I will disclaim this post by saying I did not come up with this theory, I am only publicizing it.
Bernard Pollard, pictured above, played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006 to 2008. While he was only a member of the team for just a short while, he would prove to be immensely important to the Kansas City Chiefs you see today during just one play.
September 7, 2008
The Kansas City Chiefs were visiting the New England Patriots on the kickoff weekend of 2008. The game started off shaky for the Patriots, coming off a Super Bowl letdown against the Giants, and it was about to get worse. Midway through the first quarter, Tom Brady took a hit at the knee from Pollard dropping him in pain. Brady left the game and was not to return. Fortunately, they still won the game on the shoulders of a young University of Southern California quarterback named Matt Cassel. Cassel had never started an NFL game; he had also never started an NCAA game at quarterback. He was the backup for both Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC and made his lone start at tight end against Cal. He played well against the Chiefs, going 13/18 with 152 yards and a touchdown. They were not Tom Brady numbers, but they were enough to manage the game and garner the victory.
After the game, Brady had medical tests done on him to conclude he had torn his ACL and would be done for the season. Pollard apologized, Brady said “that’s football,” and all the powerhouse AFC teams’ fans became Bernard Pollard fans.
Matt Cassel went on to an 11-5 record (but missed the playoffs however) throwing for 3693 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He was later franchise tagged by the Patriots due to the uncertainty of Brady’s recovery.Later, though, Cassel would be traded to Kansas City for the #34 draft pick of 2009 (which was used to pick Patrick Chung out of Oregon). The Chiefs would sign him to a very large contract (6y/$62.7M) after trading Tyler Thigpen to the Dolphins. Cassel would ultimately have a disappointing career for the next four years going 19-28. Because of the underwhelming quarterback play and head coaching effort, the Kansas City Chiefs blew up the two positions. Cassel was released and Crennel was fired during the 2013 offseason. The Chiefs signed Andy Reid, who had recently been let go by the Eagles, and traded for Alex Smith, who was ousted by Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco.
That brings us to now, Kansas City is sitting nicely at 4-0 tied for first with the seemingly-unstoppable Denver Broncos. This is the first time Kansas City has had a legitimately attractive team since 2003 with Trent Green and Priest Holmes. So Kansas City should send an extra thank you to Bernard Pollard, because without him none of this would (likely) have been possible.