Kansas City, Mo. Meaningless games are nothing new to Kansas City. The Chiefs have been playing them for years.
Now comes a meaningless game that just below the surface is actually packed with nuanced significance. Win or lose, it could have a bearing on how long the Chiefs last in their first foray into the postseason since 2006.
It’s true their regular-season finale against Oakland today has nothing to do with whether they make the playoffs. After clinching their first AFC West title since 2003, the Chiefs are in, guaranteed to host a postseason game for the first time since that season.
But beating the archrivals from Oakland would give KC the No. 3 seed while losing could make it seed No. 4. That would send the Chiefs to No. 1 seed New England for the second round if they’re able to get that far — something they would prefer to put off as long as possible.
Besides, there’s such a thing as momentum, something players and coaches hold precious any time, but particularly when a young and inexperienced team is headed into the postseason. A victory would give them a three-game winning streak.
“This game is definitely not meaningless to the Chiefs players,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “It’s a game that you need to win to have a good taste in your mouth going into the postseason. We’ve accomplished a lot and you don’t want to let yourself down, let the team down, let the fans down by going out there and not doing well. We need to do well.”