Archive for Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Wild Card

December 24, 2008

Well, you just knew it was coming. No, not the announcement that Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson was stepping down at the end of the year, but the inevitable Chiefs second-half meltdown that took place last Sunday at frigid Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs 38-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins was the seventh time this year the Chiefs lost a game by a touchdown or less.

But there is hope for Chiefs fans. About two weeks ago, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt announced that Carl Peterson was resigning as president, general manager and CEO.

Peterson’s two-decade tenure with the Chiefs was a mixture of success and failure. He was put in charge of a floundering franchise and restored it back to glory and gave fans hope, which they didn’t have much of after the 1970s.

With Peterson at the helm, the Chiefs reached postseason play seven times and played in one AFC championship game. The Chiefs ultimately never made the Super Bowl but were one win away from doing so.

Peterson hired Marty Schottenheimer as head coach and the two of them turned the Chiefs organization around.

Schottenheimer is somewhat of a distant memory now to some Chiefs fans, considering his last season as Chiefs head coach was 1998.

But when Schottenheimer walked the sidelines of Arrowhead stadium, the house was packed full and the Chiefs enjoyed the best home field advantage in the NFL.

Early in his tenure as GM, Peterson was proactive in free agency and lured Marcus Allen to Kansas City and traded for Joe Montana. He also drafted Derrick Thomas, who soon became the identity of the franchise. Peterson also drafted pro-bowlers Tony Gonzalez, Will Shields and Donnie Edwards.

Peterson’s first decade reign with the Chiefs was for the most part pretty good. But after Schottenheimer left, the Chiefs franchise has gone nothing but south ever since. Sure there were a few drafts that turned out a few good football players, including Derrick Johnson and Larry Johnson. But there were too many drafts that turned out to be pretty much fruitless.

Peterson’s last 10 years with the Chiefs were not good. The Chiefs had six losing seasons and went through four different head coaches and a carousel of coaching staffs.

In 200,1 Peterson hired Dick Vermeil to replace Gunther Cunningham as head coach. Priest Holmes became a great running back and the Chiefs had a high-power offense but a lousy defense that was led by Greg Robinson, who was later sacked as defensive coordinator and replaced by Cunningham.

I was one of the few Chiefs fans who braved the below zero wind chills and watched the Chiefs-Dolphins game at Arrowhead. Before becoming a human icicle, I thought the Chiefs showed pride by not throwing in the towel after getting down early. I also thought they could be a Cinderella team next season.

Yes, they were bad in 2008 but next year could be a lot better with a new general manager and possibly a new coach.

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