As the Chiefs playoff hopes began dissolving in front of our very eyes Sunday afternoon, many fans likely would have preferred lifetime memberships to the “Jelly of the Month” club. The Chiefs went down in defeat for the fourth time in five games on a cold field in Pittsburgh on Sunday, and unless they are able to solve the Rubix Cube that is the AFC Playoff picture, they will not be invited by the NFL to participate in the post-season this year.
On January 16th of 2015, it will have been 21 years since this organization last won a playoff game. Joe Montana was the quarterback that day in 1994 and Bill Clinton was the President of the U.S. Chiefs rookie De’Anthony Thomas was not quite a year old when that game took place and quarterback Alex Smith was likely a zealous 10-year-old throwing swing passes to his friends on key third-and-long situations during backyard football games in California. Since January 16th, 1994, the Chiefs are 0-8 in playoff appearances and have only managed to win the AFC West four times in that time span. To say that Chiefs fans are continuously served lumps of Christmas coal would be a severe understatement.
So how does a franchise manage to remain as mediocre as the Kansas City Chiefs over a 20-plus year span? After all, the Chiefs have rarely been completely awful other than a few dismal years from ’07-’09 and the infamous Rome0 Crennel coached team of 2012. And perhaps that is where the problems begin. They say in the NFL that if you aren’t moving forward then you are always moving backwards. The Chiefs regularly find themselves right in that 7-9 win window which continuously puts the team behind the 8-ball in regards to draft position, which becomes a convenient excuse to NEVER draft a quarterback in the first round.
KC last drafted a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft in the year 1983. Every single NFL team has drafted a quarterback, the most important position on a football field, in the first round since the Chiefs drafted Todd Blackledge 31 years ago. The utter refusal to address the quarterback position is absolutely criminal on the part of this organization; which prides itself on being fan-friendly. When Andy Reid and John Dorsey (who have both been involved with great quarterbacks over the years) arrived in Kansas City, what did they do? Well they went out and found the next Steve Bono or Elvis Grbac of course! Alex Smith became the next-in-line of the Chiefs backup quarterback factory and shockingly, the results have been nothing if not predictably pedestrian.
Smith, who was given a contract extension after the 2013 season, a season in which he was carried to a 9-0 start by an opportunistic defense, has yet to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver in 2014. His yards-per-attempt is dead last in the league and he now makes more money than Tom Brady. Let that information sink in for a moment. Clearly, the Chiefs have many other problems on this roster. The offensive line is a complete mess (which is odd for an organization that drafts nothing but offensive lineman), the receiver position is shoddy at best and key injuries have forced players like Chris Owens and Kurt Coleman into the defensive secondary. Andy Reid and the coaching staff have looked completely lost over the past month and inexplicable mistakes on the field are going to cost the team a shot at the post season. Somehow, this team (which beat New England to a pulp earlier in the season) has lost games to both the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders, teams with five combined wins in 2014.
Clearly, Dorsey and Reid have their work cut out for them this off-season if they are going to get this team back to the playoffs in 2015. Obviously, they are tied to Alex Smith for the foreseeable future and it is going to be difficult to find a play-maker at the receiver position in the draft as the Chiefs will once again be picking somewhere in the 17-22 range. You can get to the playoffs with Alex “Captain Checkdown” Smith as your quarterback but can you do any damage should you happen to get in? The Chiefs will need to boast one of the best defenses in the league, a superior running game, amazing wide receiver and offensive line play to win in the post season when you are going up against the Brady’s and Manning’s of the world. Until KC takes a real chance with a young quarterback, they will likely continue to throw rocks at teams that have machine guns.