The Lowest Point

I believe in barometer games. Throughout any season, the real value of a team will be measured in those particular contests in which 53 men –and a coaching staff– will be asked to come through no matter what. Not so much because of the rival they’d be facing but because of the unique circumstances that surround such instances. When they arise, you better be up for the task.

That’s why Sunday hurt so much.

Last week, the Chiefs melted down in San Diego. After a brutal 10-minute stretch in which they imparted a clinic in self-destruction, I tried hard to find the silver-lining. With the two game-winning streak coming to an end in such discouraging fashion, I was left to think that in some way the spanking at the hands of the Chargers would only help in the long run. The focus would be regained, the sloppiness would be limited and the hunger for victory would be renewed. Most importantly, there would be no reason to panic; after all, a bump on the road would be left behind just as soon as we concentrated on the end of the road. Unfortunately, no one expected what happened yesterday.

I can live with Jamaal Charles fumbling one more time (barely); I can understand that the jitters got to Matt Cassel (forcefully); I’m aware that Todd Haley still hasn’t developed a knack to pull the successful gimmicks (mercifully), and I completely realize that this team is in a rebuilding mode (realistically). But the thing that I cannot get is how on earth the Chiefs could possibly lay such an enormous egg on Derrick Thomas’ day?

Behind his contagious smile and the need to create havoc on the football field, the thing that moved Derrick Thomas was pride. This was his last hurrah, his posthumous swan song and his closing tribute all rolled into one. Without a doubt, the Chiefs were required to put together a performance worthy of everything he ever gave to Kansas City.

The end result was unacceptable. No matter the talent level, the fact remains that in these kinds of games, you have to deliver a winning effort, even if you come up short in the scoreboard. It’s better than an electrocardiogram because these moments tell the true pulse of a team.

This weekend, the spirit of Derrick Thomas was present at Arrowhead thanks to Tamba Hali, and that was the highlight of an otherwise dreadful presentation. He was magnificent in competition. His heroics didn’t rub off on his teammates. I’ll refuse to say that he lost, but football is a team game and he is only part of a collective losing effort.

On the worst possible day the Chiefs dropped the chalupa, and then some. I really dole out credit to the Broncos. Their performance honored the late Barrel Man and for that they should be proud. At least one Hall of Famer was pleased on this day.

Needless to say, this is gut-check time. I have no interest in reliving the mistakes over and over again, but in watching what will be in store today, tomorrow, and the rest of the year at One Arrowhead Drive. I have to trust the premise that it isn’t necessarily how you start but how you finish. And that’s where the definitive judgments will be passed on. Not an instant earlier. The Chiefs are about to enter the last quarter of their season and it’s in everybody’s best interests that they finish out the campaign on a strong note. The first quarter ended with a 0-4 mark, the second quarter at 1-3 tally and the third wrapped up with a 2-2 count. So far, an improvement in numbers is there. However, emotionally we’re no better than when we started. That’s the real issue.

For the Chiefs to get rid of the yo-yo personality I would recommend them to keep their heads cool, their feet grounded and remind themselves of the things that have led them to surpass the victory total from last year. The only thing left is to keep working. The players need to keep working, the coaches need to keep working, the front office vehemently needs to keep working and us, the fans, can only keep working until next Sunday. And then, we’ll be back at it with one goal in mind: looking for redemption.

Hopefully, in the future, when I think about this game I’ll just remember it as the lowest point of the 2009 football season, and for the sake of our football sanity … it better be.

20 Responses to “The Lowest Point”

  • December 7, 2009  - Dean in Columbia says:

    “Hopefully, in the future, when I think about this game I’ll just remember it as the lowest point of the 2009 football season, and for the sake of our football sanity … it better be.”

    Agreed. I lost a bet on this game. I have to wear a Broncos hard hat at break and lunch all week.

    That’s 5 hours of humiliation. Which is more than the Chiefs endured Sunday.

  • December 7, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Excellent piece, Bob. You wrote that one from Bob Gretz, the Chiefs fan…which I’ve felt has been largely missing from a lot of your writing lately.

  • December 7, 2009  - aPauled says:

    I have never been more shocked or disappointed in the Chiefs. No effort. No fire (except between Wade and Haley). No leadership.

    I have been a supporter of Haley, Cassel and the new direction….but….

    This was Denver, in December, at home!

    On DT’s day. In front of some Chiefs legends.

    Haley should read his own comments about “…any 53…” because it seems to still be the case. Wouldn’t even have to be men (Hali excluded)…

  • December 7, 2009  - Dave says:

    Come on, Bob, let’s focus on reality here. This may sound cold, but what the hell do the players on the field care about it being Derrick Thomas day?

    Obviously its a big deal to the fans. But good lord, most of these guys on this roster were in Junior High when DT died.

    You seriously expected a bunch of guys who never knew DT, and probably never saw him play outside highlight clips, to rise up and overcome simply because DT was being honored at halftime?

    Focus on why the Chiefs laid such an egg in their first home game since beating the Steelers. Focus on why they laid such a big egg at home against a division rival. Focus on why they laid such a big egg a week after getting pantsed by the Chargers.

    Being DT day is the least of the concerns.

  • December 7, 2009  - jimbo says:

    No. 58 was smiling until the 3rd qtr. I really did’nt think of the loss (beating) in that way Bob, until you brought it up. I agree. No proud moments (except Tamba) for the remainder of the game.
    I certainly hope that this game in all its futility, will wake up, shake up & straighten up 53 players & various coaches. I’m a huge fan as many of you know. This was one big pill (A$$ whuppin)to swallow. A wake up call to say the least…
    We have an opportunity in the next few weeks to restore a little pride. Let’s hope the men in Red & Gold restore the dignity that was trampled on the turf Sunday. Somehow DT will have to forgive them. I know, I will.
    Go Chiefs.

  • December 7, 2009  - TimR says:

    I agree with you Dave. Thinking because it was DT Day there was extra motivation is naive. That’s definitely a fan perspective for sure.

    This is what happens when your team is greatly overmatched talent-wise in too many positions. The Broncos, Chargers, Giants & Phil. all were far superior in talent & depth before the season & after all the draft & FA was over. The only way we win, or stay competitive is by playing closer to an error free game – which we have done in a few games…our 3 wins, Dallas & first Oakland game.

    Its great that people care so much, but get real!

  • December 7, 2009  - Mike in MO says:

    I was interested in Mark Collins’s comments after the game. He pulled no punches and said that Clancy Pendergast “doesn’t have a clue” how to run a 3-4 defense. Can you envision Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator and Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator next year? What an improvement that would be…if Haley let them do their jobs.

  • December 7, 2009  - Dan says:

    The problem is you have to pay these rookies before they prove anything. If Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey had to work for those contracts in production they would work harder in the off times to get sacks and TFL. Normally I’m like we need Russel Okung and Mike Iapatu to fix things on our line. Not the case against Denver, still need some depth to plug holes. Wow the coaching during that game. I’m begging for Charlie Wies and Romeo Crennel. Give me some linemen receiver running back and a defensive person that can hit someone.Only thing I feel like I can rely on is the draft for my sanity that’s were my mind goes.
    1st S Eric Berry or OT Russell Okung
    2nd DE OLB George Selvie or G Mike Iapatu
    2nd R Denario Alexander or running back that doesn’t fumble

  • December 7, 2009  - colby says:

    I’m with you guys. Weis as the OC, Crennel as the DC. Haley could then do what a HC needs to do: MANAGE THE GAME! I think Haley will develop into a good coach, but he has too much on his plate offensively, and a DC worse than Goonther on the other side.

  • December 7, 2009  - Tenand6 says:


    I felt it was an offense to DT that no one with the Chiefs organization delivered a speech on behalf of Derrick. People posed for pictures. I was disgusted.

    I would enjoy knowing your take. I couldn’t believe it when the “ceremony” was over. It was an important opportunity missed, IMHO.

  • December 7, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    Awesome job Bob, nice to read an article from ya that hit ya in the heart.

    I do agree with bob though, players are apart of the Kansas City Chiefs, DT made the Chiefs what they were in the 90′s.
    NO, these players werent here when DT was, But all it takes is to watch a highlight reel of this man during the week or before the game, you get chills down your spine, and you would say to yourself we “need to win this one for DT”.
    I know im from the fan side of the situation, but if I were in that locker room it would definatley make me put 110% on that field and leave nothing left in the tank..nothing, not a damn thing left..and thats what DT DESERVED!!

    Now maybe the players did and it didnt show, but Id like to think we could have done better, much better

  • December 7, 2009  - gorillafan says:


    good point, they did have him talked about on the big screens, but it wasnt the same. Id like to see marty give a speech, but he couldnt contain himself from crying

  • December 7, 2009  - Jody says:

    I agree, the tribute was weak.

  • December 7, 2009  - Merwin in NY says:

    Did anyone else watch the Cards dismantle the Vikings last night. Now that was how you play a good 3-4 defense. It just goes to show that the Chiefs really need more great players all across the board. With nothing left to play for, these players should be doing everything in their power to prove from here on out that they deserve to be brought back next year. This is now what they are doing, is auditioning for next years team. I just hope to see better play over the next four weeks. GO CHIEFS!

  • December 7, 2009  - ED says:

    I think Clancy getting a bad rap. IF anyone thinks Gunther’s defense is better than Clancy they’ve lost their mind. Yesterday was an exception. The defense tackles better under Clancy and is alot better against the run. I think if the offense didn’t go 3 and out so much the defense would look alot better. Don’t get me wrong we miss having Page at free safety, but for the most part this is a far better defense.

    Last year the defense lost way more games than they help win. I will give Gailey credit offensively the pistol offense was alot more effective than the one we’re running now.

  • December 8, 2009  - Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/8 says:

    [...] The Lowest Point from Bob Gretz [...]

  • December 8, 2009  - SG says:

    “I think Clancy getting a bad rap.”

    Is he really? Or is there a reason he was removed from his employment with the Cardinals even after their great post-season run defensively that got them to the Super Bowl?

  • December 8, 2009  - CK- 30 yrs STH says:

    The great Lamar Hunt left junior a playoff team. Now soccer boy has turned it into a XFL franchise. junior is so clueless that he didn’t show DT and his family the proper respect. No flyover for DT’s day? This was the only game so far this year w/o one. junior’s a punk.
    Hopefully, Pioli realizes his mistake and hires one of the available adult Super Bowl Head Coaches.

  • December 8, 2009  - BinSC says:

    Yes, Clancy is awesome. It’s why he was fired after a Super Bowl run. Be real, if ANYBODY else was available when Haley was hired, Pendergast would be serving fries. He is terrible. The defense on Sunday reminded me of Greg Robinson’s. Read and react 5 yards down the field. Play your corners 10 yards off the receivers when they have 3rd and 4. Ridiculous. Tackling is better than when Gunther was here, but we don’t have the same players or position coaches either. I’m with Mark Collins. He doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to run this defense. My bet is the first change in the off-season is defensive coordinator.

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