The resurgent Kansas City Chiefs take a reality check tonight. Fittingly, it will come in the Mile High City, against the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos, and on national television (9 p.m., Ch. 13).
Awash in giddy expectations (Sports Illustrated picks them to reach the Super Bowl), the Chiefs will have their hands full in Week 2 because:
* They haven't appeared on "Monday Night Football" since 1983.
* They haven't won at Mile High Stadium since 1982, a span of seven games.
* Kansas City coach Marty Schottenheimer hasn't beaten Denver quarterback John Elway in five meetings, three while he coached the Browns.
Which is why Carl Peterson, Chiefs president, played down the significance of tonight's game.
"It's a great measuring stick for us early in the season," Peterson said. "If we play well against them, then whatever the outcome we will feel we've taken another step in the right direction."
Peterson, in his second season at Kansas City, said any Super Bowl talk is premature: "Let's try to keep things in perspective. This team won four games each in '87 and '88. There aren't any miracles in the NFL. Give us two more years. We're still in the rebuilding stage now."
Peterson and Schottenheimer laid the foundation last year when the Chiefs went 8-7-1 and nearly made the playoffs. In the offseason, they upgraded the defense with the first-round selection of linebacker Percy Snow and improved depth on offense.
Their biggest question remains the play at quarterback. But veteran Steve DeBerg (16-for-28, 196 yards, two TDs) was more than adequate in a 24-21 victory over Minnesota. And the focal point of the offense still is 6-foot-1, 260-pound fullback Christian Okoye, the NFL's rushing champion last year.
The Broncos lost to the Raiders last week, 14-9, although the defense allowed neither touchdown. Former Edmondson High star Warren Powers, a starter at left defensive end, had two sacks in that game.