Chief Concerns: Christopher Vore
A few days back I debuted on Chief Concerns with an article entitled “The Sour Taste of Being 6-0.” In it I discussed the mixture of emotions that Chiefs fans were feeling as the then-undefeated Denver Broncos continued to get more respect than Kansas City’s undefeated Chiefs.
Much has changed since I mused on that topic.
As we rest in the wake of Week 7 and prepare for the next, the Kansas City Chiefs remain the only undefeated team in the NFL. The juggernaut image that the Broncos’ offense held has faded significantly after the Indianapolis Colts made Peyton Manning and his crew look very much like human beings — not the alien masters from another world that many had theorized.
Instead of heading for a showdown between undefeated teams in November, Kansas City now has a full-game lead in the AFC West.
As Chiefs fans, the season thus far has been beyond our wildest hopes. Even the most biased “Homer” could not have foreseen the historic turnaround that the new regime has helped usher in.
Still, the reviews from all of the “experts” on just how good this team is remains mixed:
• Yahoo’s Frank Schwab, who had the Chiefs ranked #5 last week, rewarded their continued streak to 7-0 by dropping them down a notch to #6 … even commenting that the placement may be too high.
• CBS Sports’ Pat Kirwan, who previously had them ranked at #2, also rewarded their latest victory with a drop to #3.
• Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller went absolutely insane this week, metaphorically speaking, keeping the Chiefs in the #2 spot while vaulting Indianapolis up from #8 to #1. Never mind their inconsistency, two losses and the season-ending injury to Reggie Wayne.
• Those placing the Chiefs in their #1 spots this week included Fox Sports’ Brian Billick, NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison and ESPN.com. In their comments, they used words such as “dominant” and “devastating” when describing Kansas City’s defense.
When looking through these Power Rankings, the fun part is diving down into the comments area and watching all the fans debate (a word I use kindly when it comes to most threads) why their respective teams deserve better, or why other teams don’t deserve what they’ve been given.
For the most part, where the Chiefs have not taken the #1 spot, fans have been furious. They demand the respect that this historic 7-0 start deserves and can’t fathom how any team with a loss on their record is ranked higher. Where the Chiefs have been ranked #1, fans of other teams will of course be on the attack explaining why their teams are more deserving.
Those on the side of the Chiefs have good justification for their arguments. While Denver was sitting at the top of the heap, pundits would argue (and still do) that the Chiefs haven’t played a “good team” yet despite the fact that Denver had played a nearly identical schedule. Never mind the fact that Kansas City’s defense has been playing on a pace just as historic as the Broncos’ offense. As I said before, defensive teams just aren’t “sexy” in the eyes of fans and experts alike.
But make no mistake about it — whether they are getting the respect of a #1 team or not, the Chiefs are no longer flying “under the radar.” Quite the opposite. Every team that Kansas City faces has their sights locked on and wants to take down the league’s sole unbeaten team.
Although no team should be overlooked, and the phrase “any given Sunday” certainly applies, the Chiefs may very well go into their bye week at 9-0. Then these scrappy, undefeated underdogs will have their chance to silence all the naysayers. We’ll then face off against Denver twice, the resurgent Chargers twice, the Redskins, Raiders and Colts.
If this defense can continue to punch other teams in the mouth and the offense continues to improve, there’s no game on the schedule that we as fans can’t look at and say is winnable. A deep run into the playoffs is also very possible.
And that, my fellow fans, is what matters most. At the end of the day, we can get as excited or frustrated with the so-called Power Rankings as we allow ourselves … but each one is still the opinion of one man.
Pundits can say that the Chiefs are the worst team in football if they so choose. But to us, the die-hard fans, they will always be #1 no matter how the last game ended or how successful the season is. We’ll see who’s left standing in January.