Mind Over Sports

WHY THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS ARE WINNING. ONE THEORY.

Posted on: October 6, 2013

I have a theory why the Kansas City Chiefs are winning. It’s true they have excellent talent and an excellent quarterback, but the same goes for other NFL teams as well. And as many of you who read my column know, I’m a big advocate of sports teams becoming support groups, allowing athletes to talk about problems they may be experiencing in their personal lives. When this happens team members not only become more healthy psychologically because the sessions enhance their feelings of self work, but also results in their performing close to their skill levels on a consistent basis.

My theory is (and I have no inside information to prove this) that when KC Chiefs player Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins last year and then took his own life, the Chiefs front office decided to put into place an internal program to head off the possibility of similar tragedies in the future and created a system of internal support groups to allow players to talk about their issues. And then, along came the perfect coaching fit, Andy Reid, who also had a 29-year old son who committed suicide last year. So if you combine the support group concept with a head coach who is in total agreement and has great empathy for his players, then you have a formula for success. When the Chiefs decided to follow a program of this type (assuming they have) their primary focus was on the well-being and the mental health of their players, and probably had no idea at the time the positive effect it would have on team performance.
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The only other NFL coach who I’ve ever met who is in complete agreement with the concept of team support groups is Coach Al Saunders of the Oakland Raiders.

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