Column: Hey Chiefs Fans – A QB Has Landed

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

The subject was leadership and the voice belonged to Chiefs G Brian Waters.

“Part of being a leader is not only being a vocal leader, but also being a guy of action,” Waters said in the moments after the Chiefs 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams. “What he did today was show us he was ready to put it all on the line. As a football team you definitely want to follow suit.

“He’s definitely the leader of this football team.”

“He” was Matt Cassel and all that the Chiefs quarterback did on Sunday was step on the field and play against the Rams. He showed unequivocally that he’s a man of action.

“It’s definitely extraordinary,” said RB Thomas Jones. “He wanted to come out and help us win, and he did.”

On the subject of Cassel there were a lot of non-believers as the Chiefs went off to training camp some 20 weeks ago. Without a doubt, the “Cassel isn’t the Guy” club was larger than those with tickets to the “Cassel is the Man” bus.


The largest majority of Chiefs fans were stuck right in the middle – unsure if they had seen enough of Cassel at that point to make a decision on whether he could be the quarterback the franchise has lusted after since Len Dawson retired to broadcasting over 35 years ago.

By 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, the Cassel doubters should have been able to hold their post-game meeting in a phone booth, with no waiting for seats.

Just 11 days after an appendectomy laid him low Cassel was starting for the Chiefs against the St. Louis Rams. That’s 11 days after a tube was snacked through his organs and digestive system so a four-inch long organ that apparently does next to nothing for our bodies could be removed before it burst and filled his body with a lot of bad ju-ju.

Most people would not have pondered returning to a physically strenuous job after just 11 days of healing. Those are probably the people with the most common sense.

That group would not include Cassel and that should have any Chiefs fan thrilled the death that a quarterback worthy of carrying the mantle worn in the past by Dawson is in the house.

A quarterback means a lot of different things to a football team beyond throwing passes and handing off. He’s obviously the offensive leader, the guy who calls off the plays in the huddle and does his best to keep his team challenging for points and yards. A good quarterback is also one of the team’s major leaders, a man who spends time with the guys on defense as well, who knows all the coaches and all their thoughts.

Good quarterbacks know the names of their receivers’ mothers and girl friends. They can tell when one of his teammates has shown up in the locker room and something’s wrong. Good quarterbacks get to the locker room early and leave late. They understand the offense almost as well as the coaches and they afraid to tell teammates when they’ve done something that’s not right.

And most of all, good quarterbacks are tough, physically and mentally. They get smashed and they get back up to get smashed again. They stumble woozy to the sidelines, clear their heads and go back out to take another snap. They never give up. They always believe.

Over the last two weeks much research has been done on football players and how quickly they’ve been able to return from losing their appendix. Until Sunday, the king of tough was Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, who went 15 days between procedure and playing again for the Steelers. Cassel now holds the title.

Cassel said he was 100 percent on Sunday, but then he would say he’s 100 percent if one arm was ripped from its socket and he was running on a peg leg. He will say and do almost anything to play. When he had to sit and watch for so many games, over so many seasons at Southern Cal and then the New England Patriots, it’s only natural that a player would not want to leave the lineup.

How close he was to 100 percent doesn’t really matter at this point. Cassel got himself on the field and he performed. It was a classic Cassel performance – save the interception he threw in the first half. He was in control of the offense, he was able to step up and make some key throws to his receivers. Cassel was able to scramble when necessary, running six times. He also took a couple hellacious hits from the pass rush of the Rams.

But he got up every time. How much pain he may have carried into the game we will never know because good quarterbacks don’t talk about such things. They just go out and play. And lead.

“He’s one tough guy,” said Waters. “He put us on his back on a couple of those early drives when we really needed him and he made some plays. He handled himself like a champ.”

Matt Cassel handled himself like the type of quarterback Chiefs fans have dreamed about.

18 Responses to “Column: Hey Chiefs Fans – A QB Has Landed”

  • December 19, 2010  - Mark says:

    What an inspiring column about Cassel! And, it is admirable that the Chiefs are providing their fans and their KC community with so many players with so many positive personal character traits, Cassel and others. (And with pretty good football skills, too!)

  • December 19, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    Great article Bob!
    Cassel is THE MAN!
    I couldn’t be more proud to be a Chief fan than I am right now.

  • December 19, 2010  - Rick says:

    Hard not to be impressed with Cassel these days, especially after the debacle in San Diego.

    Go Chiefs! 11-5 is possible.

  • December 19, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    I was a Cassel doubter until a few weeks ago. Today was heroic. People have said they could not be on a Cassel bandwagon until he put the team on his back and carried them to a win. That happened today. It was obvious the Chiefs would not win as long as Cassel was sidelined. He understood that he was, in fact, the one man who had to play if the Chiefs were to win and he delivered.

    I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  • December 19, 2010  - napahank says:

    First: The INT wasn’t Cassells fault-wrong route by Tony M. and ran into Bowe.

    Second: For one of the few times this year Weis evaluated and adapted after initial game plan didn’t work.

    Third: Cassell needs to pass to Moeaki every other play-what amazing hands! And Gilberry needs to be resigned to an extension.

    Fourth: Blitzes up the middle do work and we need, no we must, blitz up the middle against TN next week.

    Finally: Other than homers, the best anyone gave us was 8-8 while most were at 7-9. We are 9-5 with two to go.

    If we don’t win the division I will still praise my Chiefs the entire off-season; however, even one and done in the post season would greatly aid in the development of the new KC Chiefs.

  • December 19, 2010  - aPauled says:

    I was one of those wait-n-see guys. Matt has really developed this year and gave the Chiefs reason to honor the contract. He probably needs another WR with hands to help him get to the level where we need him to be. (Another day with several drops by the WRs.)

    If I see another “we’ve had a great season” post until the afternoon of Jan 2…I’m going to puke. Guys/Gals, we have a shot at the playoffs. Pull the panties up and let’s push this thru. Preseason expectations have no bearing at this point.

  • December 19, 2010  - Edward says:

    Best article I’ve ever read of Bob I almost shed a tear. Literally.

  • December 19, 2010  - Nate says:

    Here is the lesson to be learned guys. Quit bitching and questioning the decisions and leadership of Scott Pioli and Todd Haley. All of the trash and negative things that have been said by the “talking heads” on TV and radio and on this web site doesn’t means squat. Matt Cassel for a 2nd round pick and Mike Vabrel thrown in a bonus was a steal! Scott Pioli knows football! I for one trust his judgement and am going to enjoy the ride.

  • December 19, 2010  - John says:

    I know a lot of fans have doubted Cassel. So have I. But listen, we doubted Lenny Dawson too. It wasn’t until the final play of superbowl 4 that I thought Dawson could do it. And don’t forget that Dawson had a whole lot more talent around him than Cassel but times like tonight I think it’s getting closer. We drive from Wichita to KC for the games and the trips this year are a lot shorter and a whole heck of a lot more fun.

  • December 19, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Well said Nate. Hopefully the remaining Rin militia can calm down now. Last week was a bad game but an aberration. With the exception of a couple games the Chiefs have played consistently good football this season. The Cassell, Haley and Pioli haters can give it a rest as well. How’s the new “Chiefs Way” working for you now? Each bad game this year has been followed by great effort and a good bounce back result. We play our last two at Arrowhead and have a reasonable chance to win our division and play in the playoffs. Virtually nobody gave us a shot at accomplishing that in year two of the new regime. Hopefully those who disliked Pioli and Haley for changing a losing culture by instilling discipline, preparation and toughness can stop the whining and hating long enough to enjoy the ride. The once and future Chiefs are back. Long live the Chiefs! P.S. As always Bob, thanks for the best coverage in the business.

  • December 19, 2010  - Don says:

    Great writing Bob! I jumped off of the sofa seeing him trot out on the field. I knew we could win with him, not so much without him. Does anyone remember the “can you win with —-” (insert Matt or DBowe) questions earlier in the season? I’m not saying I wasn’t questioning judgement calls too. But today I was a Mott lover. Not only did he play, he played! I like the fire he has. We’ve won more games this year than the last two years put together! It’s a good yeat to be a Chief’s fan. Like John says the drive to KC from Wichita is a heck’a lot funner. Me and a friend pulled into my drive at 5:30 A.M. after the MNF game and vowed to hit more games we had so much fun and felt the Arrowhead magic seeping back. We’ve been to all 6 home games and we won them all. Coincidence? Why yes, we’re going to the last two. We still need a few pieces but damn! I like it!

  • December 19, 2010  - Don says:

    (Matt lover)

  • December 20, 2010  - Chiefs Hold First Place After Beating Rams | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] COLUMN: KC, you’ve got a QB. [...]

  • December 20, 2010  - Morten says:

    Fantastic column Bob… You’re right on… We’ve got ourselfes a QB:-)

  • December 20, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    Hard to argue with yesterday’s performance. The guy is clearly the heart and soul of this team. That being the case, he’s worth the money they gave him. Let’s hope he can push and pull the rest of the team into the playoffs or that the rest of the team can return the favor like they did yesterday.

    Very solid win.

  • December 20, 2010  - Butler says:

    This Team can win the Really Big Show
    I can see and Visualize it right Now
    they must remain Focused set the Goal
    to Win It taking it One Game at a Time
    We have the most Healthy 53 man Roster in NFL
    right now and the Leaders to Help this Young
    Talent Get-R-Done !!!!!!!

    Go CHIEFS Go !!!!!!

  • December 20, 2010  - Michael says:

    The Chiefs are a young transitioning team, just trying to getter better every day. They’re trying to become a good team. Right now, they’re 1-1 in the fourth quarter and trying to get to 3-1, which is their goal. So they will work hard every day to try to get there. They will take it one game at a time. That’s Haley’s way, and it’s now the team’s way. I like the approach a lot.

    It’s hard not to get excited, isn’t it. They’re right there, with the division and the playoffs before them. Two home games with the KC faithful spurring their team to victory. That’s what we all want to see. It’s a beautiful thing to actually have a shot at it. I hope KC fans will show up and shout, and bring the Arrowhead Avalanche down on Tenn and the Faiders. Along with whatever energy, vibes, mojo, magic, voodooo, KC fans can shoot through their TVs these next two Sundays.

  • December 20, 2010  - Dave says:

    As a once proud member of the “Cassel isn’t the Man Club,” I’m so thrilled to admit that I was way off! This dude rocks!

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