The Chiefs have never opened a season on Monday Night Football; neither at home nor on the road. Tonight represents a historic evening packed with excitement and emotions. This is more than just a start to an NFL season, it’s about so much more; the opening of a new stadium, kicking off the next 50 years in franchise history and going up against the measuring stick of recent AFC West success.
It’s hard to push forward in a “business as usual” fashion during these exciting times, but that is exactly what the Chiefs have tried to do this week.
Outside of moving a few practices to Arrowhead Stadium, head coach Todd Haley stayed on course the same way he has since training camp began seven weeks ago. The preparations taken to play tonight’s game haven’t changed and, from a football perspective, Monday Night Football is just another step in the building process that began prior to the 2009 season.
For the head coach, tonight’s game is just the first in the first quarter of the season. He knows that the game carries a bigger impact on the surrounding community than any he’s been a part of as Kansas City’s head coach, but that isn’t something that Haley carried with him into preparation for the Chargers.
“I’m very excited about the Monday night game,” Haley said. “I know the guys are. I know all of Kansas City is and I’m just expecting a great turnout from our great fan base and an enthusiastic turnout, which can only help the Kansas City Chiefs in our efforts here to get the season started in the right way.
“Monday Night Football has always been a special, special thing to anybody that’s enjoyed football over there life and it’s no different for me,” Haley continued.
This Monday night contest will give the Chiefs an idea of how far they’ve come, and where they currently stand, after an off-season that Haley feels yielded great progress. San Diego is the winner of the last four AFC West titles and is the current king of the division until someone is able to dethrone them.
San Diego has also won 11 consecutive regular season games and outscored the Chiefs 80-21 last season.
“What is important is this is a division opponent, it’s the team that’s been the best in the division for the last four years running and this is a real good opportunity for us, the Kansas City Chiefs, our team to go out under the lights on a pretty big stage and just see exactly where we are at this point,” Haley said.
Tonight’s game will not define the Chiefs 2010 season, though it will give us a good look at what to expect out of the Chiefs this year. After all the fireworks have cleared and the chills have ended, the team that plays better will be the one sitting atop the AFC West on Tuesday morning.
“You want to start fast, you want to be good fast, you want everything to happen a lot faster than it ever does, generally speaking, and I think the important thing is to stay focused on that fact that we’re just going to keep working, keep trying to get a little bit better each day, knowing that the result of this game cannot affect us one way or the other too much,” Haley said. “If it does then it won’t be good for us as a team, that’s regardless of the result, that’s regardless of a big win, close win, close loss, big loss.”
It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs respond after a full offseason under Haley.