Chiefs doing a super job of proving themselves

Week 14 In Review

December 02, 1997|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Who better to espouse the Kansas City Chiefs' chip-on-the-shoulder mentality than much-traveled receiver Andre Rison?

"We've been making statements all year; how many more do we have to make?" Rison asked reporters following the Chiefs' 44-9 rout of the San Francisco 49ers. "The only statement we have to make is to get to the Super Bowl."

Suddenly, the idea of Kansas City in the Super Bowl doesn't seem as far-fetched as it once did.

The Chiefs have taken a lot of abuse since blowing home-field advantage in the playoffs two years ago. Their 1995 team went 13-3, won the AFC West, and then lost a first-round matchup with Ted Marchibroda's Indianapolis Colts, 10-7. The Chiefs haven't lived that down yet, and last year missed the playoffs altogether.

This year, after changing quarterbacks and defenses, they found themselves on unfamiliar ground. In the past three weeks, the Chiefs have twice been underdogs at home, even though Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest places to win in the NFL.

Never mind that they were underdogs to the Denver Broncos, who have the best record in the AFC, and the 49ers, who own the best record in the NFC. Or that Rich Gannon had replaced quarterback Elvis Grbac, out the past month with a broken collarbone.

The Chiefs took offense to the perceived slight, and then they took it out on the Broncos and 49ers to win both games. At 10-3, they have a softer finishing schedule than the 11-2 Broncos, and conceivably could still get home-field advantage in the AFC.

"In the last [three] weeks, we've beaten the two best teams in football," said Rison. "What does that make us?"

Rison knows about slights -- perceived and otherwise. He has played for six teams in his nine-year NFL career. He has been dumped by the Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers since the end of the 1995 season for reasons having to do with work habits, salary and pass routes. He was upset when the Packers dropped him after their Super Bowl run a year ago.

In Kansas City, Rison has transformed himself from "Bad Moon" into a kinder, gentler football version of Spiderman, the cartoon superhero. His gimmick is to pretend to climb the goal post after scoring a touchdown.

And wouldn't it be something to see the Chiefs play the Packers -- Rison's old team -- in this year's Super Bowl? Bad Moon might make a comeback for that one.

Still kicking

Hard to believe, but the Dallas Cowboys (6-7) aren't dead yet in the haggard NFC East, despite losing their past two games.

If the Cowboys sweep their final three games (Carolina, at Cincinnati, New York Giants), they still can win the division at 9-7.

But that would require the Giants to lose two of the last three, and Washington and Philadelphia to lose at least one game each. Those ties could kill the Giants, Redskins and Eagles in the end.

Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, though, no team has won the NFC East with a 9-7 record.

Audibles

Tampa Bay's Warrick Dunn, held to a total of 40 yards rushing his previous two games, erupted for 120 against the Giants. It was his first 100-yard game in seven weeks. Carolina quarterback Kerry Collins threw two more interceptions in Week 14 to give him an NFL-high 18 in 10 games. If the playoffs started today, the Detroit Lions, at 7-6, would take the NFC's last wild-card spot.

Pub Date: 12/02/97

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