Saturday, November 10, 2012

What do we know about the Kansas City Chiefs?

They stink. That's what we know about the Chiefs. Let's bury this team and move on.

Then again, the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders stink, too, and they beat the Steelers just a few weeks ago.  And last year, the Chiefs almost beat the Steelers in Kansas City, with Tyler Palko at quarterback and Todd Haley as head coach.

Keenan Lewis's interception: the last play of note in last year's game.
That phugly 13-9 win in Kansas City on Sunday night, Nov. 27, 2011 was a very close call for the Steelers, but a lot has changed since then. The Chiefs fired Haley with three games remaining in the 2011 season, and now he's the Steelers' offensive coordinator, and doing quite well, thank you.

Although the Chiefs finished the 2011 season with two wins, including a shocking upset over the then-unbeaten Green Bay Packers, this year the 1-7 Chiefs are a steaming mess and among the NFL's worst teams.  They haven't been competitive.  Led by coach Romeo Crennel and embattled general manager Scott Pioli, Kansas City has led one game this year, and that was at the end of their overtime 27-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, Sept. 23.

Lots of Issues and LOTS of Turnovers
The Chiefs have a lot of issues this year.  They're -20 (minus-twenty) in turnover ratio. By comparison, the Steelers are +0 in that category, which isn't great (or even plus/minus), but it's a lot better than minus-20.

General manager Scott Pioli has been in his job long enough to embarrass himself with a reputation for being a paranoid, controlling, small-minded, petty, abrasive, micro-managing jerk who is a lousy judge of people in general and football talent in particular.  Pioli's hand-picked head coach, Romeo Crennel  failed in a previous head coaching stint in Cleveland and appears to be in over his head once again. Crennel even announced a week or so ago that he'd fired himself as defensive coordinator. Hardly anybody noticed.

Nobody's paying attention to Kansas City, and that's one of the worst things that can happen in the entertainment business.  Which, let's face it, the NFL is.

Todd Haley is smiling now.
Just Win, Baby
The interesting angle to this game, of course, is whether Todd Haley would like to stick it to the Chiefs. Of course he would.  Pioli undermined Haley in Kansas City, made life absolutely miserable for him and attempted to destroy his reputation. Approaching this game, Haley is taking the high road, predictably, but he has plenty of motivation.

Interestingly, so do some of the Steelers' players, for entirely different reasons, at least based on what safety Ryan Clark said this week on his radio show.  Clark said it so casually, it was easy to overlook, but he did say that the defensive players have been talking about some of the cheap shots (trash-talk verbal as well as physical cheap shots) taken by some of the Chiefs last year.

We miss you, Troy.
Clark said the Steelers' veterans remember all that, and, yes, he said, there is a little extra juice in the Steelers' prep this week.  It's worth noting (or not) that on a routine play, Troy Polamalu suffered a concussion in that game in Kansas City last year and, arguably, hasn't been the same player since.

So, even though the Chiefs come into town with a 1-7 record and appear to be in near-complete disarray, we expect the Steelers to be ready.  Good.  That's how it should be.  Let's bury their heart at Wounded Knee by the Three Rivers. Hoka hey for them.