Monday, October 28, 2013

Chiefs Flying High

Chiefs Sitting Pretty

As the first half of the season finishes, the Chiefs find themselves with the only unbeaten record in the NFL and with a winnable game at Buffalo next week and then the bye week things could not really be better for a team that could not beat anyone just twelve months ago.

The glory of the NFL remains intact. A very poor team from a year ago – but perhaps not quite as bad as the 2-14 record would indicate – can turn it around and sit proudly atop the rankings. How can this be, and what is even more important, can they keep it up?

Firstly the Tribe have been very lucky. It must be said. Every week we seem to run into a banged-up defence and a QB who is either a rookie or a cast-off. Meanwhile the Chiefs have had few injuries. The defence is playing out of their skins (hope they haven't peaked too soon) and the offence is adequate. The turn-over stats tell it all. Last season we gave the ball and the game away with reckless abandon.

The turn around has been as welcome as it is staggering. We keep the ball and grab turn-overs from the other guys. QB Alex Smith looks after the football, runs when he has to and completes enough passes to keep opposing defences honest. The run game is productive and new ways to get Jamal Charles involved have been found.

Result: Chiefs look a balanced team with a terrific chance to get to 9-0 with the bye week in the offing. Happy Days! Super Bowl here we come!

Not quite.

Lest we forget and get carried away, because of last year's disaster we have a very easy schedule this year. In fact the real season is the Western Division of the AFL. The six games against Denver, Oakland and San Diego will decided just how much progress has been made. We are one up on the Raiders. We have Denver in week 11 at Mile High. We have the two games against San Diego to come.

Only after we have played most of these games will a real evaluation be possible.

I did see most of the Broncos – Washington Redskins game yesterday and was quite encouraged with what I saw. The Redskins stayed with the home team for a long time – even leading at half-time. They ran the ball very effectively against the Denver defence.

True – they faded in the fourth quarter, but it does look like Denver is beatable by a team that looks after the football and can run it. We can beat the Raiders again, but it will be much closer out on the West Coast. San Diego remains an enigma. They could be good – or they could be atrocious.

Whatever happens, the combination of a new coach, Andy Reid, new management, a new proven QB and progress throughout the team means the future is looking rosy.

Whether a 2014 Super Bowl is achievable whilst questionable, but not out of the question.

US Politics

For your enjoyment my letter to the editor of the EDP (published on Monday, 28 October)


Mark Nichols, EDP Thursday, 24 October, “US Shutdown illustrates the strength of the UK system” exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of the American system of government.

The American republic was created as a reaction to the tyranny of the UK Parliament. As such, the system was designed to make the three parts of the government equal and separate.

The Founding Fathers were determined that the rights of the states and of individuals were to be protected from arbitrary and tyrannical governments in a Parliament with no constraints on its powers – the system we still have today in the UK – except for the encroachments of European legislation.

The US shutdown simply illustrates that the system is working well; for when one part of the government puts its collective foot down, as the Congress did, then the true genius of the American political experience comes to the fore – compromise.

The system is designed to force Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to work together within an agreed framework – the Constitution.

The shutdown, whilst inconvenient for some and potentially embarrassing for many, is a far superior position than the mindless attempts to pander to the perceived public wisdom Parliamentarians are forced into by the shortcomings of the system they work under.