By blocking not one but two kicks last week to kill the last lingering chance at the postseason, the importance of a win against the Broncos both made several points irrelevant and put the magnifying glass on others. Here are the only three that will have a lasting impression on 2012.
Most mainstream media would have you believe this Sunday is the showdown pitting former Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton against the man who ousted him in Tim Tebow. The Tim Tebow story is one that has captivated the football, and mainstream, world in 2011 but for the Chiefs, Tebow is merely the final roadblock in a disappointing season.
For the Chiefs, and their loyal fan base, the play of Orton is of much more of a pressing nature. The Chiefs have some important questions to answer about their quarterback heading into the offseason and evaluating Orton's play Sunday will go a long way in determining the future behind the center.
Reports are already filtering out that the Chiefs have interest in resigning Orton for next season and beyond. Matt Cassel is already locked up for two more seasons but his job security is anything but a lock. Cassel struggled mightily in 2011 and would be pushed for a starting position for the first time since coming to Kansas City if Orton is retained.
I don't believe what Orton does Sunday will be the tipping point for general manager Scott Pioli, but a strong showing would certainly aid in selling Orton to the Kansas City fan base. If Orton throws two or three more interceptions, he and Cassel will be a tough sell in 2012.
Much like Kyle Orton, I don't believe this game will have too much of a bearing on Crennel's future in Kansas City one way or the other. It will, however, give us more insight into how Crennel can operate if he is offered the job.
Crennel's game time management has been somewhat suspect dating back to his days in Cleveland and you would like to see some improvement in that department if Crennel is the coach in 2012.
If there is one way that Crennel can push the issue Sunday it will be by judging the passion at which his players are playing. We all know Crennel is a player's coach, but sometimes being the good guy isn't enough to force a team past their comfort zone (the ultimate task of a coach). Crennel's players like him, but when they butt heads, do the players respect him enough to blindly follow?
For Sunday, a little bit will go a long way for Crennel.
Whether it is scolding a player for a dumb penalty or getting on a referee for a poor call, I want to see a little fire out of Crennel. These players have spent three years getting worked out by former coach Todd Haley. They don't need another dictator, they need a leader.
If Crennel can prove he is capable of demonstrating both of these skills, it would be hard to imagine a better fit to lead the Chiefs in 2012.
When the Chiefs fell to the Raiders last week, the hopes of this Week 17 game being meaningful (despite the hoopla around it) disappeared. Sure, the Chiefs can play spoiler, but with the Chiefs just handing up a spot to the Raiders, who's really winning there?
The Chiefs need to finish strong Sunday but a win is really inconsequential at this point. Without knowing the future of this franchise's long term plans, it will be hard to take much from Sunday's game. Although avoiding a bad taste is always preferred heading into the long offseason, a win Sunday could drop the Chiefs several spots in April's draft.
Currently the Chiefs sit with the 10th overall pick and a win Sunday would most likely push them out of the top 10. With new leadership taking over the reins next season, a top 10 pick would carry a lot of value for a Chiefs team that already has the talent to be considered a playoff team in 2012.
Spoiling the Tebow circus would certainly be a feather in the hat for the Chiefs but at this point is the future more important than one last hurrah?
But that's always the case for teams like the Chiefs this time of year. Win or lose Sunday, the Chiefs potential for gain ended last week with a loss to the Raiders. Now it's just about picking up the scraps.
Chiefs vs Broncos - The Big Three
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