how to play the game, how to be a professional and how to carry themselves.

What they haven’t learned however, is the most important lesson any athlete or team must comprehend. They haven’t learned how to win.

They had another chance against the Miami Dolphins. It didn’t work out.

Another week, another chance to play was wasted in pursuit of that ultimate of gifts: the ability to be successful as a team.

“I don’t care about how many yards we had today,” said Brian Waters when he was asked about the Chiefs racking up a season best 492 yards. “What do stats or records mean when you are 2-12?”

Or 2-13. That’s what the Chiefs are as they sit just a week away from the last game on the schedule. No one, not even the most ardent of supporters behind the rebuilding of this team expected anything like this. Tearing apart a roster and retooling with youngsters is a messy proposition.

But now, 15 games and 22 weeks into the project that began back in July in River Falls, one is left to wonder what has been accomplished.

That’s really not fair, because there have been a lot of little victories with the new faces on this team. Herm Edwards insists that progress has been made.

“You think about the Tennessee (lost by 24) and Carolina (lost by 34) games, they were lows for us,” Edwards said. “They were early. But when the quarterback became the same guy every week, we became more consistent as a football team.

“We’ve been very competitive, but we can’t finish and that’s a little bit of immaturity and a learning curve they have to go through. We have about 18 rookies on this roster and they’ve played a lot. This team will have a whole different mindset coming into next year.”

Everything about the Chiefs right now is about the future, because the most recent past is so ugly. Two and 13 on this season, six and 25 for the last two years and 2-22 in the last 24 games. That’s as bad as any organization in the league and certainly worse than at any point in Chiefs history. …Read More!

Offenses Ignore Cold; Second Half Kills Chiefs Again

From Arrowhead Stadium

One of the coldest days Arrowhead Stadium has ever seen produced a couple of hot offenses. It was the Miami Dolphins who brought more heat than the Chiefs and walked off with a 38-31 victory.

For most of the game, the offenses chased the defenses up and down the field, producing 895 yards in total offense and nine touchdowns. The Dolphins scored touchdowns in every quarter and finished the day with 403 yards, their second best offensive performance of the season.

A year after going 1-15, Miami is now 10-5 and one victory away from making the playoffs and possibly winning the AFC East. They will finish the season next Sunday against the Jets in the Meadowlands.

“That’s a good football team,” Herm Edwards said of the Dolphins. “They’ve got a pretty good offense and the quarterback (Chad Pennington) is a good player. I was fortunate enough to coach him for five years and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, he’s very accurate and they’ve got a pretty good running game.”

The Chiefs finished the game with 492 yards, their best offensive output of the season. They had their longest pass play of the season and a host of other big plays; seven plays produced 262 yards. They also got their running game going as RB Larry Johnson ran for 108 yards and the team finished with 180 yards.

But once again the Kansas City offense had second half problems. After scoring four touchdowns in the first half, the Chiefs managed only a field goal in the second half and blew another scoring opportunity in the third quarter when QB Tyler Thigpen threw his second of three interceptions in the game. They had only 145 offensive yards in the third and fourth quarters, after gaining 347 yards in the first half.

“The second half was our Achilles Heel and it has been all year,” said Edwards. “We only scored three points in the second half. They scored 14. They win.”

At the opening kickoff the temperature was 10 degrees with a wind-chill factor of minus-12, making it the second coldest game in Arrowhead Stadium history. But the deep freeze didn’t seem to affect the visiting Dolphins as they had 10 points on the scoreboard in less than four minutes. …Read More!

Game Day Inactives 12/21

From Arrowhead Stadium

The inactive players for the Chiefs against the Dolphins are:

  • CB Maurice Leggett
  • CB David Macklin
  • TE Michael  Merritt
  • T Barry Richardson
  • DT Alfonso Boone
  • T Andrew Carnahan
  • WR Jeff Webb
  • DE Wallace Gilberry

The Chiefs made a roster move on Friday, promoting DT Derek Lokey from their practice squad to the active roster.  To make room for him, they placed LB Donnie Edwards on the injured-reserve list. Lokey is active and will be wearing No. 69.

Inactive for the Dolphins are WR Chris Hannon, LB Channing Crowder, DE Lionel Dotson, LB Quentin Moses, T Nate Garner and DE Rodrique Wright.  John Beck is the third, inactive quarterback.

With Crowder out of the starting lineup, Akim Ayodele moves from right inside linebacker to left inside.  Reggie Torbor replaces Ayodele at right inside linebacker.

The Dolphins made a roster move on Saturday, promoting former Chiefs LB William Kershaw from their practice squad and releasing fullback Casey Cramer.

Handling the game is the officiating crew of Jeff Triplette. Through the season, Triplette’s group has been among the most active officiating crews; they currently rank fourth in penalties walked off with an average of 13 per game.

Field conditions are OK.  The area in the southeast corner of the field is icy largely because at this time of hte year it gets no direct sunlight.  The southeast corner of the east end zone is the area to watch.

Weather conditions are as expected: sunny, frigid and windy.  Here’s the most recent National Weather Service forecast for today:

Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 11. Wind chill values between -8 and -14. Blustery, with a northwest wind between 18 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

History of Arrowhead Cold

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs PR staff did the research and came up with an unofficial list of the coldest games played at Arrowhead Stadium over 37 seasons.

Here they are

- December 18, 1983 against Denver when the temperature was zero and wind chill was minus-30.  The Chiefs beat the Broncos 48-17 in front of 11,377.

-  January 7, 1996 against Indianapolis in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game with kickoff temperature at 11 degrees and wind chill to minus-9.  The Chiefs  lost that game 10-7 with 77,594 in the seats.

-  November 24, 1996 against San Diego, with the temperature at 25 and wind chill at minus-5.  The Chiefs lost 28-14 with a crowd of 69,472 in the house.

-  December 10, 1972 against Baltimore; temperature at kickoff was 14 with wind chill of minus-5.  The Chiefs won 24-10 with 44,175 in attendance.

Could Peterson’s Future Be At Arrowhead Today?

Carl Peterson will be at Arrowhead Stadium today for his final home game as President-General Manager of the Chiefs. It will be the 204th pre-season, regular season or post-season home game on Peterson’s watch.

The opponent today is the Miami Dolphins, and that provides an interesting twist in this story.

The soon to be majority owner of the Miami Dolphins is Stephen M. Ross, a New York real estate investor who has purchased the team and Dolphin Stadium from Wayne Huizenga.

The Dolphins are not the first football team owned by Ross. More than 20 years ago, he was the final owner of the Philadelphia-Baltimore Stars.

Yes, the same Stars that were put together and run from scratch by Carl Peterson, the same Stars that appeared in all three USFL championship games, winning the last two.

Ross took over the Stars from the original ownership group after the 1985 season. He was the owner of the team when the league folded after it attempted to move its schedule from the spring to the fall and an anti-trust suit against the NFL produced damages of just three dollars. But Ross kept the Stars alive and Peterson on the payroll for several months in hopes that something could be worked out with the NFL and some USFL teams could come back to life in the established league.

Fast forward 22 years and now Peterson is available again. Could the Dolphins be his next destination? …Read More!

Sunday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Larry Johnson just started laughing.

In light of the brutally cold weather conditions facing the Chiefs on Sunday in their game against the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium, Johnson was asked about dealing with the cold. Then he was asked how his fellow running back Jamaal Charles was handling things.

Johnson grew up in Maryland and in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Charles was born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas. He went to college at the University of Texas. He’s never played in snow. Heck, he’s only seen the stuff a handful of times in his life.

“He’s trying to put warmers on every part of his body,” Johnson said. “He’s trying to tape them anywhere they’ll stay on. He keeps coming up with new places to have warmers.”

When the Chiefs and Dolphins hit the field for kickoff, weather and wind conditions are expected to make the outside air feel like minus 10 degrees. Although the sun is expected to shine, there’s little chance it will provide warmth for players on either side. Both teams will huddle up around the blowers on both benches.

And they will keep telling themselves that the cold is only in their heads.

“It’s a mind game,” said Brian Waters, a Texas native who plans to play without covering on his arms, ,no matter the temperature. “You just have to tell yourself you aren’t cold.”

Come on … sub-zero wind chill and you aren’t cold? Who is going to buy that?

“After a while you don’t really feel it,” said Chiefs tackle Damion McIntosh, who will also go bare armed for the game. “I sweat a lot, even when it’s cold, so I don’t want anything on my arms. That’s worse. If you’ve got sleeves and they get wet; that will really make you feel uncomfortable in the cold weather.”

McIntosh was born in Jamaica and grew up in south Florida … what does he know about dealing with the cold?

“Five years at K-State,” McIntosh said with a smile. “That’s where I learned. I remember the first time we had a cold weather game out there, I didn’t want to play. I was just going to stay in the locker room.

“Once you get out there and start moving around, it’s not that bad.”

Offensive linemen are famous for playing the mind game with the cold and going out with bare arms. But when he played cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles, California kid Herm Edwards would go without sleeves no matter the temperature.

“It forces you to focus and put it out of your mind,” Edwards said. “I loved it.”

Not so much anymore, as Edwards was wearing at least three layers of clothing on Friday when the team went through an indoor practice session with the doors open and the cold air rushing in. “Wait to you see what I have on for the game,” Edwards laughed. Sounds like it could be one of those Michlen Man down jackets other head coaches have been wearing in cold weather games.

Johnson will be out there without anything on his arms.

“I remember when we were kids we would go out and play football in the snow and we’d only be wearing t-shirts,” Johnson said. “Mom would call us back to the house and make us put on our coats and I remember I hated that. You can’t play football I n the snow with a coat on.

“I don’t know if it comes from playing in Pennsylvania and seeing a lot of bad weather games but snow and cold and stuff like that has never bothered me; I always felt like I had an edge.”

But will he have warmers taped to every part of his body like his buddy Jamaal come kickoff?

“That guy is going to glow in the dark before he’s done,” Johnson said with a smile.


“Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 11. Wind chill values between -7 and -15. Blustery, with a northwest wind between 17 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.”


The Chiefs will honor Tony DiPardo and the TD Pack Band at the stadium on Sunday. This will be the group’s last appearance for a Chiefs home game.

For the better part of the last 40 years, DiPardo or his daughter Patti DiPardo-Livergood has lead the band and contributing music as part of the pre-game strategy. It started many years ago when the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs. That was 1963 and Lamar Hunt asked local trumpet player-band leader DiPardo to lead an in-stadium pep band.

With the exception of a period in the 1980s when the TD Pack Band and Chiefs parted ways, DiPardo and his musicians have been providing music to help entertain and fire up the Kansas City football fans. Similar type of bands have come and gone in the NFL and at this moment the Pack Band is the last of the breed.

Along with Tony and Patti, the TD Pack Band features Bob Harvey, Carl Bender, Johnnie Eager, Bob Mais, Curtis Oberle, Tom Pender, Paul Roberts, Jimmy Robinson and Kevin Young. …Read More!

How The Chiefs Can Hook Dolphins

It sounds like it’s going to be an afternoon fit for neither man nor beast.

The National Weather Service forecast for Kansas City Sunday afternoon reads like this:

Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 11. Wind chill values between -7 and -15. Blustery, with a northwest wind between 17 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

Well at least it said sunny.

That’s the conditions the Chiefs and Dolphins will face at Arrowhead Stadium. Will the weather be an advantage for the Chiefs? Not hardly. While they chilled their indoor practice facility on Friday to give the team prep time in the cold, that kind of forecast favors any team that can run the football with great consistency.

In this case, that would be the Miami Dolphins. The Fins are also playing with plenty on the line, as they are two victories away from making the playoffs.

Despite the five-game difference in records, this is a game the Chiefs can win no matter the weather. Here’s how. …Read More!

Zebra Watch Week #15

After trending downward for the last month, penalties were up in last week’s NFL action. In the 16 games, there were an average of 11.5 penalties walked off, compared to 9.4 the week before.

One crew that paid attention to recent memos was Bill Carollo and his guys. They worked the Monday night game and walked off just four flags, throwing six total against Cleveland and Philadelphia. That’s been the recent trend for prime-time games: fewer flags.

As for the teams, New England continues to lead the league in fewest penalties with 48. The Patriots are followed by Atlanta (62), Seattle (63), Buffalo (64), New York Jets (66) and the Chiefs (67).

At the other end of the spectrum the five most penalized teams after 14 games this season are: Dallas (105), Oakland (103), Tennessee (101), Green Bay (98) and Arizona (94).

Here are last week’s numbers and the overall totals for the 17 crews: …Read More!

Saturday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

If this was the final chapter, it’s not the ending to the story that Donnie Edwards was looking or hoping for when he returned to Kansas City for the 2007 season.

The Chiefs placed Edwards on the injured-reserve list on Friday, bringing an end to his 13th season in the NFL.

Whether there will be a 14th season remains to be decided but should Edwards decide to continue his career, chances are not good that it will happen in a red and gold uniform. No matter who takes over this team as GM, it’s unlikely they’ll keep around a 36-year old linebacker who has battled injuries for the last two seasons.

And if Edwards is paying attention, he’ll listen to his body and retire. For years he had the greatest ability a player can ever have in the game: availability. Over 10 seasons with the Chiefs and Chargers (1997-2006), Edwards missed one game; that came in 1998 because of a hip injury.

But last year he battled a hamstring injury that did not keep him from starting any of the 16 games, but limited his play, his practice time and his production. Then this year, it was a re-injury to the hamstring and then back in mid-November he suffered a knee injury. That caused him to miss the last four games and he obviously wasn’t going to be ready to return to the field for the season’s final two contests.

Not only was Donnie always available during his career, he was productive. There was a period of several years where he was among the best linebackers in the league. He was always at the point of attack and he was constantly forcing turnovers, whether with interceptions or fumbles. After the 2002 season in San Diego, he was named to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl. It was his only trip to the all-star game, although he deserved many more.

Through his entire career, Edwards was a class act, quite possibly as good a person as has ever worn the Chiefs uniform. There has never been a hint of a problem during his first tour in Kansas City or his second. Or his five seasons in San Diego with the Chargers.

Even though he was able to return to his hometown to play for the Chargers, leaving the Chiefs after the 2001 season broke Edwards’ heart. He had no desire to leave; it was then defensive coordinator Greg Robinson that wanted him out of the picture. Edwards just wasn’t his type of player.

Years later, Edwards had on his cell phone a picture, taken during a Chiefs practice session in the 2001 season. Robinson is gesturing with his arms and his mouth is open and he looks mad. Standing next to him in this picture is Edwards, his head down, his shoulders slumped. He looks defeated. That was the atmosphere that sent him off to a half-decade of success with the Chargers, while the Chiefs signed numerous free agent linebackers trying to replace him. Robinson was gone two years later.

Growing up in impoverished circumstances in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista, Edwards was always a very responsible young man. Through money he earned delivering newspapers, he bought his first car at the age of 14, before he could even get a legal license to drive. He used that car to get himself to school and work at bigger jobs.

Despite a spotty high school academic record, he got into UCLA and ended up earning not only his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, but a Masters degree in Education. He plans on finishing up with a Ph.D.

And when it comes to giving back to the communities of San Diego and Kansas City, few people, let alone players, can match the contribution that Edwards has made over the years.

What I have always enjoyed most about Donnie Edwards is that he knew there was a world outside of football that was also important. That’s why he was constantly educating himself, why he’s constantly traveling and seeing the world. Some would call him a geek for his interest in military history, but he studied it and even lived it, taking part in several reenactments. His favorite spot on the Internet is a website devoted to collecting watches. These are not the gaudy type that some of his teammates wear, but precision instruments from Europe that have stood the test of time for centuries.

One time during his first stint with the Chiefs we were having a conversation on the sidelines while the Kansas City offense was on the field. Donnie stood at the edge of the bench area and we were talking back and forth about some subject that escapes my memory. It wasn’t football.

A turnover sent the Chiefs defense on the field and Edwards backpedaled away from me, pulling on his helmet and continuing to make his point. On the field, the defense got the ball right back on a turnover and the play ended with Edwards and a player from the opposing team pushing and shoving. They had to be separated by teammates.

He walked off the field, pulled of his helmet and in the calmest voice picked up the conversation right where he had left it when he went out to play linebacker.

They don’t come along like Donnie Edwards very often: a very good player and an even better person. …Read More!

Is Thiggy The Future?

Will the Chiefs get Thiggy With It come the 2009 season?

Or are we seeing the last starts of Tyler Thigpen’s brief career as the No. 1 man in Kansas City?

That’s just one of the many questions awaiting the team’s new general manager when he comes on board. Over and above whether or not the Chiefs should use their high draft status to take a quarterback early in the ’09 NFL Draft is this question: does Thigpen have the stuff to be a productive and winning quarterback in this league?

Right now, the results are mixed. There’s no question that Thigpen has made remarkable progress this season. There’s also no question he’s shown the ability to do many of the things required of a competent and productive starting quarterback.

His problem is that his team has not been successful. It’s unfortunate that these kind of stats land only on the plate of the quarterback, but that’s a fact of NFL life. Thigpen makes his 10th NFL start on Sunday against Miami. The Chiefs are 1-8 in the previous nine games. Obviously, that’s not good.

It’s also not good how the Chiefs have gotten to that 1-8 record with Thigpen at the helm. They’ve had strong first half performances and poor second half production, especially the third quarter. There are reasons for the third quarter blues and you can read about them right here in a piece I wrote for kcchiefs.com.

But there’s another factor in the Chiefs inability to close the deal in these games, and that’s Thigpen.

Track his numbers through each quarter this season and it’s a steady spiral downward in production and efficiency. Before we go further, here are the important numbers.










Avg. Yrds/


























In the first quarter, Thigpen’s passer rating of 108.5 ranks as the third best passer in the league, behind only Miami’s Chad Pennington (124.5) and Kyle Orton of Chicago (114.2). …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/19

From the Truman Sports Complex

It looks like the playing career of Donnie Edwards with the Chiefs is over.

The Chiefs placed Edwards on the injured reserve list on Friday and promoted DT Derek Lokey to the active roster.

That figures to be the final act of Edwards second trip with the Chiefs.  Originally drafted by the team in 1996, Edwards played six seasons with the Chiefs before signing as an urestricted free agent with San Diego.  He spent five years with the Chargers, before returning ot the chiefs before the 2007 season.

This year, Edwards has dealt constantly with injuries to first his hamstring and now  his knee.  He’s played in just seven of 14 games, contributing 33 tackles.

He suffered a knee injury in the game against New Orleans on November 16 and has missed the past four games.

Lokey (6-1, 287) has spent the entire season on the Chiefs practice squad after signing wiht the team as a college free agent out of the University of Texas. 

The Chiefs practiced inside Friday morning, but welcomed the outside in for the workout.

With Sunday game-time temperature expected to be in the single digits, Herm Edwards wanted to give his team a taste of the cold weather.  But he also wanted them to get a real practice in.  Sometimes that’s hard to do when the turf is soggy from rain and snow and players are buddled up and restricted in their movements.

So the coach opened all the doors into the team’s indoor facility and the cold air came rushing in.  The big barn got plenty cold and the Chiefs ran through a workout of just more than a hour.

Afterwards, Edwards said C Rudy Niswanger is probable for Sunday’s game against Miami.  He took a full load in practice; Niswanger missed last week’s game because of a knee injury.

Limited in their practice work and listed as questionable for the game against the Dolphins are CB Maurcie Leggett and DT-DE Alfonso Boone.  Both players worked in individual position drills, but did not participate in team work.

Listed as out for Sunday’s game is LB Donnie Edwards.

Miami has only two players on their official injury report for this game.  LB Channing Crowder is listed as questionable with a knee injury that kept him out of practice on Friday.

CB Jason Allen is listed as probable with a hand injury.

Here’s the forecast for Sunday from the National Weather Service:

Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 9. Blustery, with a northwest wind between 18 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

Len’s Look 12/19

Our Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson joins us for another conversation about all  things Chiefs related and you don’t want to miss this one.  Len talks about the resignation of Carl Peterson, the Chiefs performance against San Diego last Sunday, the need for the defense to develop a leader of some sorts and what can be accomplished over the last two games.


Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

They always said the hole in the roof at Texas Stadium was so God could watch the Cowboys.

Only a Texan with an ego the size of the Lone Star state would buy that.

But boy those folks in Dallas loved to repeat that little ditty. They’ll get one more chance on Saturday night when the Cowboys say good bye to their home since 1971 when they host the Baltimore Ravens.

Quite naturally, the event is causing a great deal of nostalgia in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Texas Stadium is no beauty, built for just $35 million on empty land at the intersection of two major freeways in the suburb of Irving. Over the years there have been various projects that have added luxury boxes and clubs. It was no palace, especially if you were in the broadcast media where you literally have to climb through girders under the roof and through the pigeon droppings to find booth.

But the building has hosted a lot of very important football games over the years because the Cowboys have been so very good in this time. The NFC Championship Games at the end of the 1971, 73, 77, 93 and 95 seasons were played at Texas Stadium, as were numerous other wildcard and divisional games. So were many other important games and moments in the history of the NFL. There were all those Thanksgiving Day games and rivalry matchups with NFC East foes like Washington and Philadelphia.

The Chiefs were 1-4 in five regular season trips to Texas Stadium:

1975 – On a November Monday night, the Chiefs upset the Super Bowl-bound Cowboys 34-31, thanks a fourth quarter TD pass from Mike Livingston to Ed Podolak. It was the third TD of the game for Podolak, w ho had TD runs of one and 11 yards. The Chiefs other TD came when John Matuszak recovered a Preston Pearson fumble in the end zone. The Kansas City defense picked off a pair of Roger Staubach passes, as Willie Lanier and Mike Sensibaugh grabbed the interceptions.

1983 – The Chiefs fell behind 20-0 at half-time and never were able to catch up to the Cowboys. Tony Dorsett ran for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ron Springs added a TD run and Gary Allen returned a punt 68 yards for a score. The Chiefs got a pair of Bill Kenney to Carlos Carson TD passes and then one from rookie Todd Blackledge to Stephone Paige. For the Chiefs defense, Gary Spani had a sack and Deron Cherry had an interception of Cowboys QB Danny White.

1992 – Despite a strong defensive effort, the Chiefs fell to the Cowboys 17-10. The Chiefs gave up just 278 yards, grabbed two interceptions off Aikman (Charles Mincy and Dale Carter) and Derrick Thomas took the Dallas quarterback down for a sack. The Cowboys TDs came on a two-yard pass from Aikman to FB Daryl Johnston and a two-yard run by Smith. The Chiefs only TD was a two-yard run by Barry Word.

1995 – On Thanksgiving Day, the Chiefs went to Dallas and lost 24-12. Emmitt ran for a 15-yard touchdown, while Michael Irvin caught 33-yard TD pass from Aikman. The Chiefs only TD came on a 45-yard pass from Steve Bono to Lake Dawson.

2005 – A one-yard TD pass from Drew Bledsoe to Dan Campbell with 22 seconds left gave Dallas the victory. The Chiefs had taken the fourth quarter lead on a 47-yard scoring pass from Trent Green to Eddie Kennison. Larry Johnson ran for three touchdowns and 143 yards, but missed a blitz pickup on Dallas LB Scott Fujita, who sacked Green, causing a fumble and setting up a Cowboys TD just before half-time. The Chiefs sacked Bledsoe four times in the game, with Jared Allen getting a pair of sacks.

The Cowboys are headed further west to Arlington, where the Jerry World Dome (left) is being finished off by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. There will be a hole in the roof there as well, but it comes with a sliding roof that can turn the building into a dome. Scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009, the stadium can seat up to 100,000 for some events. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/18

From the Truman Sports Complex

Herm Edwards said after the Chiefs practice session on Thursday that C Rudy Niswanger’s participation in Sunday’s game against Miami would be a “game-time decision.”

Niswanger was a limited participant during Thursday’s indoor session that lasted just a shade under two hours.  He injured that knee on Dec. 7 in Denver and did not play last week.

CB Maurce Leggett was a full participant in Thursday’s workout according to the Chiefs.  He’s trying to come back from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the San Diego game.

Not practicing were DT-DE Alfonso Boone (thigh) and LB Donnie Edwards (knee).

Podcasting: Football with Goose 12-18

The best pro football writer in America, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News joins us for our weekly chat.

For those who do not know, Goose spent a long part of his professional career in Kansas City working for United Press International and then the Kansas City Star.  He’s got a wealth of background and knowledge on the Chiefs and their history, past and present.

He’s a perfect voice to listen to about the events of the past week and what the future may hold.  We also talk about the turnaround of the Miami Dolphins and the luck of the NFL that the league’s four best teams are all playing each other this weekend.

This is a good one.  Enjoy.

Thursday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

The world of football lost one of its legends Wednesday evening.

Slingin’ Sammy Baugh passed away in Rotan, Texas. Baugh was 94 and had various physical ailments that eventually claimed his life.

“Damn it, speak up son, I can’t hear too well and this phone is a piece of sh*&#.”

That was my introduction to Sammy Baugh almost 25 years ago. I was working for the local fish wrap and putting together stories on the 25th anniversary of the birth of the American Football. Baugh was part of that first AFL season in 1960 as head of the New York Titans.

Baugh eventually ended up coaching the Houston Oilers and when that job ended after a 4-10 season in 1964, he returned to his Double Mountain Ranch, some 7,000 acres of arid Texas scrub brush that’s southeast of Lubbock.

Only money, big money could pull him off the ranch at that point. So our interview was conducted on the phone. It did not last long. Webster would define Baugh as irascible and his inability to hear made a conversation impossible.

“Sonny, this isn’t going to #%&!@ work. Come out and see me.”

Never did. I wish I had. A legend in Texas where he grew up in the western part of the state, he played college football at Texas Christian and then joined the fledgling NFL with the Washington Redskins.

He was one of the greatest athletes to play the game. How big would a player be today if he led the league in passing, punting and interceptions in the same season. Baugh did that in 1943.

It was the era of running the football, but Baugh didn’t care. He threw whenever given the opportunity. When he retired etched his name into the NFL record book for career completions (1,709), career passing yardage (22,086) and career completion percentage (70.3). Those numbers pale in comparison to where those records are now.

But guys like Dan Marino, John Elway and other record setters didn’t play both ways. Baugh had 31 career interceptions as a defensive back. He led the league six times in passing and five years he led the league in punting, with a career average of 45.1 yards.

Baugh was part of the first class inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

He was also the last living member of that group that included names like Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Don Hutson, Bronko Nagurski and George Halas.

“That Lamar was a good boy, Texas boy,” Baugh said of Lamar Hunt before hanging up on that phone call. “He got it done.” …Read More!

Insiders, Informed Sources & Other Crap

This just in, Kansas City’s NBC affiliate Channel 41 has reported that Vince Lombardi was spotted in the downtown bus station.

They believe Lombardi is here to interview for the Chiefs GM job.

OK, that didn’t really happen. But the way things are going, it’s not as farfetched as it might seem.

This same station was reporting on Wednesday that Marty Schottenheimer was seen at KCI Airport Tuesday evening.

Only problem was Schottenheimer was in New York, visiting his son Brian and his family.

How could this happen? Some wannabe news hound called the information in to several Kansas City TV stations. Channel 41 is the only one silly enough to put that information on the air without checking. That’s the way they operate over there.

But silliness is not limited to television. …Read More!

How Miami Did It

Last year, the Miami Dolphins were the worst team in the National Football League.

They finished the year with a 1-15 record. The Dolphins only victory was in the 14th game of the season when they beat Baltimore in overtime. They lost six games that season by three points; they lost six games by 17 points or more.

The ’07 Fins finished 28th in offensive yards and 23rd in yards allowed, including 32nd against the run. Miami’s turnover ratio was minus-seven and they were ninth in most penalties.

Jump ahead one year and the Dolphins are no longer bringing up the rear. In fact, if they win their final two games against the Chiefs this coming Sunday and the New York Jets next week, they will qualify for the AFC playoffs. They’ve already won nine games. Four of those victories were by five points or less.

Right now, they are 11th in offensive yards and 11th in yards allowed, including 11th against the run. Miami’s turnover ratio is plus-12, tops in the NFL. They rank 12th in fewest penalties.

So how did they do it? How have they reached a point where they are just two more victories away from equaling the greatest one-season turnaround in NFL history (10 games by the ’99 Indianapolis Colts)?

And how could they improve so much, while the Chiefs have gone backwards?

Credit has to go to the man in charge: Bill Parcells (right), who carries the title Executive Vice-President-Football Operations. He hired the general manager Jeff Ireland and they hired the head coach, Tony Sparano. All three come from Dallas: Parcells quit as Cowboys head coach after the ’06 season, Ireland was the Cowboys vice-president of scouting while Sparano was the Boys’ offensive line coach.

Check out the Dolphins season and compare it to what’s gone on with the Chiefs and the answers become obvious.


When the Chiefs decided to rebuild, they decided to strip the house down to the studs and replace everything with new and in this case unproven materials. The payoff was going to be in the future. The Dolphins did not go to that extreme, looking for a more immediate payoff. There are 29 players on their 53-man roster this week that joined the team in the ’08 season. The Chiefs have 30 players from this season. Here’s how they got to the roster:
































The Chiefs have 21 rookies and first-year players on the roster this week; Miami has 13. The Chiefs made no trades for players and have claimed three players on waivers this season: G Brian De La Puente, LB Erik Walden and P Steve Weatherford, and all are no longer on the active roster. De La Puente is on the practice squad. Walden now plays for the Dolphins after he was released by the Chiefs in late November. Weatherford is now punting for Jacksonville. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/17

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs got back to football Wednesday morning, going through a two-hour indoor practice session to start preparation for Sunday’s game against Miami.

But the news of earlier in the week was part of the day as well.  At the end of practice, outgoing President-GM Carl Peterson addressed the team.  He spoke for a few moments to the team and then a few individual players when the huddle broke up.

No new injuries came out of the game against the Chargers, but there are some lingering bumps and bruises that affected the practice availability of several players.

LB Donnie Edwards (knee) and DT-DE Alfonso Boone (thigh) did not practice and C Rudy Niswanger (knee) and CB Mauarice Leggett (shoulder) were limited.

Hank’s Gallery: San Diego Game

The wind was cutting, the tempratures frigid but our man Hank Young was still on the sidelines this past Sunday, snapping pictures of the chiefs and Chargers.

Here are some examples.  Remember, click on the pictures to enlarge.

Enjoy! …Read More!

Podcasting: The NFL & Czar 12/17

Our man John Czarnecki, the information man for the FOX-TV NFL pre-game show and columnist for FOXSPORTS.com joins us again this week to talk about pro football and obviously our conversation centers around the Chiefs and who may be the team’s new GM. 


Wednesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

The 2008 Pro Bowl rosters were announced on Tuesday.

A total of 84 players in both conferences were selected based on voting by their fellow players, coaches and the fans.

By the time the game comes around in February, about 20 of those guys will have found some excuse to get out of actually playing in the game.

NFL players today like the notoriety that comes from being a Pro Bowler. Many have bonus clauses in their contracts that bring them extra money if they are part of the AFC or NFC teams. But to actually play in the game means staying in shape once the season is over and there’s little desire to do that after going for six months between camp, pre-season and the regular schedule. Some players are legitimately dealing with injuries.

Those changes will allow the league to fix various cases of Pro Bowl injustice. As always happens in the league, there are guys who have been honored that shouldn’t be, and players who were left off the rosters that should have had a ticket punched for Honolulu.

One of those guys will come into Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday: Miami QB Chad Pennington (left). He was run out of New York back in August when the Jets acquired Brett Favre. Now, Favre is going to the Pro Bowl and Pennington is not. Neither is San Diego QB Philip Rivers. Here are the numbers for all three quarterbacks with two games to play in the season:

Quarterback A/C % YDS TD INT RATING
Philip Rivers 427/276 64.6 3,515 28 11 101.4
Chad Pennington 412/273 66.3 3,218 14 6 95.1
Brett Favre 451/305 67.6 3,052 21 17 86.5

Rivers team is 6-8. Pennington’s team is 9-5 just like Favre’s team. There’s no way Favre should go ahead of those guys.

The same thing happened over in the NFC at quarterback. Kurt Warner and Drew Brees are obvious. But Eli Manning over Tony Romo? Even with missing three games, Romo’s performance has been superior to Manning. But the Super Bowl winning QB is always going to get an edge.

Atlanta DE John Abraham has 15.5 sacks, but he couldn’t crack the NFC defense. Minnesota LB Chad Greenway should have been on the roster, not veteran Tampa Bay LB Derrick Brooks. Greenway has 101 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

On the AFC defense, Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley saw his LB mates James Harrison and James Farrior earn trips to Hawaii. But despite his 11.5 sacks, he finished behind Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs (7.5 sacks) in the voting.

Miami’s Ronnie Brown has had a big year because of the Wildcat offensive plays, but Houston rookie Steve Slaton has better numbers and should have joined fellow rookie Chris Johnson. …Read More!

Herm Speaks 12/16

From Arrowhead Stadium

It would have to rank as one of the more interesting Herm Edwards weekly press conferences during his time in Kansas City.

With Carl Peterson’s resignation not even a day old, and wide spread speculation about his future as the team’s head coach, Edwards trudged through the snow to his Tuesday meeting with the media horde.

Here are the more interesting passages of the 21-minute session.


“I’m not going to sell him on anything. I don’t think I have to. I’m going to be what I am and I’m going to coach the team the way I coach them. I think we all agree that this is the right direction to go. That’s why we chose to do this last year. Did we think it was going to be this painful? No. But I think we all agree that it’s the right direction and we’re going to stay on this course after this season and the years to follow. We’re all on the same page. That’s great. We’re not going to change the direction of this organization.”

A new GM is either going to want to keep Edwards, or he’s going to want to have his own man running the team. At this point, there really isn’t anything Edwards can do about that. Sure, finishing up with two victories would be helpful. But it won’t change what this season has been: a rebuilding effort that was a lot harder than anybody thought it would be.


“Yes. When you tear down something you have build a base and our base was going to be the draft. That’s what we did. We built a base for this football team. Now, you’re going to have another draft this year of seven players and from there you can go into free agency and pluck a few guys that you feel will fit in spots. That was part of the plan when we decided to do this. Now, it will come to fruition this year for us. We have some money under the cap and we can go get some quality guys but they’ve got to fit. You can’t make a mistake on them. You really can’t. Because I think not only do they have to be good players; they have to be good leaders, because again, they’re walking into a team that is fairly young, the youngest team in football.”

Commentary: The Chiefs will be active in free agency, but they will not be so active as to satisfy those fans who think signing half-dozen free agents is the ticket to the playoffs. On a long-term basis – in the NFL that’s say five years – free agency works only as an opportunity to plug in empty spots on a depth chart that the draft did not fill. More cap dollars and more cash dollars have been wasted in the NFL on unrestricted free agency than anywhere else. …Read More!

The Race For Draft Slotting

So the e-mail comes from one of the site’s loyal readers.

“Hey Bob, rather than update us on the situation for spots in the playoffs, tell us about the draft order. That’s all Chiefs fans really care about.”

Not a bad point. I’ll still tell you about the battle for post-season slots, but not before updating you on where the order of selection sits for the NFL Draft.

Right now, the only thing that is locked in for the Chiefs when it comes to their place in the 2009 NFL Draft first-round is that they’ll select no lower than seventh.

If the draft were held today, the Chiefs would have the second selection. Their 2-12 record is matched only by St. Louis. Both are behind Detroit at 0-14.

The tie-breaker for draft order is the strength of each team’s schedule. It works this way: the weaker schedule gets the higher draft choice.

Right now, the Chiefs opponents are 100-80-1 on the season, a .552 win percentage. St. Louis is 101-80-1, or a .558 win percentage.

Cincinnati at 2-11-1, Oakland and Seattle with 3-11 records and Cleveland at 4-10 could all factor in based on the outcome of games over the final two weeks.

Here’s the breakdown and we’ll update it all next week. One note: the opponents record is for all 13 teams on the schedule, including opponents that have not yet been played.

Team Rec. Opp. Record Final 2 Games
Detroit 0-14 104-78/.571 New Orleans, at Green Bay
CHIEFS 2-12 100-81-1/.552 Miami, at Cincinnati
St. Louis 2-12 101-80-1/.558 San Francisco, at Atlanta
Cincinnati 2-11-1 104-77-1/.574 at Cleveland, Chiefs
Oakland 3-11 103-79/.565 Houston, at Tampa Bay
Seattle 3-11 97-84-1/.536 NY Jets, at Arizona
Cleveland 4-10 105-75-2/.582 Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh

Chiefs Update 12/16

From Arrowhead Stadium

Oh yeah, the Chiefs still have two games to play.

The players will return for practice on Wednesday to get ready for Sunday’s final home game on the 2008 schedule against Miami.

On Tuesday, Herm Edwards termed the chances of C Rudy Niswanger returning to action against the Dolphins as “maybe.”  Niswanger suffered a knee injury on Dec. 7 in Denver and did not play last Sunday’s game against San Diego.

The coach said CB Maurice Leggett is unlikely to be recovered enough from his shoulder injury to be able to play this coming Sunday.  Leggett suffered the injury in the second half of the game against the Broncos and also missed the game against the Chargers.

Training Camp Ball Now in Missouri Western’s Court

The Missouri Development Finance Board unanimously approved $25 million in tax credits for the Chiefs and Jackson County Sports Authority during a meeting Tuesday morning in Jefferson City.

This is part of a deal that could potentially bring Chiefs training camp to St. Joseph and Missouri Western State University before the 2010 season.  The Chiefs and Sports Authority will sell a portion of those tax credits for $10 million.  That money will then be made available to Missouri Western for facilities and upgrades.

The next step is up to the school.  Officials there must put find other financing (between $3 and $4 million) and pull together plans that would show the Chiefs they can create a training camp site that is suitable for use by an NFL team.   This involves outdoor practice fields, an indoor practice area, locker rooms and other facilities that would at least match what the team currently has available to them at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

The Chiefs have made a commitment to give Missouri Western the first opportunity to receive these funds and hold the training camp.  The team has said it would sign a five-year contract with the school, plus five one-year options.

Should Missouri Western be unable to find other funds to make this happen, the $10 million from the state tax credit can be used elsewhere in Missouri, be it at another school or at the Truman Sports Complex itself.

In the summer of 2009, the Chiefs will return to River Falls for training camp.

Gonzalez, Waters headed for Hawaii

From the Truman Sports Complex

That Tony Gonzalez is headed for another Pro Bowl appearances does not come as a surprise.

That he will be joined in Hawaii by left guard Brian Waters is.

Gonzalez and Waters are the Chiefs contingent to the NFL all-star game set for February in Honolulu.  The teams were announced Tuesday afternoon.

This is the 10th Pro Bowl for Gonzalez, who currently leads all NFL tight ends in catches with 84 and receiving yardage with 941 yards.  He’s made every Pro Bowl since the 1999 season, his third season in the league.

This will be Waters fourth trip to Hawaii.  He went in 2004-2006, but missed last year’s game when the Chiefs offense struggled all season with the running game and providing pass protection.

It’s the 10th consecutive season that the Chiefs have had at least two Pro Bowlers; the last time they had only one was the 1998 season when Will Shields was the only player selected.

Tuesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

We pause in this orgy of Carl Peterson news to talk about other things involving football.

Although we do have to pass along this one note: we’ve heard from reliable sources that Jack Harry is devastated that Peterson resigned before Harry could go to a news conference and throw his shoe at the Chiefs GM.

On the day that the Chiefs announced that Peterson had resigned, the Arena Football League announced it had resigned from its 2009 season. After playing for 22 seasons, the current economic climate has forced Arena League ownership and players to put the game on hold.

“In light of the current unprecedented economic climate, the AFL as a business enterprise needs to be restructured if it is to continue to provide its unique brand of this affordable, fan-friendly sport,” said the Arena League’s acting Commissioner Ed Policy.

So the league’s teams – including the Kansas City Brigade – will go dark for a season. That’s not a good sign for the future. Taking the indoor game out of the public eye for a year will be a very tough circumstance to overcome when they attempt to come back. For very different reasons, the National Hockey League did this several years ago. It may have helped the sport get back on a stronger financial footing, but I’m not sure the NHL has ever recovered from being off the sports pages and TV highlights for a year (2004-05). Before that season, the NHL was on ESPN regularly. Now, it’s nearly impossible to find televised hockey games.

All this has come about even with the presence of some very big football names in the ownership mix. The Arena Bowl champion Philadelphia Soul has ownership that includes the rock singer Jon Bon Jovi and former Rams-Eagles-Chiefs quarterback Ron Jaworski. The Dallas Desperados are owned by Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner. Arthur Blank who owns the Atlanta Falcons owns the Georgia Force. Out in Denver, John Elway is the co-owner of the Colorado Crunch.

And here in Kansas City, former Chiefs DE Neil Smith is part of the Brigade’s ownership group.

Sadly it means there are coaches and players for 16 teams that will be out of work. …Read More!

Words From Clark Hunt

From the Truman Sports Complex

There were a lot of words coming from Clark Hunt on Monday evening as he talked about the resignation of Carl Peterson.

We went through the transcript to highlight some of the most important answers given by the team’s Chairman of the Board. Here they are in black and white.

Q: You said this has been an ongoing conversation but did it come to a head at some point? Why not wait until the end of the season?

“Well, the most important thing from a timing standpoint is that I do want to get the search underway right now. There will be a number of other teams who are also searching for GM’s and I don’t want to get behind them. It really didn’t come to a head. It’s a conversation we’ve had throughout the season and we both jointly decided now was the right time. It was a decision we had both arrived together and he was very supportive.”

Q: Was there a final straw?

“There really wasn’t a final straw in this case although the loss yesterday was gut-wrenching and very disappointing. But it had no bearing on the decision. This was one that was really made from a long-range standpoint. We’ve got some decisions to make about the football team and the coaching staff for next year and I’m going to go ahead and get the new GM on board so he can help me make these decisions.”

Q: So you can’t say for certain that Herm Edwards will be coaching the Chiefs next year?

“No, I think the best thing for the organization is to wait until we have the new GM on board and make that evaluation at that time.”

Q: It would appear if the decision not to retain Herm is made that all this franchise has gone through in rebuilding has been for nothing these last two seasons.

“Philosophically it is likely that I will hire a new GM who shares the same vision for how this football team should be built on a long-term basis. That’s one that focuses on young players through the draft. Without commenting specifically on Herm’s situation, I don’t expect that the change in the GM will change the direction that we’re headed in and how we’re trying to build the team that we started in earnest a couple of years ago. I want to make sure we don’t derail what we’ve done to this point because if you look at the league the franchises that struggle to be winners on a consistent basis are ones that are reactionary and that will pursue a direction for two or three years and then because they haven’t had the success they would like they change and go in a different direction. You then get a lot of turnover in your coaches and your players and that lack of continuity doesn’t give you a chance to win.”

Q: You have spoken highly of (VP of Player Personnel) Bill Kuharich and particularly how he works with Herm. Why would Bill not be a candidate?

“I do continue to believe that Bill is a good evaluator of football talent and hope that he will continue with the organization. I just think at this point it’s important for us to have a fresh set of eyes on the organization and that can only be accomplished by bringing in someone from the outside.”

Q: Can you talk about how the conversation with Carl went down?

“Carl, as has always been the case with him at least in my interaction, is about what’s best for the organization. We have had a lot of those discussions over the course of the year and with our coaching staff coming into the last year of their contracts he understood the right decision for an organizational standpoint was to go ahead and make the announcement now. He was very professional and very much in agreement that this was the right thing to do.”

The Past, Present, But Mostly The Future

I’m going to save many of my thoughts about Carl Peterson, the man and the myth, for a few days down the road.

Let’s focus on the present and future, because that’s what matters most in this situation the Chiefs are facing right now.

First, there are those in the pundit class that are selling this as a firing and that Peterson did not resign on his own accord. Clark Hunt says that’s not true, that the change came after several conversations between the men about Peterson’s future and the future of the team. If you don’t want to believe that, then you are calling Hunt a liar and the man has given no one any reason to ever doubt the veracity of his spoken word.

Peterson was leaving at the end of the 2009 season, so moving up the exit makes sense for the franchise. It also makes sense for the man. Spending a year as a lame duck leader just doesn’t sound like Carl Peterson.

Hunt has already begun a search for a new leader, actually leaders. Peterson’s dual role of president and general manager will be split into separate jobs. The president will handle the business end of the business. The GM will handle the football side.

The way Hunt talked Monday the new president is someone already involved in the franchise or at least with the family’s sporting interests. The new GM is going to be new to the Chiefs and not someone currently employed by the team. Hunt makes it plain he’s looking for some new ideas, a fresh look at the way the Chiefs go about the business of evaluating personnel and putting together a team.

Hunt wants somebody who has already done that before in some capacity for a winning franchise. This new man must be a shrewd evaluator of talent to be considered by Hunt. That’s always the No. 1 trait anybody seeks in a GM: the ability to know talent when he sees it on the field, whether it’s at college games or within the NFL ranks.

That means whoever the new GM is must have a track record of being able to evaluate players. The new GM must have a resume that shows he can create a football atmosphere that allows that talent to come together to create a winning team. …Read More!

General Manager Candidates 12/26

Here’s a comprehensive list of all names mentioned in connection with the Chiefs GM job – whether they make sense or not – from web sites, newspapers, magazines, sports talk radio, television and smoke signals.  This is through 3 p.m. December 26.

  • Kevin Abrams, assistant general manager for the Giants.
  • Terry Bradway, director-player personnel for the Jets.
  • Charlie Casserly, CBS-TV personality and former GM of the Houston Texans.
  • Kevin Colbert, director of football operations for the Steelers.
  • Bill Cowher, former head coach of the Steelers; now part of CBS-TV NFL Pre-Game Show.
  • Eric DeCosta, director of college scouting for the Ravens.
  • Mark Dominik, director of pro personnel for the Buccaneers.
  • Tom Donoho, former personnel executive with Steelers and general manager of the Buffalo Bills.
  • Tom Heckert, general  manager of the Eagles.
  • Ron Hughes, college scouting coordinator of the Steelers.
  • George Kokinis, director of pro personnel for the Ravens.
  • Ron Labadie, director of college scouting for the Dolphins.
  • Reggie Mckenzie, director of pro personnel for the Packers.
  • Pat Moriarity, vice-president of football administration for the Ravens.
  • Scott Pioli, vice president of player personnel of the Patriots.
  • Chris Polian, vice president of football o perations for the Colts.
  • Jimmy Raye, director of player personnel for the Chargers.
  • Floyd Reese, former GM of Titans; now working for ESPN-TV.
  • John Schneider, director of football o perations for the Packers.
  • Marty Schottenheimer, former head coach of Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers; currently a 7-handicap and grandfather.
  • Tom Telesco, director of player personnel for the Colts.
  • Dick Vermeil, retired coach, retired broadcaster, currently winery owner and motivational speaker.
  • Rushton Webster, vice-president of player personnel for the Seahawks.
  • Doug Whaley, pro scounting coordinator of the Steelers.
  • Todd Williams, director of pro scouting for the Cowboys.

Podcasting: Clark Hunt on Carl Peterson 12/15

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was a momentous Monday for the Chiefs franchise as Carl Peterson announced his resignation as the team’s president-general manager.  Chairman of the board Clark Hunt spoke Monday evening at the team’s facility about the resignation, his plans for the future and the process that he has already begun for finding a new person to lead his football team.

Take a listen.


From Arrowhead Stadium

Carl Peterson resigned today as President/General Manager of the Chiefs.

The decision was announced this afternoon by the team.

“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization I want to thank Carl for his two decades of service to the Chiefs,” said Clark Hunt, the Chiefs chairman of the board. “Both Carl and I agreed that immediately initiating the search for the next Chiefs general manager would be the best thing for the future of the organization and he will be resigning following the 2008 season.”

Once the 2008 season is over, Denny Thum will serve as the Chiefs interim president and general manager until Peterson’s successor is selected.

The announcement brings to an end the longest tenure of any general manager in the National Football League.  Peterson took over the reigns of the franchise in December 1988, replacing both Jack Steadman as president and Jim Schaaf as general manager.

One of his first decisions was to release head coach Frank Gansz and replace him with Marty Schottenheimer.  The duo of Peterson and Schottenheimer brought the Chiefs franchise back to respectability in professional football, as the team went 8-7-1 in 1989, the first of nine consecutive winning seasons.  The highlight was an appearance in the 1993 AFC Championship Game where the Chiefs fell to the Buffalo Bills.

Over the 20 seasons that Peterson has been in charge of the Chiefs, the team’s record is 176-141-1, with nine appearances in the playoffs and four AFC West titles.

Chiefs Update 12/15

From the Truman Sports Complex

For quite a few Chiefs players it was a quick in and quick out of the team’s facility on Monday.  That’s the way it is when a team is coming off an emotional loss like the one-point game against San Diego.

“We have to make sure we don’t confuse effort with results,” said safety Jarrad Page.  “We don’t have the results.”

That’s pretty obvious at 2-12 and coming off a game like Sunday’s where they held a 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter and did not win the game.  It’s never too late to take the lessons learned from an outcome like the San Diego game and put them to use over the season’s final two games.

“Hopefully, (next year) we aren’t coming off a season where we haven’t figured it out,” Page said. “We still have time to show what we’ve learned.”

But that time is running out.  Ahead is the final home game of the season against Miami and then a visit to Cincinnati to close out the schedule.  Two weeks from today, the season will be over.

“I’m ready to play right now,” Page said of getting back on the field.  He later added: “The only way you can deal with a game like that is go out and play again.”

After the game, the Chiefs reported no new major injuries.  They will wait to see how C Rudy Niswanger responds this week with the knee injury he suffered in Denver.  Originally he was projected to be out two weeks.  They also hope to get CB Maurice Leggett back from his sore shoulder.  Both Niswanger and Leggett were inactive against San Diego, along with LB Donnie Edwards (knee).

NFL Sunday Review #15

The Chargers one-point victory over the Chiefs wasn’t the only close game in the NFL on Sunday.

Far from it; eight of 14 games were decided by five points or less. Houston and San Diego won by one point, Atlanta and Seattle won by three, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and the New York Jets by four and Miami by five points.

After everything shakes out, there are two big games coming up next Sunday on top of each conference: Pittsburgh at Tennessee and Carolina at the New York Giants.

The Steelers wrapped up the AFC North with their victory over Baltimore (left) 13-9. “Boy, we have an excited football team in that room next door,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said just outside his locker room. “Rightfully so. That was a ridiculously tough football game.”

Now, the Steelers (11-3) get to go on the road again, traveling to Tennessee to play the Titans (12-2). Houston was able to beat Tennessee 13-12 on Sunday, as the Titans appeared to be resting after clinching their AFC South title last week.

“Hopefully we’ll be up for the challenge and guys will come back from vacation,” Titans LB Keith Bulluck said of this coming weekend’s game against Pittsburgh. “I think we were on vacation this week, knowing we got a bye and whatever other good stuff happened for us last week. But I know as a team we need to get our heads out of our (expletive) and come out and play football. Pittsburgh is playing for way more than us next week.”

Carolina pushed its record to 11-3 with a 30-10 victory over Denver, while the Giants are 11-3 after falling Sunday night to Dallas 20-8. Those two teams will play on Sunday night in the Meadowlands. …Read More!

Podcasting: Post-Game San Diego 12/14

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs talk about their devastating 22-21 defeat to the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead, including comments from Herm Edwards, Brian Waters, Pat Surtain, Tamba Hali and Connor Barth.

Missed Field Goals & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

As far as Connor Barth was concerned, the conditions on the Arrowhead Stadium Field with one second to play were perfect.

All he had to do was hit a 50-yard field goal on a cold, windy day to save his team’s bacon and help secure a victory for the Chiefs.

Even with those perfect conditions, Barth missed that field goal attempt wide left and the Chiefs could not overcome a late Chargers comeback in losing 22-21.

“The conditions were perfect,” Barth said. “The offense got me down there. I had my chance and the wind was at my back. You couldn’t have asked for anything else. Unfortunately I didn’t put it through.”

Barth’s 50-yard FG try was wide left. It had the distance. “It would have been good from 60 yards,” Barth said.

It just hooked left at the end. The same thing happened on an earlier field goal try, when Barth missed from 34 yards in the first half.

That miss – his first since joining the Chiefs for game No. 7 - was a big one and effected the outcome of the game as well. With that field goal, even if the Chargers score a pair of late TDs and kick the PATs, the game would have been at least tied at the end of regulation.

“The first one I took for granted,” said Barth. “It was 34 yards and it was a chip shot. I did what I shouldn’t have done and that’s no excuse. I put this on my shoulders today.”

Overall, it was not a good day for the special teams. Punter Dustin Colquitt continues to battle through a groin problem but he averaged just 36.4 yards on five punts with a net average of 35.6 yards. Colquitt went for hang time over distance and it worked in that the Chargers returned only one punt and that for just four yards.

On kickoff coverage, the Chiefs had problems keeping Darren Sproles contained. Sproles had four returns for an average of 28.3 yards including a 40-yard return.

The Chiefs got next to nothing in their return game, averaging 15 yards on kickoff returns and producing nothing on two punt returns. …Read More!

Offensive Struggles Continue

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s become a familiar script for the Chiefs offense. They come out in the first half and they are able to move the ball and put some points on the board.

Then comes half-time and whatever steam was in their offensive sails dissipates and they spend the second half scuffling for yards and points.

This was the story again for the Chiefs in their 22-21 loss to the Chargers on Sunday.

The numbers are plain to see:





Offensive Yards




Rushing Yards




Passing Yards




First Downs








The Chiefs began the game with their longest scoring drive of the season; in fact it was their longest scoring drive in 35 games: 96 yards on 15 plays. Starting at its own four-yard line, the Kansas City offense methodically moved down the field as directed by Tyler Thigpen.

Five, two, five, a 16-yard pass to TE Tony Gonzalez, six, five, nine, one, a 10-yard pass to WR Will Franklin, 2, a 12-yard scramble by Thigpen, 15 yards to Gonzalez, with another four yards thanks to a San Diego penalty.

Then, first-and-goal at the four-yard line, Larry Johnson threw the TD pass to TE Tony Gonzalez that gave the Chiefs the lead. …Read More!

Good Defense Effort Ends in Ashes

From Arrowhead Stadium

The life of any cornerback on any level of football is a penthouse/outhouse existence. His location at either destination can change in a single play.

Just ask Pat Surtain. The veteran cornerback learned that again on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

Surtain went from making the interception that set up what looked like the winning points for the Chiefs, to making the coverage mistake that set up the winning points for the Chargers.

It was a perfect microcosm for the Chiefs defensive effort against San Diego. For the better part of three quarters they played defense good enough to win most games.

Then for five minutes they allowed a pair of touchdowns and saw the chance for victory disappear in the chilly wind that engulfed Arrowhead on this Sunday afternoon.

Not that Surtain was ready to claim that ticket to the outhouse. The play in question came after the Chargers were able to recover an on-side kick that gave them the ball at their own 39-yard line. They were down by five points with 71 seconds to play.

They got 42 of those yards on the first play, as Philip Rivers found WR Vincent Jackson open on his left side. There’s no way that Jackson should have been that open and that deep.

The Chiefs were playing a quarters coverage. To understand Just look at the field in the secondary and divided it into four quadrants. The corners are responsible for the outside fourths and the two safeties responsible for the middle half of the field. The idea is simply this: a corner or safety does not allow a receiver to get behind him. Everything must be kept in front of him.

San Diego put Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates on the left side of their formation. Jackson went deep while Gates went on a shorter route. Instead of going deep with Jackson, Surtain hesitated and was going to go at Gates. That mistake left Jackson wide open. Safety Jarrad Page got over to make the tackle as he caught the ball, but the 42-yard completion set up the touchdown throw that came three plays later. That 10-yard play from Rivers to Jackson again proved to be the winning points.

“We were in quarters coverage, four across deep,” Herm Edwards said of the long completion. “That shouldn’t happen.”

After the game, Page was unwilling to throw Surtain under the bus.

“He caught the ball and we shouldn’t have let him catch the ball there,” said Page, who was pressed by the media to explain what went wrong. “We’ll figure it out when we look at the film.”

For his part, Surtain did not act like a man who thought he made a mistake. …Read More!

COMMENTARY: Yet Another Wasted Afternoon

From Arrowhead Stadium

This was painful.

More so than any previous Sunday in what has been a disastrous string of Sundays that make up the 2008 Chiefs season the outcome of this game sunk a knife deep into the heart of the locker room.

Oh there were players that after the 22-21 defeat put on the brave face and said that this was no different than any of the other 11 that came before. They talked about how the most recent loss is always the hardest defeat to deal with and they all carry a certain stench.

But that was after they had a chance to catch their breath. In the moments just after the game, there were tears, as one player sat in front of his locker and sobbed. There was anger, as another player threw a chair across the room. There was disbelief as the head coach wasn’t quite sure what to tell them this time.

“I don’t have a speech for this one,” Herm Edwards said.

A football team leading by 11 points, with four minutes, 55 seconds to play, on their home field and facing an opponent with a losing record … if that’s not a recipe for victory I’m not sure what could be.

The Chiefs found a way to turn all that into a defeat, No. 12 on the season, No. 24 over the last 30 games.

How could this happen? There were plenty of plays that could have made a difference, but in the end, it came down to five minutes where the Chiefs had the opportunity to make plays and failed to do so.

There was veteran cornerback Pat Surtain, playing for the first time in nearly two months. Surtain had an interception and a 50-yard return that set up the Chiefs only second half TD. But in the fourth quarter, with his team still leading, he blew his assignment on a Cover 4 defense and allowed WR Vincent Jackson to get behind him. The 42-yard play set up the winning TD pass from Rivers to Jackson, who beat S Jarrad Page in the end zone.

All that would never have happened had Dwayne Bowe held onto San Diego’s on-side kick attempt. After the Chargers scored to cut the Chiefs lead to five points, punter Mike Scifres’ on-side attempt popped up into the air. Bowe caught the ball, but was hit by the Chargers and fumbled it away. San Diego recovered, setting them up for the winning possession. …Read More!

Chiefs Blow Lead, Victory to Chargers 22-21

From Arrowhead Stadium

It has been a season filled with heart-wrenching defeats. Lose games by one, three and four points and there’s a pain in your psyche that won’t go away.

None of those compared to what happened on a cold, gray, windy afternoon against the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs led this game with less than five minutes to play by 11 points. They had the upper hand all afternoon.

It didn’t matter in the last five minutes as San Diego scored a pair of TD passes and beat the Chiefs 22-21.

“I’ve been in the game a long time, but  in 30 years I’ve never lost one like that,” said Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, who saw his team go to 2-12 on the season and 6-26 over the last two seasons.

“We had that game,” said defensive end Tamba Hali. “That we didn’t win, I just can’t explain.”

When P Dustin Colquitt punted the ball away to the Chargers with four minutes, 55 seconds to play, the Chiefs led 21-10 and San Diego had the ball at their own 11-yard line.

The Chargers have been playing games like this all season. They’ve lost games by two, one, one and three points along the way. But they have also won an earlier game by one-point. That would have been the Chiefs-Chargers game in San Diego.

This time, they again found the way to win. QB Philip Rivers threw a pair of touchdown passes and kept alive San Diego’s meager hopes of catching Denver in the race for first place in the AFC West. The winning score came on a 10-yard pass to WR Vincent Jackson with 36 seconds to play.

The Chiefs played three quarters of good defense, as the Chargers had less than 200 yards of total offense and a single touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. But they collapsed under the weight of the San Diego comeback in the fourth quarter, giving up 200 yards of offense and a pair of touchdowns. …Read More!

Game-Day Inactives 12/14

From Arrowhead Stadium

The inactive players for the Chiefs against the San Diego Chargers are:

  • CB Maurice Leggett
  • TE Michael Merritt
  • CB David Macklin
  • LB Donnie Edwards
  • C Rudy Niswanger
  • T Barry Richardson
  • T Andrew Carnahan
  • DE Wallace Gilberry

Wade Smith will start at center for Niswanger.  Adrian Jones is back at RG.  Starting linebackers will be Demorrio Williams and Rocky Boiman on the outside with Derrick Johnson in the middle.  Pat Surtain should step into the nickel back role for Leggett.

Inactive for the Chargers will be RB Michael Bennettt, FB Mike Tolbert, S Clinton Hart, LB Anthony Waters, T Corey Clark and DT Ian Scott.  Charlie Whitehurst is the third inactive quarterback.

Hart will be replaced in the starting lineup by Steve Gregory.  On offense, replacing Tolbert in the starting lineup will be Jacob Hester.

The officiating crew of Carl Cheffers will handle this game.  Cheffers and his guys are among the least active flag throwers in the league, averaging 9.4 penalties walked off each game.  That ranks them second in fewest flags. This crew worked the Chiefs opener against New England.

The weather today is a catch all at Arrowhead.  Ninety minutes before kickoff it was fairly warm with temperatures in the 50s,  cloudy skies and lots of wind.  The only constant today appears to be the wind, as temperatures are expected to drop throughout the day, with a chance of rain or sleet later in the afternoon.

The wind right now is from the south, but expected to change to the northwest.  Of course, inside Arrowhead it swirls considerably.  Ninety minutes before kickoff, the ribbons on top the west uprights are blowing towards the west and the ribbons on the east uprights are blowing towards the east.

The Arrowhead field is in rather typical shape for this time of the year.  The center strip has been resodded and looks pretty good after two college games.  Outside the hashmarks the grass is worn but in good condition.  Baring heavy rain, the field will not be a factor.

Sunday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

When Willie Roaf walks on to the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to be honored by the Chiefs for his four years of service to the team, he will walk like he’s in a great deal of pain.

He will tilt to one side and he won’t walk so much as he will shuffle out to middle of the field with his daughter Alexis. Fans who have never noticed before will probably be concerned that his football career has foisted on him physical problems that will last for the rest of his life.

No, that’s just how Willie Roaf walks. He’s always been that way. It was that way during his eight years in New Orleans, it was that way during four Pro Bowl seasons with the Chiefs (2002-05) and it’s that way now that he’s retired, living in southern California and working on earning his college degree.

This quirk made Roaf memorable. What made him unforgettable was the way he played left tackle. He would shuffle out of the huddle and up to the line of scrimmage and there would be some flashy defensive end/outside linebacker ready to eat his lunch.

Instead, those guys would disappear. Once the ball was snapped, Roaf played on twinkle toes. He was big, he was strong, but the keys to his success were his feet and his ability to athletically move and handle the moves thrown at him by pass rushers. On top of that was his intelligence and study habits; over his career he logged details on every pass rusher he faced. He knew their tendencies, their favorite moves, their fakes and stunts.

Over his career he did that well enough to be named to 11 Pro Bowls and he was part of the all 1990s team that was decided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the next few years, he will end up in Canton as a HoF inductee.

Most of that career was with the Saints. Chiefs VP of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich was with New Orleans when they drafted Roaf in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft out of Louisiana Tech. Kuharich remembers going over to the Tech campus in Monroe the summer of his senior season. Seeing Roaf walking towards him, Kuharich thought he was injured and the trip had been wasted effort.

The first time Saints owner Tom Benson saw Roaf walk he was convinced Kuharich and his team’s front office had dropped the ball and selected a crippled first-round pick.

In his last season in New Orleans, Roaf suffered a knee injury that ended his season early. He came to the Chiefs and showed that knee was not a problem. He became part of the most effective and honored offensive blocking group in franchise history. Roaf, Will Shields and Brian Waters all went to the Pro Bowl multiple times. From 2002-2005 no offense in the league racked up as many yards, points or first downs as the Chiefs.

Roaf’s most stellar moment in a red and gold uniform came in that now infamous no-punt post-season game with the Indianapolis Colts after the 2003 season. Roaf spent most of the day facing pass rushing sensation Dwight Freeney of the Colts. The Chiefs lost 38-31 but it wasn’t because of Roaf; Freeney was such a non-factor that he doesn’t even show up in the statistics. He had no sacks, no tackles, no assists, no quarterback pressures, no quarterback hurries. Other than a notation that he started at right defensive end, his name does not appear in the official play-by-play for the game.

So why is Roaf being honored on Sunday, as the Chiefs play the Chargers? The Chiefs organization wanted to take a moment and thank him for his service and this is when it worked out for him. Yes, it was just four years, but with those four Pro Bowls, he ranks behind only Will Shields, Jim Tyrer and Ed Budde for all-star game appearances by an offensive lineman for the Chiefs.

And what the heck, any chance you give Chiefs fans to cheer right now is worth the effort. …Read More!

How the Chiefs Can Beat San Diego

There’s absolutely no reason the Chiefs cannot beat the Chargers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

It was five weeks ago that they came within a two-point conversion of beating the Bolts in San Diego. They could do that again.

But they will have to play better on all sides of the ball to pull this off. They have to do all the things a team must do to win a football game and they must do the extras. They are:

Zebra Watch #14

Last week, the Chiefs were part of the least penalized game in the 2008 NFL season. Scott Green and his crew threw only three flags all day, and walked off just one penalty against each team.

When they host San Diego on Sunday, the Chiefs have another chance to be among the weekend’s least penalized games with the crew of Carl Cheffers working the contest. On the season, Cheffers and his group rank as the second least active crew, with 9.4 penalties per game. Cheffers worked the Chiefs season opener against New England, a game where they walked off a combined five penalties for 45 yards.

Penalties are going down, averaging a season-low 9.4 per game. The only guy who doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo was Ron Winter. His group walked off 21 penalties last week and 15 the week before. That’s why Winter’s crew is ranked as the most active referee in the league, averaging 14.2 flags per game.

One other note from the world of penalties: the Patriots are on pace to set an NFL record for the fewest penalties in a season. They have had 44 walked off against them. The record for fewest penalties in a 16-game season is 59 by Seattle in 2007. …Read More!

Saturday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Don’t pack your bags just yet for training camp 2010 in St. Joseph.

But it’s time to consider northwest Missouri’s largest city as part of the potential itinerary.

This coming Tuesday, the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) will meet in Jefferson City. The 12-member board will decided on whether the Chiefs can receive tax credit for the $50 million that the Hunt family has committed to the New Arrowhead Stadium project.

A simple yes vote this Tuesday will not guarantee training camp at Missouri Western State University (left) for the Chiefs. There are other hurdles that must be overcome in the process. But if the MDFB provides the tax credits, it will pump $10 million into the pool of money needed to turn the school into a viable training camp site.

The total price on those additions and changes is $13.45 million according to the St. Joseph News-Press, which broke this story on Friday morning.

Right now, Missouri Western does not have the facilities to handle a Chiefs training camp. The locker room is too small, as is the weight room. There’s no indoor facility which the Chiefs will need if they are going to return to the heat and humidity of a Midwest August. Practice fields need to be rehabbed and there are a host of other issues that would require upgrades or additions.

What Missouri Western has on the positive side is proximity to Kansas City and an artificial turf field inside Spratt Stadium. They also have a third factor: state senator Charlie Shields who has been pushing for a Chiefs training camp in St. Joe for some time.

“I never ever gave up hope that this could happen,” Shields told the News-Press. “I view this as something that could be transformational for our community.”

OK, a long time ago in j-school they taught us to follow the money, and that’s not always easy especially when the financial trail winds its way through the jungle of politics. But let’s see if we can put all this into perspective to help understanding of what’s up and what this vote on Tuesday is about.

Let’s start with the MFDB. The group has two primary missions: financing economic development activities and public sector infrastructure improvements. On the economic development side the focus is on financing private sector investments that result in the creation or retention of jobs and expansion of capital investment within the state. On public infrastructure initiatives they focus on financing improvements that leverage private sector job creation.

Jackson County voters agreed to a sales tax increased to pay for $250 million in rehabbing Arrowhead. The Hunt family promised at the time a contribution of $75 million.

Later, once plans for the rehab were finalized the Chiefs agreed to kick in another $50 million, pushing the family’s total contribution to $125 million.

That brings us to the MDFB. This group has the power to grant tax credits equal to 50 percent of any contribution towards funds that are part of economic or infrastructure development. The Hunts/Chiefs along with the Jackson County Sports Authority have applied for the tax credits, seeking $25 million. There is no question they qualify for the tax credit based on what the MDFB’s mission statement reads. Approval on Tuesday should be a slam dunk.

Of course, this a political process so anything can happen when the meeting is held at the state capital.

Once the tax credit is granted, the Chiefs agreed to sale $10 million of those credits which they are allowed to do for anywhere from 75 percent to 100 percent of the value. They will then kick the proceeds of that sale to Missouri Western for infrastructure improvements.

Got that? It’s a lot of financial paper shuffling but it would get the job done, if the school comes up with their share at $3.45 million.

The Chiefs have agreed to a five-year contract to take camp to Missouri Western, with a series of five one-year options after that.

If the MDFB approves the tax credits, the ball will then fall into the hands of the university. They will have a little over 18 months to get things done. The Chiefs will take training camp back to River Falls, Wisconsin in late July of 2009.

Missouri Western has very big shoes to fill. It will cost the Chiefs money whether they go to River Falls or St. Joe. About the only thing they save with staying closer to home is not paying for two charter airplane flights to Minneapolis and back. But the process of packing up and moving is the same, whether 50 miles away or 500.

Besides the weather conditions, the item that kept taking the Chiefs back to River Falls was the work of the university staff. They always found a way to get things done, including a locker room-training room addition to their facilities that’s nicer than what some NFL teams have in-season.

Should politics get involved and the MDFB vote against the tax credits, then the chances of Chiefs camp landing in St. Joe would be very slim.

Ultimately, the Chiefs decision will come down to this: they would like to be closer to home, but they would have to have facilities that would guarantee them the ability to practice, providing protection against rain and heat.

Stay tuned. …Read More!

Are the Chiefs headed for St. Joe?

The St. Joseph News-Press reported Friday morning that the “only one vote separates St. Joseph from possibly landing the Kansas City Chiefs training camp as early as the summer of 2010.

The newspaper reports that the team has committed in writing to move camp to Missouri Western State University pending the approval of a $25 million state tax credit proposal from the Missouri Development Finance Board.  The board is scheduded to meet Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Word from the Chiefs is this: the team has not committed in writing to anything involving moving camp to St. Joe and there is far more that must happen for this to become reality even if this Tuesday vote approves the tax credits.

But there’s no question the site of future Chiefs training camps is very much in play and right now it appears St. Joe and Missouri Western have the pole position.

We’ll have more on this situation coming up in our Saturday Morning Cup O’Chiefs.

Chiefs Update 12/12

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs went through their final practice of the week late  Friday morning n preparation to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

While no player was declared out of the game against the Chargers, C Rudy Niswanger and CB Maurice Leggett will not play.  Niswanger with a knee injury and Leggett with a shoulder problem; neither one practiced on Friday.

That opens the door for veteran CB Pat Surtain to get back on the field.  Surtain last played on October 26th against the New York Jets when he suffered a quadriceps injury.  In 13 games, Surtain has played in just five this season.  On Friday, he was a full participant in practice, the first time he’s been listed as such since the injury.

Also getting a full go of practice work on Friday were RT Damion McIntosh, RG Adrian Jones and LB Pat Thomas.

Limited were WR Mark Bradley and LB Donnie Edwards.  Herm Edwards said after practice that he believes Bradley will be able to play this week.  Not so with Edwards.

For the Chargers on their official injury report, they have listed as doubtful LB Anthony Waters (hamstring), S Clinton Hart (shoulder) and FB Mike Tolbert (shoulder). Listed as probable are LB Jyles Tucker (hamstring)
and LB Marques Harris (hamstring).

Podcasting: Len’s Look 12/12

Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson joins us to talk about many things involving the Chiefs.  Len speaks of the spread offense, about Tyler Thigpen’s future, about the need for the defense to add some playing talent and so much more.

It’s the legend himself.  Enjoy.

Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Sometime today, the Chiefs players will gather and cast their votes for the Pro Bowl.

This comes after the close of the public voting for the NFL’s all-star game. Unfortunately or fortunately – however you may view the situation – they players vote counts the same as the fan vote, one-third of the total. The other third belongs to the league’s coaches.

When the players select today, they are not allowed to vote for players on their own team, they vote only for AFC players, with offensive guys voting for defense and vice versa. Everyone votes for special teamers. They list first and second choices in the two columns at each position.

There is no perfect way to decide on an all-star team. One would think that the players would have a better understanding of who has had a worthy season than anybody. But I’ve heard too many stories over the years of teams not voting for players at positions where they have a teammate who has an all-star chance. Or one of the team’s leaders will take over the voting meeting and tell his teammates to pick player B, who happens to be his good friend.

Politics plays out in the locker room as well.

At least, they don’t make a farce out of the process which is something that Washington Redskins fans did with the help of the team. They flooded the ballot box to the point that Redskins players were either No. 1 or No. 2 in the voting at just about every position. Of the 19 spots on the ballot there were nine Redskins in first place, seven in second and four in third.

Not bad for a team that’s in last place in its division with a 7-6 record.

Right now, it’s pretty obvious the Chiefs will have just one player in the Pro Bowl: tight end Tony Gonzalez. He was the AFC’s leading vote getter at the position (400,938) and third overall among tight ends after Dallas’ Jason Witten (626,602) and Chris Cooley of, you guessed it, the Redskins (550,906). He was 19th in votes among all players in both conferences.

There were no other Chiefs among the top five at any of the 19 positions in the league. It’s doubtful with a 2-11 record that many Chiefs will pile up votes from the players and coaches.

The last time the Chiefs had just one player make the trip to Hawaii was in 1998, when Will Shields made the team. That was the only time in the last 22 years that the Chiefs had just one Pro Bowler.

For Gonzalez, it will be his 10th spot in the all-star game.

Nearly 85 million votes were cast for the Pro Bowl. The leading vote getter was New Orleans QB Drew Brees with 951,246. New York Jets QB Brett Favre was second with 880,833.

The Pro Bowl teams will be announced this coming Tuesday during a live show on the NFL Network. That makes the whole thing rather ridiculous: let the fans have a vote for the all-star team and then they can’t see the show where the teams are named because more than half the country doesn’t get the network.

Like I said, there’s no perfect way to pick an all-star team. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/11

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs had another missing body during their second practice of the week to get ready for San Diego.

RT Damion McIntosh was out ill with the crud that seems to have infected every household in the Kansas City area.  The Chiefs expect him to recover and be ready to play this Sunday against the Chargers.  Herb Taylor worked at RT in his place.

Also not practicing on Thursday was C Rudy Niswanger.  He has not been officially ruled out of the San Diego game but it appears highly unlikely that he will play because of the knee injury he suffered in Denver last Sunday.

Add CB Maurice Leggett to the limited practice group as he fights a sore shoulder suffered in Denver.  Same for WR Mark Bradley and his calf.  Also limited were LB Donnie Edwards (knee) and CB Pat Surtain (quad), although Surtain took more snaps in practice than he normally does because of Leggett’s injury.

Podcasting: Football with Goose 12/11

He’s the best pro football writer in America and Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News joins us again this week to talk about a host of subjects.  We cover the spread offense and whether it can fly in the NFL.  Our conversation then turns towards Tyler Thigpen and whether he can be the Chiefs quarterback of the future. We cover the 2009 NFL Draft and talk about what quarterbacks may be available there and how high up in the draft order a team has to be to get one of the top players.  Plus we finish up with discussion about ’08 rookie quarterbacks, the Carolina Panthers, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and this weekend’s top NFL match up as Pittsburgh visits Baltimore.


Thursday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

There’s been a lot of attention – rightfully so – on the lack of a pass rush from the Chiefs defense this season. The ’08 Kansas City defense is on the way to setting new lows in quarterback sacking history.

But what about the flip side of the Chiefs when it comes to pressure on the quarterback? While the defense has been abysmal when taking down the quarterback, the Chiefs offense has actually done a good job.

That’s especially true in the last two months when the Chiefs have gone to a pass-first spread offense. This would seem to have exposed the pass protection, but that hasn’t been the case.

In the first seven games of the season, the Chiefs allowed 22 sacks or one every 11.8 passing plays. That includes the first game the Chiefs used the spread, against the New York Jets.

In the six games played since then, the Chiefs have allowed only 11 sacks, or one every 10 passing plays.

They are on a pace to finish the year with 39 sacks, which isn’t necessarily a great number, but a considerable improvement over the 55 they allowed last year. That was the second worst pass protection season in franchise history.

So why has the pass protection improved? First, there’s better talent at three of the five positions. Branden Albert is an upgrade over Damion McIntosh at left tackle, and McIntosh is an upgrade over all the bodies that played right tackle in ’07 (Kyle Turley, Chris Terry and Will Svitek.) For the most part, Adrian Jones has been an upgrade over John Welbourn. Brian Waters has enjoyed a better season this year than last. Only center has not shown improvement. The Chiefs wanted a big center with the power running game and that’s one of several reasons they had no interest in re-signing Casey Wiegmann. Rudy Niswanger has done an OK job, but he’s not quite the style of what most teams seek in a spread offensive lineman.

The second reason the sacks have dropped is Tyler Thigpen, and not for the season most people believe. Quarterbacks with mobility, take off running when they feel pressure and tend to get sacked more than the pocket passers without mobility. Why? Because when they take off they start running around, trying to find a place to throw the ball and they run themselves in to sacks.

Thigpen hasn’t done that, and there’s a reason for that: he’s been warned away from running around looking to throw. That’s why you’ll notice these days when he pulls the ball down, Thigpen puts it under his arm and takes off on the run. He doesn’t look to throw. In fact, the Chiefs really wish he would look down the field more often when he breaks the pocket. …Read More!

College Quarterback Update

There will be just three finalists in New York this Saturday when the Heisman Trophy is awarded for 2008.

And, they are all quarterbacks: Colt McCoy (left) of Texas, Sam Bradford (middle) of Oklahoma and the reigning Heisman holder Tim Tebow (right) of Florida.

All are college juniors, which makes them eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.

McCoy said this week he will return to Texas for his senior season. That’s what he says now. Tebow has not said publicly what his plans are.

This week, Bradford said he would weigh his options about going pro after obtaining information from the NFL. His father Kent Bradford and OU’s quarterback coach Josh Heupel will gather the information.

Underclassmen must declare by January 15.

“It’s going to be a process,” Bradford told the Oklahoman newspaper. “Even if I think I know what I want to do right now, there’s kind of a need to get as much information as possible so that looking back on this decision years down the road you don’t regret anything because you didn’t go after the information needed to make the right decision.”

Bradford had surgery on his injured left thumb on Sunday, repairing torn ligaments. He’s now wearing a crimson color cast that extends to his elbow. He’s expected to wear the cast for 10 days and it will be replaced by a smaller hand cast.

Back in October, we highlighted the top 25 college quarterbacks who might be available for the NFL Draft. Here are the season statistics for those quarterbacks. Eight of the 25 are done for the year. The other 17 have bowl games to play, beginning Dec. 20 and running through the BCS Championship Game on January 8.

Here are the numbers: …Read More!

Chuck Cook’s Top Five Seniors

Last week we brought you the top five senior prospects that Chiefs VP of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich had seen in his travels through college football this fall.

Now, here’s the top five of Chuck Cook, the Chiefs director of college scouting. Kuharich and Cook split up the top programs in the country and if one didn’t see a prospect, the other did. That’s along with the area scouts and the tape evaluations the Chiefs build in the file for each prospect.

The only school where both Kuharich and Cook both spent time at was Southern Cal, and that shows up in Chuck’s top five picks.

Now remember, this is all just one part of the scouting puzzle. Underclassmen are not included at this time because they have not yet had the opportunity to declare for the NFL Draft. Last year, 17 underclassmen were taken in the first round, so this is by no means is the top of the Chiefs draft board.

At this time, this is for entertainment purposes only, so please, no wagering.

Here’s the top five from the travels of Chuck Cook:

T Michael Oher/Mississippi 6-5, 320 pounds.

At Ole Miss, Oher has been a starter since his freshman season. That first year he worked at right guard, but they moved him to left tackle his sophomore year and he’s started 36 consecutive games there. He will wind up his career in the Cotton Bowl when Mississippi plays Texas Tech. “He’s got the best feet I’ve seen in years for an offensive lineman,” Cook said of Oher. “He’s very physically gifted and there really isn’t anything he can’t do at left tackle. I can’t imagine anything other than major injury that would keep him from coming into the league and playing well at left tackle for the next 10 or 12 years.” …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/10

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs pushed through a just under two-hour practice indoors on Wednesday without two of their offensive starters: C Rudy Niswanger and WR Mark Bradley.

Niswanger did not participate because of the left knee injury he suffered against Denver that will likely keep him out of this Sunday’s action, although the Chiefs have not said that publicly.  Bradley is still trying to recover from a calf injury that’s taken him out of action for the better part of three weeks now. He was a limited participant.

The Chiefs did get starting RG Adrian Jones back to practice.  Jones who suffered an ankle injury against the Chargers in San Diego on November 9.  He’s not played since that game. Jones worked with the first-team offense.  Also back and working with the defense in a limited form was LB Donnie Edwards, bouncing back from a knee injury that he suffered on Nov. 16 against New Orleans.

Also limited in participation was CB Maurice Leggett, who suffered a shoulder injury against Denver and veteran CB Pat Surtain with his quad injury.

Podcasting: The NFL & Czar 12/10

Our man John Czarnecki from the Fox-TV NFL Pre-Game Show and FOXSPORTS.com joins us for a discussion about the National Football League.  Czar talks about the Carolina Panthers and their victory Monday night over Tampa Bay, the Giants loss at home to Philly, the waiting for a federal judge to rule on the drug suspensions handed down by the NFL, Jared Allen, Jerry Jones and the New York Jets.  We cover a lot of ground.


Wednesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Let the debate begin.

With three weeks to go in the 2008 season, the fans, media and even some folks in the locker room are casting their votes on the future status of Tyler Thigpen.

Is he the team’s quarterback of the future? Should the Chiefs ignore Thigpen’s improvement and draft a passer early in the 2009 NFL Draft? Should they fish in the free agency waters and bring in a more veteran quarterback to lead the team in 2009?

Herm Edwards touched on the subject yesterday. He said nothing definitive as to where he stood on the issue, other than Thigpen is the Chiefs starter right now. Whether that means he still has that job next year remains in doubt.

One player cast his vote earlier this week. Speaking to ESPN.com, Tony Gonzalez said he believes Thigpen should be the man and that “It would be a disgrace if they don’t. We’ve been playing well since he came in.”

No question the offense has been more productive. But in seven starts, the Chiefs are 1-6 under Thigpen. Yards and points have gone up, but that’s not produced winning efforts.

Still, Gonzalez is placing his support squarely in Thigpen’s corner.

“Maybe I like him because he throws to me,” Gonzalez said. “He’s a good kid. He’s humble. He listens. He’s not like a lot of young players today who thinks they are the best. He wants to get to better and he will.” …Read More!

Playoffs Picture NFC: Three Weeks Left

Carolina’s big victory on Monday night over Tampa Bay put them on top of the NFC South with three weeks to play and it makes them a real challenger for home-field advantage in the conference.

If the Panthers get through this week and the New York Giants do the same, then they face off on Dec. 21 in a head-to-head battle that should all but settle the home-field question. That game has been moved to Sunday night by the NFL as part of the flex schedule format.

The Giants and Arizona Cardinals claimed spots in the playoffs this past Sunday. New York stumbled in despite their loss to Philadelphia thanks to Dallas losing at Pittsburgh. The Cardinals beat the Rams and won their first ever NFC West division title.

There remain eight teams with legitimate shots at the NFC playoffs, with Washington and New Orleans hovering outside the circle. …Read More!

Herm Speaks 12/9

From Arrowhead Stadium

There were a lot of questions and a lot of answers in Herm Edwards weekly Tuesday press conference.

A lot of that questions and discussion centered around the offense and the future of Tyler Thipgen.

Here are the highlights.


“We’ve got three weeks to decide. Me personally, I’m kind of leaning towards the way it’s going. I kind of like it, because we are able to control the clock and we are able to run the ball. That’s the whole key. You still have to run the ball in this league. I think we can still run the ball pretty good and we haven’t turned the ball over a lot. We’ve turned it over four times and that’s a good sign.”

Analysis: If the head coach is leaning towards keeping the spread, then what else do we need to know? Nobody is going to overrule Edwards. The Chiefs offense has turned the ball over six times since the Jets game when they went to the spread, that’s four Tyler Thigpen interceptions and two fumbles (Thigpen and Jamaal Charles.) There’s no question that Thigpen’s control of the football has made all the difference in the world. The moment this offense starts turning the ball over, the Chiefs will go back towards a more conventional attack.

The next three weeks are crucial for the future of the spread offense with the Chiefs. First, it’s the weather; all three of the final games will be played in cold weather. To survive, a team must run the ball and can’t rely just on the pass. Second, now that they’ve played in the spread for seven games, there is plenty of tape for opposing teams to watch. There are fewer and fewer surprises for the opponent. Three, that’s especially true for San Diego, the first Chiefs foe who will see the KC spread for a second time. It’s one thing to watch it on tape; it’s another thing to have experience against the offense in person. …Read More!

Hank’s Gallery: Denver

Here’s a second look at the Chiefs visit to Denver through the camera lens of Hank Young.

If you enjoy the pagentry around football games, you won’t want to miss this gallery!

Remember, click on any picture in the gallery to enlarge.  We expect one picture to be enlarged more often than the others.

Enjoy! …Read More!

Tuesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

It’s not every day that a dateline for something involving the NFL reads Copenhagen, Denmark.

But that was the case on Monday, when news broke that former Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen was announcing his retirement from pro football.

Certainly, it’s probably news to a lot of fans that Andersen was retiring this week, when he hasn’t kicked at all this season. But his absence from the league wasn’t something Andersen sought; he wanted to kick. In fact, he had big plans on how he could come back and kick in the league and break George Blanda’s record for being the oldest player in pro football history at 48 years and so many months, weeks and days.

But sadly, the opportunity did not come, so on Monday back in his homeland, Andersen hung up his kicking shoe.

“I realized I no longer can train in an optimal way because of my knees,” Andersen told the Associated Press in a phone interview from Denmark. “So I am retiring.”

Andersen said his knees were worn out after 26 years as a player.

“It’s not that I cannot kick, play golf or go bicycling, but it’s not the same anymore,” he said.

In 30 games over two seasons (2002-03) with the Chiefs, Andersen hit 38 of 46 field goals, including one of the most unusual of his career, when his kick with no time on the clock won the wild finish of the Chiefs-Browns game in Cleveland to open the 2002 season (above.) Later his field goal against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium brought the Chiefs a victory and earned him a valuable bottle of Napa Valley wine from head coach Dick Vermeil. But the league office stepped in and said the wine was an illegal bonus under the collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners. Andersen had to give the bottle of wine back to Vermeil, wink, wink. …Read More!

AFC Post-Season Picture: Three Weeks Left

One of the six slots in the AFC tournament was filled on Sunday when the Tennessee Titans clinched the AFC South division title.

With a victory over the Chiefs, the Denver Broncos are just one victory away from wrapping up the AFC West, such as it is.

The Pittsburgh Steelers control the steering wheel in the AFC North, but face a big game this Sunday in Baltimore. It’s the third leg of a four-game battle march. They beat New England and Dallas, face the Ravens, and then next week it’s Tennessee.

The AFC East is a three-team race, with the Jets holding a precarious edge with three games to go.

Here’s how it breaks down.


Chiefs Update 12/8

From the Truman Sports Complex

There’s a chance that C Rudy Niswanger’s season could come to a premature end because of the injury he suffered to his left knee on Sunday in Denver.

The Chiefs expect Niswanger to miss at least the next two games.  There are only three games left in the season.

But then, the Chiefs never expected Niswanger to go back into the game on Sunday after limping off with six minutes, 28 seconds to play in the third quarter.  He came back on the field for that fourth-quarter drive that ended at the one-yard line, just short of the game tying touchdown.

Ultimately, they’ll have to wait to see how Niswanger feels come Wednesday when the team returns to practice.  Several weeks ago when he suffered a knee injury he wasn’t expected to practice much that week.  He ended up working with the No. 1 offense each day and took every snap in the next game.

Wade Smith has been moving to center when Niswanger has been injured. The only center possibility on the practice roster is rookie Brian De La Puente.  Also remember that Brian Waters can also play center; that was his position over in the World League back in 2000 and when he first joined the Chiefs that season.

The Chiefs are also watching the right shoulder injury suffered by CB Maurice Leggett.  That forced him out of the action late in Sunday’s game.  Leggett was wearing an electronic stimulator on the shoulder Monday during the team’s open locker room period.   Another player wearing a stimulator was RB Jamaal Charles on his left ankle.  He suffered the injury on the final play of the first quarter, but he returned in the second half to play.

The news is not so good for the Broncos who apparently will lose RB Peyton Hillis for the rest of the season with a right hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday’s game.  Hillis is likely headed to the injured reserve list where he will join four other Denver RBs.

Sunday Review: Week #14

It was quite a Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

For the first time in a decade, the Arizona Cardinals are going to the playoffs.

That came down with their 34-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams which clinched the NFC West title.

“My coach was like, ‘Act like you’ve been there before, act like you’ve been there before,”‘ Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett
(left) said after the game. “I said, ‘Coach, I ain’t been there before. I don’t know how to act right now’.”

Long one of the league’s doormat franchises, it’s the first division title for the Cardinals since they won the NFC East in 1975. That’s when they were still the St. Louis Cardinals of course. They’ve never won the NFC West title.

Better yet, they haven’t had a home game in the playoffs since they were the Chicago Cardinals. The last time it happened was the 1947 NFL Championship Game when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21.

By winning the division title, they are assured of at least one home game in the playoffs.

The players knew enough about celebrating to dump a bucket of ice water on Ken Whisenhunt, who is in his second season as coach.

“It was pretty cold,” Whisenhunt said. “I was excited to get a bath. That’s one of the things I guess as a coach you dream about.”

Other noteable outcomes from Sunday: …Read More!

An Early Special Teams Spark & Notes

From Invesco Field

Click here for the Game Book and statistics from Sunday’s game.

The Chiefs needed a spark from their special teams on Sunday against Denver and right off the bat, they got just that.

Jamaal Charles took the opening kickoff and returned the ball 40 yards to the Kansas City 40-yard line.  It ranks as one of the best opening field position starts for the Chiefs this season. 

Then, a few moments later, Kevin Robinson returned a punt 32 yards to the Chiefs 49-yard line.  That great field position led to a 26-yard Connor Barth FG.

Robinson’s return was the longest punt return in 42 games for the Chiefs, dating back to Dante Hall’s 60-yard return for a TD against San Francisco in the third week of the 2006 season.  Before this one, the longest punt return in the ’08 season was just 16 yards, but B.J. Sams back in the third game of the year against Atlanta.

Overall, the Chiefs special teams turned in a good effort against Denver.  Robinson ended up averaging 27.3 yards on three kickoff returns to go along with this punt return.

Kicker Connor Barth enjoyed the thin air of mile high Invesco with kickoffs to the one, minus three and a pair of touchbacks.  Punter Dustin Colquitt had a 51-yard gross average and a 37.7 net, including a 56-yard punt that was downed at the Denver five-yard line.  Colquitt’s net total was hurt by a pair of touchbacks.

Coverage teams were good, as the Broncos broke nothing in the return game. …Read More!

Final KC Play, Like Offense Comes Up Short

From Invesco Field

There were no second thoughts. No maybes, and could haves, and if we had only.

Faced with a fourth-and-goal at the Denver five-yard line with less than five minutes to play, Herm Edwards said he didn’t ponder his next move beyond his initial thought: go for the touchdown.

Tyler Thigpen’s scramble came up a yard short, turning the ball over on downs and then watched the Broncos wipe out the remaining time with two clutch third down conversions.

The play called was a pass play, not a quarterback draw and some have surmised. Thigpen was looking for TE Tony Gonzalez to come open. But when Gonzalez was mugged at the line of scrimmage, Thigpen made a quick and decisive decision: he was going for the end zone using his feet.

Thigpen didn’t make it and the Chiefs never had the ball in their hands again, as a chance for a rare victory in Denver slipped through their fingers.

“I just felt with one timeout left, I felt if we didn’t score it would pin them back deep and they would have the chance to punt, but at 3rd-and-10 they completed a pass,” said Edwards. “We said we were going to play aggressive and we did. We did that the whole game offensively.

“I think it was the right decision to make for our team right now on the road. I felt we had a chance to score, and we fell a yard short.” …Read More!

Podcasting: Post-Game Broncos 12/7

From Invesco Field

A post-game locker room report with comments from the Chiefs after their 24-17 loss to the Broncos.  You will hear comments from Herm Edwards, Tyler Thigpen, Derrick Johnson, Jarrad Page, Tamba Hali and others.

Another Backward Step For Defense

From Invesco Field

There is almost no stopping the Chiefs now. They are hurtling towards infamy in pro football history for their failure to sack the quarterback.

After Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs are still stuck on six sacks as they were shutout for the fourth week in a row. Six sacks in 13 games. They have none in the last four games, two in the last six and three in the last nine games.

As a reminder, the league record for fewest sacks in an NFL season is 11 (Baltimore 1982). The league record for fewest sacks in a 16-game season is 13 (Baltimore 1981). The Chiefs record for fewest sacks in any season is 15 (1982 in nine games). The team record for fewest sacks in a 16-game season is 23 (1988).

With three games to go and only six sacks to their name, the chances of the Chiefs NOT breaking every one of those records is slim.

“We are playing our tails off out there, we are trying to get it done,” said DE Tamba Hali. “No matter what our coaches call, we are going hard. Sometimes it on us as players, especially when it comes to the sacks, to make it happen.

“At the end of the day you can all point the fingers at me. I got to get to the quarterback. If we can’t get to the quarterback it’s always a hard time winning a game.”

The Chiefs actually did get their hands on Denver quarterback Jay Cutler a handful of times. But every one of those hits came after he released the ball. Hali hit him several times with good shots, as did DE Jason Babin. But the ball was always out of his hand just a split second before the Chiefs pass rusher got there. It had to be bang-bang close because the Chiefs were not flagged once for roughing the passer. …Read More!

Commentary: The Difference Between Two Young QBS

From Invesco Field

If you want to know one of the major reasons the Denver Broncos were able to once again beat the Chiefs in the mile high city, look no further than comparing the quarterbacks.

The Chiefs had Tyler Thigpen, the young man from South Carolina who came out of nowhere this year and has made an opportunity for himself to be the franchise’s quarterback of the future.  He’s inexperienced – Sunday’s game was just NFL start No. 8 – but growing in his understanding of what’s needed from him if the Chiefs are going to be able to win games.  He’s a former seventh-round draft choice and is 24 years old.

The Broncos had Jay Cutler, in his third NFL season, a former first-round draft choice, who became Denver’starter late in his rookie season.  He’s already put in a lot of his ups and downs and shown that he’s capable of much more.  Sunday’s game was start No. 34 for the 25-year old out of Indiana.

On one hand 34 NFL starts. On the other eight.  It’s hardly a fair comparison.  But that’s life in the NFL .  Cutler had the edge and he played like it.  It was his arm, his cockiness and his moxie that won the game for Denver.  It wasn’t so much that Thigpen played poorly, because he did not.  It was just that when it came to comparisons, he couldn’t get done what Cutler was able to do for the Broncos. …Read More!

Chiefs Can’t Get it Done – Again – In Denver, 24-17

From Invesco Field

It was another one of those games so typical for the Chiefs in the last two months. With the game in doubt right down to the final minutes, they were one play on offense or one stop by the defense away from gaining their third victory of the season.

But as has happened so often in recent weeks, the Chiefs couldn’t find that game turning play and fell to the Denver Broncos 24-17. It was their eighth straight loss in Denver and they remain 0-for-Invesco.

QB Tyler Thigpen’s fourth down scramble from the Denver five-yard line was stopped at the one, ending the last threat the Chiefs had of tying the score with four minutes, 35 seconds left in the game.

It was a game where the Kansas City defense simply had trouble getting off the field against the Denver offense. The Broncos held the ball for 36:38 and racked up 27 first downs, 425 yards in offense and three touchdowns, two from WR Brandon Marshall.

Offensively, the Chiefs had just 260 offensive yards and only 14 first downs, scoring just one touchdown. The Kansas City defense had the team’s other six-pointer.

The teams traded possessions to open the game, but the Chiefs had the advantage with better field position thanks to a pair of nice returns in the kicking game. RB Jamaal Charles took the opening kickoff back 40 yards and WR Kevin Robinson had a 32-yard punt return that gave the Chiefs possession at their 49-yard line. It was the longest punt return in the last 42 games for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs offense drove 39 yards on six plays to set up the first score of the game, a 26-yard FG by K Connor Barth. The key play in the drive was a 34-yard bobbling completion from Thigpen to WR Dwayne Bowe. The Denver defense held them out of the end zone and after Barth’s FG, the Chiefs lead 3-0. …Read More!

Game Day Inactives 12/7

From Invesco Field/Denver, Colorado

The big news on the game-day inactives is not from the Chiefs, but the Broncos who will be without Pro Bowl CB Champ Bailey.  He was one of eight Denver players who will not play.

Game day inactive players for the Chiefs are:

  • CB Pat Surtain
  • TE Michael Merritt
  • LB Pat Thomas
  • LB Donnie Edwards
  • G Tavares Washington
  • T Andrew Carnahan
  • G Adrian Jones
  • WR Mark Bradley

Joining Bailey among the Broncos inactives is S Marlon McCree, RB P.J. Pope, RB Selvin Young, FB Andrew Pinnock, LB D.J. Williams, DE Tim Crowder and S Herana-Daze Jones.  Bailey tore a groin muscle against New England on Oct. 20; this is the sixth game he’s missed.

Weather conditions are about as good as could be imagined for December in Denver.  Temperature at kickoff expected to be in the mid-60s.  It will grow colder in the second half as the sun sets.  No prediction of precipitation, although Denver is expected to be hit Sunday night or Monday morning with a pretty significant snow storm.

Field conditions at Invesco are pretty good.  Fast track, with some bare spots in the middle of the field, but nothing unusual.

The officiating crew is led by Scott Green, the same group that had the Chiefs in the third game of the season against Atlanta.  That Sunday, Green’s crew walked off only three flags against the Chiefs for 13 yards. On the season Green’s crew is right in the middle when it comes to penalty activity, walking off an average of 11 flags per game.

One final note: the Broncos are wearing their hideous orange jersey today.

Sunday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

From Denver, Colorado

There was a time when the Broncos were considered just short of unbeatable when they were playing at home.

Those days are gone, just as Mile High Stadium (below left) has disappeared.

This year, the Broncos are only 3-3 when playing at Invesco Field. Last year they were 5-3. The season before Denver was 4-4 without the plane ride. That’s 12-10 over the last three seasons.

How does that compare to what Mike Shanahan’s team was at old Mile High? How about the 1996-97-98 season when they went 27-1 at home, with the only defeat being an upset loss to Jacksonville in the ’96 playoffs.

Connection? Only if you believe concrete and steel can beat another football team, and there are plenty of folks who are convinced that’s the case.

There’s no doubt that Invesco does not have the atmosphere that was part of the Mile High magic. That old stadium was pieced together over time, with a rickety upper deck. When the fans started stomping and jumping around, the building moved and the sound was ear-splitting. Invesco is nice, new and beautiful and there is not the noise the Broncos were used to hearing.

Sort of like when the Chiefs left Municipal Stadium and moved into Arrowhead Stadium. There’s no question that the final game the Chiefs played in the old stadium was a crossroads for the franchise. That game in the playoffs on Christmas Day 1971 saw the Miami Dolphins win in double-overtime.

In the last five seasons at Municipal (below), the Chiefs were 27-7-2. In the first five seasons at Arrowhead, the Chiefs were 13-22. Of course, the move coincided with the real reason the record went south: the Super Bowl Chiefs grew old and they were not replaced by good players

Same thing has been going on with the Broncos. Denver’s poor 12-10 home record in the last three seasons has more to do with its overall 23-21 record in that time span than anything to do with Invesco Field.

Getting that home field advantage back has to be a priority for Shanny and his boys. They would like to start Sunday afternoon when they host the Chiefs. More than revenge for an early season defeat in Kansas City, the Broncos need to win to restore the Mile High magic that has obviously disappeared.

Same thing has happened with the Chiefs. In the 1990s, one of the one or two toughest places to play in the NFL was Arrowhead Stadium. Not so much these days; in the last two seasons the Chiefs are 6-22 and they are 3-11 at home.

For the Chiefs of the last 20 years, whether they played the Broncos at old Mile High or the new Invesco Field, winning in Denver has not been a familiar feeling. In fact, they’ve never enjoyed a victory in the new stadium, which opened with the 2001 season. Herm Edwards has never won there. Dick Vermeil’s Kansas City teams were 0-5 in Denver and every Chiefs fan knows about Marty Schottenheimer and his Mile High problems over the years. Here’s one hard to explain stat: in 10 seasons, Schottenheimer’s Chiefs finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West standings six times. Yet Marty’s teams were 2-8 in Denver’s thin air. …Read More!

How the Chiefs Can Beat the Broncos

From Denver, Colorado

The Chiefs boots hit the ground in the foothills late Saturday afternoon. The adjourned to their downtown hotel where they will continue preparations for Sunday’s game against the Broncos.

As they have been for all but one week this season, the Chiefs are obvious underdogs going into this game. The Broncos are 7-5, the Chiefs are 2-10 and yes the Chiefs did beat Denver at Arrowhead, but that was a long time ago. They also haven’t won in Denver in seven seasons.

But here are some amazing facts that describe what type of season and team the Chiefs are right now. On the 53-man roster that was on the Delta flight from MCI are 31 players who have never played with the Chiefs at Invesco Field. That includes 19 players who have never even seen Invesco.

And for the Chiefs there are now 16 players on the roster who were not part of the team when they beat the Broncos in week No. 3 of the season.

It’s important for the young Chiefs to understand that Denver will not be as helpful on this Sunday as the Raiders were last week. That Mike Shanahan has this team 7-5 and seemingly headed for an AFC West division title might be the greatest coaching job of his storied career.

But the Chiefs can win at Invesco, just as the Raiders did two weeks ago. They need to do all the obvious things and a few more.

Here they are: …Read More!

Zebra Watch #13

The NFL officiating world was rather quiet in week No. 13 on the schedule.

I’m sure that’s something the league office was happy about. The 16 games averaged just 10.2 penalties walked off, making it one of the quietest weekends for games on the season. The most active game was 15 penalties; that’s the fewest penalties in the most active game this season.

It’s all further evidence that the folks who run the zebras are trying to make sure they are less active and thus, less of a factor in the outcome of games.

That’s why the difference between the least active and most active crews continues to drop. This week it’s a 4.8 penalty difference between Walt Coleman’s crew (9.4 per game) and Jeff Triplette’s group (14.2 per game).

What has remained consistent all season is this: the crews with the least flags after two weeks are still the crews with the fewest penalties: Coleman, Carl Cheffers and Gene Steratore. And, the crews with the most flags after two games are still the groups with the most penalties: Jerome Boger, Ron Winter and Triplette.

Here are the numbers. …Read More!

Saturday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Karma’s a bitch.

Just ask O.J. Simpson.

In another sad chapter to what has become a tragic life story, the former Heisman Trophy winner was sentenced to at least nine years in prison for an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The Juice is no longer loose.

Legal eagles in Vegas were so confounded by the sentencing handed down by Judge Jackie Glass on a dozen criminal charges against Simpson that they weren’t sure how long he will be in the pokey. But the judge’s clerk said the Pro Football Hall of Famer was sentenced to 33 years for an incident that happened in September 2007 in Las Vegas. He could be eligible for parole after nine years.

If Simpson’s expected appeals do not overturn the decisions, he would be 70 years old before being eligible for parole.

So it took 13 years and two months for karma to get its work done. On October 3, 1995, a Los Angeles jury decided Simpson was not guilty of killing his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. In one of the most notorious murder cases in American history, Simpson was accused of killing Brown-Simpson and Goldman on June 12, 1994 at his former wife’s home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood.

It led to the now famous low-speed chase in the white Bronco around southern California freeways until Simpson was arrested. It brought names like Johnny Cochran, Marcia Clark, Robert Shaprio, Kato Kaelin, Judge Lance Ito and Mark Fuhrman into the public spotlight. Who can forget Cochran’s line “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

That’s what the jury did in one of the most controversial court decisions in American jurisprudence. DNA evidence linked Simpson to the scene and both victims. But his dream team of lawyers was able to shake the credibility of the Los Angeles police.

The Goldman family filed a wrongful death civil suit against Simpson. A California jury ruled in 1997 that Simpson pay $33.5 million. Unable to gain access to Simpson’s pension, the Goldman family collected about $500,000 in a sale of Simpson memorabilia, including his Heisman Trophy.

It was more memorabilia that got Simpson into trouble in Las Vegas. He says he went with friends to regain family mementos that had been stolen from him. Somehow, this visit went very wrong, with a gun being drawn and kidnapping charges filed. Amazingly, the planning and the confrontation was recorded on both audio and videotapes.

Simpson spoke for approximately five minutes before the judge handed down her sentence. His rambling plea was typical of Simpson: an apology for being involved, along with justification of his actions. The judge was unimpressed and handed down her decisions.

It’s another chapter in what now seems like a tragic-comic life written by Shakespere. The best player in college football in 1968 at Southern Cal, he was the first player selected in the 1969 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. During his career, he became the first running back to gain 2,000 yards in a season, as he went for 2,003 yards in 1973. Over his career, Simpson gained 11,236 rushing yards, placing him 2nd on the NFL’s all-time rushing list at the time. Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

But his presence was not limited just to the football field. Simpson was famous for his Hertz Rental Car commercials where he ran through airports. He was an actor and appeared in the Towering Inferno, the famous TV mini-series Roots and many other TV shows and movies, including the Naked Gun movies where he was Officer Nordberg. Simpson also worked in the booth on ABC’s Monday Night Football telecast (1983-85) and he once was a guest host on Saturday Night Live (third season, February 1978.)

Once one of the biggest names in America, he’s now a 61-year old inmate with a private cell and little else.

Yeah, that karma is a bitch. …Read More!

Player Profile: Maurice Leggett

His road to the National Football League has been anything but easy. That’s  the way it goes for any college free agent, a player who is not selected in the NFL Draft. It’s even tougher when the player is coming from the Division II college level.

But Maurice Leggett has overcome the obstacles to not only make a place for himself with the Chiefs, but he’s contributing on the field as a rookie. Leggett has become the team’s nickel defensive back and one of the Chiefs top special teams performers. His highlight was last week’s 67-yard return with a fumble on a fake field goal play.

So how does a kid go from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to Georgia, to the NFL, to the Sunday night NFL highlights? Click here to find out.

Talkin’ Linebackers

Our subject today is linebacker, with various avenues that we will traverse off that main highway.

Count me as someone who isn’t quite sure this moving Derrick Johnson to middle linebacker is such a good idea.

I understand the reasons behind Herm Edwards and Gunther Cunningham’s decision to move him inside. I just don’t think now is the time to do that.

Last week the Chiefs linebackers as a group and Johnson individually played their best game in weeks. It was one of the major reasons the Raiders had trouble running the football. Assignments were getting done at a rate higher than in previous weeks. There were some crushing collisions involving the linebackers and that’s always important when shutting down gaps and screwing up blocking schemes.

Considering all the problems the Chiefs have had on defense, it would seem the better choice right now to take what happened last week and build on that, rather than introduce a new element into the craniums of these linebackers.

That’s the little picture, however, and this 2008 season has really been about the big picture. That’s what Edwards and Cunningham are trying to address with the Johnson move.

Here’s the simple take: the Chiefs need two new starting linebackers for the 2009 season. One of the questions they can answer right now is whether they need a middle and outside backer, or two outside backers. By moving Johnson inside, they get four games to evaluate whether that might be a better spot for him.

The mere fact that they have made this move is evidence enough that Johnson has not had much of a season. So much was expected of him coming off his ’07 performance (107 total tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions) and he’s not delivered. He missed two games with a hamstring injury. So in 10 games he has 60 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. He’ll have to be very productive over the final four games to reach last year’s numbers.

I think it’s safe to say that if Johnson was tearing up the league on the outside that no thought would be given to moving him inside. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/5

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs have declared WR Mark Bradley out of Sunday’s game in Denver against Broncos.

Speaking after Friday moring’s 90-minute practice, Herm Edwards said the team is hoping the rest will give Bradley’s  injured calf an opportunity to heal.  He’s been dealing with the injury for about two weeks now and has limited his practice and playing time.

Also declared out of the trip to Denver were LB Donnie Edwards (knee) and CB Pat Surtian (quad).

Listed as questionable are LB Pat Thomas (hamstring) and G Adrian Jones (ankle).  It’s unlikely either one will play against the Broncos.

The Chiefs list C Rudy Niswanger (knee), G Wade Smith (ankle) and DE Tamba Hali (ankle) as probable.  All three were full participants in Friday’s practice.

From Denver, LB D.J. Williams is listed as doubtful with a knee injury.  Listed as questionable are CB Champ Bailey (groin), DE Ebenezer Ekuban (back), LB Spencer Larson (hip) and S Marlon McCree (ankle).  All were limited in their praticipation in Friday’s Broncos practice.

The Broncos do not expect either Williams or Bailey to play.  Williams sprained his the MCL in his left knee on Nov. 6.  Bailey suffered a partial tear of his left groin in a game Oct. 20 against New England. Both were expected to be ready for this game, but now it appears that they will not play.

Returning this week is LB Nate Webster.  He sprained the MCL in his left knee on Nov. 6 and has not played since.

Podcasting: Len’s Look 12/5

Len Dawson joins us this week to talk about the Chiefs victory last weekend in Oakland, the performance of Tyler Thipgen and the entire offense and what the move of Derrick Johnson to middle linebacker may mean for the Chiefs defense.  Plus, Len makes his Big 12 Championship Game pick.


Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the AFC West is in quite a battle. It’s trying to stay out of the position as being the NFL’s worst division for the 2008 season.

After last night’s Raiders-Chargers game, the AFC West is now 17-33 on the season. That’s Darren Sproles (left) scoring a first half touchdown against the Oakland defense.

Only the Denver Broncos have a chance to finish the season with a winning record. Even with its victory last night, the best potential record in San Diego’s future is 8-8.

Despite that poor performance, the AFC West is not the worst group in the league. Right now, that distinction belongs to the NFC West, which is 15-33. Just like their western buddies in the AFC, only one NFC West team will finish the season with a winning record. Arizona can clinch the division title this Sunday with a victory.

Here’s how the eight divisions break down after last night’s action:

 Division  Record  


NFC East 32-15-1 .677



NFC South 32-16 .667



AFC East 28-20 .583



AFC South 28-20 .583



AFC North 22-25-1 .469



NFC North 18-30 .375



AFC West 17-33 .340



NFC West 15-33 .313



The tightest division is the NFC South where three teams are within a game of each other with four games to play. Carolina/Tampa Bay/Atlanta have two games left between the three: this coming Monday night Tampa Bay is at Carolina and then on Sunday, December 14, the Bucs visit Atlanta.

The NFC East has the best record, but there’s a big gap between the team in first place team in the Giants and the third-place squad in Washington.

Right now, the Giants have the league’s longest winning streak at seven games. Indianapolis is next with a five-game streak. Of course Detroit has the longest losing streak this year at 12, with St. Louis next at six games. …Read More!

On The Scouting Trail

In the next week or so, the Chiefs crew of college scouts will all come into headquarters and spend time as a group going over the vast amount of information they they’ve collected during the season.

This is a very “hands on” personnel department, led by Vice President of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich. Along with Chuck Cook, the team’s director of college scouting Kuharich has crisscrossed the country to look at some of the top ranked players that were initially scouted by area scouts: Bruce Lemmerman, Willie Davis, Terry Delp, Cornell Gowdy, Mike Hagen, Matt Littlefield and Greg Olejack.

Kuharich’s travels started back in September and ended only last week with a trip to see the Western Michigan-Ball State game. Overall, he saw 30 different teams all over the country. The most talented team he saw was Southern California, and by talented we mean with the most pro prospects. Oklahoma was second. He did not see Texas, Texas Tech or Florida; Cook handled those assignments.

But after watching hours and hours of tape from those Division 1 programs, here are the top five senior players that Kuharich scouted in person.

Now remember, this is all just one part of the scouting puzzle. He did not include underclassmen because at this time, they have not yet had the opportunity to declare for the NFL Draft. Last year, 17 underclassmen were taken in the first round, so this is by no means is the top of the Chiefs draft board.

At this time, this is for entertainment purposes only, so please, no wagering.

These players are ranked only in the order that Kuharich recalled them when asked the question: name the top five players you saw?

T Eugene Monroe/Virginia 6-5, 315 pounds.

Last year, he played next to Branden Albert on the left side of the Cavaliers offensive line. This year, he’s had to hold down the left tackle spot without much veteran help next to him. “I think he’s a lot like Branden,” Kuharich said. “He’s very athletic. He’s probably better than Branden at the same stage because he’s played the position (Albert played guard at Virginia). He’s got good feet and he can pass protect.” …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/4

From the Truman Sports Complex

Three starters did not practice or did very limited work on Thursday as the Chiefs went through an indoor practice session and it was considered a good day.  That’s the type of season it has been.

LB Donnie Edwards (knee), WR Mark Bradley (calf) and RG Adrian Jones (ankle) were not factors in Thurday’s practice.  Edwards and Bradley did not practice at all.  Jones did some of the individual work, but nothing in the team portions of practice.

The only other player that Herm Edwards mentioned in his post-practice injury update was CB Pat Surtain who did not work because of his quad injury.

“That’s it, that’s good,” said Edwards. “That’s very good.”

Edwards talked more about the decision to move Derrick  Johnson to middle linebacker.  One factor in the move was the desire to keep Johnson focused; sometimes the fourth-year linebacker’s attention wanders and it ends up hurting him and the defense.

Working in the middle will have Johnson calling defenses in the huddle and force him to stay in the game each and every play.

“It puts more burden on him; he has to be more focused because you’ve got to get the team lined up,” said Edwards. “You’ve got to make the checks.  You can’t call on somebody else to do it.  That might help him too.”

Podcasting: Football with Goose 12/4

America’s finest pro football writer Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News joins us for our weekly converstion.  This week we talk about the state of the race to the playoffs with four weeks remaining and the effect the situations with Plaxico Burress, the Williams duo in Minnesota and Pacman Jones have on their team in the march to the post-season.  We also touch on the marquee game of this weekend in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers, and visit a point of interest for fans of the Chiefs: why are the Steelers always able to identify and develop linebackers.

He’s our man Goose and we are proud to have him as part of bobgretz.com.  Enjoy.

Thursday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Tonight, the Raiders and Chargers will play Thursday night football at Qualcomm Stadium. It starts at 7:15 p.m.

Unfortunately, only those folks lucky enough to have the NFL Network can see the game. That’s less than 50 percent of the TVs in the country that have cable.

Of course given the records of the teams – the visitors’ 3-9 record against the home team’s 4-8 mark – maybe the league’s inability to make progress in clearing the NFL Network on more cable outlets is a good thing.

But there’s something more about the coverage of the game tonight. It’s going to be shown in digital three-dimension as part of an experiment by the NFL. Selected theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston will carry the game in 3D. Whether views will have to wear the funky glasses is unknown; there is now 3D technology that does not require the clunky eyewear. Amazingly, no theaters in the Bay Area will have the broadcast.

The whole idea seems pretty cool. Imagine LaDainian Tomlinson running right off the screen into your lap, or Antonio Gates reaching up, out and off the screen to catch a pass. Imagine that owner’s box shot of Al Davis … now that’s a scary thought right there.

“We want to demonstrate this and let people get excited about it and see what the future holds,” said Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations, in a news release.

Of course, these are the same people who said the future held that every home would receive the NFL Network and they can’t get their programming on Comcast or Time Warner, two of the major cable operators in the country. Costs for the network have reached a point that league owners have considered dumping the whole idea, or selling to an already established group like ESPN. So far, no progress has been made on that front, so the broadcasts of eight games here at the end of the season go unseen by most fans. …Read More!

Getting To Know … Maurice Leggett

Name: Maurice Lamar Leggett

Born: October 2, 1986 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Located at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, McKeesport is 12 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The settlement was founded there in 1795. In the late 1800s, National Tube Company opened there and McKeesport became the fastest growing town in the country with families arriving from Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary to work in the mill. National Tube eventually became part of U.S. Steel. Right now, just 20,000 people live in McKeesport, which has struggled for more than 25 years after the closing of the steel works and manufacturing plants in the city.

Family: Father Vance Allen and mother Kelly Hardy. His Dad has been in and out of his life. He split time with his grandmother Lois Leggett in McKeesport and his mother in Georgia before moving south full-time when he was in the sixth grade. His mother used to tutor Dan Marino when both of them were going to school at the University of Pittsburgh. His step-father Alex Hardy has been part of his life for several years now.

Attended: Mt. Zion High School in Jonesboro, Georgia, which is a suburb of Atlanta and Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia.

Why Valdosta State? “One of my coaches in my senior year of high school came from Valdosta State and told me how good the program was. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to play at the Division 1 level because my grades weren’t good enough. So I picked Valdosta and won two championships there.”

What was the toughest class you had at Valdosta? “Trigonometry and piano. Trig was tough and piano was only once a week, but you had to fit in time every day to practice and that was hard with the other classes and practice. Music was my minor. ”

Growing up as a kid, what was your favorite team? “It was the Steelers, when they had Barry Foster and Dwight Stone, who was a good friend of my aunt. When Curtis Martin hit the NFL, I followed him. He’s a great friend of the family.”

What’s your ride? A 2002 Land Rover Discovery.

What was your first car? “A ’91 Sierra Cutlass with around 110,000 miles on when I bought it for $1,000. I got the car going into my senior year of college. I didn’t have a vehicle before then and I pride myself on doing things on my own, so I didn’t have the money saved until then to get a car. That’s all I needed, something to get me from point A to point B.”

What was your first job? “It was at a cafeteria on campus called the Palms. I worked there and washed pots and pans.”

What’s your favorite movie? “The Ninja Turtle movies, one, two and three. Growing up, I loved the Ninja Turtles; and I was a Ninja Turtle almost every year for Halloween.”

Who is your hero? “My grandfather Eric Leggett. He speaks what’s on his mind and he goes out of his way to take care of his whole family, no matter the cost, right or wrong, he makes sure the family is OK. He’s back in McKeesport.

What’s your favorite meal? “Macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, my Grandmother’s ham and chitlins, just about anything else my grandmother wants to cook.”

On a road trip, what’s always in the car with you? “If I have a couple Powerades and sunflower seeds that will get me the whole way, non-stop.”

Second Look: Oakland Drive

When the Chiefs went 91 yards on 16 plays and chewed 9 minutes, 24 seconds off the second-half clock last Sunday, it was the team’s longest, most impressive possession of the season.

Given the status of the game – the score was 10-10 at the time – and the fact they were playing on the road in a hostile environment, it was a memorable possession in a season filled with so many failed chances with the football.

But get this: on second look it was not a drive of great efficiency or performance. In fact, the Chiefs made multiple mistakes during the possession. A sure interception was dropped and several throws were forced by QB Tyler Thigpen. Two guards pulled on a play and ran into each other. Even on Larry Johnson’s two-yard TD run, the Raiders got great penetration between center and left guard; Johnson went between center and right guard.

Yet, the Chiefs were able to overcome their own mistakes and pump home a TD that proved to be the winning points over Oakland.

Here’s how they did it.

Play #1: 1st-and-10 at the Chiefs 9.

The offense came out with a 1-2-2 offensive set: one back, two tight ends and two wide receivers. After Brad Cottam went in motion to his left, there were three receivers on that side of the formation, with Tony Gonzalez on the right. Thigpen took the shotgun snap, held the ball for 2.32 seconds and hit Gonzalez on the right side of the field. Gonzalez got away from CB Nnamdi Asomugha. The play went for 23 yards and a first down.

Play #2: 1st-and-10 at the Chiefs 32.

Operating without a huddle, the Chiefs were again in the 1-2-2, with two receivers left and two receivers right. Thigpen went in motion to his right and Johnson took a direct snap. He ran to his right, cut outside and gained seven yards before he was tackled. …Read More!

Hank’s Gallery: Oakland

Hank Young was on his game with the camera as the Chiefs and Raiders played this past Sunday in Oakland.

Here’s some of the evidence.

Remember, click on the picture to see a larger version. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/3

From the Truman Sports Complex

On the Chiefs injury front, it looks like it’s going to be a quiet week for the Chiefs, making it unusual in this season of bumps, bruises and torn ligaments.

Only LB Donnie Edwards (knee) did not participate in any part of Wednesday’s indoor practice.  CB Pat Surtain (quad) ran through warmups but did little else.

The Chiefs however, did make another roster move.  G Tavares Washington was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster.  He’s the 75th player to appear on the active roster this season.

They have also tweaked their linebackers, moving Derrick Johnson to middle linebacker for the first time in his career.  He had Rocky Boiman and Demorrio Williams flanking him during Wednesday’s practice.  That’s how the Chiefs plan to play it against Denver; whether they stay in that configuration remains to be seen.  Johnson has been sgtrictly an outside linebacker in his Chiefs career.

The addition of Washington came because of several injuries on the interior of the offensive line.  To make room for him the Chiefs waived DT Antwon Burton and then re-signed him to the practice squad.

Washington (6-4, 315) spent the previous 10 weeks on the Chiefs practice squad.  He spent time in 2006 and 2007 on the 49ers  practice squad and went to training camp in 2008 with Washington.  The Mississippi native played at Mississippi Delta Junior College and 18 games at the University of Florida.

RG Adrian Jones (ankle) was back at practice, but was limited in his work. 

Also limited in practice were LB Pat Thomas (hamstring), G Wade Smith (ankle) and DE Tamba Hali (ankle).

C Rudy Niswanger, who injured his right knee in Sunday’s game at Oakland took part in some parts of the practice session,

Podcasting: The NFL & Czar 12/3

Our weekly conversation with John Czarnecki, the information man for Fox-TV NFL Pre-Game show and columnist for FOXSPORTS. com begins with a discussion on the Raiders and the future of QB JaMarcus Russell and interim coach Tom Cable.  Then we cover the hiring of Lane Kiffin at Tennessee and the likely jump of his father Monte Kiffin there as well.  Coaching situations in Cleveland, Cincinnati and San Diego are discussed.  And yes, we’ve got some discussionon Plaxico Burress.

Wednesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

The NFL suspended six players on Tuesday for violating the league’s policy on steroids and related substances.

Minnesota defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith, along with Houston long snapper Bryan Pittman all received four-game suspensions. All six players appealed the suspensions and after hearings last week, all the appeals were rejected by the league office.  The cases were not heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, instead they were handled  by league attorneys.

Another player involved in this situation, Atlanta DT Grady Jackson, also received a suspension, but he continues to play because his appeal remains undecided by the league office.

That effectively ends the ’08 season for four of the six players since Houston and New Orleans are not on the cusp of making the playoffs and there are only four games left in the regular season.  It puts quite a crimp in the hopes of Minnesota when it comes to the post-season, given that they’ll play the final four games of the regular season without two huge factors on the inside of the Vikings defense.  The folks in Chicago  and Green Bay are now thinking they may still  have a chance to win the NFC North.

It will not be the last time we hear about this story, because some of the suspended players are planning to file injunctions to stay the suspensions.  Kevin Williams’ attorney promised that on Tuesday.

This all revolves around StarCaps (left), a diet pill pedaled as the “used by the stars” that the players took to lose weight. The league considers diuretics to be “blocking” or “masking” agents that could be used to cover the use of steroids. StarCaps contained bumetanide, which the league describes as a “potent diuretic.”

The players and their attorneys say the league’s director of the program Dr. John Lombardo knew that StarCaps contained the diuretic, but did not alert the players. The league says that’s beside the point; the players are responsible for everything they put into their bodies. Here’s part of the league’s written policy that every player receives every year: …Read More!

Podcast: Herm On Players & Guns

From Arrowhead Stadium

During his Tuesday press conference, Herm Edwards was asked about the Plaxico Burress situation in New York.  The Chiefs head coach said he would address the subject with his team on Wednesday, although he’s already spoken to them about guns.

I thought his words on the situation were worth hearing.

Herm Speaks 12/2

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s always easier for a coach to talk coming off a victory. It was a nice change from the previous seven weeks on Tuesday when the media horde met with the head coach.

Herm Edwards took all the questions. Here are the highlights.


“I think the first year I was here we played small ball. We lost our starting quarterback on opening day and then went to Denver and played as close as we could play it. We had a shot and we lost 9-6, I think it was. Then the next year we went in there and turned the ball over a bunch. Last year we turned it over and the game got away from us in the first half and that’s what kind of happened historically to us even before I got here: turn the ball over, they score real fast and you get down by a couple of scores and then never recover. That’s been the way it’s been there. We’ve got to understand that when we go play them and stay away from that.”

Analysis: Look at the Chiefs seven-game losing streak at Invesco Field and the problems are very apparent. Only twice in those seven games did the Chiefs have a lead at half-time, once by three and the other time by four points. In the other five games they trailed by 17, 17, 10, 14 and four points. The total score in the seven games is obviously in Denver’s favor, 210-104. At half-time, the total score was 102-37. In those five games, the Chiefs had two real chances to win: 2001 and 2006. They were down by four and lead by three points at intermission in games they lost by 14 and by three in overtime.


“It’s real simple, it falls on two people: our defensive end or our linebacker doing their jobs. Generally when he gets outside like that somebody didn’t quite do what they were told to do. There have been a lot of defensive ends played for us the last couple weeks and linebackers. That might have something to do with it too. Hopefully, we can get that clarified this week because they are a big boot team, they do a great job with the boot. We’ve got to get it stopped. That’s when it’s dangerous when he gets outside the pocket and they do a great job of adjusting their routes and getting open and he has a strong arm and can throw it anywhere on the football field. He buys time; it’s hard to get this guy down. He is very dangerous when he gets outside the pocket because he makes a lot of plays on the run.”

Comment: The Chiefs instability at defensive end kills them on the little things, like playing proper defense against the boot. These guys are so zeroed in on stopping the run and then trying to get after the quarterback, they fall victim to a good play fake by the quarterback. Jason Babin got fooled on this several times in the Raiders game. Turk McBride and Derrick Johnson did a good job on the boot in the first game. McBride’s gone to the IR list, but D.J. is still around and needs to make sure he’s making the right kind of plays. …Read More!

Chiefs Update 12/2

From Arrowhead Stadium



















Chiefs CB Maurice Leggett was named the AFC’s special teams player of the week on Tuesday for his 67-yard TD run with a fumbled fake FG against Oakland.

It’s the second time a Chiefs defensive player has won the award; the first was safety Bernard Pollard for his punt block and TD against Jacksonville in the final game of the 2006 season.

In 11 games this season, Leggett has five special teams tackles and five kickoff returns for 103 yards. On defense he’s taken part in 29 tackles and has become the team’s nickel back.

We’ll have more on Leggett later this week and you can also read my piece on Leggett Wednesday morning on kcchiefs.com.

The only new injury of note for the Chiefs from last Sunday’s game was Rudy Niswanger’s knee. He missed several plays in the first half, but returned to the game and finished out the victory. His status for this Sunday’s visit to Denver will not be determined until Wednesday. There were various other bumps and bruises on the roster that came out of the Raiders game.

Among the other players already on the injured list it doesn’t sound like CB Pat Surtain (quad) or LB Donnie Edwards (knee) will be ready to go this week. LB Pat Thomas (hamstring) should be able to practice and the club is hopeful he will be available to play against Denver. RG Adrian Jones (ankle) remains questionable.

The Chiefs will also keep their eye on a host of players who were active last Sunday despite injuries: WR Mark Bradley (calf), DE Tamba Hali (ankle), DT Tank Tyler (hip) and DE-DT Alfonso Boone (back).

Tuesday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Sooner or later, just about every employer faces the problem the New York Giants are dealing with right now.

A very talented employee has problems away from work. No matter the counseling, no matter the discipline, this employee can’t seem to stay away from trouble. The employer wrestles constantly with the idea of the employee’s talent and production, balanced against the misadventures that bring distraction and embarrassment to his business.

The guy in that spotlight right now is Giants WR Plaxico Burress. He was arraigned (right) on Monday in New York on gun charges stemming from an incident at a Manhattan night club early Saturday morning when he accidentally shot himself with a pistol he carried into the establishment.

With very strict gun laws in New York, it will be a legal upset if Burress does not spend some time in jail over the incident. For details on the legal stuff, you can go right here.

The Giants will soon be faced with a decision on Burress. Have his personality problems tipped the scales against what he can provide on the football field?

Consider that Burress was suspended earlier this season because he failed to show up for a practice and there have been numerous other episodes during his time with the Giants. The headaches are something the organization put up with because Burress is an outstanding football player.

The fans and media want their athletes to be choir boys off the field and killer competitors on the field. It doesn’t work that way, especially in football where the game requires so many players on the roster. Pick any roster in any sport and there are choir boys and there are guys who get into trouble. Most of the players fall in between those extremes. But sometimes good athletes are not such good people.

This is a problem that every sports team faces, no matter the game and no matter where their games are played. …Read More!

Playoff Picture: Four Weeks Left

The picture for the NFL playoffs is starting to come into focus and right now teams like New England, Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia are all on the outside looking into the bracket.

But they all have opportunities to change that over this last month.

No team has its division wrapped up at this point. Arizona has the first opportunity and they need just one more victory to salt away the NFC West.

Here’s the field for the AFC and NFC with four weeks remaining.


…Read More!

NFL Sunday Review 11/30

How crazy did November end in the NFL?

Follow along, if you can.

A weekend ago, Bills beat the Chiefs by 23 points, the Raiders crushed the Broncos, while the Jets knocked off the previously unbeaten Titans.

Then on this Sunday, the Bills fall at home to the 49ers, scoring just three points and their kicker Rian Lindell hit the left upright from 20 and 40 yards (right). The Chiefs go on the road and beat a Raiders team that got 31 points the week before and had just 13 on this day. The Broncos went o n the road and beat the Jets by 17 points.

And the New York Giants keep rolling along. Despite the controversy hovering around the team with the problems faced by WR Plaxico Burress, the defending champs won again on the road, beating the Redskins 23-7 at FedEx Field.

It was a good Sunday for the visitors as the home team won just two of 12 games.

Other outcomes of note from Sunday:

- Pittsburgh went on the road and crushed the Patriots 33-10

- Cleveland lost another QB as Derek Anderson went down against Indianapolis with a knee injury and is done for the year.

- Indianapolis scored just 10 points, but won as they beat Cleveland 10-6. …Read More!

Podcasting: Post-Game at Oakland 11/30

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

The Chiefs talk about their 20-13 victory over the Raiders on Sunday in Oakland, as we hear from head coach Herm Edwards, QB Tyler Thigpen, CB Maurice Leggett, DE Tamba Hali, DT Glenn Dorsey and S Jarrad Page.

Play of the Game & Notes

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Yes they live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, but the pundit types that were around the Raiders-Chiefs game on Sunday don’t really follow football that closely.

That’s why they were puzzled when Maurice Leggett was speaking after the Chiefs 20-13 victory over the Raiders.

Leggett was talking about the fumble recovery on a fake field goal that he took back 67 yards for a touchdown, maybe the key play of the Kansas City victory. Someone asked him if he had ever had a big play like that before. The rookie cornerback quickly replied, that yes, last year in his senior college season he had an end zone interception that helped seal a victory in the national semi-finals on the way to his team’s national championship game victory.

This left many of the Bay Area media confused. College football playoffs? You talking BCS? What strange world was this young man from?

He’s from Valdosta State in Georgia where they won the Division II national championship last year. Leggett has become of the most welcome additions to this Chiefs team. Signed as a college free agent, he has moved himself from the bottom of the roster to a secure position as the team’s nickel back. Plus, he’s a big-time contributor on the special teams, something he did at Valdosta as well.

And then on Sunday he got his first NFL touchdown when some Raiders trickery gave him a treat and left Oakland holding the bag.

The scene: the Raiders had a fourth-and-10 at the Chiefs 25-yard line early in the second quarter. A field goal would have been from 43 yards, something that’s not much of a problem for Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski, although he’s only two-of-four from that distance this year.

Raiders head man Tom Cable called for a fake and when holder Shane Lechler took the snap, he pitched it over his shoulder in the direction of Janikowski, who started running to the left. But the ball and Janikowski didn’t quite connect and with the fumble lying on the ground, Leggett showed up on the scene. …Read More!

Thigpen Gets First Victory

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

One was the first player selected in the entire 2007 NFL Draft. He was the quarterback of a national championship college football team and he was considered the next passing superstar in the pro-game. After holding out throughout the entire 2007 pre-season, he finally signed a contract that made him the highest paid rookie in the history of the league.

The other was the player selected at No. 217 in the ’07 Draft. He was the quarterback of a college program that had only been on the field for four years and wasn’t challenging for any national titles. After joining the team that drafted him, he ended up being released and claimed by another team on waivers. He had the standard contract with a minimum-salary for a rookie.

After watching JaMarcus Russell and Tyler Thigpen play on Sunday here in the East Bay, the question must be asked: who would you rather have right now, Russell the No., 1 pick, or Thigpen, choice No. 20?

“I think we’ll stick with our guy,” said Chiefs GM Carl Peterson.

There wasn’t anybody in the Chiefs locker room who would disagree with that notion after the team’s 20-13 victory over Russell and the Raiders.

It was the first victory of Thigpen’s career as a starting NFL quarterback. Right now, that may be the only statistic other than salary where he trails Russell.

“This wasn’t about my first win, this was about this team winning a game for the first time in a long time,” Thigpen said. “It was a long time coming for us, but it feels great. Give the whole team a lot of credit. We deserved this. It’s a great feeling. ” …Read More!

Defense Answers the Challenge

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

It has been the most challenging season of his coaching career. When you’ve been in the business as long as Gunther Cunningham has been toiling in football, there are going to be some bad seasons.

The Chiefs record this season would make 2008 one of those seasons, but Cunningham doesn’t see it that way. The youthful talent that now populates his side of the ball provides a sense of hope and purpose, despite the losing. That’s challenged Cunningham to come up with new ways to teach his lessons, new ways to get across his message.

On Saturday in the team’s hotel on the other side of San Francisco Bay, the players and coaches were killing off the day with a walk-through practice and meetings. Gunther had a message for his defense, especially the guys on the defensive line that were not getting to the quarterback. The Chiefs are on pace to see a new NFL record for sack futility. Cunningham knows the numbers; he just doesn’t think it’s been that bad.

So in a hotel meeting room, the defensive coordinator threw up a highlight tape of the San Diego Chargers defense and especially its pass rush. The season was 1986 and that year the Chargers group led by DE Leslie O’Neal had 62 sacks as a team.

The players soaked up the chance to watch a really good defense go about his business. Cunningham and his assistant coaches pointed out moments on the tape where a Chargers defender was doing something the Chiefs staff were teaching.

When the tape ended and the lights were turned back on the players and coaches discussed what they had just seen. Cunningham asked the players what record they thought the Chargers finished that season with.

“They all guessed 13-3,” Cunningham said. …Read More!

Commentary: Hard Work Rewarded

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

As they came running into the locker room after their 20-13 victory over the Raiders on Sunday several of the Chiefs were floating. There were smiles, there were back slaps and hugs and there were shouts of glee.

They were all the sounds of victory.

It had been so long since the last time the Chiefs celebrated that there were some around the Chiefs that weren’t sure what to do. But they quickly remembered and for a brief moment Herm Edwards and his team enjoyed the most celebratory locker room this team has displayed in maybe a decade.

Winning after losing seven in a row will do that to a team. Winning for the second time in the last 21 games will do that to a group.

And we haven’t even gotten to the joyful noise any time you beat your rival and do it in his home.

For the sixth time in a row and the second time in the last 22 games, the Chiefs came and enjoyed the hospitality of Al Davis’ house. They beat the Raiders in Oakland for the sixth consecutive time. Before Sunday, their last road victory was in Oakland. Now, their most recent victory of any kind came in the silver and black backyard.

There was so much that was familiar to what happened against the Raiders on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon on the last day of November. The stadium was declared a sellout several days ago, but it was one of the Chiefs-like sellouts, where they say they are sold out but entire sections appeared empty. But the die-hard were there in the Black Hole and as the team buses pulled into the parking lot before the game, everyone from little kids to grandmothers were throwing them the one-finger sign of contempt and disgust.

The Chiefs had been there before in this crotchety old building that has become so much like the owner of the Raiders: out of date, out of time and within a hair of being out of usefulness. On the field, the Raiders helped out as they always do. …Read More!


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