Where Do The Chiefs Rate?


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Jan 22, 2006
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Chiefs O-Line #3 - Where Do The Chiefs Rate?
Jul 14, 2006, 3:29:25 AM by Bob Gretz

There’s a big, giant, glaring hole in the resume of the Chiefs offensive line. It stands as a hurdle between them and being considered among the greatest blocking units in history.

It’s postseason success. It’s a Super Bowl trip. It’s a championship.

And, it’s why Will Shields and Willie Roaf are back for another trip on the NFL merry-go-round. It’s why Brian Waters worked harder in this off-season than any in his career. It’s why Casey Wiegmann can’t wait for the 2006 season to start.

“We are all responsible for each other, we don’t want to be the person that let’s the other guy down,” the Chiefs center said. “I’m not just talking about on the offensive line. I’m talking about Trent (Green) and Tony (Gonzalez) and all the other guys.

“We don’t want to let each other down. We don’t want to let Trent down. We know what he’s been through in his career. He’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he didn’t play in that game.

“That’s what we are here to get done.”

That’s certainly the case with Shields, returning for his 14th season in the NFL. It came after a little encouragement from many of his teammates, but especially Roaf.

“Willie called me right after the season and said come on, we got to take another shot, another ride,” said Shields. “I’m here to win enough games to make the playoffs and win a championship.”

In the last four seasons, the Chiefs have finished with 38-26 record (.594), but they are 0-1 in the postseason. They’ve not won a game in the playoffs since Shields rookie season, in January of 1994, when they beat the Oilers in Houston.

“Look at the great offensive lines in the history of the game, like the Miami Dolphins,” said Shields. “Most people couldn’t name the guys on that line, but they won two Super Bowls. You’ve got to go with “The Hogs” in Washington. That was a pretty successful group.

“I know people around here don’t want to hear it, but look at the Denver offensive line. They were key factors in the Broncos winning a pair of Super Bowls. They have done things that have not been done before.”

In every other criteria, the Chiefs offensive line ranks with the best the league has seen in the last 35 seasons:

They’ve earned a total of 10 Pro Bowl nominations, four each for Roaf and Shields and two for Waters in just the last four years. Not well known is that Wiegmann has twice been the first alternate at center for the AFC team. Over the last four years, no team in the league can match the Chiefs 10 Pro Bowl slots. Next closest are last season’s Super Bowl participants Pittsburgh and Seattle with seven each.
With back-to-back years of getting three blockers selected to the Pro Bowl, that’s the first time it’s been done in the league in 10 years, or since the 1993-96 Dallas Cowboys. Only Philadelphia in 2002 and Pittsburgh in 2004 have also sent three offensive lineman to a Pro Bowl in the last four years.
Roaf and Shields each have been selected to 11 Pro Bowls over their careers. Only Houston-Tennessee’s Bruce Matthews with 14 and Minnesota-Tampa Bay’s Randall McDaniel with 12 have been selected for more Pro Bowls. Oakland center Jim Otto was selected for 12 AFL All-Star Games/Pro Bowls.
The offensive line helped two runners with very different styles achieve 1,000-yard seasons three times. Priest Holmes did it in 2002 and 2003. Larry Johnson did it in the 2005 season. Over the last four seasons the Chiefs have finished 3rd, 15th, 5th and 4th in rushing yardage.
The blockers helped two receivers with very different styles achieve 1,000-yard seasons a total of three times. Tight end Tony Gonzalez did it in 2004 and wide receiver Eddie Kennison did it in 2004 and 2005. Over the last four seasons the Chiefs have finished 11th, 2nd, 4th and 6th in passing yardage.
They helped quarterback Trent Green achieve four consecutive seasons with a passer rating of 90-plus. No other quarterback has equaled that in the past four years. Over the last four seasons, the Chiefs have finished 4th, 2nd, 1st and 1st in total offensive yards.
“They are very good, they are very solid,” said head coach Herm Edwards. “It’s similar to a lot of the great defensive lines that used to be part of the NFL, the Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh and the Purple PeopleEaters in Minnesota, the Fearsome Foursome with the Rams, groups that stayed together for a long time and accomplished great things.

“When you talk about the Kansas City Chiefs with people in football, the first thing they mention is the offensive line.”

Wiegmann is still amazed when he takes account of where he is and the players next to him on this offensive line.

“When we you look around out there it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’m playing with guys that are going to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I’m playing with a bunch of guys that some day are going to have their names up on that ring of honor inside Arrowhead.

“I mean, sometimes it just gives me goose bumps.”

Their teammates and coaches appreciate what this quartet of blockers has done, but their accomplishments will not receive the recognition due them until the Chiefs experience success in the postseason.

“I think we can be considered one of the best,” said Shields. “But you are only viewed as the best when you get the (Super Bowl) ring, because you’ve proven that you did everything that was needed to be done.

“There are a lot of wishes, maybes and could haves, but it just hasn’t happened yet. That’s why I’m back.”

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

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