Chief Concerns: David Schroeder
If any of you are fans of the show Fringe, or other shows or movies in the mind-bending, alternate reality sci fi genre, a friend of mine inspired me with a question today on Twitter.
The friend: Lance Twidwell, owner of “THE SPOKEN!! “ Facebook sports page and Warpaint Illustrated’s Out of Bounds Podcast contributor.
The Question: Where would the Chiefs be if they had Peyton Manning? Now, this isn’t a new concept at all for any Chiefs fan last season. You know… when Peyton Manning was signed by the Broncos and immediately became the 3rd most hated man in Kansas City… followed by that longest hour of discontent that was the Kansas City Chiefs 2012 season… Like him or hate him, we all thought about what if… what if Manning became a Chief.
Well, I thought I was done thinking about that. But Lance got me thinking… I’d like to take a longer term view into that alternate universe where Manning became a Chief.
“Caveat: this is purely for fun since the fast and furious free agency period is grinding down to a halt and we’re a still a ways from the next big event… the NFL Draft.”
Peyton Manning’s signing is met by some doubters but also an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters (Matt Cassel is immediately dealt to the Jets while his reputation still has some value… more on this later.)
Romeo Crennel focuses solely on the defense and the Chiefs play a bend but don’t break style of defense, allowing them to finish ranked as a top ten unit. The Chiefs are very much improved with Manning at quarterback but still nothing too special. Brian Daboll is basically a figurehead and brings nothing to the table as Manning is far superior to him, in both planning and in game adjustments. But Daboll is able to screw up just enough of the offense with some questionable personnel decisions to hold the Chiefs back. The Chiefs finish a tough schedule with a 10-6 record and win the division… only to get poetically blown out in the playoffs by a surging Colts team.
The season ends with mixed feelings about the team, Scott Pioli is given credit for trying, but there is a huge concern that any window of opportunity with Peyton Manning is closing very quickly. Regardless, Scott Pioli is given a 5 year contract extension to remain as the Chiefs General Manager.
The Broncos are still Team Tebow. They add a backup QB for insurance… Brady Quinn. Teams quickly make adjustments and Tebow has an awful season. Through Week 7 the Broncos are 2-4. Those 2 wins come against and San Diego. Tebow at this point is the worst rated QB in the league, below several backups in the league, and is benched in week 7 for Quinn. Quinn starts the rest of the way and leads the Broncos to a second place finish in the division but miss the playoffs with a 6 and 10 record.
With no Tebow in New York, Sanchez has a slightly less pressure on him and has a better season than he did in our universe, however, Cassel gets his shot after their bye week with the Jets at 3-5.
Cassel plays just well enough to hold on to the starting spot but the outcome is the same for the Jets. They finish the season at 6-10 with no real hope in sight.
Jump to the next season…
The Chiefs make minimal moves in free agency. Pioli allows Dwayne Bowe to walk and replaces him with Darrius Heyward-Bey. A move that reminds everyone of Brandon Carr being allowed to leave and bringing in Stanford Routt… who incidentally never got cut.
Brandon Albert signs a huge contract and underwhelms in 2013. The Chiefs finish at 10-6 again and get into the playoffs as a Wild-Card. The Chiefs lose a close playoff game to the much improved Broncos, led by rookie QB Geno Smith… who actually plays pretty well and beats Tebow and Quinn out for the starting job in Denver. Smith isn’t quite as good as the rookie QBs of 2012… but clearly better than Tebow and Quinn.
The Chiefs decide the Peyton Manning experiment is over and Peyton Manning decides to retire before the 2014 season and the Chiefs go on to repeat a cycle of just not good enough football for the next 5 years.
The Broncos look like the team to beat in the AFC West and Geno Smith develops into a top 10 quarterback.
The Jets make a trade with the 49ers for Alex Smith and he goes on to make NY a perennial contender in the AFC East.
So looking back on everything… I can’t wait to see what the crop of new Chiefs in our universe bring the next few seasons… because it has to be better than this alternate reality.