A Merry Christmas Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

Mike Vrabel was just a kid then, about 10 years old, but he was old enough to know better.

The excitement took hold of Vrabel, blended with his curiosity and he went off to search through the Vrabel home for hidden presents. He found them too. A G.I. Joe aircraft carrier and assorted other goodies. He checked them out and then put them back.

But he didn’t return them exactly as he had found them. Mother Vrabel soon realized that young Mike had gotten into the presents.

“She took all of them back,” Vrabel said the other day in the Chiefs locker room. “She got me, we grabbed the presents, we went back to the store and she returned all of them.

“Lesson learned – I never looked for anything else in my life.”

Like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Christmas and football have always had a very strange relationship over the years. The game provides entertainment during these holidays for 99 percent of the country. That other one percent is made up of people that have to work on those holidays.

“My mother has never forgiven me,” Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said with a laugh when the subject of football and the holidays came up. “I don’t remember the last time I was home (New York) for Christmas.”

The Chiefs will be working on this Christmas Day. It’s the day before a game, and while there were some alterations built around the starting time, not much has really changed from a typical Saturday before a home game. Later Christmas night they will gather in a Kansas City hotel and spend the night there, as they always do.

“When you are part of football, the holidays sometimes get short shrift,” said guard Brian Waters.

For the better players, that usually starts in college with bowl games. While the exact number is unknown, there are easily 25 to 30 college teams celebrating Christmas in hotel ballrooms with practices and meetings.

Should athletes, professional or otherwise, be working on Christmas Day?

“That’s not for me to say,” head coach Todd Haley said. “I grew up seeing it, doing it, being a part of it; it’s what’s great about this country. I think it’s for everybody to handle how they want to but I would say that football on Thanksgiving and even football on Christmas and things like that are kind of something that you’ve come to know a little bit and there are great memories. It’s a great part of being involved in this league.”

For QB Brodie Croyle Christmas was always a special time at the Big Oak Ranch in Alabama, the home and school for troubled youth that was founded by his father John.

“Every Christmas was pretty special growing up at the ranch,” Croyle said. “Growing up with 90 other boys and a lot of them never had Christmas before they got to the ranch. My sister and I would wake up and open our presents, but within the hour, everybody would start coming up to the house to show us their presents. For us that made it even more special, seeing guys and now girls, seeing the joy and almost disbelief that someone had given them a Christmas present, words can’t really describe how wonderful that was.”

One year out in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles where he grew up, QB Matt Cassel was thrilled to death when a long awaited bicycle arrived under the Christmas tree.

“I received a red bike I wanted so bad,” Cassel said. “I remember it like it was yesterday. I was about six years old and I got the bike, but then my brother overshadowed me when he got a drum set. That’s a lot cooler than a red bike.”

DE Wallace Gilberry’s bike one Christmas was blue, but before the day was over, it had been stolen. “I never saw it again,” Gilberry said.

For DE Glenn Dorsey, he also has a Christmas memory of a bicycle, but it was a bit different than Cassel or Gilberry.

“It’s when I found out about Santa Claus,” Dorsey said. “I got a bike and he hid the bike in the attic and when he went up to get it hit, his foot went through the floorboards in the attic and he got stuck. We had to help him out.

“So we help him out and there’s a bike there. That’s how I found out. I blame my Dad for that one.”


Chiefs LB Demorrio Williams got one of those ugly letters from the NFL this week, telling him he had been fined $7,500 for his personal foul penalty near the end of the game with St. Louis.

Williams was flagged on the end of the second of two interceptions by FS Kendrick Lewis. It was the only major penalty of the game for the Chiefs. It was the seventh personal foul call against the Chiefs this season.


Cassel calls it “nitty-gritty” time in the NFL – it’s the last few weeks of the season and for teams like the Chiefs, it goes down in cold weather, sometimes very cold weather. “It takes a little bit of mental toughness to get through it,” said Cassel. “It’s a mental process.”

On Sunday, the Chiefs and Titans will have to use their mental process to deal with a sunny day, temperatures in the low 20s, with wind coming out of the north-northeast at around 7 mph. Right now, the National Weather Service does not predict any sort of rain/sleet/snow for Sunday afternoon.


  • NFL – fined FALCONS DE Kroy Biermann $15,000 because of a hit on Seattle QB Charlie Whitehurst; fined BENGALS LB Dhani Jones $15,000 for helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland QB Colt McCoy; fined RAVENS S Ed Reed $10,000 for hit on New Orleans QB Drew Brees; fined PATRIOTS CB Devin McCourty $10,000 for unnecessary roughness; fined COLTS DE Robert Mathis $10,000 for a helmet-to-helmet; fined COLTS S Antoine Bethea $10,000 for unnecessary roughness; fined CHIEFS LB Demorrio Williams $7,500 for unnecessary roughness; fined PATRIOTS NT Vince Wilfork $5,000 for a facemask penalty
  • EAGLES – signed CB Gerard Lawson, formerly with the Browns.
  • LIONS – placed QB Matt Stafford on the injured-reserve list (shoulder) ending his season; signed S Randy Phillips off their practice squad.

11 Responses to “A Merry Christmas Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 25, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks Bob. Merry Christmas to you and to all. Go Chiefs!

  • December 25, 2010  - Butler Go CHIEFS Go says:

    Merry Christmas to all Of The Chiefs Team
    and the entire organization and all
    of the CHIEFS NATION.

    Go CHIEFS Go

  • December 25, 2010  - Mike says:

    Merry Christmas to all of you and your families.

    GO CHIEFS!!!

  • December 25, 2010  - bobmac says:

    Merry Christmas Bob, from Molly’s dad ! Liz’s FB profile pic is still the best ever !

  • December 25, 2010  - Todd says:

    Merry Christmas, to my Chiefs brothers and sisters.

  • December 25, 2010  - MEDennis34 says:

    Merry Christmas to Bob and the intire bobgretz.com staff. Thanks for all you do in being my life line to the Chiefs.

  • December 25, 2010  - aPauled says:

    Merry Christmas Bob, Kent, Enrique and Chiefs fans.

  • December 25, 2010  - Ernie says:

    Joining sll others in Best Wishes to all this Holiday Season.

  • December 25, 2010  - Steve says:

    Bob, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Same to Enrique, Kent, and the folks who handle the technical end of this site.

  • December 25, 2010  - Edward says:

    Merry Christmas to Chiefs Nation

  • December 25, 2010  - Michael says:

    Merry Christmas, Bob, and to all of Chiefs Nation.

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