Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kansas City Chiefs... Your Decade is Over

This season, whenever I believe a team is eliminated from the playoffs, thus making their season (and decade) over, I will write their obituary.

Today I present to you the Kansas City Chiefs of the 00's.

The decade started as a bit of a let down for the Kansas City Chiefs, who after the 1998 season allowed QB Rich Gannon to defect to the division rival Oakland Raiders. Gannon haunted the team from the 2000 to 2002 seasons, leading the Raiders to the Super Bowl in 02, after picking up that seasons MVP award.

In 2001, the Chiefs hired head coach Dick Vermeil, who in 1999 lead the Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. Vermeil's first move was to bring in Quarterback Trent Green, who started the 1999 season as QB 1 in St Louis. He also picked up Priest Holmes from the Ravens.

The Chiefs improved each of the first three years under Vermeil, picking up a 13-3 record in 2003, which came fully equipped with a first round bye. That season Trent Green passed for over 4,000 yards, Priest Holmes picked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, Tony Gonzalez caught 10 touchdowns, and Dante Hall was a leading MVP candidate midway through the season. All four playmakers found themselves in Honolulu that winter.

The Chiefs were one and done, falling to the Colts in the memorable "game of zero punts" that divisional round, and the next year the Chiefs fell to 7-9, in a year that saw Priest Holmes start only 8 games due to injury.

2005 was met with a 10-6 record, but somehow the Chiefs failed to make the playoffs; Vermeil retired after the season and his former player in Philadelphia, Herman Edwards, took over as head coach.

From 2003 to 2005, few Quarterbacks played more remarkably than Trent Green, who passed for over 4,000 yards all three season. Behind an impressive line which featured Willie Roaf and Will Shields, Green was awarded the luxury of having more time and a better running game than most other QB's in the league.

The first season under Herman Edwards was met with one less win than the season before, but one more game; as the Chiefs managed to pick up the six seed and headed to Indianapolis for wild card weekend. One again the Colts ended the Chiefs season, but a new era in Chiefs football seemed like it was on the horizon.

Not only was Vermeil replaced by Edwards, but Priest Holmes also passed the torch to a younger, more powerful running back in Larry Johnson. Johnson had a monstrous 2006 which included 1,789 yards rushing and a place as an All Pro First Team.

The 2007 Chiefs really fell off. Trent Green parted way the team to head to Miami, and QB turmoil took over for the next two years. From 2007 to 2008 the team would bounce between starting Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, and Brodie Croyle at Quarterback, with nobody ever settling into the role. As a result the Chiefs had a two year record of 6-26, signifying the end of the Herman Ewards era.

In 2009 the Chiefs brought in Patriots executive Scott Pioli to take over Football operations, hired Arizona Cardinal coordinator Todd Haley, and pulled off a trade with New England to bring in Quarterback Matt Cassell. The Cassell/Haley Chiefs have yet to impress opposing defenses, and mummers around the league have been heard about a potential benching of Cassell in favor of Croyle. The team has a significant amount of money tied up in both, so at some point someone will lose their job; potentially Haley.

Also before the 2009 season, the team parted ways with Tony Gonzalez, the face of the franchise from 1997 to 2008. It's without a doubt that Gonzalez will one day be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Closing out the decade the Chiefs do have some things to look forward to. Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe is the best the franchise has had in a long time. Demorrio Williams and Glenn Dorsey lead a defense that hasn't been awful in 2009. Also, both Cassell and Croyle have looked good at time.

All that being said, the Chiefs are currently winless at 0-5, they blew a big one against a vulnerable Cowboys team, and more embarrassingly handed the Raiders their only win thus far.

The 00's were a decade where the Chiefs were able to put together a great offense, but were never able to compliment it with a good defense. In 2003 the Chiefs met the Colts in a battle between putrid defenses and explosive offenses. The Colts won and it was like two trains meeting at midnight. The Colts defense propelled the team to a championship in 2006, the same season the Colts embarrassed the Chiefs offense wild card weekend. But though the decade was bad, Chiefs fans always stayed loyal, and the franchise deserves to be considered one of the NFL's best.

Kansas City Chiefs, your decade is over.

MVP of the Decade: Tony Gonzalez
Notable Players: Trent Green, Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Dante Hall, Jared Allen, Kawika Mitchell, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Tony Richardson, Donnie Edwards, Elvis Grbac, Eddie Kennison, Dwayne Bowe
Throwback Jersey That Will Be Cool in 15 Years: 2002 Priest Holmes

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