Chiefs, Eric Berry’s destiny perhaps completely different if not for one play

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have been a number of inches away from the Tremendous Bowl in January. Lower than two months later, they’ve torn down one facet of the ball.

Offsides. Protection. Quantity 55. Lined up within the impartial zone. 5 yard penalty. Replay third down.

Chiefs outdoors linebacker Dee Ford was inches over the road of scrimmage. Charvarius Ward’s interception was nullified, together with the primary Tremendous Bowl look in 50 years for one of many NFL’s star-crossed franchises. The New England Patriots obtained one other probability and finally gained the AFC Championship Sport, driving down the frozen Arrowhead Stadium subject on time beyond regulation’s solely possession for six factors.

From there, the tear-down started.

On Sunday, Basic Supervisor Brett Veach launched outdoors linebacker Justin Houston. Two nights later, Ford was traded for a 2020 second-round choose to the San Francisco 49ers. Lower than 24 hours after that, Eric Berry was launched. All of this coming mere weeks after firing longtime defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, changing him with Steve Spagnuolo and his Four-Three below scheme.

It’s honest to marvel if the protection was being blown up regardless. Houston was due $21 million in opposition to the cap in 2019. Ford was getting $15.Four million on the franchise tag, and the crew had little intention of preserving him previous subsequent season with extensions for Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones looming. As for Berry, he’s appeared in 4 video games over the previous two seasons on account of an Achilles’ tear and a Haglund’s Deformity. It’s been an extended highway.

Nonetheless, how completely different does all the pieces go ought to the Chiefs attain the Tremendous Bowl and fairly presumably win it? Does Veach resolve to proceed ahead with Berry and one in all Ford and Houston? Perhaps Sutton is retained in opposition to the desires of the larger fanbase, with both a full trophy case or an AFC champion returning?

None of it issues now. The chilly actuality is that what ifs are a waste of time. Ford did line up offsides. The protection did cave again and again each all through the season and in opposition to New England. This remake was inevitable as soon as Rex Burkhead plowed over the objective line, leaving 11 defenders and a legion of goals in his wake.

Now, Berry will discover one other house. Houston will money in elsewhere. Ford will get pleasure from his $87.5 million take care of the 49ers. The Chiefs, nevertheless, haven’t any such certainty.

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After going 12-Four and reaching the AFC title recreation for the primary time since 1993, a protection that completed 31st total one way or the other feels worse. Tyrann Mathieu was signed to a three-year, $42 million deal in free company, however that hardly covers all of the holes on this unit. The move rush is Chris Jones and a bunch of query marks. The linebacking core is Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson and Reggie Ragland. No one is worrying about that group apart from Kansas Metropolis. With three picks within the first two rounds of the upcoming draft, Veach has to nail these choices.

Just a few inches. One penalty. A number of fates.

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