I don’t care about history - if two teams are in the midst of prolonged, franchise-draining collapses, can they really be considered to have a rivalry anymore? Witness Sunday’s game between “bitter rivals” the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. The only thing “bitter” was me having to watch the entire mess because my friend is a Chiefs fan.
The pre-game talk was about how far the Raiders had fallen, and if their head coach Lane Kiffin would have a plane ticket for him after the game or be left to buy a Greyhound ticket back to the Bay Area for himself. Amazing, the Raiders were able to go into Arrowhead Stadium and get a 23-8 victory, which tells you just how far the Chiefs have fallen in the last few seasons. (And yet no one is talking about firing Herm Edwards…yet.)
After Damon Huard was hurt in the first quarter, the Chiefs were forced to turn to Tyler Thigpen, whose big-game experience from playing college ball at Coastal Carolina sadly wasn’t enough to lead the team to the win. Things got so bad that the Chiefs briefly tried Marques Hagans, who was listed as a wide receiver and had been just promoted from the practice squad that week.
(Actually, any time you think to yourself “If only Damon Huard were back in the game…” things are bad by default.)
Not that the defense was much help, giving up more than 300 yards and making Darren McFadden look a lot less like a bust. Safety Jarrad Page told the KANSAS CITY STAR that “everybody is embarrassed“. Tony Gonzalez told the paper that “We’ve got to pick it up somehow. This was embarrassing.” Also embarrassed was KC Wolf, but that’s just because he accidentally “marked his territory” on a cheerleader in the second quarter.
At least one person wasn’t embarrassed in running back Larry Johnson: he was just plain angry. Specifically, according to the KANSAS CITY STAR, at his lack of playing time, which he sees as writing on the wall:
“I’ve got to sit back and figure that the writing is on the wall, that this season or next season could be my last season as a Chief,” Johnson said. “I don’t know. But obviously if they’re making personnel changes now and I’m not even in for any of the snaps to (try to) help win this game, then that pretty much says it for all.“I’m not dumb. I know what’s going on. I sense what’s going on. Nobody should run the ball if it isn’t me. I always felt that way. If I’m not getting the ball, then I should be tired. If I’m not tired and I’m not getting the ball, then there’s something going on. I’ve just got to deal with it.”
I’ll give Larry Johnson credit for this: if someone told me my playing days in Kansas City were coming to an end, I’d kiss them. As for the tone of his comments, and whether it’s just frustration or him being a bad teammate, I’ll have to wait until his Mom tells me what to think.