The Kansas City Chiefs have reached the midway point of the season as the only undefeated team in the NFL. No one expected this, but here we are. You can refresh the NFL standings as much as you want, but it still has Kansas City at 8-0.
The Chiefs are successful enough now that fans of more popular teams who have become increasingly embarrassing (see: Cowboys and Steelers) may want to hop on the Chiefs bandwagon.
But before you step aboard, you'll want to keep a few things in mind to establish your KC Chiefs fan bona fides. Here they are.
Establish that you've always been a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
The best way to counter a charge of being a bandwagon fan is to hit people with undeniable proof of your lifelong support of a team. But since, in this case, you are a bandwagon fan, you'll have little to pull from. Lucky for you, though, the Chiefs' primary color is red. Try this out on the doubters: "I've bled Chiefs red from the day I was born." Nailed it.
Say positive things about Andy Reid.
Few people outside of Kansas City thought the Chiefs had struck gold by bringing Andy Reid in from Philadelphia after 14 Super Bowl-title-less years and back-to-back seasons in which the Eagles failed to make the playoffs. But you'll now want to pretend that you knew Reid would have this kind of success in Kansas City.
Say things like: "Andy Reid is just a winner. He just needed the right pieces to go all the way, and he has them now." And: "Philadelphia has to be rueing the day they let the great Andy Reid go."
To pull this off without having it backfire and reveal you as a liar and hypocrite, you should go back through all of your old tweets and Facebook posts, deleting the ones where you said that Andy Reid is a moron who would never win anything and that you could manage a game clock better.
Learn some player names.
You can't pretend to be a Chiefs fan if you can't name a handful of players. Here are just a few players and coaches to familiarize yourself with: Branden Albert, Alex Smith, Nico Johnson, Dexter McCluster, Rokevious Watkins, Jeff Allen, Thomas Gafford, Toben Opurum and Matt Nagy.
You may find it easier to remember those names using this acronym:
Talk about the importance of defense.
The Chiefs are allowing an NFL-low 12.3 points per game. They lead the league with 36 sacks through eight games. And they're the only undefeated team in football. This gives you the opportunity to dismissively say things like "defense wins championships, always have, always will" when talking football with friends. You'll sound smug and annoying, but what are they going to say to you? You're a fan of the mighty Kansas City Chiefs. Your team is better than theirs.
Know basic facts about Kansas City.
You'll want to take a quick pass through Kansas City's Wikipedia page to learn at least a few basic facts about the hometown of your new favorite team. Americans are not the best at geography, and you don't want to blow your bandwagon cover by being the idiot who says something about Kansas City being in Kansas. Kansas City is in Missouri. In fact, Missouri has two NFL teams: the Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams. Yes, Missouri has two NFL teams while America's two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, have none. Amazing but true.
Eat lots of barbecue.
Everyone in Kansas City eats barbecue all the time, right? No. But being a bandwagon fan is about embracing and adopting stereotypes in an attempt to fit in. Stereotypes are almost universally negative. But one that requires you to eat a lot of barbecued meat? There are worse stereotypes.
Really hate the Raiders.
You probably do this already. But the Raiders are the Chiefs' biggest rival, so you'll want to hate them just a little bit more than you do now. Easy, right?
Congratulations. You're a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
Quote of the Week
"The bye week is coming at a good time. We can take the time to evaluate where we're at with our whole team and recommit to take the next step." -- Gus Bradley, Jaguars head coach
I just ... that's so ... it's ... ugh. Depressing. The Jaguars lost by 32 points to the 49ers in London, their second-largest defeat of the season. They're 0-8. They've lost every game by double digits. They've been defeated in five states and two countries. They have scored the fewest points in the NFL and have given up the most. There's not much, unfortunately, for Gus Bradley to evaluate: Everything is terrible and it seems to be getting worse. Evaluation complete. As for next steps, they will likely involve tripping or jumping before the snap, or running the wrong route. Yet through it all, Bradley will somehow remain positive. You don't need Tim Tebow, Jacksonville. You already have a saint.
Stat of the Week
Calvin Johnson had 329 receiving yards against the Cowboys on Sunday, falling just 7 yards short of Flipper Anderson's single-game NFL record of 336 yards in 1989. Sixteen NFL teams haven't thrown for 329 yards in a game, partly because not every team gets to play Dallas. With Matthew Stafford throwing for 488 yards against them on Sunday, the Cowboys became the first team in NFL history to allow four 400-yard passers in a season. (Fun Fact: It's only Week 8.) Next week the Cowboys play the Vikings. Prediction: Whoever starts at quarterback next week for the Vikings will "earn" the job for the rest of the year thanks to the ridiculous numbers they'll put up playing Week 9 in rookie mode.
Misleading Stat of the Week
Calvin Johnson was tackled inside the 5-yard line four times on Sunday, the most this century a receiver has been tackled inside the 5 that many times in a single game. Stats don't lie: Calvin Johnson is easy to bring down. Calvin Johnson is weak. Calvin Johnson is terrible.
This Week's Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Jason Campbell, QB, Browns -- 22 for 36, 293 yards, 2 TDs
Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals -- 162 total yards, TD
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders -- 78 total yards, 2 TDs
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals -- 8 catches, 122 yards, 4 TDs
Kenny Stills, WR, Saints -- 3 catches, 129 yards, 2 TDs
Timothy Wright, TE, Buccaneers -- 5 catches, 48 yards, TD
Photos of the Week
Press Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Jason Garrett: "You're a smart guy. You'd fire you, right?"
Jim Schwartz: "What did headsets ever do to you?"
Bill Belichick: "Is Tom Brady's hand injured? And, a follow up: Why did I just waste my time asking you something you would never give a straight answer to?"
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@DJGalloESPN which revolution is the Eagles revolutionary offense patterned after?
— Jim Eken (@eeks63) October 28, 2013
Oh, I see how it is. Everyone wants to dump on Chip Kelly's offense now because it is 18th in the NFL in points per game, behind such teams as the Panthers and Rams and tied with the Bills. How soon we forget the first half of Week 1.
But sure, I'll play your game. Maybe Chip Kelly's NFL offensive revolution is patterned after the American Revolution because it's just that awesome. What do you think about that? Remember that the Revolutionary War lasted eight years, so the Eagles just need to give him eight years, then all will probably be good. In this analogy, Great Britain, overconfident and coasting on past glories, would be Philadelphia's NFC East rivals.
Forced Sports/Pop Culture Reference in Hopes of Sounding Cool
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant seems to have as much trouble controlling his emotions as the recording artist Chris Brown does. Speaking of Brown(s) and arrests, should Cleveland head Rob Chudzinski be arrested for waiting until now to start Jason Campbell? Sticking with Brandon Weeden was less inspired than this season of "Homeland."
Five Thoughts to Think About When Thinking
1. Tony Romo says there is no issue with Dez Bryant. Jason Witten says there is no issue with Dez Bryant. DeMarcus Ware says there is no issue with Dez Bryant. Dez Bryant says he has no problems with his teammates. That's all well and good, but they are just four people while MILLIONS of us saw Bryant on TV yelling on the sidelines and determined he was causing a problem. I'll take the word of millions over the word of four people. It's not even close. Dez Bryant is a cancer destroying the Cowboys from within! Pass it on.
2. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday and I'm proud to announce that I have spearheaded the launch of ESPN.com's NFL Trade Machine. It gives an accurate read on all the big deals that are likely to happen. Check it out here. I hope you enjoy it, and I welcome any feedback. Thanks.
3. Another Halloween is about to come and go, and still no one has invented a Manning Face Halloween mask. I can't help but make a Manning Face when thinking of how far America's entrepreneurial spirit has fallen.
4. This was the last week of the NFL's annual breast cancer awareness month. But you can keep the spirit of the campaign going by buying a lot of NFL merchandise, then donating a very small amount to cancer research. It's up to you now to feel like you're making a difference when buying an alternate jersey. Don't let the NFL down.
What happened? I just left my tv to use the restroom
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 27, 2013
That's LeBron James, noted Cowboys fan, returning from the bathroom to see that Dallas lost late in Detroit. What is important to realize here is that LeBron James uses the bathroom. There is no evidence that Michael Jordan uses the bathroom, hence Jordan > LeBron. Everybody poops? Ha! Not Michael Jordan. In fact, Jordan is so superior and evolved that he only makes waste via draft picks. Best ever.
I now have to leave and go accept a sports writing award for shoehorning a LeBron vs. Jordan debate into a football column.
How They Spent Their Bye Week
Ravens: Picking up ladies at Walmart.