I have some friends who are avid Chiefs fans, and we were out at dinner last night. There was a message that was fundamental to the nature of the NFL that we discussed. It needs to be shared here, if only because it happened to the Giants and it is happening right now to the Chiefs.
Rule #22: The Carl Banks Rule- You cannot simply turn it on and turn it off in the NFL. Play every game and maintain/improve on your high level of play.
While I have been somewhat remiss in updating and keeping the "Rules" current, this one is as current as they come. In 2007, Tom Coughlin chose to play through in Week 17 because he had no other choice. He knew his team was not good enough to go all the way, so he needed to get his team ready for the playoffs by looking for ways to get better. It worked. The Giants lost to the Patriots 38-35, but they fought hard and saw how they measured up versus the best in the NFL. It was an incredible opportunity to see where the team was and they learned that if they played 4 quarters, they could play with anybody. That was a huge breakthrough for a team that was going to get eliminated the previous week if they did not beat Buffalo (assuming that they would lose the following week to the 15-0 Pats).
Because Free Agency rips your team apart, there is scant time to take a week off. The idea of resting starters to protect them from injury is an outdated luxury from a generation ago when teams spent YEARS building the necessary chemistry for a playoff run. Quarterbacks knew their WRs' bowel movements back in the day, let alone the look they might give one another as they broke the huddle and saw the coverage. Nowadays, by the time that chemistry is there, it is ripped apart because a key player in the 11 person choreography is gone. Add the 2011 CBA, where contact in practice and limited OTAs mean even less chemistry, and you get a rare opportunity to keep practicing under game conditions to get better and know your teammates' every move.
The Chiefs lost last week. At home. To the team they will likely face next week in the wild card round. They cannot afford to do anything but play for 60 minutes and get better. The Chiefs were 9-0, and the knock was that they had yet to face any team of credible respectability. Wonder, in his assessment at that juncture, remarked:
The worst 9-0 team in the history of football. Going nowhere in 2013. I like them but they haven't beaten ANYBODY. Will lose at least 3 of the last 7.
Well, the Chiefs have lost 4. The teams the Chiefs have beaten: JAX, DAL, PHI, NYG, TEN, OAK, HOU, CLE, BUF, WAS, OAK. The teams the Chiefs have lost to: DEN, SD, DEN, IND. In other words, not yet ready for primetime. So today they face SD again. Get a win vs a somewhat credible opponent. Improve on your level of play. Come into Indianapolis with confidence and rhythm. Do not bench starters unless they have an injury. Attitude is so important. After the Giants 38-35 loss, Toomer and Strahan were pissing vinegar. They didn't like losing. But at least 45 guys fought for each other and learned a little bit about who they were. Given that this is the Chief's first season with a new coaching staff, I am certain that Chapter 16 of this year's matriculation is every bit as important, if not more so.
The season is finally over. This last game in the rain was a microcosm of the season. Sloppy football, more injuries and turnovers but if you want to look at the glass half full, this team never quit and finished 7-3. But let's be honest here. The defense carried this team, in particular, Jon Beason & Antrel Rolle. With 20+ free agents, changes are coming for sure. Eli Manning had a horrific season. And we can't blame it all on the OL. He made some awful decisions out there. Jerel Jernigan has made the most of his opportunities in his 3rd season much like Amani Toomer did. I'm just hoping that Jerry Reese addresses the OL with at least three new faces from the draft and free agency. Need a running back, tight end, wide receiver, another defensive end, a couple of linebackers, a corner, and a partridge in a pear tree....a tall order...ya think?
@I Bleed Blue I am sorry but you can't count 4 of those wins. They were playing teams that were not starting NFL Qb's. If if if they had beaten those 4 soundly then I might give them the win but they just about beat them
Take away Hills pic against the Lions and they want 2-8 and should be a 2-14 team headed for for an off season trying to hire a new coaching staff. Instead of that, we get the same old same old mediocre football we have gotten since plax shot himself.
I don't disagree at all. I realize what happened this season. I'm on record for a total house cleaning as I have stated in my other comments previously. The 7-3 record indicates that most players at least played hard. Other teams in that situation most likely pack it in. That was my point. My concern is that the brain trust realize this teams' needs and address it. It's obvious there will be no coaching changes and we have to live with that, even though we don't like it.
@I Bleed Blue As much as I hate TC, you make a good point, his team did not quite on him.