Kansas City Chiefs fans will recall fondly that Thanksgiving evening back in 2006 when the Chiefs throttled the Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium in the very first Thursday Night Football game ever. A national audience and one of the largest crowds ever at Arrowhead saw the Chiefs hold the Broncos to just 38 rushing yards and extend their record on Thanksgiving to 5-4 overall. What a thing to be thankful for!
In keeping with the theme of Thanksgiving, I decided to make a list of things that I am thankful for regarding the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs:
First (and foremost), I am thankful for the Chiefs’ winning record. They have been a pleasant surprise and it has been an enjoyable season so far. Many people in the media wrote the Chiefs off before this season, suggesting that the losses of numerous starters on offense and defense, as well as the lack of adding an impactful wide receiver or safety would be too much too overcome. The Chiefs have handled the losses of those players without missing a beat, and have produced a solid record despite not scoring a single touchdown from a wide receiver yet. A huge reason for their success rests upon the Chiefs Head Coach:
I am thankful for Head Coach Andy Reid. I grew up watching the Chiefs during the Marty Schottenheimer years. It was conservative football, but it was winning football. After Marty, Chiefs fans had to accept those mediocre Gunther Cunningham years, followed by the glorious but underachieving Dick Vermeil years, then they suffered tremendously through the tenures of Herm Edwards, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel from 2006-2012. The combined record of Edwards/Haley/Crennel was 38-74, good for a 33.9% win percentage. Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs organization is going in the right direction (Reid’s record with the Chiefs is 18-9, good for a 67% winning percentage). Reid is a player’s coach and the Chiefs love him. If he guides the Chiefs to the postseason, he will become the first Chiefs Head Coach to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and the first to make multiple postseason appearances (Vermeil only had one playoff appearance) since Schottenheimer. Definitely something to be thankful for!
I am thankful for Jamaal Charles’ health. Everyone in the Chiefs Kingdom is well aware of Charles’ importance to the Chiefs. So far, Charles has 772 rush yards and 8 rushing touchdowns, to go along with 190 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He constantly shows his value to the team, and despite missing one game this season, I am thankful that he has been able to play in the other 10 games.
I am thankful for the emergence of Travis Kelce. After sitting out basically all of last year, Chiefs fans did not know how he might produce this season, but he has been better than expected, catching 41 passes for 542 yards and 4 touchdowns. And while it would be nice to see him more involved in the receiving game, it is important to recognize his ability to stretch the field for Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe and also help the young offensive line block for Charles, Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas. He has a bright future ahead of him.
Finally, I am thankful for the Chiefs defense. They have only allowed two rushing touchdowns all season, they allow the fewest pass yards per game, they have the 4th most sacks and Justin Houston leads the entire league with 13, and they allow the second fewest points per game. This is despite having lost 2 Pro Bowl players for the season (Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry). They have been playing with an undrafted free agent who missed all of 2013 and most of 2012 replacing Johnson at inside linebacker (Josh Mauga), and their defensive backs are a motley crew consisting of a player cut by three previous teams (Ron Parker), a seventh round draft pick claimed off waivers (Marcus Cooper), a former scout team player (Jamell Fleming), a veteran cut by two teams (Kurt Coleman), and a rookie from the second smallest Division I FBS school (Phillip Gaines). If the Chiefs make the playoffs this season, Defensive Coordinator should never have to buy a drink again in Kansas City as he has worked wonders with this team.
As you can see, there is much to be thankful for regarding the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs. As you gather with your families for Thanksgiving tomorrow and enjoy great food and great company, keep Eric Berry in your prayers and be thankful for this great team. Then make sure you get to Arrowhead on Sunday and cheer so loud the ref has to threaten you and beat the Broncos!