Decisions...decisions… Chiefs or World Cup

I totally spaced the games


This was one of the strangest sports weekends I can recall. I could not decide at times between watching futbol or football. What made it difficult was the truth that the World Cup is my March Madness, NBA playoffs, Superbowl and World Series all in one. I wait for the four years that it takes for the Cup to come around and rarely am I disappointed. A consequence of that fanaticism is the things that seem so important become business as usual. That is the case with the Chiefs 26-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

I watched so much quality futbol since the Cup started that the Chiefs game was almost a letdown. I totally spaced the game started at noon and just happened to get home in time to see a notice on my computer advising me it was starting. I watched from the beginning but emotionally I was disconnected. I followed the action though and eventually got caught up in the pageantry and narratives of it. I love this team and it doesn’t take long to reengage.

Still the game had a sleepwalking feel to it. Even with the fumble by Skye Moore on a kick there was never a sense of urgency. There was no doubt the Chiefs would win this game. A third-string quarterback at the helm of an underachieving Rams offense did not elicit any sense of doom on my part. The Rams’ defense is the real deal, no mistake about that, but even then I had a feeling the Chiefs would move the ball well and they did.

I’m not going to worry about the absence of points in the redzone. Sometimes that happens. A penalty here, a dropped ball there, and a third-down play just short and before you know you are settling for threes. The good thing was the Chiefs were very familiar with the red zone. They could have built an apartment there. They were there that often. Next time they can build a pool and score.

That will be the test this week against a resurgent Cincinnati Bengals who should be healthy enough to bring their A game. This is an important game. The Chiefs need to rinse that bad taste from last year’s AFC championship game. And the indications are they are playing well enough to be able to put up the points and this time protect and expand the lead. I’m not being naive in my assessment. I think they are playing very well on all sides of the game, and they are slowly but surely building consistency and confidence.

The defense, led by Chris Jones, is making plays at the right times and I expect they will continue that against the Bengals. Jones continues to grow in my estimation as one of the best impact players, the man is a beast when he must be and that is happening often, and that spirit is animating the rest of the defense.

Rookies and veterans are contributing in such a complimentary way that the chemistry is breaming. The team has a sense of inevitability to it this year much like the team that went to the Superbowl and won it against the 49ers. Isaih Pacheco is a brute when he runs. The man must run full speed in his sleep if the way he responds after every carry is any indication. He is finding some nice holes in his bursts into the line. I wish for more patience from him, but he is producing enough to make an impact on the way defenses play.

The speed of the linebackers is a joy to watch. The linebacking corps is quietly becoming a very strong unit. Hats off to Nick Bolton and Willie Gay, and while we are at it to Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlop. They are making plays. And George Karlaftis got his first sack reward for a motor that just won’t stop. I still believe the whole team deserves a game ball, game after game and I have not mentioned the play of the defensive backs. I’m loving this team and this season is proving to be a joy.

I’m not delusional though. I respect the Broncos and the Raiders enough to know they can step up on any given Sunday and manhandle the Chiefs. They have done that before. I don’t expect that but also realize that all teams, as much as I may dislike them, are full of professionals that are also proud of their work. The Bronco’s offensive problems are a nice thing to see but that is still a proud franchise.

The casual way in which I took the game this weekend does not mean that this is the way I will treat the rest of the games. This is more of a reflection of a fanatical bent that has let me see every World Cup game since the tournament started. And speaking of the tournament, it’s only appropriate to point out that World Cup fever has hit the local area as well.

Viewing parties at Power and Light district have been featured in broadcasts from Qatar showing the support and engagement of local fans with the beautiful game. Also let’s not forget Kansas City will be host city in four years to first round games for the next World Cup. This is a big deal.