Championship Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

It’s now been 17 years since the Chiefs were part of the NFL’s final four, semi-finals weekend.

As good as last weekend was with four games, it’s the conference championship weekend and there are only two games, but the outcomes of those contests change lives, both inside the competing teams and out.

Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets make up the surviving quartet. In this group, the Jets are a puppy playing in their 51st season compared to the Bears, Packers and Steelers. The Decatur Staleys became the Chicago Bears in 1922, a year after Green Bay got the Packers. In Pittsburgh they got the Pirates football team in 1933. It would be 1940 before they became known as the Steelers.

It’s the second championship weekend in the last three years that does not feature a No. 1 seed from either the AFC or the NFC. The Patriots and Falcons both were knocked out last weekend leaving the two conferences with No. 2 and No. 6 seeds playing for a ticket to the Super Bowl at Jerry World/Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

There are familiar faces on all four teams for Chiefs fans. Starting on the bottom left and going clockwise, there are former players like New York’s Tony Richardson, Chicago’s Todd Collins and Pittsburgh’s Keyaron Fox, along with former Chiefs assistant coach, Green Bay’s head coach Mike McCarthy.

The Packers have been there four times, winning three (1966-67 and 1996, losing in 1997). The Bears made two visits to the Super Bowl, beating New England (1985) and losing to Indianapolis (2006). The Jets have only one Super Bowl appearance, but it was one to remember – the victory led by Joe Namath over Baltimore after the 1968 season. The Steelers have won six Super Bowl titles (1974-75, 1978-79, 2005, 2008) and appeared in seven games (1995).

The question comes from Chiefs fans – who should they root for? There’s no advantage to the Chiefs when it comes to the winners and losers from these games and the Super Bowl. They are the only team in the league that will face all four of these teams in the 2011 regular season.

So familiarity may be the avenue to take up sides, as all four teams have connections to the Chiefs, the Packers and Jets more than the Steelers and Bears:

  • PITTSBURGH – The Steelers special teams ace LB Keyaron Fox entered the NFL as a third-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. Fox is Pittsburgh’s special teams captain and has 18 tackles in the kicking game, plus six on defense. Plus, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent four years with the Chiefs (1989-92) as running backs coach.
  • NEW YORK JETS – FB Tony Richardson spent the first seasons of his now –year career with the Chiefs, earning two Pro Bowl trips. In the 2010 season, he had five carries for 13 yards and five catches for 31 yards. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer grew up in Johnson County and did spend a year working on the Chiefs coaching staff (1998). The Director of Player Development for the Jets is former Chiefs G Dave Szott (1990-2000) and the team’s Senior Personnel Executive is Terry Bradway, who spent four years with the Chiefs in charge of the personnel department (1997-2000).
  • CHICAGO – QB Todd Collins was out of the game when the 2010 season started, but ended up signing with the Bears. He ended up starting one game for Chicago; overall he completed 10 of 27 passes for 68 yards with five INTs. Collins spent eight seasons as a backup quarterback with the Chiefs.
  • GREEN BAY – TE Tom Crabtree went to training camp with the Chiefs in 2009 and spent three weeks on the practice squad before being released. He signed with the Packers in December ’09. This year he has four catches for 61 yards and 12 tackles in the kicking game. Also, LB Eric Walden was with the Chiefs during the 2008 season and played nine games. He’s bounced around the league, before signing with the Packers back in October. Walden has 3 1 tackles on defense with 2.5 sacks and four special teams tackles. Head coach Mike McCarthy was a Chiefs assistant coach (1993-98). QBs coach Tom Clements was both a player (1980) and coach (2000) with the Chiefs and the assistant strength and conditioning coach Dave Redding spent nine years working on Marty Schottenheimer’s staff as the strength and conditioning coach.

None of those former Chiefs players figures to be a major player in what goes down on Sunday. Possibly, Fox on special teams and Richardson blocking will make an obvious difference.

As good as Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler can be, it’s defense that will likely stand up and lead the way to victory in both games. Over the last five seasons, the losing team in either conference championship game averaged 19.5 points in defeat and lost by an average of 11 points.

And when the offense-defense breakdown is viewed, the better defenses are still playing, as opposed to the best offensive teams. Here are the rankings based on yards gained on offense, and yards allowed on defense:



Green Bay

N.Y. Jets















Only one of the top 10 offenses in the league is still playing, while four of the top 10 on defense are among the final four teams.

And back to scoring – three of the four teams still playing have allowed the fewest offensive touchdowns in the league. Pittsburgh is No. 1 with 20 TDs given up. Green Bay is second with 22 TDs, while Chicago is tied for fifth with 28 offensive TDs allowed. The Jets are tied for 14th in the stat, allowing 35 offensive touchdowns.

Defense will make the difference. Green Bay beats Chicago 31-20 and Pittsburgh gets over on the Jets 28-17.


Employee movement had settled down with the Chiefs in the last month or so of 2010. But then, the pool of employees that had the most service with the organization, had already been cleaned out so there were fewer targets.

But the waters have been stirred again. A few weeks ago Doug Hopkins, the 17-year ticket manager of the team, left to take the same job with the University of Kansas.

And Thursday equipment manager Mike Davidson turned in his resignation after 22 seasons with the team. Davidson came to Kansas City from Cleveland with Marty Schottenheimer in 1989. Overall, he served four head coaches and heaven knows how many hundreds of players. He was one of the best in the business and no matter the circumstances Davidson and his dedicated crew were always looking for ways to help. They were the first ones in the door and the last to leave.

Whether the team stays in-house with long-time assistant Allen Wright being promoted, or they bring in somebody from outside the building, the next equipment manager has big shoes to fill.

Also on Thursday a long-expected move was finally completed by the Hunt Family as chief operating officer Mark Donovan was promoted to the position of team president. Donovan’s promotion to leading the team’s business operation appeared to be part of the deal when he joined the organization in May 2009. That was reaffirmed when Denny Thum was let go last September after spending 37 years with the team.


  • PRO BOWL – named Falcons OT Tyson Clabo to the NFC team as a replacement for Eagles OT Jason Peters; named Packers CB Tramon Williams to the NFC team as a replacement for injured Eagles CB Asante Samuel; named Dolphins long snapper John Denney to the AFC team; named Giants long snapper Zak D’Ossie to the NFC team.
  • BRONCOS – named Jeff Rodgers special teams coach and Adam Gase quarterbacks coach.
  • CHARGERS – signed reserve/futures contract with P Ricky Schmitt.
  • CHIEFS – named Mark Donovan team president.
  • DOLPHINS – named Jeff Nixon as RB coach and Darren Krein as strength & conditioning coach.
  • PATRIOTS – QB Tom Brady had a screw inserted into his right foot during surgery on Thursday in Boston. He’s expected to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.
  • RAIDERS – named former Chiefs assistant coach Al Saunders as offensive coordinator.
  • RAMS – signed reserve/futures contract with LS Clint Mower.
  • RAVENS – fired offensive line coach John Matsko; named Andy Moeller offensive line coach.
  • SAINTS – signed a reserve/futures contract with Canadian Football League DT Tom Johnson. He played for Calgary Stampeders.
  • SEAHAWKS – signed a reserve/futures contract with Canadian Football League CB Brandon Browner of the Calgary Stampeders.
  • TEXANS – hired Reggie Herring as LBs coach.
  • TITANS – informed defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil that he will not return in 2011.
  • VIKINGS – named Jeff Davidson offensive line coach and Craig Johnson as quarterbacks coach.

5 Responses to “Championship Weekend Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 21, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    It is CRAZY with NFC Championship fever up here. Packers vs Bears – THE longest rivalry in the NFL. Businesses are closing early on Sunday. Green and Gold are the official colors at lots of workplaces today.

    I had to be different and wear my red #88 jersey.

    Go CHIEFS!

    Go Pack GO!

  • January 21, 2011  - gorillafan says:

    Im proud of you showin the red Jim, though you might want to buy a jersey of a current player!! HA!!

  • January 21, 2011  - el cid says:

    Being suggested Haley will be the play caller next year whether or not he has a OC. Opinions? Also, OC will likely be inhouse selection to support it. Not sure if there is any truth to it, just on other sites.

  • January 22, 2011  - James says:

    If Haley is calling the plays next year it will be a step backwards.

  • January 24, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    gorillafan says:
    Im proud of you showin the red Jim, though you might want to buy a jersey of a current player!! HA!!

    Ha Ha HA! No kidding. My Trent Green, Dante Hall, and Tony G jerseys seem a bit dated!

    Go CHIEFS!

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News