Croyle, Thigpen and the “before times”

So, free agency not turning quite as you hoped? That idea of Kansas City being this amazing destination for team-friendly deals for ring chasers not coming to fruition? The salary cap of ‘21 promised a bevy of one-year deals by top shelf free agents dazzled by the blinding light of the rising star of one Patrick Mahomes simply failed to materialize.

Well, I am right there with you. I, not unlike many of you, had thought my beloved Chiefs had finally arrived. I mean, how could you have not? Three consecutive AFC Championships, two consecutive Lamar Hunt Trophies, and finally that Super Bowl Championship that many of us may have started wondering if we would ever experience.

Now, jaded, the Chiefs Kingdom waver in their trust of the Veach, and once again, how could you not? Do we need to dredge up the list of misses during the last two weeks? Watching players leverage their positions with their 2020 teams by visiting the Chiefs combined with a Super Bowl collapse gave the B.C.-PM15 fan base PTSD of the “Before Times.”

Perhaps some of you weren’t there for the Patrick Mahomes B.C., or not as invested as the rest of us. Well, let me tell you those were some tough times. The expectation weekly was predetermined as a loss any other result was a pleasant surprise. So, I’m not going to analyze the misses with names like JuJu and Williams or probably another Williams. No, there is plenty of debate in the Twittersphere to keep you busy. No, I want to talk about names like Brody Croyle and Tyler Thigpen.

Why do I want to look back to those dark days of Todd Haley and other disastrous years? Because they happened and when they happened it seemed like it would never end. Gunther Cunningham seemed like a great hire at one time, a strong defensive-minded coach as was Romeo Crennel.

Dare I mention Herm Edwards? I’m not sure anyone thought that was a good idea or was going to pay dividends. And it did not, 15-33 over his tenure including an abysmal 2-14 season (last season was the inverse.) How about 2009 when the defense gave up 286 yards rushing to the Brown’s Jerome Harrison? Those were good times, right? As we all know this list could go on, the names could go on, and “those” moments that lead to “those” times could have also gone on, but they didn’t. They did not continue, they came to end. The beginning of the end started when Clark Hunt flew to Philly in 2013.

I was once, like many fans, resigned to double-digit win seasons and a playoff exit as the best it could get in the Kingdom. Sure, there was the hope and dream scenario that just once, just one time, seeing the Lamar Hunt Trophy in the hands of the team Lamar founded. We just witnessed Lamar’s trophy come home twice in as many seasons.

The point is the “dark days” in the Chiefs Kingdom weren’t that long ago, but for now, at least, they are behind us. The Super Bowl was a gut-check no doubt, but I watched it under the shadow of the framed front page of the Kansas City Star heralding their Super Bowl Championship just 12 months prior.

So, the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t the landing spot for top-ranked free agents chasing rings the sports world led us to believe. Trent Williams possibly did leverage his offer with Kansas City to return to the 49ers and JuJu took less. It looked as our team had finally arrived with players willing to discount themselves for a seat at the Chiefs table.

Unfortunately, free agency has been a series of disappointments, but are they anything comparatively speaking to the before times? Before Andy Reid transformed this team into one of the best teams in the NFL before Alex Smith took the QB position that was mired in less than mediocrity for the season after season and before Patrick Mahomes turned the NFL upside, sideways, left-handed, and back again. Because these are the realities of being a Chiefs fan now versus being a Chiefs fan “then.”

So, raise your expectations and your hopes for more wins and more trophies but in doing so, remember the only reason we have those hopes and expectations is that we are all witnessing the Golden Age of being a Chiefs fan. From 2-14 to 14-2 and Super Bowl runner-up, remember when 8-8 would have been considered a great season? I do.