Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun
October 7, 2012
There is an old saying that you really know your franchise is screwed when your fans are calling for Brady Quinn. OK, maybe it isnt an old saying, but it should be in about 20 years or so. Things have gotten so bad for the Kansas City Chiefs that fans hired a pilot to fly a banner over Arrowhead Stadium that called for starting quarterback Matt Cassel to get benched and for general manager Scott Pioli to get fired. Heck, maybe it was someone over at The Kansas City Star who ponied up the cash for the plane, as the hometown newspaper this week called for pretty much everyone inside the organization to get the axe (and you guys think Mike Preston grades too harshly on his weekly report cards).
I know parity has become the norm in the NFL, but its still crazy to think that 21 months ago, these teams met in the wild card round after the 2010 season. Of course we know the Ravens rolled over the Chiefs in the second half of that game en route to a 30-7 victory, but the Chiefs were going to be contenders for a while. Cassel was a Pro Bowl quarterback that year after the Chiefs went 10-6 and won the AFC West. Head coach Todd Haley was an offensive genius, and Pioli had assembled an impressive, young core on defense. But injuries hit the Chiefs hard last season and Haley wore out his welcome and was fired. Still, they were competitive and nearly won that awful division. But this year has been a total disaster. The Chiefs have yet to hold a lead in regulation -- their only win coming after a last-second field goal sent the game to overtime, where they won it on another field goal. They have been outscored by 51 points. They lead the NFL with 19 turnovers in five games, with Cassel making Michael Vick look like a sure-handed quarterback who makes sound decisions. And fans cheered when Quinn entered Sundays game -- and cheered when Cassel got knocked out by Haloti Ngata, which is a party foul -- which shows how bad things have gotten.
The Ravens were lucky to play their sloppiest game of the season against these hapless Chiefs, but if you want something else to feel good about after this 9-6 win, think about where these two teams were two years ago and where they are now. For the silent but vocal minority of fans who are saving up for a banner calling for Harbaugh and Flacco to be sent packing, consider the stability they have brought to this organization. The Ravens are the only team to make the postseason in each of the past four years and they lead the AFC North by 1 1/2 games in 2012. They may have a couple of annual stinkers like Sunday, but there will never be a time when someone like Brady Quinn is considered a ray of hope.