Midterms and Tests
Written by: Chris Rubio
“Football is life” – Danni Rojas – Ted Lasso. We can draw so many parallels to Football imitating life. Here we are at the midterm part of the NFL season, and our team is about to take an important mid-term test. Do any of you remember any critical tests that you took in school? I once had a professor who taught English Literature. This professor would test us on the most obscure character in a book. What I mean is the character may have appeared once in the book. Testing on such obscurity is the equivalent of asking who played the part of the referee in the Karate Kid movie. See what I mean? After a few quizzes, I learned what a dope this teacher was, so I prepared for him. I devised a strategy to know every single character, and I memorized them all. So the moment came when we got to the mid-term test, and his 1st question was, “When was the book published”? Excuse me? I froze. I think it was his strategy to freeze the students. Talk about teaching malpractice! How about some other lousy test experiences? Can you recall failing your 1st road test? At the time of the test, this could be the most crushing failure, especially if you are the last of your friends to get a license.
In prior years, we have seen our Chiefs face some mid-season tests and convince us that everything will be just fine. We find ourselves in such a moment after a curious and unexpected loss last week to the Denver Broncos. Take last year, for instance. At nearly a similar point in the season, the Chiefs were 4-2. They had just lost a game at Arrowhead to the Buffalo Bills and had barely escaped losing to the Raiders a week before that. So the 4-2 Chiefs headed out to San Francisco to face Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers, who had just acquired Christian McCaffrey. At the time, this was a scary thought. The so-called experts were all questioning who these Chiefs were. After all, these were the “Tyreek-less” toothless Chiefs. They had only scored 20 points at home in the loss against the Buffalo Bills.
What took place in that 49ers game is a game that I referred to for the rest of the 2022 season. The Chiefs walked into San Francisco and delivered a knock-out blow, butt whipping, take ’em out to the woodshed beat down of the 49ers after falling behind 10-0. They went on a rampage, outscoring the Niners 44-13. Our team has a knack for spotting the opponents some points before getting going sometimes. In that game, Patrick Mahomes racked up 423 yards in passing offense, and Taylor’s boyfriend contributed 98 yards in receiving. As a fan watching this game, I concluded that if the Chiefs had this kind of performance in them for a road game, they could duplicate it and turn it on with this extra gear at any time. They showed us that extra gear in the Super Bowl.
To be sure, this is a different year, and we have a different team, but our vital characters are the same. After rewatching the Broncos game, it appears that it was simply a bad week. So let’s chalk that up to that. After all, our QB was dealing with the after-effects of the flu, and we committed three costly early turnovers. Even with the way that the Chiefs were giving the game away with 11:15 to go in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs found themselves only trailing 14-9. Having forced the Broncos to punt, it appeared that this was going to be a moment where Patrick saves us from sure defeat again, and that they might steal the game from the Broncos.
This time around, Mecole Hardman inexplicably fielded the punt at about the 8-yard line. Instead of letting the punt drop harmlessly, Hardman fumbled; the Broncos recovered the punt and, given this, Hardman’s gift turned it into a Touchdown and a massive 21-9 lead for the Broncos. 21-9 was a lead that the Chiefs could never overcome. It was as if Hardman froze on the punt return. Heck, who could blame him? It was cold and snowy in Denver. Who knew it was even the flu season so early? Maybe the Chiefs weren’t ready for the dramatic drop in temperature. We know how he must have felt; we’ve been there – perhaps, like me, you froze on your midterm exam, or you froze on your road test? Wherever it is that you may have frozen, remember Football is life! Recently, a friend turned me on to the TV Series Ted Lasso, where you can hear that Football is life! The show is about an American Coach who goes to Europe to coach. This is an interesting coincidence with this week’s game isn’t it?
The key to succeeding at anything in life isn’t what you do when you make that mistake; the key is how you overcome the mistake. What’s your next bounce-back move? How did that work out for our Chiefs?
The last time Mecole Hardman fumbled a punt like that was in the 2021 AFC Title game vs the Bills. In fact, the fumble was in the same place on the field at around the 10-yard line. So what did Hardman do after that fumble? He burst out with a huge 50-yard jet sweep, later scoring a touchdown, and changed the game. Remember, Hardman was drafted at a moment when we were unsure about Tyreek’s future in KC. I can’t wait for his next touch. I can’t wait for this upcoming test on Sunday. We are ready, our defense is ready. This looks to me like a bounce-back moment that we have seen before from our Chiefs. Let’s Go!