It is time for Kansas City Chiefs football fans to focus on the future, beginning with the game at Arrowhead on Sunday.
The team has an opportunity to put all the chatter by the pundits and gurus to rest by winning the AFC against the best dynasty in present-day sports. The New England Patriots have become a measuring stick of success in the NFL.
Whether you love or hate head coach Bill Belichick and his sidekick quarterback, Tom Brady, you have to respect them as winners. Unlike many other Chiefs fans, I want to play the New England Patriots. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.
All year long the Chiefs organization has been touted as one of the top teams in the NFL. It is time to prove what they are made of on the field. Most people believed last week that the Chiefs would have another playoff loss against the Colts. They came out and played a great football game in all three phases. The defense played its best game of the season with a game plan that focused on its strengths. They kept the Colts in second- and third-down situations and let their strength of rushing the passer shine.
This week will be no different. They must get pressure up the middle against Brady so he is unable to step up in the pocket and kill them with crossing routes and pick plays. The defense has to stop the run, something they have not been able to do all year until the Colts game.
Special teams did not have a great day against the Colts, especially the blocked punt that allowed the Colts to score their first touchdown. Tyreek Hill was an adventure catching punts and almost fumbled two of them. He only averaged about 4 yards a return. He needs to avoid the temptation to try to break every punt for a touchdown and instead take the ball right up the pipe to get as many plus yards as possible.
Patrick Mahomes needs to play like the gunslinger he is and use all his weapons. The kid is a leader and winner. The team believes in him, and hopefully he has an opportunity to play his game. Sammy Watkins adds a top-notch third dimension to the receiving corps. Combined with Hill and Travis Kelce, they are a triple threat to the Patriots.
Damien Williams deserves some credit. He plays like a hungry warrior. He has proven to be a threat with running and catching the football. Darrel Williams, his backup, runs hungry too. “Remember, a hungry dog runs further and faster.”
Coaching will be another factor in AFC Championship. Belichick has earned the right to be called the best. He will have something special up his sleeve and will be ready for this one. His resume speaks for itself.
However, Andy Reid has been one of the most consistent winners throughout his NFL coaching career. True, he has not won a Super Bowl, but he has given Belichick fits when they have met head-to-head. Both coaches will have their squads ready to roll. It should be a high scoring game, even with frosty weather conditions.
The unknown factor for the game will be luck. You have to be great to win any championship, but you also have to have some luck. The Patriots have a history of getting the breaks, but perhaps the time has come for the Chiefs and Reid to have a turn at luck.
Hopefully the officials will call a game that will allow the players to determine the outcome. So far in the playoffs, the officials have allowed more contact on receivers than in regular season games.
Home field fan noise should help out the Chiefs. To play at Arrowhead can be a difficult task even for the Patriots. It should reach a peak level for the biggest game played in the history of Arrowhead Stadium.
Tom Brady is a master at drawing opponents offsides with his snap counts. We need to take that out of the game plan every time Brady is ready to roll. Kansas City fans need to go crazy with every Patriots offensive snap.
If the commissioner said the game was going to be played on I-70 at 2 a.m., the players, coaches and fans would be there ready to ROLL! Terry Bradshaw, the four-time Super Bowl Champion once said, “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.”
• Eastern Jackson County lost a great high school sports leader when former William Chrisman coach Billie Wilson passed away. She was one of the first leaders in girls sports in the area. She was a mentor to many athletes, both girls and boys. Coach Wilson was tough but fair and everyone who knew her respected her. RIP!
• My quote of the week comes from Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Chris Schenkel: “In 30 years of sports broadcasting, I’ve seen hundreds of winners and winning teams from Olympic gold medalists to professional and college champions. And every winner I’ve seen has been the master in a competitive situation, committed to beating the competition. Every winner was determined to succeed, to excel, and to enjoy every minute of glory. They have all learned that winning is more fun than losing. Winning is the foundation of greatness – our investment in our future.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.