Champion Effort

It took a horrific tragedy, ten losses to date, but the Kansas City Chiefs put it all together to defeat the Carolina Panthers and regained some of their soul that had been taken away without warning just a day earlier.

For what this organization has been through the last 36 hours, one had to really wonder how well the team on the field would be able to focus from the one - off the field - that was forced to deal with the tragic events surrounding the death of their former teammate, Jovan Belcher.

What the faithful at Arrowhead saw on Sunday afternoon for the first time this season was a team that used it's entire roster, matched with a solid game plan led by a highly emotional set of players who refused to lose against Carolina.

In the aftermath of all that has transpired, nobody can truly understand the impact of today's victory and what it will mean for the organization going forward. But what you can't question, despite the loss of their teammate and ten losses to date, the Chiefs finally showed a competitive spirit to win a football game this season.

On Sunday, there were times in the back of my mind that I thought the Panthers would rally. But in the end, their effort fell ten yards short of victory. And as I unravel the events of the last day and a half for this franchise, it was good for three hours that we all could focus on the game itself.

At a time, when the NFL has become a business featuring frugal budgets, calculated personnel moves and egos that take the fun out of the game for the fans and the players, it was nice to see all that set aside on Sunday by the Chiefs.

Instead we saw the brand of football that many fans thought they'd see from the opening bell of the 2012 season. And that's one frustrating aspect we all have about this football team. The Chiefs are littered with talent. They have capable coaches on the sidelines and they do possess personnel people that can find talented players.

But when the organization fails to get on the same page, as was the case prior to the the teams victory over the Panthers, we collectively scratch our heads to ask the question, why this teams has underachieved to a 2-10 record?

For those answers, we might not get them until the season ends. But we do know now is that when this team is focused, coached up and the players execute the playbook, they can win games.

On Sunday, the offense made great strides under Quarterback, Brady Quinn. The defense, despite the fact it didn't step up their game until the second half, also made strides against a top level quarterback.

Cam Newton was impressive to say the least in the first half but in the second half thanks to a big drop by receiver, Brandon LeFell that would change the complexion of the game itself. And maybe that miscue was a gift from the NFL Gods, who decided the Chiefs needed some good fortunes on Sunday.

What this victory means going forward, or how it shapes what changes might be ahead for the offseason, really doesn't matter today. What does is this. For the first time this year, the Chiefs showed flashes of the division champions many felt they'd become in 2012.

Though that goal is obviously out of reach, this victory might serve as a wake up call for everyone in the organization and it just might be the catalyst for what could be the start for a prosperous 2013 season.

And based on the overall sadness that engulfed the franchise since Saturday morning, this victory might be the turning point to better things in the future.


WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What does this victory mean for this franchise?


For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com

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