Commentary: A Learning Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Dear Chiefs fan, I’m determined not to rain on you, not after what went down Monday night. Anybody that was at the Truman Sports Complex and survived the late summer monsoon that rolled through during the Chiefs-Chargers game will take days to dry out.

But they won’t care, not after the Chiefs left the building with a season opening 21-14 victory over the boys from San Diego.

There’s a lot of dampness I could throw on this already soggy victory. I could prattle on about how it’s just one of 16 games, and the Chiefs are going to struggle if they can’t play better offense than they did, and the defense can’t make the mental mistakes that almost cost them the game.

All those are true, but all those pale in the glory of victory for a football team that hasn’t won many games over the last four years. It’s something that should be celebrated, enjoyed, rehashed and not thrown in the back seat of the car in just one day.

Todd Haley was quick to pull out the fire hose Monday night and pour water on any little flame that popped up that would give the indication the Chiefs have somehow arrived. That’s his job, that’s how he must lead his team.

But Chiefs Fan, celebrate the night, remember last year’s beat downs of 30 and 29 points by the Chargers and revel in the fact the Chiefs were less mistake prone, more physical and found a way to beat the reigning division champs. It hasn’t happened enough over four years, so it should be savored and enjoyed like a great single malt Scotch, or a well-made cigar.

So much of the talk surrounding the team in the last few years has been about them learning how to win. Everybody always says it needs to happen, but no one ever explains how it happens, or what can be done to make it happen. Obviously it’s not as simple as strolling down to Macy’s and buying a package of learning how to win. If it was that easy, everybody would be able to do it, and do it at any time.

Ultimately it comes down to this: if an athlete or team puts itself in position to be successful, eventually the odds say they will experience victory. And from that sometimes daunting and painful journey, they will learn lessons that will pay off the next time that moment happens and success is within their grasp. The hard part is maintaining the focus needed to prepare to win.

No matter what the job might be what separates the average guy from the professional is the willingness to prepare to succeed. It is paramount to actual success. It’s old-fashioned, old-school, but it never changes. It’s the hardest part of getting the job done. It requires a belief in the goals that have been set and a willingness to sacrifice to reach those goals.

It’s hard, it’s tough and it’s bloody sometimes. And, it happens in a lot of places not only in the NFL, but in other businesses. Keeping it in pro football, take the Detroit Lions on Sunday when they played the Chicago Bears. Few teams have experienced the level of losing that’s been part of the Lions life for the last few years; they went an entire season without winning a game.

But they opened the season against the Bears and they have a great goal line stand that keeps Chicago out of the end zone and then they go down with their backup quarterback and they have the winning play on a Calvin Johnson TD catch. Only, Johnson doesn’t hold onto the ball at the end of the play and the officials rule that he didn’t complete the catch. Incomplete pass and the Lions lose.

Sometime soon, that game and how it went down will pay off in a victory for Detroit. And the lessons learned from previous defeats is what got the Lions to the point where it came down to a decision by the officials. They learned another valuable lesson as well – sometimes you have to be better than the other team and the guys in the striped shirts.

It’s just like those 12 losses last year figured in to the Chiefs victory over the Chargers. Sure the rookies played major roles Monday night and they were not tainted by the lessons learned in that four-victory season. But their contributions do not happen without the scarred veterans of last year and what they provided on offense, defense and special teams.

This was not a perfect victory by any means. They gave up a second half touchdown and put themselves in a bad spot at the end of the game, when the Chargers had 1st-and-goal at the four-yard line. Defeat was starring the Chiefs in the eye. But this time, they didn’t blink. They made plays; they forced three Philip Rivers incompletions to Malcom Floyd. They stuffed Darren Sproles when the Chargers tried to run a draw.

They made four plays in a row, and then it was done. They had won. They had found a way.

What does it mean? It means they are 1-0, and it means Chiefs Fan should enjoy the moment.

7 Responses to “Commentary: A Learning Victory”

  • September 14, 2010  - Don says:

    I just made it home to Wichita at 5:00 in the morning. I drove home in a torrent of a rain storm 70% of the way. I now have dry clothes on and I’m too stoked to sleep just yet. I think the fans really came through also. First it was the 3 and out. Then when the rain drops started falling I was sure the 12th man would leave the stands. Some did but most of us kept the energy level up and helped our guys out. It’s almost like we “willed” then to keep going. NO WAY are we getting soaked in our house, on opening weekend, in the new Arrowhead and leave without a victory. Savor indeed! Good morning!!

  • September 14, 2010  - Chiefs In First Place After 21-14 Opening Victory | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] Commentary: Enjoy the victory, but it’s just one. [...]

  • September 14, 2010  - Edward says:

    Yeah big ups to the rest of Chiefs Nation you guys brought ya A game last night lets keep it up all yr BABY Go Chiefs.

  • September 14, 2010  - Michael says:

    Yes, me too, got to give it to the KC fans for bringing the Arrowhead Avalanche down on the bolts. The energy was electric, and even astonished the broadcasters. What a fun game to watch, and how great for Chiefs players and coaches to get a payoff for all their hard work. Now lets take it on the road to Cleveland.

  • September 14, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    We landed back home around 6PM Tuesday and I still don’t have a voice! It was an AWESOME EXPERIENCE!!!

  • September 15, 2010  - Jonathan says:

    I kept saying as early as the preseason that if the Chiefs could win Monday night that they had a chance to go 3-0 before the break. Cleveland will be tough since its their home opener and because the Chiefs don’t usually do well on the road but if KC can pass this test then Chiefs have a chance to make the playoffs.

  • September 16, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    TX_ChiefAN, Glad you guys enjoyed yourselves, what a ride!!! A buddy of mine was @ the game and he just said, “Arrowhead is back”!!!!!!

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News