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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • BLOG: Sympathy, a signal caller, and some hope for the Chiefs

  • If you’re a fan of athletics, then you admire the skills displayed by most athletes and teams.
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  • If you’re a fan of athletics, then you admire the skills displayed by most athletes and teams.
    Most fans have favorite teams and players as well as a list of teams and players that they despise. But those are fringe emotions when it comes to sports fandom.
    When all is said and done, not many fans delight in struggles and losses.
    If empathy doesn’t extend to athletes and players, it usually goes out to the fans of teams, regardless of personal feelings on the subject.
    As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I can attest to this fact.
    The storied franchise has its share of haters and has endured its share of struggles since the glory days of the team back in the 1990s.
    After a tough loss by the Cowboys, many of my friends, and even family, have informed me that, while they hate the Cowboys, they feel badly for my having to endure the disappointment.
    Of the teams and fan bases which endured disappointment in the NFL last season, none could say their season ended up being worse than the experience of the Kansas City Chiefs.
    The Chiefs have a lot of good players on their roster and they seemed primed for a deep run into the playoffs. Instead, the team suffered through a dismal 2-14 campaign. After a season like that, the most disappointing news might be the firing of a coach or the season-ending injury of a star player.
    Instead, the Chiefs season included a murder-suicide scenario where the head coach and general manager witnessed the suicide in the team’s parking lot.
    Former Coach Romeo Crennel and former general manager Scott Pioli moved on. Kansas City fans are trying to move on as well, forget 2012, and look forward to a better future under new coach Andy Reid.
    And the team has already brokered its first big move of the offseason with the soon-to-be official acquisition of San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith.
    If there was a move that could get the Chiefs beyond 2012, this one was it.
    Not because the team’s 2012 quarterback Matt Cassel was completely inadequate. His skills proved disappointing to be sure and one could argue Smith as an upgrade.
    It’s more than that, however.
    The move to Smith harkens back to a better time in Chiefs football because it renews a tactic the team seems to favor when it comes to quarterback acquisition.
    Steve DeBerg, Joe Montana, Steve Bono, and Elvis Grbac all played for the 49ers before making their way to Kansas City for successful seasons.
    DeBerg, a journeyman signal caller, began the trend by posting 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions in leading the Chiefs to an 11-win campaign and a playoff berth back in 1990.
    Page 2 of 2 - Montana scored 13 wins in his first season with Kansas City in 1993 and led them to a playoff win. Bono followed Montana at quarterback and scored 13 wins in his 1995. Grbac followed Bono and scored another 13 win campaign in 1997. Grbac continued as the quarterback for the Chiefs through the 2000 season, his best campaign statistically speaking. Grbac threw for 4,169 yards and 28 touchdowns that year.
    Twelve years later, in marches Smith, a guy who has been waiting for someone to really believe in him. And that might connect to another bright ray of sunshine emanating from California.
    Remember Drew Brees was a member of the San Diego Chargers until 2005, when the franchise became convinced that a younger signal caller was the way to go. Brees, who had suffered a shoulder injury, was waiting for someone to believe in him. New Orleans, a team desperate to turn around their fortunes, showed faith in Brees and the Saints won the Super Bowl.
    Since being drafted into the league as the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Smith suffered injuries, struggled with consistency and continually worried about his job status. The 49ers, it seemed, were determined to find someone, anyone, to take Smith’s place.
    And so Smith is looking for a fresh start. Kansas City, a team that has made a significant commitment to their newly acquired player, is looking for the same fresh start.
    History seems to indicate both player and team will get what they want.
    And so Chiefs fans can look forward to the promise of better seasons to come.
    Can any fan begrudge them of that?

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