KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs players and fans alike enjoy the prestige and that six national television broadcast brings to the team but the spotlight comes at the price of losing the routine of playing every Sunday that makes quarterback Alex Smith and most NFL players creatures of habit.
“Come regular season you do really live by the week,” Smith said. “Every Wednesdays the same and Thursdays and Fridays and obviously building up towards game day, which is usually Sundays.”
This season the Chiefs play just six games kicking off at noon on Sunday. The team plays Philadelphia at noon in week two on Sept. 17 following a 10-day layoff. They don’t play another noon kickoff game until Nov. 19 at the New York Giants.
Four additional games kickoff in the Sunday late afternoon time slot. And of course the first game circled on the schedule comes on a Thursday night with the season opener at New England.
Kansas City visits Seattle on Friday for their third preseason game on just five days rest. That essentially moves the team’s work week up two days. Head coach Andy Reid said the schedule helps the team prep for short turnarounds during the season.
“Even though the starters played a half, they still get an idea of what it takes for a hurry up week,” Reid said.
“I think the good thing here is the preseason simulates that for us,” Smith said. “We’ve got Saturday games, Friday games, Thursday games. Your game weeks get thrown off a little bit. Some weeks you get extra rest, some weeks you don’t.”
Reid doesn’t believe that short weeks or long rest between games make much of a difference.
“I’m not worried about that,” Reid said. “Our guys know how to handle it. I think we as a coaching staff know how to handle that. We’ll be alright.”
Yet the numbers tell a different story.
Reid owns a legendary coaching record following bye weeks. He stands 16-2 following the bye week in his coaching career. The Chiefs have the fourth-best record in the league since Reid’s arrival, winning games at a .672 clip.
The Chiefs also own the fourth-best record in the league in early Sunday games with a 26-10 record. The team holds the sixth-best record in late afternoon Sunday games at 11-5.
Games outside the routine Sunday afternoon perplexed the Chiefs in recent years. The team owns a 3-3 record on Sunday games aside from afternoon games. That includes their 45-10 romp over Detroit in London during the 2015 season.
Primetime remains the real struggle for the Chiefs. The team ranks 16th in the league since 2013 with a 5-6 record at night.
But Smith remains optimistic that the irregularity of training camp and the preseason remains the best way to break those streaks.
“I think training camp’s been a great practice for that,” Smith said. “You lose track of the days of the week. You just go day-by-day.”