Time for Friday musings, although I doubt Chiefs fans are amused. Or bemused.
▪ Living in and around Wichita for as long as I have, I have a lot of friends who are Chiefs fans. Bless their hearts. For whatever reason, I’ve never been a fan of the Chiefs. But I like Andy Reid, who is taking a beating for his decision last night to let Jamaal Charles run the football when taking a knee would have produced the same result – overtime against the Denver Broncos.
▪ Charles is also taking a lot of criticism. Yes, he should have carried the ball more carefully in that situation. A fumble was the last thing the Chiefs could have happen. But a fumble did happen and it was returned by Denver for the game-winning touchdown. Incredible ending. Unbelievable ending.
▪ So now what? Are the Chiefs finished? Is this excruciating loss the end of Kansas City’s hopes? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course, it stings to lose a game like this, especially to the Broncos. Denver has owned the Chiefs for a long time now and Thursday night’s game was a great opportunity to exact revenge. And for much of the game, the Chiefs were overwhelmingly the better team.
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▪ It’s not the first time a game has produced profound heartbreak and it won’t be the last. The exhilaration of Denver fans balances out the emotions. Sports would be a terrible thing if they consistently left everyone feeling sick to their stomachs. But they don’t. They are an equalizer. For everyone who had trouble getting to sleep last night because of the loss, just as many had trouble getting to sleep last night because of the win. Great thing about sports.
▪ I read a lot about how this defeat could stick with the Chiefs for some time. In fact, that’s almost a direct quote from the headline on ESPN.com this morning. Well, let me tell ya’, if this loss sticks with the Chiefs for a long time and negatively affects their performance moving forward, then the Chiefs were a charade in the first place. Professional athletes almost always pick themselves off the mat. While fans struggle to come their hair the morning after such a terrible defeat, the players are more resilient.
▪ The Chiefs play at Green Bay and Cincinnati the next two weeks. They have a difficult schedule with games against members of the NFC North and AFC North. Nothing will come easy. But the Chiefs aren’t going to wallow in the misery of a miserable loss to Denver. You might not be the same, but the Chiefs have to be. They have to get back to work.
▪ On to other things, which is the best thing Chiefs fans have heard or read all day. Kansas State should waltz over Louisiana Tech on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I’m attending the game, but don’t expect to learn much. The learning comes in two weeks when the Wildcats go to Oklahoma State, which is followed by home games against TCU and Oklahoma. If the Cats are going to be better than a middling Big 12 team this season, they have to find a way to win a couple of those games. And since beating TCU is probably a bit much to ask, can K-State handle OSU and OU?
▪ I don’t get much out of games like Kansas State-Louisiana Tech. Frankly, they bore me. But there are some interesting games coming up Saturday, including: Georgia Tech-Notre Dame, Auburn-LSU, Stanford-USC, Ole Miss-Alabama and BYU-UCLA. What does BYU have up its sleeve this week?
▪ The Cardinals begin a tense three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago this afternoon. Chicago is the real deal and a threat to win a championship, especially now that Jon Lester is pitching like the ace the Cubs thought they were getting as a free agent. Lester and right-hander Jake Arrietta give the Cubs a 1-2 punch that stacks up with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. I don’t like the Cubs. Just thought I’d throw that in.
▪ What got into the Texas Rangers? Wow, what an impressive turnaround. Their four-game sweep of the Astros sent a strong September message. And September messages matter. Thanks to the trade for lefty Cole Hamels and some guys returning from injuries, Texas can throw out a pretty good rotation of Hamels, Yovani Gallardo, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Colby Lewis with a nice bullpen mix to boot.
▪ It’s tough for me to watch television as much as I used to. But I’m determined to binge watch “House of Cards” and to catch up with “Ray Donovan” after missing the second season. Anything else you’d suggest? I watched “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “Homeland.” Is “Orange is the New Black” worth my trouble? And sorry, I just don’t care for “Game of Thrones.” I made it halfway through Season 2. I know you must think less of me now.
▪ I’ve heard the 14 songs on Don Henley’s new “Cass County” album. I love all of them. Then again, what did you expect me to say? I think Henley will spend the next several months picking up a lot of awards. And don’t mistake this as a “country” album. It’s more eclectic than that. More like old-school country, if there’s an association to be had.
▪ I saw the interview with the two Texas high school players who blindsided a referee during a game recently spoke to George Stephanopoulos. They explained they were following orders from an assistant coach after expressing to the coach that the referee in question had been using racial slurs during the game. The official, through his attorney, denies the accusation. I still believe the players are responsible for their actions. If the coach ordered them to take out the referee — regardless of the reason – he was obviously in the wrong and should be dealt with harshly. But going on a national morning television show with an apology and an explanation doesn’t get these players off the hook. “They apologized, they’re sorry. They didn’t mean to do this,” their attorney, Jesse Hernandez, said. Yes, they did mean to do this. They did it. It was a criminal act. Do you think I’m being too harsh?
▪ Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a great weekend. And Chiefs fans, it’s not the end of the world.