Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel certainly isn’t used to playing meaningless games in December. After spending eight seasons in New England, Vrabel is trying to adjust to playing for pride instead of playoff seeding.
“Anybody can play for a 12-2 team in December,” Vrabel said. “When things are good, it’s all fun and games. This is not fun and games. But we’re going to stay professional about it.
“Has it been different? Yes. But I expected it to be different. It’s not that I like it any less. There are good guys here. This can be a humbling business. We’re all measured by the success of the team.
“You can’t really sit there and wallow in it. We’ve got to finish strong and start developing a program around here that people want to be a part of.”
While with New England, Vrabel acknowledged, he admired losing teams that persevered. He used the Bills, who are 4-8 this season and haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, as an example.
“They haven’t had a lot to play for in December since I can remember,” Vrabel said. “But they play and they fight and they’re tough. There was a game last year, the last game of the regular season. We had to win to have a chance to make the playoffs. They had a losing record. The wind was blowing 80 miles an hour. You put a ball at midfield, and it would blow all the way to the tunnel. The goalposts kept blowing down.
“It would have been so easy for that team to say (the heck with) this and not give an effort. But they played hard and gave us a tight game. We won, but they won our respect.
“That’s what we have to do. We have to find the grind, and things hopefully will go our way. But you can’t just hope it’s going to happen. You have to make it happen.”
Anyone that thinks these players have nothing to play for is missing the big picture. There are veterans that could mail it in as they start wondering where they will play next year. But as we know the Chiefs have plenty of younger guys looking to prove to Todd Haley and Scott Pioli that they deserve a shot next season. How someone performs with “nothing” to play for says a lot about what they are made of.
Everyone associated with the Chiefs would much rather be in a playoff run right now, that’s not rocket science. But don’t be fooled, these are important games.
This weekend’s game might not be a sellout, but if you are headed out to Arrowhead make sure you do some toy shopping before you start tailgating.
The Chiefs, in conjunction with the Marine Corps, will continue its 44th annual Toys for Tots campaign during Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
The Marines are asking Chiefs fans to bring new and unwrapped toys for children up to 13 years old to the Arrowhead Stadium turnstiles between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
Fans may choose to make a financial contribution in lieu of a toy. Cash or checks made payable to “Toys for Tots” will also be collected at stadium entry points by the Marines.
Last season, the Marines collected 1,200 toys and almost $11,000 in donations at Arrowhead.
If you think the economy is hurting ticket sales for the Chiefs and other professional sports teams, it’s one hundred times worse for charities.
If you go to the game, bring a new unwrapped toy. In my experience, the hardest age ranges to fill are the older kids. Give if you can and if you can’t, make sure any of your friends that can, do!
Todd Haley has spoken very highly of Buffalo Bills special teams coach Bobby April this week. After Haley’s wearing-shorts-outside incident from earlier this week, it’s clear why April is his kind of guy.
With high wind advisories and blowing and drifting snow whipping through Western New York last night and today, the Bills practiced inside as there was little they would accomplish in 30-40 mph winds and a foot of snow on the ground. But while the offense and defense practiced inside, Brian Moorman and Rian Lindell went with long snapper Garrison Sanborn out to the grass field, which was adrift with snow and driving winds.
Lindell peeked out the door of the Bills fieldhouse and said, “Oh it’s not that bad.”
To which Moorman replied, “Yeah but you don’t have to sit in it.”
Moorman was referring to his duties as Lindell’s holder. Moorman sits down on one leg for field goal holds, which he was going to be doing in the snow.
Special teams coordinator Bobby April accompanied his specialists out in the elements.
I’m a big Steve Hoffman fan, but if he ever moves on I think we know the coach that will be at the top of Haley’s list to take the job.