It has come to this. A Chiefs pal, the reddest of red, on Monday sends over the following text:
"Am I wrong for wanting the Chiefs to go 1-15, and rooting for the Browns to win? I feel kind of dirty."
Oh, no. No, no, no.
Embrace the bad. Embrace the stench.
The superb web site ProFootballReference.com, among its other nooks and crannies, quantifies NFL teams by something called a "Simple Rating System," or "SRS" for short. The particular criteria are sundry and complicated, but the quick explanation is that an average team usually gets assigned a rating of 0.0.
The 2012 Chiefs? Negative-14.7.
Before Thursday night's 31-13 prime-time drubbing on national television to San Diego Matt Cassel threw a Pick-6 and fumbled away a ball in the end zone that led to a Chargers touchdown, so you didn't miss much that was far and away the worst SRS in franchise history.
It was more than five points worse than the team that went 2-14 under Herm Edwards in '08 (-9.2). It was more than six points worse than the team that went 4-12 in '09 (-8.1) and Frank Gansz's less-than-epic 4-11 bunch in '87 (-8.0). Of the franchise's four worst seasons, according to SRS, three of them 2012, 2011, and 2009 have occurred under general manager Scott Pioli's watch.
But back to that minus-14.7 for a second. According to Pro Football Reference, that's on a pace to be the 12th worst season since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, and two of the 11 negative ratings ahead of the '12 Chiefs on the charts the '76 Seahawks (-15.1) and '76 Buccaneers (-19.7) were held by expansion teams in their first season.
In July, you expected this team to spend the fall breathing down Peyton Manning's surgically repaired neck. Instead, it's in the same statistical zip code as the 0-14, creamsicle Bucs of '76.
(Quick aside: Tampa Bay's coach, the late John McKay, was a veritable quote machine while Rome burned to cinders around him, week after week. One of the best: "We'll be back," McKay said at one point, "maybe not this century, but we'll be back." You wonder what he'd have to say about this Chiefs team, but chances are, it wouldn't be printable.)
The Chiefs added four more turnovers to the pile at Qualcomm Stadium, pushing the season total to 29, or 3.6 per game. They're on a pace for 58 turnovers on the year, the most in the NFL since the 1983 New York Giants also gave it away 58 times. The league record is 63, set by the 1978 San Francisco 49ers.
"Similar to what's been happening throughout the course of this year, we shoot ourselves in the foot," coach Romeo Crennel, whose men fell to 1-7 on the season, told the Associated Press. "We're in a hole and we have to fight our way out.
"It wasn't very good overall, but we're going to keep coaching and keep fighting and play our way out of it."
Embrace the bad. Embrace the stench.
Don't feel dirty. This is history in the making, people. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Chiefs are reportedly the first NFL team since the 1929 Buffalo Bisons to not hold a lead in regulation through their first seven games. Those Bisons went 1-7-1, and the franchise folded after the season.
The Chiefs have never won fewer than two games in a season, but there's a first time for everything. While the rest of America tries to get Thursday night out of their collective football heads, Kansas City is rewarding NFL viewers with another date on national television next Monday night, at Pittsburgh this time. Plus, there are family ties in play, too: The Steelers' offensive coordinator is Todd Haley a man Pioli fired in 2011 after a record of 19-26 through 45 games.
So, hey, it's not like he's got an axe to grind or anything. This is going to get a heck of a lot worse before it gets better. With these Chiefs, the best thing you can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the plummet.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org