The End is in Sight
It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. 2012 is the season that will long live in the brains of suffering Kansas City Chiefs fans for years to come. From just about every angle that you could possibly look at the recently completed football campaign, it was a complete and total disaster. Let’s take a look at just a few of the stats, shall we.
Point differential: -215 (worst in the league)
Offensive Touchdowns: 17 (last in the league)
Total Offense: 32nd
Total Defense: 25th
Record: 2-14 (last)
There were a few bright spots, but you had to look hard to see them through the clouds. Jamaal Charles came back with a vengeance from a knee injury that ended his 2011 season. He returned to form as one of the NFL’s top running backs, finishing with 1,509 yards. And the team ended up sending six players to the Pro Bowl, proving the roster was not void of quality players.
Off the field, things were just as bleak. Fans were forming new groups to lobby for then-General Manager Scott Pioli to be fired. Head Coach Romeo Crennel, as nice of a man as he is, did not have any answers … on the field or at press conferences. Linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide at the team’s practice facility. The Chiefs were in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. As painful as it is for fanatical football fans to admit, the conclusion of the final contest in Denver could not come soon enough.
The end of the one of the longest and most painful seasons in the history of the Chiefs mercifully came to an end on Dec. 30. Fans were fed up they wanted to see changes. And Clark Hunt did not disappoint.
A New Beginning
It was an incredibly eventful month for Clark Hunt, Chiefs’ chairman and CEO, following the end of the season. In three consecutive Mondays, he held press conferences announcing major changes for the organization. On Dec. 31, it was Crennel’s firing and adoption of significant structural changes. On Jan. 6, it was the hiring of Andy Reid as the team’s 13th head coach. And finally, on Jan. 13, it was the hiring of John Dorsey as general manager; Pioli and the team had “parted ways” earlier in the month.
The 2012 season was marked with despair, negativity and pain for Chiefs fans, long considered one of the most loyal and passionate fanbases in the league. And in less than a month, bold moves by the new Mr. Hunt turned the off-season on its ear.
Rather than grousing and complaining, fan blogs and sports talk radio surrounding the Chiefs suddenly turned to optimism, hope and predictions of success for 2013. Somehow, we all came down with a case of amnesia and collectively decided to forget about the crushing defeats, the bumbling leadership and the inept quarterback play. With the flip of three bold switches by Clark Hunt, fans have returned to their loyal, positive and supportive ways.
The organization still has major decisions in front of it that will determine, to a large extent, the success we will see the team have on the field for the foreseeable future … Who to draft with the No. 1 pick? Whether to franchise LT Branden Albert, WR Dwayne Bowe, sign them to long-term contracts or let them walk? What to do with the QB situation (Cassel, Quinn, Stanzi) – do they all need to go? That is all in addition to preparing for the upcoming draft and free agency. Lots of decisions, but very little time.
Despite last season’s failures, it is an exciting time to be a Chiefs fan. I’m counting the days until the NFL Combine, the opening of free agency, the NFL Draft, mini camps, training camp … and of course, the pre-season and eventually the 2013 regular season.
It’s a new era in Chiefs football. Hang on folks. It’s going to be a wild ride.
As always, thanks for reading.