Another ride on the Roller Coaster


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Jan 22, 2006
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Another Ride on the Roller Coaster
Jul 28, 2006, 5:54:52 PM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

RIVER FALLS, WI – You’ll have to excuse me, but I’m a little light-headed and battling waves of nausea here in the northwoods. And no, it had nothing to do with visiting some of this ‘Burg’s nightspots either. My shadow has not crossed the doorway of the Bo’s ‘N Mine, Mel’s Midtowner, Coach’s, Emma’s, the Copper Kettle or Ground Zero.

If you are a Chiefs fan, I’m going to bet you might be feeling the same way, and it has nothing to do with the heat that has grabbed the entire country by the throat. It comes from watching the wild roller coaster being driven by some red and gold fans and the pundits who follow the team.

On Monday, they took everything to the highest of highs because the Chiefs had signed cornerback Ty Law to a contract for the 2006 season. Supposedly this is the guy; this is the savior of the Chiefs defense. Super Bowl reservations were on the to do list.

Now, on Friday came news that left tackle Willie Roaf says he’s retiring from football. That has sent the roller coaster screaming in a freefall. The season is over. The Chiefs can’t possibly win because Roaf will not be at left tackle. Honey, call and see if we can get those deposits back for February in Miami. (see Carl Peterson on Willie Roaf)

It makes your head hurt trying to follow all of this.

Let’s see if we can make this crystal clear so even page two columnists in the local fish wrap can understand:

Signing Ty Law is a good thing. If he’s healthy and motivated, he improves the Chiefs defense.
If, and that remains if, Willie Roaf retires, that’s not a good thing. Even last year, after 14 years in the league, he was one of the best-left tackles in the business. If he’s healthy and motivated, he would improve the Chiefs chances of winning.
The Chiefs did not win a championship with the signing of Law and they did not lose one with the possible retirement of Roaf.
Football is not about one player. Again, as we wrote earlier this week, the team that wins a championship is the one with the most talent that is used intelligently by its coaching staff and plays together as a team.

Nothing that has happened to date keeps the Chiefs from being the team that pulls together talent, coaching and achieves greatness. Nothing that has happened to date means the Chiefs will be that team. Herm Edwards favorite saying is that you play the game to win. The key words there are “play the game.” The Chiefs are still 0-0. To date, they have had one practice.

But Gretz, cry the pundits of panic, the great Chiefs offense is breaking up. Roaf is the first piece of the puzzle to crumble. It’s all going to “h-e-double hockey sticks in a hand-basket.”

To that I say: time and football march on. Roaf wouldn’t be the first brick to crumble from the offense. That would be Priest Holmes. And what happened when Holmes left last year? Priest was replaced by Larry Johnson and the offense marched on.

Maybe the most overused cliché in sports is: the window of opportunity. It’s constantly thrown about in terms like “their window of opportunity is closing.” The first time I heard that statement made was back in the 1980s, when the Chiefs had one of the best secondary groups in the NFL with guys like Deron Cherry, Lloyd Burruss, Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross. Then it was the Chiefs window of opportunity was closing because Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas, a great pass rushing combo, was getting older.

Recently, it’s been the window of opportunity was closing because the Chiefs offense, and specifically the offensive line, was aging.

There have been so many windows open around Arrowhead the last 25 years; one would think at least one championship would have landed in the house. The fact it has not happened re-emphasizes the whole point: it’s about a team playing together. It’s not about one player, or one position group, or one side of the team. The Lombardi Trophy doesn’t get handed to the best secondary, or best offensive unit.

The Chiefs season is not over. It hasn’t even begun. The window remains wide open.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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