As I climb up 14,049 ft. Mount Culebra in remote southern Colorado this past weekend, I have the realest of realizations: This is hard as hell. Sure, I’d guess the majority of the student body could do it, just like my 10-year-old cousin cruised to the summit. But I was gassed. Legs felt like Jell-O. The mind wandered.
And where does my mind always tend to wander? Sports.
Expectations were high last go-round for the Kansas City Chiefs. And you’re entitled to your lofty opinion this year. The Chiefs had six pro-bowlers and fixed their most glaring needs at head coach and quarterback in the off-season. But hold your horses on that bold prediction of yours.
The Chiefs are a still a mountain away.
Remember that the team was a dreadful 2-14 last year. Remember that the Chiefs only played SEVEN games within 14 points of their opponent. Remember that the incredible trio of the Bills, Bengals and Browns beat the chiefs by a combined 63 points.
So are the changes and returning cast enough for a playoff push? That’s like thinking your dog will learn how to open your fridge and bring you a cold one with zero training. I mean, both have happened, but you’d need to check YouTube for the canine bartender and a little history for the other.
In the past decade, at least one team has gone from worst to first in its division each year. The Chiefs did it in 2003 and 2010, by the way, so it’s possible. But I’d also take a wild guess that Peyton Manning and the NFL’s best receiving core weren’t in any of those divisions.
Denver Broncos. Colorado. Mountains. You get it?
As spectacularly bad as the Chiefs were in 2012, they would need, almost, a complete 180 turn in 2013 for any playoff chance. Not like the Royals’ long shot, pray for another 19-4 stretch, hope. I’m talking reality, you guys.
And that reality is that the Chiefs will be like drinking too much at The Hawk, both very good and very bad. One Sunday, we will be trying to find playoff tickets on StubHub and the next looking forward to alley-oops from Naadir Tharpe to Andrew Wiggins. The offense will sputter at times and Jamaal Charles will run like Forest Gump others.
Patience, young grasshoppers: The time for Kansas City sports is almost here.
Sporting KC has already arrived. The Royals showed they are a piece or two away from ACTUALLY making September baseball interesting. The Chiefs are moving in the right direction with necessary changes and additions.
Expect the Chiefs to have an eerily similar season to the Royals. Lots of ups, lots of downs. Hopefully less injuries. Finish around the .500 mark. No playoffs. Genuine optimism for the next season.
I’m aware the most Kansas City thing to do is chant one more year. The length of time of waiting for a truly good Chiefs team – 2010 doesn’t count – is somehow even longer than Brady Morningstar’s career on the basketball team.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m more excited for football season than sorority girls were to get back the 3 B’s. I just urge you to curb your excitement a little bit.
Oh yeah, I made it to the top of Mount Culebra. It just took a little patience.