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Give the Chiefs their due

Seems a lot of people don’t want to give the Kansas City Chiefs their due for Monday night’s win over the San Diego Chargers.

Those people say the Chiefs still don’t have a quarterback or a receiving corps. They say the Chargers are just a shadow of their former selves without the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman.

I saw the Chiefs had their best football moment of the past several years and it’s just not right to want to take that away from the team and its fans.

It’s one game. And if we as sports fans haven’t learned yet the meaning of “it’s one game,” then shame on us. Nothing – and I repeat, NOTHING! – can be determined after one game.

But are you going to sit there and tell me the 2010 Chiefs, with the likes of rookie burners Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster, aren’t going to be a more exciting team? Are you going to tell me that the defense didn’t look two or three times better now that Romeo Crennel is the coordinator?

I still think the Chargers are the team to beat in the AFC West, but I don’t really have my heart in that opinion. I’m not high on Denver and judging from Oakland’s collapse in Game 1 against Tennessee, the Raiders still have a long way to go.

Is Kansas City a contender? Again, it’s only one game. But can you really tell me the Chiefs aren’t after the small slice you’ve seen so far?

Every team in the AFC West might finish 8-8. It’s a mediocre division. Which is why, if you’re a Chiefs fan, you have some hope today that you didn’t have when you woke up Monday morning.

It’s at least worth keeping an eye on.

The Chiefs go to Cleveland on Sunday and – repeat after me – it’s just one game. But one game becomes two, then four and before you know it things are starting to take shape.

I’m not ready, today, to tell you I think the Chiefs can win the AFC West. But I’m not ready, either, to tell you they won’t. That’s the impact, I suppose, of one game.

The most impressive player I saw on my television during the NFL’s first week was 35-year-old Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. I don’t want to mess with the guy.

I picked Green Bay to get to the Super Bowl. But I’m not feeling as confident about that pick now that the Packers have lost running back Ryan Grant for the season because of an ankle injury.

Why is it that when a professional athlete does or says something stupid, that athlete almost always tries to calm the waters by issuing a statement that someone else wrote and the athlete probably never even saw?

Here’s the latest example of what I’m talking about. This is the statement issued by New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, who decided Tuesday to vacate the Heisman Trophy he won at Southern California in 2005:

“One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005,” the statement released by the Saints reads. “For me, it was a dream come true. But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.

“It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005.”

It’s a nice sentiment and well-stated. It’s nice work, probably crafted by someone in the Saints’ media relations department. But I’d like to know what Bush really thinks.

You know it, you love it, you might even remember it. “It” is the return of a little game I like to call: “Name the Opinion Line Caller.”

One of the most popular features at, and on the pages of The Wichita Eagle, is the Opinion Line. It allows people to express their thoughts, anonymously, for the world to see. There is much wisdom in the Opinion Line and I make it a point every day to look for such nuggets.

Today, as every Tuesday here on my blog, I will share an Opinion Line thought, then tell you, generally, who the thought comes from.

Ready? Here goes:

For nine years, we’ve been hearing about Sept. 11. It’s time for people to get a grip and deal with it.

This is a bitter person, self-obsessed, in his 40s. His BMW is in the shop, his wife’s latest experiment with botox failed and his kids don’t really have what it takes for private school. Sept. 11 bothers him because it’s not about him.

Is Homer Simpson the new editor of The Eagle? Only in Wichita would the lead item on the Kansas State Fair be about a hamburger on two doughnuts. How disgusting can you get?

I believe this Opinion Line caller is my friend and KNSS “Morning Newswatch” co-host Ted Woodward, who is a huge fan of “The Simpsons” and does the best Homer Simpson impersonation I’ve ever heard. Ted is also the kind of guy who could live off hamburgers and doughnuts.