Tag Archives: Kansas City Chiefs

2017 NFL Rookie Most Likely to…

The 2017 NFL Draft Class was full of star power and several of those members will light up the League real soon. Photo Credit: ESPN.com

The dawn of the 2017 NFL Season has arrived and a new crop of college stars are preparing to make their mark in pro football.

Teams put a premium on defense this past draft. 131 defensive players were selected to 118 offensive. 34 of those players were cornerbacks, the most of any single position, 5 in the first round. If you combine the 3 Safeties, defensive back was the most selected unit in the draft. In all 67 defensive backs were picked in 2017.

I’ve done this exercise the two previous seasons and I’ve hit on some already, some are close to happening, and I’ve missed VERY BADLY on one. My apologies to my fellow Ohio State Alum Joey Bosa.

As with any draft in every sport, the situation you’re drafted to is more important than when you’re selected. It’s fun and difficult to predict how these guys will affect their team’s success or failures. So, here’s how I see several of this year’s crop of rookies careers panning out.

Most likely to lead the NFL in passing yards…. Patrick Mahomes (10th overall pick/Kansas City Chiefs). Andy Reid and his staff moved up to select the Texas Tech QB. Everyone knows the Red Raiders offense is a hyper passing scheme that tends to lead to video game numbers that doesn’t necessarily transition to the NFL. But, Mahomes should be different because he’s no “check down Charlie” like current Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Mahomes has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and Reid, a west coast offense guy, who’s called plays for Donovan McNabb when the Philadelphia Eagles went to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl, Brett Favre when he won three consecutive NFL MVPs and Michael Vick when he revived his career after a stint in prison. Mahomes has a real QB whisperer in his ear.

Most likely to lead the league in rushing yards…. Leonard Fournette (4th overall pick/Jacksonville Jaguars). He will play with a quarterback, in Blake Bortles, that has led the league in turnovers with 63 since entering the League in 2014. Bortles struggled to hold on to the starting job in the preseason, with Coach Marrone going as far to say he preferred to not have Blake pass the ball.

The Jags coaching staff already believes in smash mouth defense and a ball control offense.  In 2016 the Jags running game averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which was 17th in the NFL, and 101.9 yards per game that was 22nd. Fournette alone will improve those numbers. He’ll have to if Bortles can’t shake the yips.

Most likely to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs… Taywon Taylor (3rd round, 72nd pick/Titans). The ball is like a magnet to his hands. During his senior season with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers he broke and set the school’s single season record for receptions and yards with 98 catches for 1,730 yards to go along with 17 TDs. He finished his career with a school record 253 catches for 4,234 yards and 41 TDs.

The Titans have a strong running game with DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Marcus Marriota running the read-option. What they need is a threat in the passing game and Taylor will provide just that.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks… T.J. Watt (30th overall pick/Pittsburgh Steelers). First reason, it is in his blood lines. He’s a Watt. Second, he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 3-4 scheme that is only successful when it’s LBs blitz the QB. He got his first sack on Pittsburgh’s first defensive trip on the field in their first preseason game, he followed that up with another sack on the first play of their second defensive drive. At Wisconsin he collected 11.5 sacks in the 27 games he played. It’s what he does. Third, he’ll have the likes of Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt occupying offensive linemen to allow him to get free, plus with Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Bud Dupree playing alongside him, offenses won’t be scheming to stop Watt. Initially.

Most likely to lead the NFL in turnovers… Deshone Kizer (2nd round, Pick 52nd/Cleveland Browns). This organization has been snake bitten at the quarterback position since they returned to the League in 1999. Nearly 30 have started a game for the Browns in the last 18 seasons.

Cleveland is in the midst of a fire sale and don’t have much around Kizer at the skills positions. Their leading receiver from 2016, Terrelle Pryor, is in Washington and their second leading receiver, tight end Gary Barnidge, is still on the free agent market. The current leading receiver from 2016 is running back Duke Johnson Junior who had 52 catches for 514 yards.

Coach Hue Jackson has made the decision to start Kizer week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Therefore his growing pains are going to start early and he may very well have to shoulder the entire offense load. That’s not a good thing. Cleveland’s coaching staff and management is willing to suffer through his development, while investing in his future. He may fulfill this prediction of mine in season number one.

He will have to rely on guys who may not be on the roster next season as the team goes through a rebuilding period. It’s safe to say the turnovers will pile up, even it they aren’t entirely his fault.

Most likely to lead the League in interceptions (takeaways)…. Tre’Davious White (27th overall pick/Buffalo Bills). He hails from DBU better known as LSU, the same school that brought the NFL Patrick Petersen, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne to name a few. The Bills still have a strong front seven that will put pressure on opposing QBs causing them to force some passes where they shouldn’t. Plus he plays in the AFC East where outside of Tom Brady, the quarterback play is VERY shoddy.

Most likely to be Offensive Rookie of the Year…. Christian McCaffrey (8th overall pick/Carolina Panthers). The Carolina Panthers will be attempting to lessen the workload on Cam Newton after his off-season shoulder surgery. Thus, they drafted McCaffrey in the first round to make use of his versatility. The Stanford alum is an all-purpose back that can contribute in the running, passing and return game. He’s going to get the most opportunities of any offensive player in this draft class.

Most likely to be Defensive Player of the Year…

Linebackers and defensive ends have dominated this award. Basically, pass rushers. The guy I really like is San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster out of Alabama (31st overall pick/San Francisco 49ers). He never should have fallen this far, but, character issues hurt him.

The Niners used their two first round picks on defense (DT Solomon Thomas 3rd overall pick). While everyone is expecting new Head Coach Kyle Shanahan to rev up the offense, the San Fran D has drastically declined since the days competing with Seattle for the NFC West crown under Jim Harbaugh. Foster will rack up the tackles on a team that was the 32nd ranked defense last season. If he has the numbers and as a unit they continue to climb to a top ten team, many voters will point to him as the catalyst.

Most likely to be steal of the draft… Jake Butt (5th round, 145th pick/Denver Broncos) a nasty knee injury in Michigan’s bowl game is the reason he fell this far. Coming into the 2016 College football season, he was a projected first round pick. It was between him and Alabama’s O.J. Howard, who was selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as to which was the better all-around tight end.

Denver has young QBs who will need a safety blanket in the middle of the field. He will be that. Plus, he will draw lots of one-on-one coverage with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders stretching defenses out deep down field.

Most likely to be a perennial All-Pro…. Ryan Ramczyk (32nd overall pick/New Orleans Saints)He comes from Wisconsin where they churn out as many All-Pro offensive linemen as the state does butter. Not really, but you get it. Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns, Travis Frederick of the Dallas Cowboys and Kraig Urbik of the Miami Dolphins to name a few.

Ramczyk will be charged with keeping Drew Brees up right so he can continue to pass for 5,000+ yards a season. One of the easiest ways to make an All-Pro team is to block for a QB that puts up historic numbers or a RB that is a top five rusher

Most likely to be NFL MVP…. Only six non-QBs have won the award in the last twenty seasons. The six players were running backs and one of them (Barry Sanders, 1997) shared it with Brett Favre. Therefore it’s not going out on a limb for me to predict a QB from the 2017 class will one day etch their name on the trophy.

With that being said, I’m going with DeShaun Watson (12th overall pick/Houston Texans). He’s a better version of Dak Prescott. No disrespect to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and reigning Offensive Player of the Year. But, Watson has the same intangibles to lead a team and a better skill set. He’s shown it on the biggest stage in back-to-back National Championship games against a vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide team. His college coach Dabo Sweeney said he has some “Michael Jordan in him.” It’s hard to disagree after what we’ve already seen. The Texans are tailor-made for him to step in and lead them to glory.

Most likely to be Super Bowl MVP… Once again I’m going with DeShaun Watson. He has the number one ranked defense. The only thing that has been missing from the Houston Texans over the last three seasons has been a competent QB. Watson is more than competent and very capable of leading a team as he showed in college at Clemson. He’s a big gamer and his abilities will be even more amplified by a coach that’s already work with arguably the greatest QB of All-Time, Tom Brady.

 

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Steelers Revenge Tour is on to New England

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Chris Boswell set an NFL record six made FGs in Pittsburgh’s 18-16 win at Kansas City. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, all anybody wants to talk about is the Killer B’s of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Go ahead and add another B, kicker Chris Boswell. Without his NFL postseason record 6 made field goals, Pittsburgh’s season is over.

He was the difference as the Steelers pulled out the win 18-16 without scoring a touchdown. The first team to do that since the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, who went on to win Super Bowl XLI. By the way, that team also played the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

But back to the Steelers and Sunday night. Pittsburgh dominated Kansas City, especially the much maligned defensive unit. Who would’ve thought back in October, that the Steelers defensive would win them a gutsy playoff game?

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Ryan Shazier and Mike Mitchell led a dominate Steelers defensive performance. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The 11th youngest unit in the NFL, held the Chiefs to 227 total yards (166, passing, 61 rushing). In the first half they allowed 7 first downs, and a total 106 yards (20 rushing, 86 passing). 55 of those yards came on the six play 3:29 minute drive that led to the first opening drive touchdown the Steelers have given up all season, regular or postseason. They were the only team in the NFL to not allow one.

The only time Keith Butler’s unit looked overmatched was on Kansas City’s first offensive possession. And that came after kicking short to avoid Tyreek Hill’s explosive return ability, and allowed Kansas City to return it to their own 45-yard line.

From that moment on, they were on fire, forcing two turnovers (interception, fumble), allowing only 4.6 yards per play and holding the Chiefs to 2-9 on 3rd down. Kansas City looked frustrated and discombobulated all night. Travis Kelce, who many are calling the second best tight end in the game, had 5 catches for 77 yards. Zero touchdowns. Tyreek Hill who has had a breakout rookie season only had 3 rushes for 18 yards and 4 catches for 27 yards. Zero touchdowns. They both scored in the 29-point blowout loss in week four.

The magic number for Pittsburgh is 20. They’re now 10-0 when not allowing teams to surpass that mark.

The offensive stats look similar to the 43-14 week four blowout in Heinz Field, except for the only numbers that count. The ones on the scoreboard. Bell followed up his record setting first playoff game by passing himself in the record books and set a new franchise postseason rushing record with 170 yards on 30 carries. Brown caught 6 passes for 108 yards, and Roethlisberger was 20 for 31 and 224 yards, but a huge pick in the red zone that could’ve changed the way the Chiefs had to play their final possession, had the Steelers turned that possession into any points. On the night they were 0-4 in the red zone.

My main issue in this game was the lack of running the ball in the red zone. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley appeared to fall in love with the passing game too much. For example, after Roethlisberger hit Brown on a 52-yard pass play on their second possession, Bell didn’t touch the ball once inside the Kansas City 25-yard line. They had several opportunities like that in the half to possibly rip Kansas City’s heart out and save Steelers Nations hearts from the late game tension.

The defense is finally playing close to par with the offense. Defense and running games travel, regardless of the weather. If they can put it all together at the same time in the next sixty minutes, they’ll been on their way to Houston and one step closer to holding Lombardi number seven.

The revenge tour now moves on to Foxborough, Massachusetts to face the New England Patriots. The Roethlisberger-less Steelers loss to the Brady Bunch 27-16 back on October 23rd in Heinz Field. The Pats have also beaten the Steelers the last two times they’ve met up in the AFC Championship Game. Both of those games were in Pittsburgh. Time for payback. Kickoff is set for 6:40 next Sunday.

EXTRA POINTS 

  • With his only sack of the night, James Harrison tied Lamarr Woodley for the most sacks (11) in Steelers postseason history. It was also his 4th consecutive playoff game with a sack.
  • Le’Veon Bell is the first Steelers play to rush for 100 yards or more in the first half of a playoff game. He also now has the record for most rushing yards in his first two postseason games.
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Le’Veon Bell’s 337 rushing yards is the most in NFL postseason history for a player’s first two game. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

  • Antonio Brown earned his 4th consecutive 100+ yard receiving game in the playoffs tying him with Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald for the most in NFL history.

 

Redemption and Domination in the 412

Coach Tomlin called Sunday night’s game “Redemption Sunday”, his team responded in a big way. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

“During this particular course of the journey, you have an opportunity to learn about yourself in terms of how you respond to adversity.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after last week’s 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

What I think we all learned is, that in the words of the late Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green, “the Steelers are who we though they were” when many predicted they would have the most explosive offense in the NFL and earn a trip to the Super Bowl 51 in Houston this coming February.

Just like last week’s first quarter set the horrific tone for the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, this week’s first quarter was a complete 180 in the Steelers favor. Pittsburgh got out to a 22 point lead thanks to the much maligned defense creating 2 first quarter turnovers (1 fumble, 1 interception), that led to 15 points, while also forcing Kansas City to punt 3 times. That is why I have to give a game ball to defensive coordinator Keith Butler. I didn’t see that “bend, but don’t break” mentality Sunday night when the game still mattered. Butler’s unit pressure the quarterback throughout the night and held the Chiefs without a point for 49:49. For the game, they sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith 3 times, all by defensive end Cam Heyward. The defense only had 1 sack coming into the game. Kansas City gained 357 yards (270 passing, 87 rushing) for the game. But, through 3 quarters when the dogs were still hunting, it was 25 rushing yards and 228 passing yards.

My other game ball goes to offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Haley countered the Chiefs aggressive defensive by being aggressive himself attacking them down field, especially last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marcus Peters, who currently leads the league in interceptions (4). On the Steelers 1st offensive play of the game, Ben Roethlisberger went up top to Sammie Coates for a 47 yard gain, his 5th catch of over 40 yards already this season. “Lethal Weapon 7” was 7 of 9 for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first 15. At one point he had thrown 3 consecutive passes for touchdowns. Haley and the offensive stayed aggressive the rest of the game. At the half Roethlisberger was 14 of 17 for 210 yards and 4 touchdowns and finished the night 22 of 27 for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. Roethlisberger looked inspired to top Atlanta Falcons quarterback, and reigning NFL Player of the Month, Matt Ryan’s big day (503 passing yds, 4 TDs).

The Steelers offense had a little extra “Juice” in the lineup that aided their bounce back 43-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

I can’t leave out Le’Veon Bell who returned to the field in explosive fashion running for 144 yards on 18 carries, for the most in the NFL this weekend, while also adding 34 receiving yards on 5 catches. The team got much needed “Juice” scoring 43 points while gaining 436 total yards (287 passing, 149 rushing).

My last game ball goes to Cam Heyward who had 3 sacks to go along with 6 tackles (6 solo). He also batted the pass that was intercepted and returned by linebacker Jarvis Jones setting the Steelers offense up inside Chiefs 5 yard line.

The redemption wasn’t just about the loss last Sunday to the Eagles. Last season the Chiefs dominated the Steelers in Arrowhead Stadium (23-13) without Roethlisberger, who was nursing a knee injury. Beating a 2015 playoff team this way is the type of deodorant Pittsburgh needed to wash away the stink of getting housed by a rookie QB, from division I-AA, who was expected to redshirt this season. I’m not going to overreact and say this game was a must win, but coming off last week’s beatdown, the Steelers played with a hint of desperation and dare I say NEEDED this win if they truly want to be the Super Bowl contenders they and many believe they are. They couldn’t finish the first quarter of the season, 2-2 and expect to keep up with the Denver Broncos (4-0), New England Patriots (3-1), and the Baltimore Ravens (3-1) for a chance at home field advantage in the playoffs and the AFC North title.

Next up for the Steelers, the New York Jets (2-2) at Heinz Field.

OTHER NOTES:

Roethlisberger has now won his last 4 starts against Kansas City. With his 31-yard touchdown in the 1st quarter (7:27) to Darius Heyward-Bey, he has now thrown a TD pass in 40 straight home games, the 2nd longest streak in NFL history. He also now has 5 straight home games with 3+ touchdown passes and, six times now he’s thrown 3+ TDs in a quarter, which is 5th most in NFL history and he surpassed the 300 passing yards mark for the 47th time in his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs Mt. Rushmore

Arrowhead Stadium has been recognized by the Guinness World Record book for being “the loudest outdoor stadium in the world.” Photo Credit: Chiefs.com

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the charter AFL teams, when they were the Dallas Texans. In their 55 seasons, they’ve won 3 AFL Championships, 1 Super Bowl (IV), 8 Division titles, and made the playoffs 18 times (3 in the last 6 seasons).

Kansas City has one of the most rabid fans bases. Chiefs fans have helped the team have the 2nd highest attendance rate over the last decade, despite being in the sixth smallest media market amongst NFL teams. Those fans have helped make Arrowhead the loudest outdoor stadium in the world, accruing to the Guinness World Records. And several former Chiefs they have cheered on, also have some very impressive records. The following four are the ones I’ve chosen to be on Kansas City’s Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Len Dawson (1962-1975) played 19 seasons in the NFL, but his most notable years came with this franchise. He is the team’s career leader in wins (93), passing yards (28,507) and touchdown passes (237). Dawson won 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969) and Super Bowl IV, taking home the games’ MVP award. Dawson is a 6-time AFL All-Star, Pro Bowl and 4-time All-AFL selection, and he won the AFL MVP in 1962.

Tony Gonzalez (1997-2008) arguably the greatest tight end in Pro Football history, is the Chiefs all-time leader in catches (916), receiving yards (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and holds several team records. As a 10-time Pro Bowl and 9-time All-Pro Selection in his time in Kansas City, before moving on to Atlanta for his final four seasons, Gonzalez holds twenty-five NFL records. He is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and is the first tight end to ever catch 1,000 passes, have the most pro bowl selections by a tight end, and is 2nd all-time in receptions, 5th all-time in receiving yards, and 6th all-time in receiving touchdowns. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 45th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.

Derrick Thomas (1989-1999) was a sack artist and the most feared pass rusher in the NFL during his 11-year career. Thomas is the Chiefs all-time sack leader (126.5), 1st in recovered fumbles for touchdowns (4), safeties (3), forced fumbles (41), fumbles recovered (19), and 3rd in total tackles (601). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 6-time All-Pro selection is a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He holds the NFL single game record for sacks (7). The Chiefs retired his jersey number 58, and he was posthumously elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Hank Stram (1960-1974) is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching victories (124) and led them to 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969), the most in AFL history, and their only Super Bowl victory (IV). Stram is the first coach in the team’s history going back to when they were the Dallas Texans, before moving to Kansas City in 1963. Coach Stram never used an offensive/defensive coordinator or special teams coach in his time on the sideline. The 1968 AFL Coach of the Year winner is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

There you have it, “Chiefs Kingdom.” Let me know what you think.

Steelers 2013: Bad Start, Better Finish

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Steelers finished 2013 like Steelers. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com

The Steelers 2013 season was definitely a roller coaster. There was a four game losing streak, two three game winning streaks, key injuries to Pro Bowl performers and several good and bad records broken. Pittsburgh ended the 2013 without a trip to the playoffs–if the Refs were paying attention in that KC-SD game, they would be–but finished in a fashion the faithful in Steeler Nation are used to.

In their last 4 games they went 3-1, a far cry from the 0-4 start to the season. The offense moved the ball gaining an average 337.5 total yards per game–251.1 via the pass for 12th in the NFL–and finished with an average of 23.7 Points a game. Nearly a two touchdown improvement on the 10.6 they begin the season with.

Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell proved he could carry the load as the teams featured runner. After missing the first three games of the season, he gained 1,259 yards from scrimmage–860 of them on the ground–breaking the rookie record once held by Hall Of Famer Franco Harris.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked more and more like the guy who has two Super Bowl rings and pretty much all of the franchises passing records. For the season, Big Ben passed for 4,261 yards, 28 touchdowns on a 64.2 percent completion rate. More importantly he played and started in all 16 games. The last time he did that was during the 2008 season when Pittsburgh went on to win Super Bowl XLIII.

The defense even stepped up down the stretch to finish with the 11th ranked overall defense, 8th in the pass. Not bad for an aging defense, but still not enough to contend for Super Bowls. They allowed an average of 23.1 points per game and 337.2 yards per game on the season. In three of their last four games, they gave up 34, 31 and 20 points.

Back to my point about they should be in the playoffs. Kansas City Chief kicker Ryan Succup missed a 41 yard field goal with 6 seconds left in the 4th quarter that could have beaten the San Diego Chargers and propelled the Steelers into the 6th seed.

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Chargers should’ve been flagged for illegal formation. Photo Courtesy: USA Today

On the play, the Chargers lined up 7 guys on the right side of the center, which is an illegal formation. Kansas City should’ve been given another chance to kick and possibly win the game. Then in Overtime, the Kansas City Defense stopped Eric Weddle on a fake punt and returned it for a touchdown, which should’ve given the Chiefs the victory. But, the Refs said Weddle’s forward progress was stopped, thus the play was dead.

In the end, had Pittsburgh taken care of their business during the regular season, they wouldn’t have been in position to fall victim to the Refs mistakes in the Chief-Charger game. Message now received. The way the Steelers ended the season, I expect them to come back strong in 2014. Management has some big decision to make, I’ll have more on that later this week.

Kansas City Redemption

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Reid and Smith lead the Kansas City Redemption. (Courtesy:USATSI)

Andy Reid and Alex Smith were cast aside by their former teams, now they’ve joined together to write their own redemption song—turning a 2-14 team into a Super Bowl Contender in less then 10 months.

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Alex Smith spent seven up and down years in a San Francisco 49er uniform. He fought off nagging injuries, several veteran backup QB acquisitions and a revolving door of Head Coaches and Offensive Coordinators, only to be replaced when he was finally settling in and proving himself worthy of being drafted #1 overall in 2005.

Andy Reid spent fourteen up and down season as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles—one of those included a Super Bowl appearance and four NFC Championship game loses—while dealing with a testy fan base that wanted him gone after every NFC Championship loss, injuries to his franchise QB Donovan McNabb, criticism of his lack of a more physical running game and defensive philosophy—oh and Terrell Owens—only to be released during one of the most difficult times of his life.

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2012 was Reid’s most challenged season as he mourned his son’s death. (Courtesy: Mel Evans/AP)

Last season, Reid’s son Garrett was found dead during the Philadelphia Eagles 2012 training camp. I’m not a parent, but I’ve been told that every parent’s worse nightmare is to out live their child. So when that happened, one could imagine that football was the last thing on Andy Reid’s mind during the season. The Eagles finished the season 4-12, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. From 1999 to 2012, Reid led Philadelphia to 130 wins. It still wasn’t enough to stave off the chants of those who said it was time for a new voice in the locker room. It even seemed like in the final weeks of the season, Reid accepted it was time to move on too.

Less traumatic for Alex Smith, he suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 season and was Wally Pipp’ed by Colin Kaepernick. This after leading the 49ers to within a muffed punt return of the Super Bowl in the 2012 playoffs, and starting the following season posting career best numbers. By the way, San Francisco was 6-2 at the time of his Injury.

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Smith supported Kaepernick, even when he knew his time in San Francisco was over. (Courtesy: AP)

His record (38-36-1) and average stats (59.3% completion, 81 TDs to 63 Ints )—in addition to Kaepernick’s potential—are ultimately what made Coach Jim Harbaugh and 49er management feel comfortable moving on without him.

Smith, like Reid during his painful struggle, handled the benching with grace. He said and did all the right things while helping his replacement. That is why so many are rooting for his redemption and Reid as well. In the offseason, both men were notified their services were no longer needed. Reid was released, Smith later traded to Kansas City, when Reid got the job. Reid wanted Smith, which makes this redemption story even sweeter.

The problem with Smith in San Francisco was, he was always the other regime’s guy. Making matters worse, he was chosen over Aaron Rogers as the Niners contemplated picking him instead.

Smith is now Andy Reid’s guy, and he’s proving to be a good choice. In Kansas City he’s playing for a team that is similarly built to the 49er one he almost lead to a Super Bowl and probably would’ve led to Super Bowl 47 had he not been benched.

The Chiefs Defense gives up only 12.3 points per game, while scoring 6 TDs (4 Ints, 2 Fumbles) for a Head Coach who has been known more for his offensive mentality, than his defense. The Chiefs’ D also leads the league in takeaways and defensive touchdowns. Meanwhile Smith is proving he is more than a game manager—(9 TDs, 1,919 yards, 4 TOs, 81.4 RTG )—a label many have negatively placed on him. Now he has Kansas City playing their best since 2000.

BUT, there has been some reservation over the undefeated start because of the competition they’ve faced—five backup quarterbacks— but it’s not their fault, they’ve just played the teams on the schedule.

Now comes their toughest test of the season. After their bye week, the Chiefs face Peyton Manning and division foe Denver Broncos (8-1) twice, followed by a match up with another talented QB in Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, twice. The rest of the schedule also gets tougher than their first nine games.

Most “experts” will predict the Broncos to beat the Chiefs for their first loss of the season. They’ll also use a loss as a way to discount their 9-0 start. BUT, what if they win? On Monday November 18th, 2013, when Kansas City is 10-0, the last undefeated team in the NFL, will they be the favorites to hold up the Lombardi Trophy at midfield of MetLife Stadium on a cold, snowy, windy early February night (hopefully) in the Tri-State area?

They should be, and judging by these two men’s pasts in the league, that will be the perfect, REDEMPTION.