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The Third World

Posted Oct 7, 2010

Three separate worlds are colliding as the Chiefs enter Sunday

Following this Chiefs team is truly a different experience. Based on where you go, this is a team living in the middle of two different worlds; actually three. There’s the world outside of Arrowhead, which is divided, and then there is the world that resides inside of Arrowhead.

Outside of Arrowhead the opinion is split. You have your believers, and you have your non-believers. Honestly, both sides can argue their points with validity. The division of fans simply depends on what each has seen with their own eyes to date. Plenty of close friends argue daily about each point of view.

To each his own; that’s what sports are all about. This is part of the entertainment.

Those who have bought into the Chiefs hot start are frustrated with the lack of national notoriety that the team is getting. Trust me, we’ve heard you.

This group is sick of hearing “football experts” act “surprised” with the Chiefs being the NFL’s lone unbeaten team. The lack of respect just doesn’t make sense to this segment of fans. These are the same “experts” that picked both San Diego and San Francisco to win their respective divisions, but when the Chiefs beat both teams it’s still not enough.

F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N

This group is frustrated that the national storyline isn’t about the Chiefs success, but rather why the Chiefs specific opponent is struggling so badly. They fear that more of the same will come if the Chiefs beat Indy this weekend. Will the national storyline talk about the rise of the Chiefs, or will it be about the struggle of the Colts? The latter is assumed.

Then, of course, there are the doubters. This is the football world that, at best, is cautiously optimistic about the Chiefs 3-0 start. In short summary, these folks want to see more. Three seasons of losing isn’t wiped away by three-straight victories to open 2010. They’re thinking about believing, some whole-heartedly want to believe, but they’re holding out for one more weekend at an absolute minimum.

These are the people that want to see how the Chiefs fare against a measuring stick of league success; a team with the best quarterback in football (arguably). If you’re in this boat, that’s fine too. It’s completely understandable.

Either way Chiefs fans are incredibly pumped about this weekend’s game. This is a city ready to explode if the Chiefs can beat Indianapolis. This weekend’s game is water-cooler talk, adult softball chatter and lunch break fodder all rolled into one. People are seeking validation, and this weekend presents an opportunity.

People remember the playoff losses, and they don’t need to be reminded about the horrendous record against Indianapolis since the beginning of the Marty Ball Era. This Sunday, no matter where you stand, this is a Sunday that represents opportunity for the Chiefs to take that next step.

That’s the world outside of Arrowhead. Then, of course, there’s the world inside Arrowhead. This is the third world. This is where the guys that factor into Sunday’s game physically reside.

Inside Arrowhead, players and coaches can feel the excitement of the outside worlds. They understand that the fan base is ready to go all-in with the future of the organization. At the same time, the words uttered on national broadcasts have to be ignored, especially while watching games during a relaxing bye weekend.

“It doesn’t affect me one way or the other,” Haley said. “I think that my focus has been, will continue to be us, the Kansas City Chiefs, trying to make improvement, a little bit of improvement every day and that’s what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to get all these guys to understand is important.”

Regardless, the world inside Arrowhead is constantly asked about those opinions that reside in the outside world. Todd Haley has been asked repeatedly about this Sunday being “measuring stick” or a “benchmark” game. Come to think of it, those same things were asked prior to kickoff against San Diego on Monday Night Football.

The players are all asked the same things as well. For a team with such high numbers of young, impact players, these can be the things that derail and distract. This is why the Chiefs are also built with players like Casey Wiegmann, Thomas Jones, Mike Vrabel and Brian Waters. Relatively no NFL experience has gone un-experienced between those four veterans.

“To be honest with you, I don’t’ want to put too much on this game,” Waters said. “Every game is important to us, and it’s important that, as a football team, we learn to be able to have consistency. I think that if you start to make those ‘we’ll see what type of team we are’ games…you just can’t do it.

“It’s too difficult,” Waters continued. “You have to come back the very next week against Houston, a team that is just as good, and you have to come back the next week against team that just beat (Indianapolis). So if you start doing that, you start going on an emotional roller coaster. I think that the key to being a good football team is to prepare for each team the same, with the same work ethic. As the season goes, things will get more important.”

Win or lose, people want to draw conclusions about this team. That’s just where the Chiefs currently reside; right in between two worlds. Three separate worlds are colliding as the Chiefs enter Sunday.

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