The lack of belief in the Kansas City Chiefs cannot be surprising in the slightest given the team’s early performance in the 2011 NFL season. Being outscored 89-10 will get you knocked down the rankings and charts that highlight the NFL’s best and worst teams week by week, and the Chiefs are consistently placed at or near the bottom of every sort of listing that comes out. Even recently on NFL Countdown, the Chiefs were ranked as the NFL’s worst — a trait that didn’t go unnoticed by Chiefs fullback Le’Ron McClain.
On Twitter early this morning, McClain posted his acknowledgement that he heard the information and used it to build a growing chip on the Chiefs’ collective shoulder. He wrote, “Thank you NFL Countdown for ranking us worst team in NFL #Chiefs Just more motivation Lets work** #AwayWithTheDoubters.” Every team in the NFL tries to invent some kind of “us vs. them” mentality both for the season and individual games. It’s the best way to bring a team together is to create a common enemy. Whether no one is paying attention or no one expects a team to do this or that, it’s a common mantra for each and every head coach in the NFL to employ such tactics to motivate his players.
The Chiefs, however, have a legitimate case. No one expects them to win against the Chargers. No one expects them to win anything at this point. Unless you’re a Chiefs fan with an inability to acknowledge reality, there’s next to none in terms of expectations remaining on the 2011 season. While that might seem ridiculous after only two games, the Chiefs have literally looked that bad against the Bills and the Lions.
That said, the Chiefs have the chance to truly believe in such slogans. No one does believe in them. The season seems over for the team and yet it’s barely begun. Some want Todd Haley fired. Some want Matt Cassel bench. Some want the Chiefs to lose every game just so they can draft Andrew Luck or some other high profile QB in next year’s draft. The idea is that if you’re going to lose, then lose bad.
That should mean quite a bit for Haley and the 53 players who will gather in the locker room today in San Diego. Their head coach will sincerely be able to look them in the face and tell them that no one believes in them. They truly have a common enemy: the lack of respect and expectations that anyone has for them. Two games in, the Chiefs have a rallying cry they’ve never had before.
That’s not to make an enemy out of fans and media members who’ve placed the Chiefs at the bottom of power rankings. The Chiefs put themselves in this position, so there’s no one to blame if people don’t believe. The team has given them no reason to do so in 2011. But the Chiefs do have a chance to turn this around so early in the season and they can do so with the emotional push that a chip on their shoulder can bring.