Cassel’s Playoffs Experience … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The question appeared to stun Matt Cassel, if only for a second?

“What do you remember about the last time you started a game in the playoffs?” Cassel was asked on Wednesday.

Cassel furrowed his brow a bit, as the memory did not come rushing back quickly. Eventually details came to mind.

This coming Sunday, Cassel will start for the first time in an NFL post-season game when he goes up against the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium.

That start comes 11 years after his last one in the playoffs. That was on November 24, 1999 when he led Chatsworth High School into a Los Angeles City Invitational quarterfinal game against Palisades High School.

“That was a while ago, back in high school and we ended up losing,” Cassel said with a smile. “We had a lot of fun. I handed off a lot. I think we lost 45-44.”

Actually, Cassel and the Chancellors fell 49-42 that night, as they kept the ball on the ground. Teammate Samuel Wesley ran for 290 yards and four touchdowns, while Cassel completed only three of 11 passes for 46 yards.


Now over a decade later, Cassel gets another post-season start.

But it’s not the Palisades High Dolphins across the line of scrimmage. It’s Ray Lewis and the big and tough Baltimore Ravens, one of the league’s best road teams when it comes to the playoffs.

“I’m excited about it; Ray Lewis is a great player,” Cassel said. “Everybody knows about Ray Lewis. We’ve been watching him play for years now and we respect that and what he’s done and you respect that. But at the same time we’ve got a job to do ourselves. Hopefully we can play to the best or our ability.”

Joe Flacco is the quarterback leading the Ravens offense, and he’s made 48 regular season NFL starts. Cassel is three years older and has started 45 regular season games. But Flacco already has five starts in the post-season, with Baltimore going 3-2 in those games.

That may explain why Cassel is ready to go for Sunday’s game.

“We all have a sense of urgency,” Cassel said. “You could see if over the last two days. We had two days off and we had more guys in here collectively as a group than we’ve had all year. I think everybody is excited about the opportunity to be in the playoffs. We know we have our work cut out for us against this Baltimore team.

“We’re up for the challenge and excited about going out there for this game.”

Cassel spent time on the phone this week for one of his regular conversations with one of the kings of quarterback play in the post-season – the Patriots Tom Brady.

“I continue to go to him for support,” Cassel said. “He says go out there and have fun and enjoy the experience because there are a lot of teams out there that are wishing they were in our position.”

Brady and the Patriots faced the Ravens during the 2010 regular season and Cassel says there were a few tidbits about the Baltimore defense that he shared during their call. “He reiterated what you can see on film; they are an outstanding front seven. They are an outstanding defense and the best defense that we’ve seen,” said Cassel.

The playoffs are the time when quarterbacks establish their careers as the superstars of the game. Brady tops the list with a post-season record of 14-4 as a starter. Spending one of those Super Bowl seasons with Brady gave Cassel an eyeful of what the starting quarterback needs to get done.

“I think it goes to preparation; he was so meticulous in his awareness of what was going on in the game plan,” Cassel said. “We would go over the game plan four or five times on the night before the game. There wasn’t any stone unturned. We made sure we were meeting with the receivers and meeting with the running backs and everyone is on the same page.

“Going into this week it’s very important for me and some of the other guys to take it upon ourselves and be prepared on Sunday. The other thing I learned from Tom was about Sunday – when you get out there enjoy the experience and embrace the opportunity. If you just go out there and you are so shell-shocked that it’s the playoffs, you won’t enjoy it, and you really do have to enjoy it.”

Maybe that’s why Cassel said he enjoyed that last post-season start in ’99 when his team fell in the championship game. Certainly it was more fun the year before when Cassel led Chatsworth to the City Section’s First Division Championship. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as the Chancellors beat Reseda 34-7 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.


  • AFC – named Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, offensive player of the week; Raiders OLB Kamerion Wimbley, defensive player of the week; Colts K Adam Vinatieri, special teams player of the week.
  • NFC – named Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, offensive player of the week; Packers LB Erik Walden, defensive player of the week; Seahawks P Jon Ryan, special teams player of the week.
  • BROWNS – signed reserve/futures contracts with RB Quinn Porter, OT Phil Trautwein, OT Branndon Braxton, G Pat Murray, TE Tyson DeVree, FB Tyler Clutts and DB DeAngelo Smith.
  • CHIEFS – placed S Donald Washington on the injured-reserve list (ankle); signed WR Kevin Curtis.
  • DOLPHINS – signed reserve/futures contracts with QB Tom Brandstater and OT James Marten.
  • LIONS – signed reserve/futures contracts with WR Tim Toone, WR Michael Moore, RB Ian Johnson, TE Joe Jon Finley, DT Rob Callaway and C Dan Gerberry.
  • PACKERS – signed LS Brett Goode to a 2-year $1.6 million, with a $300,000 signing bonus.
  • PATRIOTS – re-signed OLB Marques Murrell.
  • RAIDERS – signed reserve/futures contracts with RB Louis Rankin, P Glenn Pakulak, LB Quentin Scott, G Roy Schuening, G Alex Parsons, WR Shaun Bodiford, WR Damola Adeniji, TE Kevin Brock, DE Tommie Hill, CB Joe Porter and FB Manase Tonga.
  • SAINTS – placed RB Pierre Thomas on the injured-reserve list (ankle); signed RB Joique Bell off the Eagles practice squad.
  • TEXANS – hired Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.
  • TITANS – owner Bud Adams released a statement Wednesday evening say the team would move forward without QB Vince Young.

6 Responses to “Cassel’s Playoffs Experience … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 6, 2011  - Chuck says:

    BOB; Can you try to find out what type of “illness” D. Bowe and Brian Waters have??? If they can’t play it really hurts us a ton.

  • January 6, 2011  - Mike says:

    It’s kind of sad that we can never believe a word that Todd Haley says. When Cassel had his surgery, Haley covered up the fact that Cassel wouldn’t be ready to play (like he was EVER going to play that weekend!) by saying it was just a “coincidence” that Tyler Palko was promoted to the active roster at that time. One day before it was announced that Charlie Weis was leaving for Florida, Haley insisted he’d never heard a thing about it. That’s what scares me with the illnesses to Bowe and Waters. My immediate reaction is “What’s Haley covering up now?”

  • January 6, 2011  - el cid says:

    Do not think the “selective secrecy” of the Chiefs has all that much to do with Haley, alone. Pioli brought it with him from NE and has taken it to new heights. Glance at the Chiefs site, stricklly, Chiefs hype (supposed to be), not an original thought from anyone, not worth the read.

    That said we fans probably do not need to know. Nuts, like those on this site, cannot get enough about the team and are always wanting something extra. This is not what this team will do. Unless you got a need, you will not know.

  • January 6, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    el cid says:
    “Nuts, like those on this site, …”
    HEY! I resemble that remark!

    Yes, I agree. I haven’t been to the official site all year. I have Bob Gretz for my Chiefs information.

    Go CHIEFS!

  • January 6, 2011  - Edward says:

    Glad this team and Cassel is getting this experience will pay dividends going forward with this franchise. I don’t care about Bowe or Waters illness jus hope they’re healthy by Sun

  • January 6, 2011  - el cid says:

    Big Jim, you aught to check out the Chiefs site, peon posters are all about the wonderment of the greatness known as the Chiefs that graced the mere mortals who habitate the KC area. OMG, if you say anything not idolizing the Chiefs and the Chief way, you get blasted as “no real fan” or kicked off the site and not allowed to post. At least here you just get blasted.

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