Sunday, April 20, 2014
By Dave Skretta
The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s hard to find anybody in the Kansas City Chiefs’ locker room willing to think back to last season. Those memories have been purged for weeks, if not months.
Quarterback Alex Smith, left, receiver Dwayne Bowe and the rest of their teammates have had plenty of reason to celebrate during Kansas City’s surprising 7-0 start.
Kendrick Lewis remembers, though.
The starting free safety remembers vividly what it was like to win just two games and finish with the worst record in franchise history. He still recalls what it was like to show up to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday and see row after row of empty seats.
All of which makes their 7-0 start this season feel that much sweeter.
“There’s a big difference,” Lewis said after a 17-16 win over Houston on Sunday that, along with the Broncos’ loss to the Colts, left Kansas City as the lone unbeaten team in the NFL.
“We’re more of a family now,” Lewis explained. “Every time we break it down, we break it down on family. We’re more of a brotherhood. We’re more together, pulling for one common goal.”
Lewis went on to hazard the words “Super Bowl,” making him not only one of the few players to recall last season but one of the few to look beyond the next game on the schedule.
There have been just 31 previous teams in the Super Bowl era to win their first seven games, and all of them made the playoffs. Fifteen of those teams made it to the final game of the season, and nine of them raised the Lombardi Trophy. One of those teams to start 7-0 was the 2003 Chiefs, who won their first nine games – the only team in franchise history to get off to a better start than this crew.
That team was ousted by the Colts in their first playoff game.
Another team to start 7-0 was the 2004 Eagles guided by Andy Reid, now the Chiefs’ coach. That team fared better when the postseason rolled around, making it to the Super Bowl before losing a 24-21 heartbreaker to the Patriots.
Reid refused to make any comparisons to the Chiefs of today with his Eagles of yesteryear, but the way he deftly sidestepped the question on Monday may indicate one similarity.
Both teams have focused solely on the present.
“If you just get into this thing and you hold things you can control, and that’s practicing right, go through the different steps, and you hold true to that, you don’t worry about what other people say,” Reid said.
“You prepare yourself for your opponent, you get yourself right, and if you stay right with that, all that other stuff doesn’t really matter.”