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First and 10

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&page=/firstandten/week16" target="_blank">ESPN</a>

    By John Clayton

    For the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday's game against the Chargers is more than a game. It could end a short era.

    The Dick Vermeil portion of the Chiefs' history could be coming to an end. He's 69, but his mind and body are young. Vermeil wants to give Lamar Hunt and team president and close friend Carl Peterson a trip to the Super Bowl. Although Vermeil hasn't made a decision, it's unlikely he will return if he can't get this team into the playoffs.

    As he's finding, the AFC road to the Super Bowl is much together than the road he took through the NFC with the Rams in 1999. The AFC has more established and elite quarterbacks. During Vermeil's time in Kansas City, the Patriots emerged as a three-time Super Bowl champion that was going to be hard for anyone to stop. Ask the Colts, who tried and failed. Now, it could be the Colts' time.

    Vermeil loves pro football and the game loves him. So does his team. Hunt, Peterson and the players would love to see Vermeil return. But Vermeil is a realist. The team is getting old. Despite having three Pro Bowlers on the offensive line, Vermeil experienced how tough it is for Willie Roaf and others to bounce back from injuries. As he said during the preseason, if he can't get this team to the Super Bowl, he might move aside for a younger person.

    At 8-6, the Chiefs are in a tough spot, and even a victory over the Chargers might not help. The late-season schedule has been brutal for the Chiefs, who have faced nothing but playoff teams. The good news for Vermeil is they finish the season with two home games: Saturday against the Chargers and next week against the Bengals. The problem is, even if the Chiefs win those two games, their wild-card bid is all but over if San Diego beats the Broncos next week. The Chargers would get the spot based on the common opponent tiebreaker. The Chiefs would need the Jaguars and Steelers to collapse in the last two weeks.

    The Chargers also are scrambling. Everyone acknowledges this might be one of the most talented teams to ever miss the playoffs, and the Chargers don't want that distinction. Their schedule has been brutal. If the Dolphins finish with a winning record, the Chargers would end up facing 11 teams with winning records. If the Jaguars win out and finish 12-4 and the Steelers beat two teams with losing records -- Cleveland and Detroit -- the Chargers could become the first 11-win team in 20 years to miss the playoffs.

    As with most top AFC West matchups, the home team usually prevails. The Chargers manhandled the Chiefs at home in October in a game that wasn't as close as the final score, 28-20. And the Chargers snapped a seven-game losing streak in Arrowhead by pulling out a 34-31 victory last season, giving them a three-game overall winning streak against K.C.

    Vermeil has been consistent. He doesn't lose December games in Arrowhead. Even including last year's loss to San Diego, the Chiefs have outscored the Chargers 232-107 in the past eight games in Arrowhead.

    This game figures to be high scoring. Both teams have potent offenses. Both teams are desperate and will try anything to win. Both teams are creative and well coached. It should be a classic.

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