Saturday, November 28, 2009

Border War Deserves to be in KC Forever

Should there be any doubt to it? The last three years of this rivalry have been more exciting than any in College Football. Ohio State routs Michigan each time. Notre Dame can't run with USC's horses anymore. Florida and Georgia had a nice run for a couple of years. Is there any other rivalry that crosses over from football to basketball and carries just as much clout in each sport? Duke/UNC is strictly on the hardwood, Michigan/Ohio State is on the gridiron.

But honestly, is there any other rivalry in the past three years that has exceeded expectations in every single game? Every game that has been played in Arrowhead has been decided by less than one possession. 36-28, 40-37, 41-39.

This isn't coincidence. Lew Perkins, Mike Alden and the Hunt family should sit down and figure out a way to have this game played at Arrowhead Stadium for the next 100 years. The pure magic of this event is just that: pure magic. I use the word event because this isn't a game anymore. It is an unofficial Kansas City holiday. All of the Kansas City MU and KU students are back home for Thanksgiving. The same kids who were raised on the 1990s Kansas City Chiefs, Marty Magic and Arrowhead in December. This game needs to be played here. A neutral battlefield on which the ghosts of the Civil War can play out their final battle. Where two schools, two community, two lifestyles clash in a war that will be faught even when our childrens' childrens' children have grown to know what this game means to Kansas City.

The Border War is now as much a part of Kansas City as the Plaza Lights or the American Royal. It deserves to be here forever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Time To Believe In Todd Haley

I know its a little overdue, but it's time for my first Chiefs post of the season. I think it is pretty well deserved after we saw Arrowhead come back to life after spending the last 3 years in a coma.

We all know the story, Chiefs show toughness and grit, come back in the 4th quarter and win the game in overtime. Several heroes were wearing red and gold on sunday. From the front line big money players in Matt Cassel, Derrick Johnson and Jamaal Charles, to the little guys, LB Andy Studebaker, LB Jovan Belcher and rookie kicker, Ryan Succop.

Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have built a team that may not be the most talented in the world, but it is deep and hard working. You could make the argument that the reason the Patriots had so much success this decade is NOT because of Tom Brady, but rather because their 2nd and 3rd string players were the best in the league. Perhaps thats why they have won more Super Bowls instead of teams who are laden with star players like the Cowboys, Saints and Redskins.

Sunday's game against the Steelers was not a game where Pittsburgh handed the game over to the Chiefs on a dumb interception or fumble in the red zone. It was a game where the Chiefs battled, never gave up and pried this victory from the jaws of defeat. This team is starting to reflect its coach. They won this game, not by luck, but by determination and great coaching. They were outgained by nearly 200 yards. But the Chiefs never let this game get out of reach. The offense and defense made plays when they had to.

Todd Haley and Clancy Pendergast deserve credit for this victory. I look to two plays that changed this game:

1. Steelers' ball on the KC 10. 1st and goal in the 3rd quarter. Pendergast calls for OLB Tamba Hali to blitz, and drops the rest of the linebackers into coverage. The outside rush forces Ben Rothelisberger to pass to his left where the Chiefs have flooded the field with coverage. Andy Studebaker intercepts the ball and runs it down to the PIT 7-yardline. KC ties the game at 17 with a field goal. A brilliant play call since Big Ben had already thrown two TD's in the exact same area of the field.

2. Chiefs' ball on the PIT 2. 1st and goal in the 4th quarter. After being stymied in the red zone on several rush attempts earlier in the game, Todd Haley called for a play-action cutback pass to Jamaal Charles. The Steelers' defense bit horribly on the play and Matt Cassel dunked the ball down to Charles for the easy score.

This game was not won by luck. I'm not saying it's time to let your guard down and come back to the Chiefs, but I am saying, give Todd Haley a chance. He showed brilliance on Sunday. The kind of brilliance that can bring the noise back to Arrowhead. The kind of brilliance that can bring back Red Friday. The kind of brilliance that can win championships.

It's time to believe.