Is #20 a lucky number?


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Jan 22, 2006
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It may not be the 1, but Chiefs and others have had some good luck with this number

The Kansas City Star

A numerologist/ spiritual counselor in Texas says 20 is not a great number. It reduces to a two, which means you have to be cooperative and patient.

A not-so-patient football coach in Kansas City has had decent luck with 20. When Herm Edwards was a scout in 1992, he stood up on the table — football talk for going to bat for a guy — and said the Chiefs should draft cornerback Dale Carter at No. 20.

Carter went to four Pro Bowls. He was the only 20th draft pick in the history of the Chiefs’ franchise.

The No. 20 surfaces again as the Chiefs’ first pick on Saturday, and maybe it’s a coincidence that it comes in a year that the franchise is hungry for a cornerback and there is a glut of them on the market. Will there be 20 smiles in the war room late Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium? Will they need 20 aspirin?

“I’d like to think we can get a very good football player with the 20th pick,” Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said. “I know this: There’s 32 teams, and they all have 32 different ideas of who the top 20 are. People have different thoughts on different players. I guess that’s what makes the draft so exciting and unpredictable.”

History says the 20th pick is dependable and, in rare occasions, a hidden gem. Nine of the No. 20 picks in the 1990s played at least seven seasons in the NFL.

Steve Atwater, Denver’s 20th selection in 1989, went to eight Pro Bowls. Kelvin Pritchett, picked by Dallas at No. 20 in 1991, played 14 seasons.

Carter wasn’t expected to be in the NFL for long, and his stock plummeted in ’92 because of character issues. But Edwards was a former NFL cornerback who could spot talent at the position, and Carter ended up being one of the Chiefs’ bigger drafting coups.

“It’s really kind of ironic,” Edwards said.

As the Chiefs’ new head coach, his first pick will be No. 20.

Depending on which expert you listen to, this year’s 20th pick could produce anyone from Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway to highly touted cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie of Florida State and Tye Hill of Clemson to Ohio State receiver Santonio Holmes.

The predraft whispers are that Kansas City will take two corners in the draft, the first at No. 20. The board might tell them something different. analyst Gil Brandt said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chiefs pick anything from linebacker to quarterback, because this year’s talent pool gives the Chiefs plenty to pick from at 20.

And therein lies the dilemma.

“We have evaluated it, and we expect some good football players to be there,” said Bill Kuharich, the Chiefs’ vice president for player personnel. “But the caveat is … if there happens to be a run on positions above us and your board gets cleaned, there might be some really good players at 20, but that might be a position where we have a very good player on this team already.

“Do you take the player you know is going to be a good player, but he may have to wait his turn? It’s almost like the Larry Johnson situation. My opinion is that you take the best player regardless of position, but Carl might not feel that way.”

Johnson was the Chiefs’ last twenty-something pick, in 2003. They went with the best player at No. 27, even though they had Priest Holmes at running back, and Johnson rattled off nine straight 100-yard games to finish 2005.

Johnson, a Pro Bowler, decided to wear No. 27 on his jersey.

Glenn Key, a spiritual counselor, believes in the power of numbers, even in football. She says the numbers suggest the Chiefs need to be flexible and expect changes on Saturday.

“It’s a five day, which means anything can happen,” she said. “There is luck in the five day, but it’s like a roller coaster. It’s up and down, so they’ll probably be bickering before they get to what they want.”

There’s more. Key computed 2006 to be an eight year for the Chiefs. It means aggression, opportunity and money. She came to these conclusions, in part, by figuring in the franchise’s birthdate.

“It’s a lucky year for them,” she said.

It starts at 20.


■ James Garfield was the 20th president

■ Interstate 20 runs from Texas to South Carolina

■ Tony Stewart’s NEXTEL Cup-winning car

■ The Chiefs’ only other pick at No. 20: Dale Carter in 1992

■ Age of majority in Japan

■ Tony Temple at Rockhurst High School — first freshman to start there

■ Retired jersey number of Mike Schmidt and Frank Robinson

■ Human infants normally grow 20 teeth

■ Safety Deron Cherry, the Chiefs’ most famous No. 20

■ Dante Hall before he changed to No. 82 in 2004

■ The Dallas Texans (before they became the Chiefs) scored 20 points in their first championship game, beating Houston for the AFL title in 1962

■ LSU’s Marcus Spears was the 20th pick by Dallas in the 2005 draft
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