For the first time since he moved into their neighborhood, the Chiefs will face the Denver Broncos with quarterback Peyton Manning.
Only 10 games into the season and Manning's influence over the Broncos has been very apparent as they lead the AFC West with a 7-3 record. The Chiefs are six games behind at 1-9.
When Manning became available back in March, the Chiefs were one of the many teams that expressed an interest in signing him. How serious that interest was remains unknown, since it was expressed by team chairman Clark Hunt and not the man who would lead the pursuit, GM Scott Pioli.
Because of the neck injury that kept him off the field and a $28 million bonus payment due him, Manning was released by the Colts on March 7. Manning and his agent (former Chiefs guard Tom Condon) immediately pushed forward with their plans for the future. They knew there would be a lot of interest, but Manning did not want to get involved in a long tour of potential teams. Instead, there were about a half-dozen teams they were interested in investigating.
The Chiefs were not one of them; there were internal discussions about Kansas City within Team Peyton, but that ended quickly for a number of reported reasons:
--A real concern about the way the Chiefs organization was being run, including the campaign behind the scenes by Pioli to get rid of his head coach Todd Haley.
--Pioli's treatment of former Chiefs VP of player personnel Bill Kuharich, a family friend of the Mannings. In February 2009, Kuharich had a chance to join the Detroit Lions in a personnel department position. But Pioli would not allow him to interview for the job, even though he knew that he was not going to keep Kuharich once the 2009 NFL Draft was completed. That was something the Mannings remembered three years later.
--A poor relationship between Pioli and Condon, going back to negotiations over the years on contracts for players with the Patriots.
--A real doubt that Clark Hunt would step up and pay the type of money it would take to get a deal done, especially considering the Chiefs already had $63 million tied up in QB Matt Cassel.
The only communication between the Chiefs and Manning came via e-mail and Team Peyton made it clear there was no interest in talking with the Chiefs.
In the end, Manning flew over Kansas City and landed within the AFC West with the Broncos. He signed a 5-year, $96 million deal with $18 million in guaranteed dollars in 2012.
And this Sunday he'll bring his new team into Arrowhead with a record similar to those he registered over the years with the Colts. His presence in Denver has made the Broncos the division favorite and one of the best teams in the AFC.
The Chiefs are tied with Jacksonville for the worst record and they've lost seven straight games. Quarterback play has been one of the major reasons they've struggled to score and win, just as they swung and missed last spring on Manning.