MIAMI – guilt or not guilt?
That was the human question that the Chiefs players grappled with as they tried to deal with last season's defeat at the AFC championship against the Patriots, largely due to a bad game by Dee Ford.
Let's face it, if the bosses play the 49ers in Super Bowl 2020 on Sunday, it should be their second consecutive appearance in the ultimate NFL game.
If not for Ford, who was the undisputed goat of this AFC title game a year ago, when he was called up for a neutral zone violation where his teammate Charvarius Ward apparently intercepted victory with a Tom Brady pass about a minute and Kansas City leads by four points.
Instead of the chiefs running out of time and celebrating a trip to the Super Bowl, the Patriots drove to the go-ahead touchdown and eventually won 37:31 in extra time.
So here we are at Super Bowl LIV, Chiefs vs. 49ers, and Ford is now a pass rusher for the 49ers – after being brought to San Francisco after five productive seasons in Kansas City.
God forbid the believing souls in Kansas City if it is Ford ruining this game for the chiefs who haven't won a Super Bowl in 50 years.
Sometimes storylines are too tasty to think of. That is one of them.
In his honor, Ford was and is up to date about the gap.
"It's in a compartment of all the bad games you made," Ford said this week. "Ultimately, something happened. I was at the short end of the stick. I got it over with. I got it over with and got back to work. That's all I can do."
The Chiefs did it too, largely thanks to head coach Andy Reid, who pressed the right buttons with his players. Reid cleverly used the Ford penalty as a springboard for his entire team to improve for 2019. Healing started the day after the defeat at Reid's last meeting with the team before the players headed for their premature off-season.
"We met the next day for a team meeting, and coach Reid said to The Post," Everyone needs to get 10 centimeters better, "said chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland." That was our motto. We were six inches away [from the Super Bowl], ''
Ragland, who is a close friend of Ford, insisted that the players not blame Ford.
"We could have gotten that six inches for this or any other piece," he said. “We were three thirds behind in extra time and Tom Brady converted them. All we had to do was disturb the ball. Everyone is focused on this piece [by Ford], but we could have come off the pitch three times in defense. "
The bosses replaced Ford with Frank Clark, who chirped this season about how "inexcusable" Ford's mistake was.
Most bosses don't share this.
"We missed out last year, Dee noticed, but it wasn't Dee at all – we were all five centimeters short," said Reid.
"When [Reid] When we got into the room, we thought, "What will he talk about?" Ragland recalled. "He just said everyone can be six inches better. I wonder, "Okay, what should I do to get a little better this year?" Everyone did the same thing – in OTAs, camps – everyone got a little better. "
Ragland meanwhile worried about his friend after his gaffe.
"I and Dee Ford are good friends and when it happened I tried more than just checking his mental health," said Ragland. "Yes, it was an expensive mistake. He raised his hand and said, "Yes, it was my fault." It is the players who ensure that it stays that way, that it harms your career and your future.
“Football is a game. I made sure that I was there for him, because that can be very traumatic for a guy. After that it was traded. I was concerned about his mental health. I just asked him: "Are you okay?" He said he was fine. Now he's back here. It's strange. & # 39; & # 39;
Chief defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was in his first season at Kansas City, couldn't help but enjoy the inevitable plot.
"This is this league, isn't it?" He said. "Constantly changing. There is always this dynamic and storyline. We'll see where we're going. "
Ragland was asked if he ever had moments a year ago when the patriots played the Rams in the Super Bowl when he asked himself, "What if?"
"There's always a" what if? "Said Ragland." It happened. We all forgot and we just pushed on and got six centimeters better. Now look: Now we are back. "