Chiefs coach Todd Haley talks plenty about how he wants a tough football team. That’s one of the reasons why he held practice outside yesterday in 30 degree weather with 20 mph winds. To prove to his team that he’s with them, there was Haley wearing shorts for the duration of the chilly practice.
“Coach is one tough guy,” said Jamaal Charles, a child of Port Arthur, Texas, who admitted that he went out to practice on Wednesday with short sleeves and had to run back into the building and put on a long sleeve sweatshirt underneath his shoulder pads.
‘I couldn’t take it; too cold. That coach … one tough dude.”
Tough is a word that some would use. Crazy is another, like some permafrost has affected his brain.
“He looked cold out there,” said DE Tyson Jackson. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he was. Everybody was.”
Jackson says this as he’s peeling off three layers of shirts and long leggings that got him through the practice. For a young man born and raised in Louisiana, it was the coldest couple hours of football in his life.
“Never had anything like that,” said Jackson. “It was pretty bad at first, but after awhile you get moving around and you don’t feel it so much. But it was cold.”
A couple lockers away, fellow rookie DE Alex Magee snorted. “That was nothing,” Magee said. “It wasn’t snowing, or raining. It was just cold.”
It’s all about perspective. For a child of the bayou, feel-like temperatures in the 20s are a new experience. For a guy like Magee, who played at Purdue, this was just the kind of practice you can have from Halloween to New Year’s Day. “Oh yeah, we had much worse up there,” Magee said of West Lafayette, Indiana.
I understand the need to have an indoor practice facility for super severe weather. Outside of that there is no need to bring your team inside. When the team runs out of the tunnel Sunday to take on the Broncos there won’t be any options for changing the weather, so you might as well get used to playing in the cold and worse.
Sunday will be a very special day for the Chiefs and Derrick Thomas, but the academy named after the hall of famer will be kicking things off a day early.
The Derrick Thomas Academy will hold a tailgate celebration open to the public from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday at the school at 201 E. Armour Blvd.
Free food and giveaways autographed by former Chiefs defensive end Neil Smith, now a director of the Derrick Thomas Third and Long Foundation, will be available.
A group of 100 of the school’s students and 20 chaperones will attend the Chiefs’ game, courtesy of Metcalf Bank, on Sunday against Denver when Thomas’ No. 58 jersey will be retired as part of halftime ceremonies honoring his selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This weekend is going to be amazing and it’s great to see the Academy kick things off with Neil Smith. If you are in the area you should stop by and show your support for the work that the Derrick Thomas Academy is doing and will continue to do long after Sunday’s ceremony at Arrowhead.
Earlier in the week there was a stat going around that the Broncos are 1-16 at Arrowhead in December. But as the Denver Post is happy to point out, the Chiefs haven’t been nearly as dominant in that month in recent years.
The truth is the Chiefs haven’t won a December home game in almost three years.
True, the Chiefs once were all but unbeatable in December at Arrowhead. Starting with the 1983 season, otherwise known around these parts as the beginning of the John Elway era, the Chiefs have gone 37-10 at home in December.
“I think it’s pretty simple — it’s fan participation,” said Broncos defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, an assistant coach on Elway’s teams from 1987-92. “The fans there — the two places that stand out in my mind are Kansas City and Seattle — the fan participation and the 12th man so to speak, as they call it, it’s a real factor as far as the noise they make.”
But that December home record since 1983 also once stood at 37-6 and 36-5. The Chiefs have lost both of their home December games each of the past two years, and five of their past six.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that the opponents in the Chiefs’ four-game home December losing streak didn’t include the Broncos. The Chiefs are 15-1 all-time in December games in Kansas City against Denver.
“I saw that stat earlier this week, and I sure hope it sustains itself,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said.
Hopefully the reason the Chiefs have struggled at home in December the past two years — other than Herm Edwards attempting to kill the magic of Arrowhead — was that the Broncos weren’t in town. Wishful (crazy?) thinking, I know. But things have to turn around at home soon, December or otherwise, so why not this week?
With the hated Broncos on the other side of the field and the ceremony for Derrick Thomas I’m really hoping that the crowd will be crazy this week. As I talked about earlier this week, the Sea of Red must make life miserable for the Broncos all day long. You may hate to admit it, but the Broncos have more talent than the Chiefs do right now. An extra push from the fans is a must in order for Kansas City to pull off the upset.