The Defense!!!!!


JOSE FAUS SPORTS “The Autumn Wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea, With a rollicking song, he sweeps along, Swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten. He wears a hooded sash, With a silver hat about his head, And a bristling black mustache. He growls as he storms the country, A villain big and bold. And the trees all shake and quiver and quake, As he robs them of their gold. The Autumn Wind is a Raider, Pillaging just for fun. He’ll knock you ‘round and upside down, And laugh when he’s conquered and won.” I’ve always resented this poem. I think it’s because when one talks about bad ass teams someone always lists the Raiders as the most fearsome football team there is. A mystique attaches that reality often belies. Take this last weekend for example, please! The Kansas City Chiefs visited Las Vegas with one purpose in mind. Kansas City is a team looking to find its mojo in the worst sort of way, and there is nothing like an old rival to bring out the best in them. For one Sunday afternoon that is exactly what happened. The score, 41-14 in favor of the visitors, indicates the game was closer than it was. (Not really close at all, just poking fun at Raider nation.) There was none of the blustery wind blowing in from the sea, with a boisterous swagger. Nope, not a hint of moist salt air out there in the middle of the desert. There were no pirates with their peg legs and parrots on their shoulders stirring fear and shivers with their bad breath driven arghs! No, the trees did not shake and quiver and quake. The only boisterous swagger to be found was in the visitors’ dressing room. The stadium, a recent “state of the art” build, was stiff, much as the Raiders were. Don’t get me wrong. The stadium looked spiffy. Would not mind playing there someday if I were a professional football player. All that aside, the stadium appeared lifeless at times if you were a Raiders fan. It was great for Chiefs fans, and there appeared to be a lot of them. That’s what happens when you make Sin City your home base. Everyone wants a reason to go to Vegas. Outside of getting married and piling up a bunch of secrets, following your team to the desert is just as good as any of the other two reasons to visit. Nope, this was not the Raiders’ day. It was a blessing for the Chiefs as they took their struggling season to the dry desert air in search of the tonic that will rebuild a team headed dangerously south. I’m not going to put too much stock on this because there is so much football yet to play, but the Chiefs are in first place in the west. Who would have thought this was a possibility just three weeks ago. The Chiefs have been on a roll and now boast a 6-4 record and sit atop the AFC Western Conference. Yes, some say this has come against weak opposition. But hey, you play who is on the schedule. And how sweet was that victory? I can’t really complain except to point out that they need to keep their act going. The Dallas Cowboys come to town this Sunday and they bring one of those faux appellations that drive me up a wall. I can’t recall when I first heard the phrase “America’s team.” I remember thinking then and even now, “Who the hell is afraid of America’s team?” I found it an obnoxious erasing of my participation. My team was not America’s team. And what qualified this to be America’s team outside of some clever marketing ploy? I’ve always thought it an imposition I had to tolerate. I root when they lose and just chalk it up to the feelings that sports engenders. The Cowboys were flying high till a visit from the bucking Denver Broncos smacked them in their rear with a 30-16 drubbing that snapped their six-game winning streak. Last week they hosted the mighty Atlanta Falcons (sarcasm) and in typical soap opera fashion rebounded by spanking the Falcons 43-3. The headline says it all when it comes to the NFL marketing machine. “After embarrassing loss to Broncos, Cowboys show Super Bowl contender credentials by bouncing back against falcons.” Honestly, there are so many teams with Super Bowl credentials that one ought to consider calling NFL security to check them. But that is the state of the game nowadays. It may well go down to the wire for many slots this year. The Chiefs can take a big step forward by winning this week. It won’t be easy but losing is not easy either and this team is showing they are averse to losing. I don’t see the Cowboys as better than the Chiefs. That will be decided on the field. Mojo is a fickle thing. It’s tough when you lose it, and makes you giddy when you find it, but it’s hard to keep around. You need a dose of reality. The Chiefs woes this year are that reality check. Keep the mojo going, but I would add to Satchel Paige’s wise words, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you,” the past is in the rearview mirror and objects can appear closer than they seem. It’s time to put some distance on that past.