KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — In the span of a year, the Kansas City Chiefs went from being a franchise in disarray to one with the best record in the AFC and a shot at winning their division with two regular-season games left.
It's hard to believe even for those in the midst of it.
"You can't really explain it by words," said linebacker Derrick Johnson. "It's a feeling that not everybody has, and to go through what we went through last year and to be in this situation to do some big things — making the playoffs before the season is over, it's great."
The Chiefs punched their ticket to the postseason with a 56-31 victory at Oakland on Sunday, one that pushed their franchise-best turnaround to nine games. Kansas City (11-3) also moved into a tie with Denver atop the AFC West, though the Broncos hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep.
Still, if the Broncos stumble in one of their two remaining games — at lowly Houston and Oakland — and the Chiefs beat Indianapolis and San Diego, it would be Kansas City that's home for the playoffs.
The way this season has gone, even the most remote possibility is still possible.
"This team is wired maybe a little different," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday. "I think they're going to finish out strong no matter what the outcome is. I feel as a coach you tell them to go get them, they'll go get them. I kind of feel they're wired that way."
That wasn't the way they were wired before Reid's arrival.
While the Chiefs have churned through their roster, about half of which is new this season, most of the key players remain from that 2-14 team. Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Dwayne Bowe were all part of the most forgettable season in franchise history, one that resulted in the firing of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli and an overhaul of the entire front office.
Shortly after Reid was hired, John Dorsey was brought in as the GM, and team owner Clark Hunt vowed to take a more hands-on role with the organization. The results have been nothing short of spectacular: The Chiefs are heading to the playoffs for just the second time since 2006, Arrowhead Stadium is packed and there's a buzz throughout the city.