I fully anticipate tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Chiefs and Steelers to be a blowout not worth watching much beyond halftime. Knowing that as sports fans we’re all much too sick to ever turn away from our favorite team, I’ve come up with some prop bets that you won’t find on any website or available through any bookie. I’d keep the game entertaining by placing a few friendly wagers on some or all of the following (for entertainment purposes only...naturally):
1. WHO WILL COMMIT THE GAME’S 1ST TURNOVER? MATT CASSEL VS THE FIELD
2. WILL RICKY STANZI TAKE A SNAP IN TONIGHT’S GAME? YES OR NO
3. NUMBER OF TIMES TODD HALEY IS SHOWN ON THE BROADCAST FROM KICKOFF TO FINAL WHISTLE… OVER/UNDER 3.5
4. NUMBER OF PLAYER SCUFFLES OR SHOVING MATCHES THAT TAKE PLACE DURING THE GAME. OVER/UNDER 2.5
5. CHIEFS PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO BE INVOLVED IN THE 1ST SCUFFLE:
a. SHAUN SMITH
b. JAVIER ARENAS
c. JON BALDWIN
d. RYAN LILJA
e. THE FIELD
6. WILL ROMEO CRENNEL SAY SOME VARIATION OF “I DON’T KNOW” OR “I DON’T UNDERSTAND” IN HIS POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE? YES OR NO
7. WILL JON GRUDEN ACTUALLY TRY TO MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT MATT CASSEL IS A GOOD QUARTERBACK? YES OR NO
8. NUMBER OF CATCHES FOR JON BALDWIN IN TONIGHT’S GAME. OVER/UNDER 1.5
9. WILL THEY SHOW ROMEO CRENNEL ON THE SIDELINE WITH THE PLAYCARD TUCKED IN HIS PANTS? YES OR NO
10. NUMBER OF PASSES COMPLETED AGAINST JAVIER ARENAS’ MAN. OVER/UNDER 5.5
Eric Winston said he wouldn’t share some of the comments he got after the game, so I wrote about them.
Eric Winston is an accountable, smart, loyal, leader. And even though he hasn’t played very well this year, he’s exactly the type of player you want on your team. By the way, he’s the first to admit it. I asked him to assess his own play on my show Friday before the Baltimore game and he said, “very average… I have to be better.” So that takes care of accountable.
Now, let’s get to the other adjectives. After the Chiefs finished up another poor performance that saw them turn the ball over four times and botch multiple opportunities to win before falling to 1 – 4, it was time for the smart, loyal, leader to show up. And show up he did.
Winston assembled a member from every media outlet in the city at his locker and teed off on Chiefs fans. You’ve heard the speech by now. He was “embarrassed” for how some cheered Matt Cassel’s injury. He said you have a right to boo because you pay money, but emphasized the importance in remembering that the players “are not gladiators and this is not the Roman Coliseum.” He emphasized that Cassel’s injury was a concussion, exactly the type of injury doctors believe shortens the life span of NFL players. Later on twitter, admittedly after the message had spread like wildfire, he said he knew it obviously wasn’t everyone who cheered Cassel’s injury.
He also said he wouldn’t be sharing some of the mentions he got on twitter, but that we should check them out. As a supporter of Winston’s comments, I knew if my mentions were any indication, his would be interesting. I’m writing this about 4 hours after the game and Winston had received more than 750 mentions – and I read them all. I’d say 4 out of 5 were supportive. Here’s a sampling of the other 20%.
janet smith @gohogsgirl @ericwinston needs to understand HOW MUCH IT COSTS to go to a game & see the team lose. Next time Eric - SHUT YOUR MOUTH.
Winston started his comments by saying that fans spend good money in economic times so they have every right to boo. But that cheering injury crossed the line.
You’re right Tavian, it is a free country. And Eric exercised his right to free speech beautifully.
Tae Kim @taejkim1980 @ericwinston thanks for making all #Chiefs fans look bad.
I’d argue it was actually the fans chanting Brady Quinn’s name while Cassel was lying on the field concussed, but what do I know?
This gentleman, Les, was rather persistent:
Les Ismore @PHYXIUSmaximus @ericwinston If you're a "people pleaser" than PLEASE shut the fu*k up and do what you are HIGHLY PAID TO DO. Defend OUR QB ON THE FIELD!
les Ismore @PHYXIUSmaximus @ericwinston I'm tired of U rich out of touch guys NOT GETTING IT! If your baby Cassel was carted off the field, would KC have cheered then?
Those were 2 of 5 tweets Mr. Ismore sent to Winston. Les has an anger problem and a broken CAPS LOCK KEY.
Les Ismore @PHYXIUSmaximus @ericwinston How long have you been in KC anyway cigarette boy? You mean you don't have any better understanding of KC people? GET OUT MORE!
One more from Les just for fun… Cigarette boy? What does that even mean?
Reps @Audio_Graffiti @ericwinston good thing you dont play hockey, pull your skirt up its football, maybe table tennis or golf suits you better!
I’m sure Mr. Audio Graffiti would be willing to say this to the 300 pound offensive lineman’s face.
brad shelor @Bnorris04 @ericwinston Trust me, however embarassed you are about the cheering, we are more embarassed about how horrible you guys are
You are more embarrassed that the Chiefs are 1 – 4 than the fact some fans cheered while a player lied concussed on the field? Your priorities might need readjustment.
J Woody @Jwoody87 @KevinBossman @ericwinston Way to continue to throw ALL Chiefs fans under the bus. Disgusting, not all fans cheered like Winston implies
I agree with this point. And Winston shouldn’t have made it sound like all fans were cheering Cassel’s injury in his original comments, because they weren’t. But, that’s how the world works. Do you think ALL Philadelphia fans booed Santa Claus? Do you think ALL Pistons fans brawled with Ron Artest? Sometimes, a few bad apples can ruin it for the rest of you. Live with the consequences.
Aaron Besonen @AaronBesonen @ericwinston Dont criticize our fans, we pay good money to watch millionaires play and when they suck, we'll tell you..u should block better
It never ceases to amaze me how jealous people are of the money athletes make. They are in the top 1% of their field. You and I are not. Do better.
Tubby Washington @TubbyWashington If @ericwinston hadn't opened his mouth, no one would be discussing the alleged jeering by Chiefs fans. Thx for making a bad season worse.
Sports fans and rational analysis often go together like oil and water. Or for the sake of this discussion, like Scott Pioli and a forthcoming answer, Matt Cassel and a beautiful deep ball, or Clark Hunt and an out of place hair. One just doesn’t go with the other.
Like most NFL fan bases this time of year Chiefs fans are overwhelmingly optimistic. It’s a new season and everyone is undefeated. And there are legitimate reasons for optimism. A potential All-Pro Right Tackle was added in free agency to complement potential All-Pro injury returnees at running back and safety. Throw in new found depth at tight end, safety, and a former Madden cover – boy in the backfield, the cupboard appears stocked. Also, the Chiefs managed to win 7 games last year with none of those pieces, all of those injuries, and Tyler Palko starting on Sunday Night football. So conventional wisdom goes something like this: how can it be worse?
And that would be perfectly rational if life was fair. But as anyone with a parent who walked uphill both ways to school tell you, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Or just ask a Royals fan. They know sports, like life, is far from fair.
Which brings me to the 2012 Chiefs. We know the team likely isn’t good enough to run away and win the AFC West by a wide margin. It may not be the best division in football, but it does bode to be one of the most balanced, and therefore most competitive. Which means the difference between another playoff game at Arrowhead and clearing out lockers early likely will be a game. Maybe two. Parity has become a fact of life in the NFL.
A game. Maybe two. You mean like the game Tamba Hali is suspended for against the Falcons in week one? Maybe two, like the number of games it could take for Dwayne Bowe to get up to speed in the new offense?
Another fact of NFL life that has become commonly accepted is that it’s a quarterback driven league. Well, Matt Cassel is the overwhelming favorite to have the fewest passing yards and touchdowns of any quarterback in the division. And if it’s not about the passer, it’s about stopping the pass. The Chiefs lost Brandon Carr to a huge contract, replaced him with a penalty machine, and Brandon Flowers has missed almost as much of training camp as Dwayne Bowe with a foot injury. This sounds like a bad time to bring up that the week 1 opponent features Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez.
That doesn’t sound like a formula that lends itself to universal optimism; unless the bar is set so low that 8 wins would be considered a success. Which I hope isn’t the case. I was on record before the news about Flowers and Hali, who are 2 of the team’s top 7 players by the way; that the Chiefs would win 9 or 10 games and be in contention for a division title.
Now I have them winning 8, or in other words, as many as they’ll lose. A .500 season is the definition of mediocre. That doesn’t sound like something to be universally excited about. Don’t get mad at me, I’m just trying to be rational.
Today was the Chiefs last practice before the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals Friday night at Arrowhead. The biggest piece of news was probably those who never saw the field, or left it early. At his daily press conference after the walk through Romeo Crennel said there was nothing new to report on the injury front, but when practice began defensive back Travis Daniels was on the sidelines next to still injured Brandon Flowers. We were given no update as to the status or severity of any injury for Daniels. Then during the practice, 5th round draft pick Dequan Menzie walked off the field under his own power, but with a member of the training staff carrying his pads.
Think of this practice like a Friday during a typical game week. If a player misses that practice, more times than not, he won’t play in the game. And since we won’t get an update from Romeo Crennel before game time, the smart money is on the Chiefs being thin in the secondary Friday night. But judging off the Cardinals passing performance in Tuesday’s joint practice and their preseason opener against the Saints, the Chiefs might not be at much of a disadvantage.
On the bright side, one player who continues to stand out is reserve running back Shaun Draughn. If he keeps practicing like he has, carries it over into the preseason, and can make any impact on special teams I think he has a shot to make the 53 man roster. The Chiefs are deep at Running Back with Charles, Hillis, and rookie Cyrus Gray – but Draughn had another touchdown today and is commanding the attention of fans, media, and presumably coaches alike.
• Jon Baldwin had another touchdown in the back of the end zone to cap off a strong drive down the field by the offense. If the drive was any indication, I can tell you what the blue print of Brian Daboll’s system is going to be. ‘Run the ball, pass the ball quickly into the flats, take shots down field off play action, and finally: if it’s not there, throw it away.’ Cassel threw 2 or 3 balls on one drive out of bounds and just moved on to the next one. It’s a very safe strategy that given Cassel’s accuracy in the short passing game and his low touchdown to interception ratio plays into his skill sets.
• We had our first tussle of training camp after Amon Gordon blew up a screen pass by fighting through a Jeff Allen block. Allen apparently didn’t take too kindly to Gordon’s effectiveness because the two guys traded a couple of barely-landed jabs before Andy Studebaker broke it up. It wasn’t a brawl and I wouldn’t even call it a fight, but in a training camp that has been devoid of any real news, it’s good enough to make the notes section of this blog.
Your interpretation of whether the simultaneous Chiefs/Cardinals practice today in St. Joe lived up to the hype depends on if you want to have your glass half full or half empty.
Half full: Today was the most entertaining day of practice the team has had. (I emphasize day because Family Fun Day under the lights in the Stadium is usually the liveliest practice of any team’s training camp.)
Half empty: It was just a normal practice with the only noticeable difference being there were twice as many players on the field.
We complain about the intensity level of preseason games. We were hoping this would turn into a scrimmage. We were hoping for fights. And what we got, anticlimactically, was an oversized practice.
Sure, there were some cool moments, like when Eric Berry went to the front of the line in wide receiver vs defensive back drills to assure he was matched up with Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz got the best of Berry 2 out of 3 times, but you’ve got to love the message that sends that your best wanted to go up against their best. I also enjoyed having my attention diverted from one field to the other because of the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ Peyton Hillis elicited from the crowd when he ran over a Cardinal linebacker in a drill that otherwise had limited contact.
But those moments were few and far between because the fact is, these teams came into today with different objectives. The Cardinals were coming off their 1st preseason game Sunday night and given the quick turnaround, didn’t want to travel all the way across the country. The Chiefs meanwhile, just released their first depth chart and are trying to gauge how ready they are for their first game where they keep score in about 7 months.
One thing I’ll say before I wrap this up with a few random notes and observations is that even if you’re like me and came away underwhelmed with the today’s entertainment value, it was better than a normal day of training camp by a wide margin. The Chiefs are a team with a few stagnant story lines (Cassel, Bowe, Poe, ACL crew) and no intriguing position battles. So to get them out on the field against another NFL team, and hear the crowd cheer scoring plays because when the Chiefs made a good play – it was at the expense of a guy on another team. And given the monotony of training camp, I think the players, media, and fans will take that any day of the week.
• Baldwin had another practice with multiple fantastic plays, and even got the best of standout cornerback Patrick Peterson for a catch over the middle. His personal best came when he reached over undersized 5-8 corner Michael Adams for an ‘over-the-back’ in basketball style catch on the sideline. He had a touchdown in the red zone and made a nice catch against good coverage by William Gay as well, but if this were a game his catch over Adams would’ve been a thing for the highlight reels.
• Sometimes it’s the little things that can reveal why the best are the best. At one of the many points in today’s practice where players were standing around, Tamba Hali was literally the only one on either field working. He was going full speed with an assistant coach on a drill where he would knock the coach’s hands off his body and continue to do various moves designed to prevent offensive linemen from being able to engage. There’s a reason why we’re penciling him in for 10+ sacks again this year.
• We need to put a moratorium on Ricky Stanzi talk. Matt Cassel is the starter. Brady Quinn will be the backup. And Stanzi will once again be relegated to carrying a clipboard barring some sort of disaster. There was a 3 play sequence when they were working on the 2-minute drill where Stanzi threw a pass that should have been intercepted, was so wild on the next one where nobody could catch it, and then followed it up by throwing a pick. Fellow Hawkeye Danan Hughes came up to me after practice and to put it kindly, wasn’t impressed. He wasn’t alone.
• Brandon Flowers tried to go at the beginning of practice but didn’t last very long. We weren’t given an update on his status but he should be fine. It’ll be interesting to see if he plays Friday night though after trying to give it a go today and ultimately bowing out.
I have a confession. When I decided to take this job, one of my main apprehensions was covering the Kansas City Royals. It’s not that I don’t like baseball. Plus, as a Cubs fan, I’m plenty familiar with losing. I think it had to do with a relative lack of knowledge at the time of the team and the stigma that is attached to the Royals from anyone outside KC.
‘Have fun covering 110 losses this year…’
‘At least the baseball season ends on opening day…’
That was the vain of some of the text messages I got from my friends when I told them I was moving my show to the home of Royals baseball in Kansas City. But you know what? I, and all of them, could not have been more wrong.
I had a blast covering the Royals this year. For most of the season I even referred to them as “the most fun last place team I had ever seen.” And then, something crazy started to happen. Minnesota started losing at a Royals-esque pace and KC started to come out on the right side of some of those nailbiters. And the Royals are going to finish this season in 4th place in the AL Central.
Most 4th place seasons are decidedly forgetful, but I don’t think Royals fans are going to forget the 2011 season anytime soon. The 2011 season will be the “I remember when” year. As in, ‘I remember when Eric Hosmer got called up and it felt like the future was now.’ And, ‘I remember when Sal Perez picked off a runner in the top of an inning, and hit an opposite field homer in the bottom half.’
There will be countless stories because plenty of you saw the stories unfold. 19 of the last 21 home games for the Royals had attendances above 20,000 – a staggering number for a small market team with a 90+ loss product.
Fans came out to see a glimpse at what the Royals can be... and that’s a competitive baseball team (maybe even as soon as 2012). I can say with 100% truth, that I can’t wait for next year.
Chiefs fans are a fickle bunch. Prevailing wisdom all preseason went along these lines: ‘it’s just the preseason… we’ll be fine… Haley was good enough to win 10 games last year, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.’ Now, after a historically bad 41 – 7 loss to the normally hapless Buffalo Bills, here’s what I’m hearing: ‘we’re the worst team in the league… not only does Haley have to go, but so does Pioli… at least we’ll get Andrew Luck.’
It’s that last one, the #suckforLuck group, who I want to address right now. Do you realize how bad you have to be to get the number one overall pick? The Chiefs went 2 – 14 in 2008 and picked third! Plus, given that Andrew Luck is considered as close to a can’t miss prospect at the quarterback position as you can get, don’t you think the Chiefs might have some competition for his services?
There’s a general rule of thumb that professional NFL gamblers live by that I think Chiefs fans should adhere to: “Don’t overreact to week one.” It applies to gambling on football, fantasy football, and football fandom. If you think the Bengals are going to be terrible, don’t overreact and start picking them to cover the spread because they upset the Browns. If you drafted Legarrette Blount in the fourth round of your fantasy draft, don’t waive him because he had 5 carries in week one. And if you thought the Chiefs were a playoff team, or a .500 team, don’t bury them for dead after one game.
Granted, it was a terrible game. And yes, Eric Berry is out for the year. And of course, the schedule only gets tougher from here. But can the Chiefs really be that bad? I don’t see how they can be so inept that Matt Cassel will regularly complete 6 passes a game for negative yardage. I’m not anticipating no name tight ends scoring multiple touchdowns per game against this defense.
But more than anything else, I don’t understand how a proud fan base, coming off a division championship, can have a vocal percentage advocating for the rights to draft #1 overall.
Due to a lack of a more poignant way to make my point, I’ll close with this:
Chiefs fans championing the #suckforLuck campaign suck.
I gotta give the NFL credit, it’s a catchy slogan. Back to Football. You’re damn right we’re back to football. And I’m excited. And judging from the amount of feedback on the show and social media, I’m not alone. That isn’t surprising in the least. Football has been king for a while now and the perception was that we lost something during the lockout. Other than the residents of Canton, Ohio who missed attending the Hall of Fame game, no one missed a thing.
But perception is a powerful sixth sense and there’s no question people are ready for Saints and Packers tonight. My guess is the game will set or come close to setting the record for the highest rated season opener in league history. Cash registers are going ca-ching for anyone involved in the business of football from Roger Goodell and network executives on down. Football is back and life is good.
Unless you’re Bud Selig....
I’ve got a feeling business is about to become very bad for MLB. Can you remember a baseball season that has had this little fanfare this late in the season? There are a couple of reasons for this.
One, there was no buzz around the trade deadline which normally regenerates interest in the dog days of summer. This year the trade deadline was completely, and justifiably, overshadowed by the condensed post – lockout free agent frenzy in the NFL.
The second reason, and the one that will do more damage, is look at the standings. Atlanta leads the wildcard race in the National League by 6.5 games and Boston leads the AL race by 7. Three games separate the decidedly uninteresting Rangers and Angels in the AL West, and besides that, there are no other division races to speak of.
The playoffs are going to come out of nowhere in baseball this season. That’s generally a recipe for low interest and lower ratings. We’ll be missing out because we’re staring at some potentially great playoff matchups. Atlanta versus Milwaukee in the 1st round should be NLCS caliber. And as much as we complain about it in the regular season, a Yankees v Red Sox ALCS would be enjoyable.
I’m just not sure the masses will care. I certainly don’t think they will like they used to. We’ve become a football crazed society that decided we couldn’t live without something that was never truly lost. But kudos to whomever it was in the NFL marketing department that came up with the slogan… They’re absolutely right. I’m thrilled to be back to football.
The St. Joseph portion of Chiefs training camp is over and I can’t imagine the casual fan has ever known less about what kind of team they’ve got at this point of the year.
With a couple of weeks of practices and a preseason game in the rearview mirror, normally strengths, weaknesses, and glaring areas of concern have materialized. And maybe they have this year. But with the ultra – conservative approach Todd Haley has gone about camp and the glorified walkthrough that mascaraed as a preseason game, I don’t know how a fan could confidently say they know what the Chiefs are made of right now.
Sure we can make educated guesses:
The Chiefs should have a more explosive offense. Given the addition of a pair of high profile wide receivers and a pro – bowl caliber fullback, that’s certainly a reasonable expectation. But Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, and Leron McClain all have had limited practice time for a variety of reasons and so far have combined for one preseason touch. Not exactly a large sample size to make any judgments.
The Chiefs will probably struggle stopping the run. Logic would assume that’ll be the case since the Chiefs lost a couple of players from a defensive line that struggled last year, particularly late in the season, and replaced them with 35 year old Kelly Gregg and a pair of rookies. But Gregg, Jerrell Powe, and Allen Bailey are all behemoths of human beings and until we see more of them (Gregg has yet to play) we really don’t know.
The Chiefs might struggle early due to Haley’s conservative approach. Todd Haley flatly said that the team is “behind” but meant in terms of where they were last year. In the preseason opener, they certainly looked behind the Bucs, who have made it a preseason goal to hit the ground running. The Chiefs have picked up the intensity since Friday night, finally joining the rest of the league by practicing in full pads for the duration of practice, but there’s no certainty they’ll be able to flick the switch when it really counts, September 11th against Buffalo.
That’s 25 days from now and I don’t think we have a good idea at all what type of team will take the field. They do play again Friday, so I guess we’ll find out a bit more then.