There are only so many ways you can describe what making the biggest turnaround in franchise history means to an organization.
Coming off a two-win season in 2012, Kansas City Chiefs CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt brought in General Manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid that offseason. Both had a long history of success in their respective fields. That decision ultimately resulted in a nine-win improvement from 2012 to 2013, the best in franchise history.
Chiefs fans, arguably among the best in the NFL, welcomed playoff-caliber football back to Arrowhead Stadium. The atmosphere on game day reflected the play on the field as fans once again showed everyone why Arrowhead Stadium has the mystique it does, as one of the toughest places in the NFL for opposing teams to play.
Heading into the 2014 season, the expectations will continue to rise as the Chiefs look to get back to the playoffs again, where they fell short last season.
“When you have a great year, the expectations of everybody are higher and our goal this year is to build off of what we did last year,” Hunt said. “Clearly, make it back to playoffs and hopefully make it further in the playoffs than we did last year.”
The difference this year is one simply of continuity, as Reid and his staff are familiar with the majority of the players and vice versa.
“The big difference I would say that I see this year versus last year is our veterans know the drill,” Hunt said. “They know Andy Reid’s system both on offense and defense and you can see that they’re much further ahead than they were last year.”
With 151 wins in his NFL head coaching career, spanning 14 years in Philadelphia and his one season thus far in Kansas City, Reid knows what it takes to build a consistent winner.
“We weren’t good enough last year,” Reid explained. “We made some strides, but we weren’t good enough. Guys know that and they came into the offseason looking forward to getting better and the coaches, we didn’t do a good enough job there so we went back and reevaluated some things and now we get to play.
“We get to put those things to use here and see if we can’t be a better football team. That’s exciting. That’s what it’s all about.”
In the hopes of building a better football team, Hunt likes what he’s seen so far during training camp.
“I just feel that this camp only a week in at this point is just very, very efficient and they’re getting a lot of work done,” Hunt said.
One player who has been getting plenty of work in recent years is running back
Not to mention the other intangibles he brings to the table.
RELATED: Charles gives more than just numbers
Hunt acknowledged how important keeping Charles in Kansas City for the foreseeable future was to the team moving forward.
“Well, clearly, Jamaal Charles is a special player; one of the greatest players already in his young career, in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Hunt said. “We had two years left on his existing deal – the structure of the contract gave us the opportunity to approach him and get an extension.
“It was good for both parties, and naturally, he was looking for an increase in compensation, which, we felt, based on his production, was warranted.”
That production has made Charles one of the most explosive players in the NFL, and he’s on the verge of some very big records in Kansas City.
Charles is just 248 rushing yards away from becoming the Chiefs all-time leading rusher, surpassing Priest Holmes, another former University of Texas player and one of the most storied players in Chiefs history.
“It’s all about staying consistent and staying successful in this league,” Charles said. “I want to be in the hall of fame when I retire, I want to win a championship; that’s what it’s all about.”
Chiefs fans would be happy if both of those things came to fruition.
Based on Charles’ individual success, and the team as a whole last season, those expectations are warranted.
Charles, Reid and company will continue to work throughout training camp to meet the expectations of themselves, and in turn, the fans.