After yesterday’s post on Chiefs fans booing Matt Cassel, I received an angry Tweet from Kansas City’s own Steve Bennaka. I invited Steve, a journalist, to write something for jeffpearlman.com on the situation. He kindly agreed …
Let me start by saying that I’m a Matt Cassel fan. I just don’t want him to be my team’s starting quarterback any longer.
I think I speak for a lot of Kansas Citians when I say that. Cassel, by all accounts, is a great guy. He makes a lot of community appearances, seems to be a team leader, and had a funny cameo in that Kenny Powers K-Swiss video. Hell, he even tossed me his hat last year after the Chargers game. I wanted him to succeed here, I really did. We all did.
I don’t need to tell you that Matt Cassel is a frustratingly below-average quarterback. The stats do that for me. With that in mind, I can tell you with complete certainty that the vast majority of the cheers Eric Winston heard at Arrowhead on Sunday stemmed from the sight of Brady Quinn warming up. That’s how desperate Chiefs fans are for a winning football team—we get excited for Brady freakin’ Quinn.
I don’t know exactly what Eric Winston heard. A friend of mine sat right behind the Chiefs bench and reported that there was a lot of commotion during the play, including Jamaal Charles picking up the first down, the Cassel injury, and Quinn grabbing his helmet. “It got quiet when everyone noticed Cassel was down,” he told me.
But maybe Winston did hear a few shouts in Cassel’s direction on the sideline. Regardless, it’s pretty irresponsible of him to paint the entire Chiefs fanbase as “classless.” This town hasn’t seen a playoff victory since 1993 but continues to flock to Arrowhead each Sunday with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, this is the year. For Winston to attack the fans like he did based on the actions of a few idiots is a slap in the face to any Chiefs fan who has ever paid good money to attend a game. (This is a good place to mention that Winston actually failed to block one of the Ravens who hit Cassel on that fateful play)
I don’t think Kansas City is unique in living and dying with its sports teams. You could say the same thing about San Francisco, Green Bay, Boston, or just about any other NFL city. I’d be willing to bet there was a drunk idiot at the Redskins game who shouted some derogatory things toward one of his own players on Sunday. I don’t hold it against all Redskins fans, and neither should you.
Now that that’s settled, be sure to get in touch with me the next time you’re in Kansas City, Jeff. We have 753,263 things to do here (I counted). Not quite as impressive as the 854,654 in your neck of the woods, but I think you’ll still have a good time.