Quite often in the NFL, the best plays happen when an opponent blows an assignment, is out of position, or just simply quits on the play before it’s over. The same is true off the field, and can be applied to all varieties of situations in life.
Right now everybody is fixated on the Denver Broncos and their newly acquired Peyton Manning. But don’t forget that just two years ago the Kansas City Chiefs wore the AFC West crown. Last season saw the Chiefs fall off the pedestal in the wake of injuries to several key players, but they still managed an 7-9 record, one win short of tying the Charger and division-winning Broncos.
Despite being led by Matt Cassel, the Chiefs are a team to look out for in 2012. They may be in the best position of all AFC West teams since their key players are slated to return, they have a high draft pick, and there is very little media pressure or scrutiny on them to perform. They can quietly get better and take the division by surprise while media is focused on Manning and the Chargers “do-or-die” season.
Ask yourself this: if Manning had joined the Chiefs, would they be better than the Chargers? My thoughts are, probably yes. They have a phenomenal running game, a stout defense, and solid management to top it off. If not better than the Chargers, they would be at least equals. The same is not true with the Broncos however.
Consider this article a sort of public service announcement. It may be alright to be fascinated by the Manning-show, but don’t let that overshadow the fact that just a few years ago the Kansas City Chiefs were being talked about as the “young” team that could rise to the top in a few years. It’s been a few years, so don’t be the dolt that is caught looking the wrong way when the Kansas City Chiefs make their play for the division title.
As an aside, I guess it wouldn’t be wise to forget about the Raiders either. This will be a banner year for the AFC West. Whether it’s one for the Chargers or not depends on which way they’re looking when it comes time to make the play.