Because a drayage load can mean a few different things, confusion among carriers is common. Many carriers link drayage with going into a port, but that isn't always true. While all drayage loads typically originate from a port of entry, there are often several legs of a drayage journey before a container turns up at its final stop. Legs of a drayage load may include:
You may be thinking, what's so important about drayage? It's such a small step in the container storage transport process. In reality, it's an integral piece needed in the logistics industry and a crucial part of U.S. supply chain management.
To truly understand the importance of drayage, let's use flowers as an example. Most cut flower shipments enter the market from areas in South America until they end up at Dutch auction houses. Once there, wholesalers purchase flowers in bulk and send those products to retail outlets worldwide. Because flowers are perishable, they typically need to be refrigerated and are often shipped in reefer containers. These refrigerated vessels must maintain a certain temp to prevent loss.
Drayage companies like RelyEx allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services. Drayage companies allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind, because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services.
If port drayage is compromised, it can cause delays and even fines. You know the packages you get delivered to your front door from apps like Amazon? Without drayage and drayage brokers, one or two-day shipping times wouldn't even be possible.
As a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone, it seems like drayage shipping issues shouldn't exist. But the fact is inefficiencies and congestion are still major problems at ports. Whether it's a lack of carriers, absent chassis, or overburdened terminals, delays lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and worse.
But anytime challenges exist, so too do innovative solutions.QUOTE REQUEST
At RelyEx, we like to consider ourselves problem solvers. The nature of the container drayage industry presents new challenges every day, but we're firm believers that there's a solution to every hurdle we encounter. And while some drayage businesses implement a reactive approach, RelyEx customers choose us for our proactive mindset. We take pride in solving your company's drayage challenges to help you avoid frustrating fees, missed expectations, and delayed shipments. We strive to make every transaction successful and streamlined by partnering with shippers who prioritize transparent, prompt, and accurate communication.
RelyEx approaches your business from the customer's perspective - a unique approach that helps us provide high-quality, effective drayage services. We've been in the customers' shoes, know their pain points, and because of that, provide first-hand solutions to stressful supply chain issues. With over 30 years of collective knowledge, our team excels in:
Our varied, high-level drayage shipping experience helps us achieve our overarching goal: expertly managing your freight movement needs. That way, you can direct your time and focus on growing the core aspects of your business while we handle the heavy lifting. Throw in proactive planning to avoid bottleneck situations and strong communication for transparent customer relations, and you can see why so many companies trust RelyEx.
When it comes to shipping logistics, it only takes one mistake by a mediocre worker to disrupt your business. That's why, at RelyEx, we pride ourselves on forming and nurturing relationships with carriers who match our standards of care. Our founding partner started his career transporting freight for companies as an on-demand carrier. He uses that knowledge to maximize the resources of our carriers so that our customer's expectations aren't just met - they're exceeded.
Based in the port city of Kansas City, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Customers choose RelyEx because:
Some drayage brokers don't care how customers feel about their service as long as they sign a contract and get paid. As a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx takes the opposite approach. We're motivated by the opportunity to overachieve for our customers and to provide them with the best logistics experience possible. With professional experience as carriers and shippers ourselves, we know the roadblocks and challenges you're facing. We excel at mapping out the best plans of action to solve those problems. But that's just the start.
Our tracking experts monitor and manage every aspect of your drayage shipment from booking to delivery, 24/7. Once booked, we look for the availability of your containers hourly once they're at port. When they arrive, our team acts quickly to access your storage containers when they're available.
Plus, RelyEx ensures your company's requirements are met by the carrier during loading and delivery and provide necessary documentation as fast as possible. With real-time tracking updates and access to our customer service professionals, your team has complete visibility throughout the shipping process.
Over the years, RelyEx has built a strong network of drayage carriers, transloading locations, and container storage spaces to provide you with the best possible options to match your drayage service needs. We know that searching for quality service presents an added layer of complexity and stress to our customers. That's why we work hard to take that off your plate by connecting you with our reliable shipping partners.
With a background moving freight as an on-demand carrier, our founding partner understands how to maximize the resources and equipment of our carriers to match your needs.
Like other industries, the global logistics space is complex. Mistakes will be made, and problems will happen. With those truths in mind, RelyEx has built its reputation as problem solvers. Unlike other drayage companies, we don't shy away from this industry's complexities because we take pride in solving problems. Even better, we aim to do what's needed to avoid those problems altogether.
As your logistics partner, we will provide your company with accurate, transparent, and prompt communication. If there are unexpected issues, we'll notify you immediately and will provide several options to remedy the problem. We even offer custom reporting for large clients who need at-the-moment updates and quick access to shipment documentation.
Why let the unpredictability of your industry dictate your success? With a background working in manufacturing, our founders are familiar with the demands of managing production schedules and sales orders. That experience makes it abundantly clear to us that every business and industry is different. If you struggle with seasonal surges or other factors, our team supports your business with a mapped-out plan and schedule, so you stay ahead of the game.QUOTE REQUEST
Typically, shippers need four specific documents to clear shipments through customs: A Bill of Lading (or BOL), a commercial invoice, a packing list, and an arrival notice. Seasoned drayage brokers like RelyEx are used to preparing these documents, but new shippers tend to miss this step due to inexperience.
If a shipper only pays for part of their shipment, a vessel operator may refuse to release their freight until their bill is fully paid. Payment delays lead to cargo detention at the port of entry, which triggers demurrage charges.QUOTE REQUEST
Paperwork is needed when you're shipping goods with a drayage company. When documents like the Certificate of Origin or Bill of Lading arrive at their destination late, you can expect demurrage fees. RelyEx avoids this situation entirely by being proactive when submitting paperwork.
Additional causes for demurrage fees can include:
At RelyEx, we know first-hand how stressful supply chain problems can be for business owners. Though drayage shipping might seem minor on the surface, it affects every stage of your shipping process. And when inevitable hurdles manifest, RelyEx propels you over the proverbial roadblocks with a proactive mindset and a passion for challenging projects. We believe that all problems have a solution, and our unique vantage point allows us to provide first-hand solutions to customers in a wide array of industries.
When it comes to your business, don't settle for anything less than RelyEx. Contact our office today to learn more about how we make your shipping experience streamlined and stress-free.843-885-3082
In the aftermath of what should have been a game-altering play — one that turned the punter into a quarterback — the Chiefs earned a new set of downs, prompting Patrick Mahomes to spin around and hurry his offensive line back onto the field. And a few strides away on the sideline, head coach Andy Reid was busy for a moment, instructing a staffer not to return a slammed helmet to tight end Travis Kelce...
In the aftermath of what should have been a game-altering play — one that turned the punter into a quarterback — the Chiefs earned a new set of downs, prompting Patrick Mahomes to spin around and hurry his offensive line back onto the field. And a few strides away on the sideline, head coach Andy Reid was busy for a moment, instructing a staffer not to return a slammed helmet to tight end Travis Kelce.
The play clock ticked toward 35 seconds.
A surreal sequence has been the center of plenty of conversations over the past couple of days, including my column immediately after the Chiefs lost to the Raiders 20-14 on Christmas Day.
What I didn’t know yet: It was simply a piece of a larger sequence that best tells the story of the worst Chiefs offensive performance at Arrowhead Stadium in recent memory.
I’ll warn you in advance this column begins with a pretty lengthy string of events, but stick with me here, because you’ll soon see why the length is part of the point.
Back to the fake punt: With just 14 seconds left on the play clock for the next snap, Kelce was without his helmet, so his replacement, Blake Bell, sprinted on the field. It was a late change in personnel that prompted a late arrival to the huddle, and therefore a late rush to the line of scrimmage.
Too late, it turned out. Bell scurried to the line but was flagged for not coming completely set before the snap because, well, he didn’t have time to get set.
That’s one play. One glitch in the operation.
There were more.
Just two plays earlier, the Chiefs double-huddled after Mahomes evidently saw players were not lined up properly. But even after a second huddle, the alignment still didn’t look right, and a frustrated Mahomes burned a timeout.
On the final play of that same drive — yes, these are all packed into a two-minute drill burst — the Chiefs attempted to rush some substitutions onto the field, even though there were just 17 seconds left on the play clock. As a result, they broke the huddle at 10 seconds, and Mahomes then had conversations with individual players, presumably about their assignment on the play. He hurried to snap the ball, barely in time, which seemed to startle running back Isiah Pacheco — he was still tucking in his mouthpiece. Oh, he was the intended receiver on the play, by the way.
After it fell incomplete, a perturbed Mahomes looked toward the sideline.
“Call the (bleeping) play, man,” he said.
The Chiefs would complete the next pass for a short gain, though inbounds, and as Reid called the team’s final timeout with nine seconds remaining rather than letting it drain closer to zero, Mahomes mouthed one word that might has well have encapsulated the previous two minutes in its entirety:
Warned you it was a long description.
A telling sequence, though.
The Chiefs’ offense was downright painful to watch against the Raiders, and Mahomes had one of the worst statistical outings of his career. (PFF graded it as his worst day in the NFL.)
He certainly didn’t play well. But it wasn’t all on him. This is the needed context.
You cannot re-watch that sequence and believe those in his headset put him in the very best position to succeed. Because they didn’t. At times, the operation worked against him more than it did to his benefit.
The re-watch of the entire game prompts something obvious to stand out that had little to do with Mahomes and more to do with those piloting the ship.
Disorganization. The Chiefs were a mess. Gone are the days of lining up a foot offside; they were struggling to know where to line up at all.
I’ll remind you this is a review of a Week 16 performance, not an August morning in St. Joseph.
So much of the conversation revolving around the Chiefs offense has focused on the receivers — with good reason — that sometimes we forget a separate issue can arrive before the play’s intended conclusion. Or, as was the case Monday, before its intended inception.
You wonder why Mahomes played like he was in a hurry? Like he was sped up all day?
Well, he was. By his team’s own alignment issues. By its collective confusion.
Not just in the two-minute drill, either. That was the most glaring stretch but far from the only one. He burned a timeout later in the game after Richie James and Isiah Pacheco found themselves occupying nearly the same blades of grass in the backfield. That was a fourth-down call. Kind of a big play.
“Yeah, that’s mine. That’s my fault on that,” Reid said Wednesday, tapping his chest when I asked him about pre-snap confusion. “I have to make sure that’s right. When I stand up here and tell you that I’ve got a piece of that pie, that’s directly pointed at me. I have to make sure guys can do that. I have to make sure we’re right there.”
We are often in search of a clean and tidy reasoning for why the offense hasn’t played up to the standard it set over the last half-decade, which has invited a national narrative around the old offensive coordinator or the young wide receivers. But the most truthful one is much more complicated and layered.
We can have real conversations about the receivers, the tackles, Kelce becoming a year older yet still garnering plenty of attention, the play-calling, Mahomes not being at his best, and on and on.
But on Monday?
Why wouldn’t we link the two? Is it so unreasonable to believe the former changed the way Mahomes played? It effectively robbed him of the chance to survey the defense, or ponder what he might be looking to do with the ball once he received it, or ponder much of anything other than getting everyone lined up and beating the play clock.
This isn’t trying to deflect blame from Mahomes, who, as I mentioned earlier, objectively played poorly. But don’t stop there.
There was no synchronization to the offense, and that particular sentence isn’t strictly about a loss to the Raiders. But against the Raiders specifically, Mahomes quite evidently played without certainty and with hesitation. You might argue the uncertainty derives from throwing to a group of wide receivers who collectively lead the NFL in drops. There’s probably something to that.
But I’d argue we’re overlooking another factor playing a role. If it’s disorganized before the snap, as it was Monday, what’s to provide confidence it will be run perfectly after the snap? Mahomes was as hesitant as he’s been all season in pulling the trigger to open receivers, which should be his primary focus this week, but it’s enough to make you wonder how much confidence he had the receivers would actually be in the windows we all see all film. Only he knows that answer.
Which is where the Chiefs are — or at least where they were earlier this week. It does not necessarily mean it’s where they will be on Sunday, or in two weeks or the postseason.
But only if they learn from it.
Mahomes said Wednesday the goal is to play the game fast.
The Chiefs have to catch up to the game first, because it looked too fast for them Monday. And that’s before the ball even arrives in his hands.
This story was originally published December 28, 2023, 7:00 AM.
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One of the most tiresome tropes in all of sports is the much feared “distraction.” As if professional athletes payed millions of dollars are completely incapable of balancing what happens on the field and what happens off the field. As soon as a player or team starts to not perform at their absolute best, it must be because there’s some kind of distraction that is causing them to lose focus and begin to fall apart.As you could predict coming from a mile away, as soon as the Kansas City Chiefs started to not look like...
One of the most tiresome tropes in all of sports is the much feared “distraction.” As if professional athletes payed millions of dollars are completely incapable of balancing what happens on the field and what happens off the field. As soon as a player or team starts to not perform at their absolute best, it must be because there’s some kind of distraction that is causing them to lose focus and begin to fall apart.
As you could predict coming from a mile away, as soon as the Kansas City Chiefs started to not look like Super Bowl champion material, the sharks in the sports media would sense a drop of blood and come for the “Taylor Swift is a distraction” theme. After the Chiefs laid an egg on Christmas and lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 20-14 in Kansas City, it was only a matter of time. And who else but the Great White Shark of lazy, stereotypical, tedious takes but Skip Bayless to be the first to go there.
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Feels like it's about time to call Taylor Swift a distraction. What do you think, Patrick? Andy? How about you, Travis?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 25, 2023
The wide majority of NFL fans love what Swift’s relationship with Kelce and fandom have brought to the league. Swift and Kelce have been dating for some time now, but it’s funny that it wasn’t a distraction when they beat the Dolphins in another high profile matchup last month. Nor was it a distraction when they were piling up wins earlier in the season.
Suddenly the Chiefs are losing and it must be… Taylor Swift’s fault? For cheering from the press box? It’s just an impossibly lazy take. Are Chiefs receivers reciting Taylor Swift lyrics in their head while they’re dropping passes? Was Patrick Mahomes thinking about a double date after the game when he threw a pick six yesterday? Was Kadarius Toney thinking about future collaborations with the pop star when he couldn’t line up onside?
It’s ridiculous, but this is what Bayless does. And pointing it out isn’t meant to give his take attention, rather to draw attention to how desperate he must be with Undisputed’s ratings in the tank and falling further behind First Take with each passing day. If this is the best he has to offer at this point, it’s no wonder sports fans are finally tuning him out.
The Kansas City Chiefs are in dire straits as the 2023 regular season draws to a close. An identity crisis has gummed up the works for the team’s offense, and even while their defense has played exceptional football in recent weeks, it seems nothing can ...
The Kansas City Chiefs are in dire straits as the 2023 regular season draws to a close. An identity crisis has gummed up the works for the team’s offense, and even while their defense has played exceptional football in recent weeks, it seems nothing can go right for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Chiefs legend Dante Hall made an appearance on Good Morning Football this week and offered some advice to Kansas City’s players as the playoffs draw ever closer.
Even while the Chiefs haven’t yet clinched their spot in the postseason, Hall suggested that the team get back to basics and stay positive amid their most recent trials and tribulations.
Check out Hall’s take on Kansas City’s situation below:
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) December 27, 2023
While fans are free to agree or disagree with the legendary returner’s assessment of Kansas City’s situation, one thing is clear: The 2023 Chiefs would be in a much better position if Patrick Mahomes had Hall to throw the ball to in the passing game.
Which Royal infielders could be in danger of losing their jobs?Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports3 of 3Nick Loftin's Kansas City job may also be in dangerLoftin's major league debut came late last season. The Royals called him up from Triple-A Sept. 1 and he went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI that night. And although he'll have to wait until 2024 to collect his first major league home run, he drove in nine more runs before his 19-game season ended, and finished with a .326 average and .3...
Which Royal infielders could be in danger of losing their jobs?
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3
Loftin's major league debut came late last season. The Royals called him up from Triple-A Sept. 1 and he went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI that night. And although he'll have to wait until 2024 to collect his first major league home run, he drove in nine more runs before his 19-game season ended, and finished with a .326 average and .368 OBP.
MLB Pipeline also rates him as Kansas City's fifth-best prospect.
How, then, could Loftin be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot? Why would the Royals consider moving such a good utility type when Garret Hampson, a good utility man in his own right but a player of less potential than Loftin, is more expendable?
Hampson is the kind of player capable of sticking with a lot of teams. He's dependable, plays a lot of positions competently, can handle the bat, and steals bases. Loftin, on the other hand, is the kind of player who'll stick or, through no fault of his own, not stick, because he's good enough to earn a long-term job but also good enough to attract trade partners willing to give a lot to get a lot. And that's why Loftin may be vulnerable.
After all, what Picollo has done so far this offseason makes the Royals, at least on paper, a better club than the one that just lost 106 games, and one some are bold enough to think might be able to contend in the soft American League Central. But Picollo has more work to do to make the Royals winners, and trading good talent for other good talent will be required to finish the job.
Picollo's trade arsenal may necessarily include Loftin, a high-ceiling player who many teams will covet if they don't already. The results of his brief introduction to the majors, his positional versatility, and the 42 homers, 184 RBI, .272 average, and .353 OBP he's put up in 306 minor league games are too attractive for other clubs not to press the Royals to trade. Whether he wants to or not, Picollo may need to deal Loftin away.
After a cyberattack crippled the Kansas courts computer system, forcing officials to take it offline months ago, the process to restore the system has been experiencing delays, with some districts are experiencing slower system performance, the judicial branch announced Wednesday.Officials were forced to shut down the system along with public access to do...
After a cyberattack crippled the Kansas courts computer system, forcing officials to take it offline months ago, the process to restore the system has been experiencing delays, with some districts are experiencing slower system performance, the judicial branch announced Wednesday.
Officials were forced to shut down the system along with public access to documents after an Oct. 12 cyberattack temporarily incapacitated several judicial branch information systems. Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court called the incident a “sophisticated foreign cyberattack.”
As of Dec. 19, district courts in nine judicial districts encompassing 28 counties had their access to the case management system restored. A total of 20 judicial districts are expected to be added by Dec. 27, as officials work through slow systems in the restoration plan.
“The restoration plan originally called for courts in 104 counties to be back on the case management system by the end of last week, but system performance slowed the effort,” a judicial branch statement said.
As more courts regained access to the case management system, court personnel reported performance issues affecting how payments and transactions are recorded.
Case processing and backfilling case events are unaffected by this issue, the judicial branch said Wednesday.
“System experts will continue to troubleshoot, isolate and resolve system performance issues that affect recording financial activities,” the judicial branch said in a statement.
The judicial branch said courts operating on the case management system will continue to use a paper receipt process that was adopted after the Oct. 12 cyberattack.
As the case management systems are restored in respective district courts, visitors will be able to search case information through terminals at some courthouses.
Case events and case documents dated after Oct. 12 will take some time to show up in a search, the judicial branch said. It could take several weeks for districts to bring all case events and documents up to date after they regain access to the system.
The web-based Kansas District Court Public Access Portal will not be available until after all district courts have regained access to the case management system.
The public can also search cases through a public access service center in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.
As part of the restoration plan, eFiling systems used by attorneys, Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Court of Appeals will be brought back online after district court systems.
“Restoring our district court case management system is a much-anticipated milestone in our recovery plan but we still have a lot of work to do,” Chief Justice Marla Luckert said in a statement last month.
“We renew our request for everyone’s patience as we work through our multiphase recovery,” she said.
Officials are still working on a tentative timeline for all districts to regain access to the system.
Joshua Lewis and Kearra Johnson knew they’d face obstacles as they prepared to bring their new hard seltzer beverage to market.Black creators were rare, perhaps nonexistent, in the seltzer industry, and theirs would be the first Black-owned line in Kansas City. In addition, the customers they were targeting — the Black community — weren’t big on drinking seltzers, a beverage perceived as something for su...
Joshua Lewis and Kearra Johnson knew they’d face obstacles as they prepared to bring their new hard seltzer beverage to market.
Black creators were rare, perhaps nonexistent, in the seltzer industry, and theirs would be the first Black-owned line in Kansas City. In addition, the customers they were targeting — the Black community — weren’t big on drinking seltzers, a beverage perceived as something for suburban soccer moms to sip, Lewis says.
But a wealthy friend — former Chiefs linebacker Dezman Moses — believed in them, to the tune of a $3 million investment for their new brand, Kin Seltzer. According to Lewis, when Moses heard the pitch, he was instantly intrigued.
“He is a very authentic guy who believes in himself,” says Lewis. “I think he went with us because he saw himself in the product and believed in it too,” said Lewis.
Lewis had known Moses for several years through Lewis’ work in the KC nightlife scene. He knew Moses was business-minded, and he hoped the two could collaborate one day.
With a former Chiefs player as an investor, Kin joins the ranks of other alcoholic drinks backed by professional athletes, like Travis Kelce and Casa Azul Tequila Soda, Klay Thompson’s Diamond & Key Wine and Peyton Manning with Sweetens Cove Bourbon.
“When I started to research the market, I found that in the seltzer space, there was virtually an untouched Black demographic that wasn’t being targeted,” says Lewis. “We want this industry to be a more inclusive space for our community.”
Many hard seltzers’ marketing campaigns target women looking for a low-calorie alcoholic drink. Kin wanted to tap into the Black community’s ability to make something cool.
In 2021 Lewis created the UpDown Nightlife app, a digital space for highlighting KC events. Gaining numerous contacts in the club scene, Lewis crafted a drink for the urban culture, hoping to help people move away from hard liquor. Kin Seltzer’s alcohol content is just 4%.
“The name Kin came from growing up in the South and us calling our family, friends or loved ones our kinfolk,” says Lewis, a Dallas native. “We wanted to make a drink people could enjoy with one another without getting super drunk and overbearing.”
Johnson, a Kansas City native, had helped design Lewis’ app, and he wanted to bring her on as a co-founder to handle the marketing and aesthetics of the new drink. While many alcoholic seltzer brands use bright color schemes, the Kin founders chose a sleek black can with champagne-colored lettering, letting the taste speak for itself.
Johnson, who has helped many Black creatives get their vision off the ground with her graphic designs, had never been so deeply invested in a project. Through long hours of research and development, the team crafted a seltzer that captured the spirit of the urban core they felt was missing in the market.
“We wanted Kin to have this different vibe,” says Johnson. “Everything from the packaging to the events we throw adds to the voice that the brand has. I think it does the job of helping us tap into the culture.”
Kin began to throw events to introduce the beverage to the Black community, the people they needed to win over the most.
“The thing I heard the most at those launch parties was how people either didn’t like seltzers before and like them now or how they never had them and they have found their new favorite drink,” Lewis says.
The team partnered with Eric Martens, owner of Kansas City’s Border Brewing Co., who oversees the brewing and wants to keep all aspects of production local. Together, the trio have created a drink they hope will become a staple of the KC nightlight scene.
While researching, Lewis heard the same criticisms of hard seltzers from different people who said they didn’t like the bitter taste. So the Kin team created a sweeter option, using only natural fruit juices and no artificial additives.
Starting with its flagship flavor, Pineapple and Peach/Lemon and Lime, Lewis says the company plans to release its second flavor, Strawberry Lemonade, in mid-January.
The team plans to have six flavors within the next four years.
“I wanted to add some culture into the seltzer world,” says Lewis, 32. “When I think of other brands in the market it just seems bland and I want to introduce some new flavor into the industry, both literally and figuratively.”
With the influx of capital, Lewis and Johnson plan to scale up production from the current 5,000 cans every two weeks. With cans available at about 25 metro locations, including The Black Pantry, Aura, RecordBar and some Made In KC stores, Kin Seltzer hopes to place its product in more places.
Kin Seltzer joins another local seltzer brand, Quirk by Boulevard Brewing Co. Brew Lab and 3Halves Brewing Co. have had hard seltzers that they discontinued.
“No drink is meant to be exclusive,” says Johnson. “We don’t want to be looked at as the seltzer for Black people. We want to be known as the seltzer by Black people, for everyone.”
Patrick Mahomes left his seat along the Chiefs’ bench early in the first half and made about a 30-yard walk down his own sideline. His offensive line sat there as a unit, and Mahomes, in so many words, let them know that they might want to pick it up a bit.We’ve seen this scene before, no? You remember it: The Chiefs trailed by 24 points in a playoff game, after a comedy of errors that included penalties, dropped passes and a special teams gaffe; but following a Mahomes speech on the sideline — “...
Patrick Mahomes left his seat along the Chiefs’ bench early in the first half and made about a 30-yard walk down his own sideline. His offensive line sat there as a unit, and Mahomes, in so many words, let them know that they might want to pick it up a bit.
We’ve seen this scene before, no? You remember it: The Chiefs trailed by 24 points in a playoff game, after a comedy of errors that included penalties, dropped passes and a special teams gaffe; but following a Mahomes speech on the sideline — “Let’s go do something special” — they would storm back to win by three touchdowns.
A week after that, they would concede the first 10 points in an AFC Championship Game, only to secure the biggest victory to date in Arrowhead Stadium history. And two weeks later they’d do it again, falling behind by double digits in the fourth quarter, only to conclude the game with their quarterback hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
I’m recalling a happier time ... though, to clarify, it’s not for the vibes, but rather because of the relevance now.
The Patrick Mahomes Inevitability Era is gone, replaced with a Chiefs team that no motivational speech can save.
The Raiders — yes, the Raiders — bested the Chiefs 20-14 on Christmas Day, despite navigating the final three quarters without completing a pass. And for as ugly as it grew on the field, it was worse on the sideline.
Or at least more telling.
A Chiefs team once defined by its ability to respond to adversity with its very best is instead crumbling in the face of it — and that goes far beyond any statistics I could cite.
You might say this is not the makings of a championship team, to which I would actually one-up: It’s not the makings of a team that believes it will win a championship, no matter how many times they publicly state otherwise. It’s the makings of a team that sees something go wrong and believes the worst is yet to come.
They have grown comfortable showing their frustrations in public for all of us to see. Two weeks ago, it was the superstar quarterback. On Monday, it was the Hall of Fame tight end and the cool, calm and collected head coach.
At one point, Travis Kelce put all of his might into a helmet-slam near the bench, and it irked Andy Reid enough that he told a staffer not to return to it to him. In an ensuing conversation, Reid resorted to bumping Kelce.
“He went back in and did a nice job. Things happen. Emotional game,” Reid said. “Travis is emotional, and sometimes my red hair gets to me a little bit.”
Things do happen. And they sure have been happening a lot in that particular setting. The Chiefs’ sideline has become a setting for disarray and chaos, requiring a heavier camera presence than the Taylor Swift suite because, by God, you don’t know what you might see next.
In the most simple form, this is not a group that handles losing as it once did — back when it wasn’t whether Mahomes could make something special happen, but rather how and when. Heck, just a year ago, the same Raiders team scored the initial 17 points at Arrowhead, a deficit that woke up the wrong, um, gentleman.
This year, a big deficit all but puts the Chiefs to sleep, unable to unravel the offensive pitfalls that look increasingly likely to prompt an earlier-than-usual hibernation.
They are 1-4 when trailing by double digits. They’re two games shy of completing an entire season without a fourth-quarter comeback. Drew Lock has one of those. Tommy DeVito has two. Russell Wilson has four.
And, man, how many more chances could the Kansas City defense have provided Monday? The Chiefs held the Raiders to seven consecutive drives of 25 yards or fewer.
It didn’t matter. The Chiefs’ offense was long done, closer to a here-we-go-again mindset than buoyed by a just-wait response.
They do have plenty to be frustrated about, but that’s more about what they have than what they do not. Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore are not scapegoats for what unfolded on Christmas Day. You’ll have to look elsewhere, and there aren’t enough fingers on your hands to point to the blame.
If there is a less disciplined team in football than the Chiefs, I feel for those who will watch that team play 17 games.
The Chiefs lost a season opener because they could not secure routine catches; they lost another game because of an offensive offside call; they lost another because of a dropped deep ball; and they arguably escape the mess Monday if not for a botched handoff that ignited a sequence of two Raiders defensive touchdowns separated by seven seconds.
Once master problem-solvers, the Chiefs have grown into problem-compounders — in which each instance is merely foreshadowing what will come later.
It was ugly Monday, probably as ugly as it’s been since No. 15 arrived in Kansas City. The offensive line allowed two sacks in the initial five minutes and then got beat for the game’s duration.
Mahomes looks like a guy trying to do it all himself, and sometimes it looks like he’s a guy who has to do it all himself.
The play-calling, or the play design — or a combination of the two — isn’t doing him or anyone else any favors. After at long last advancing the ball inside the 10-yard line, the Chiefs’ initial three play-calls required Mahomes to throw the ball about as far as the line of scrimmage, or even behind it.
It wasn’t until fourth down that they actually tried a ball to the end zone. Heck, with the Raiders barreling an extra safety toward the line of scrimmage, the Chiefs threw the ball 44 times, and only eight of those passes traveled 10 yards. They completed just three.
Blame the play-calling. Blame the receivers. Blame the offensive line. And put some of the blame on the quarterback.
The combination is trending in the wrong direction with only two games left on the schedule. The Chiefs are in need of a mental reset that won’t come. And if it were any other time in this era, you might yet have some evidence to predict their very best awaits on the other side of this.
The wait is on the evidence that an about-face can come four months into an NFL season.
This story was originally published December 25, 2023, 6:48 PM.
OPINION AND COMMENTARYEditorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters. Guest Commentary Two days before Christmas, I saw the oddest thing: green shoots of new vegetation springing up on lawns around my northeast Kansas neighborhood. Winter had officially started just a couple of days earlier, but the fresh...
OPINION AND COMMENTARY
Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.
Two days before Christmas, I saw the oddest thing: green shoots of new vegetation springing up on lawns around my northeast Kansas neighborhood. Winter had officially started just a couple of days earlier, but the fresh greenery and the high temperatures in the low 60s felt more like the first stirrings of spring.
I worry about these things. But apparently I’m in the minority.
Last week, Heatmap News reported its new poll found that Midwesterners are “consistently blasé about climate change.” Fifty-two percent of folks in our region — a slim majority, but a majority nonetheless — say warming “poses little or no risk to their region.”
No other U.S. region is so confident of its ability to come through climate change unscathed.
“The poll doesn’t show that Midwesterners doubt climate change is real,” Heatmap’s Jessica Hullinger wrote. (Disclosure: I’ve written for Heatmap and worked with Hullinger.) “They just don’t think it affects them all that much.”
That might be a big mistake.
Climate change is already taking a toll on Kansas and Missouri, and not just in the form of wintertime vegetation. Both states are enduring long-running droughts that have challenged the region’s farmers and forced some communities to start hoarding their drinking water. That’s probably just the beginning.
“There’s certainly dramatic changes expected,” Chuck Rice, a distinguished professor of soil microbiology at Kansas State University told me. “And we’re already seeing some of those.”
Rice brings a lot of expertise to the topic: He served on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He said he was surprised by the findings of the Heatmap poll.
But he also had an explanation: The Midwest is already a “high variability” weather region. Think about all the times you’ve heard the joke that if you don’t like the weather around here “just wait five minutes.”
“We do get these cycles — drought cycles — daily and weekly fluctuations” in the weather, Rice said. People in regions that have historically had more consistent weather patterns are probably quicker to notice (and be concerned by) big swings in the surrounding climate.
So we’re already used to extreme weather.
The problem? Climate change is going to make the extremes more extreme — more intense rain and snowstorms, but also more extended periods of drought. Our big swings will get bigger and more destructive.
“We’ll have a 4-inch rainstorm — the annual average might not look that bad, but it’s the daily or weekly extremes that will be a lot harder,” Rice said.
Already, he pointed out, “we’ve had several large 100,000-acre wildfires that have occurred in central and western Kansas.” And we’re not immune to the effects of climate change in other regions — remember the smoky haze from Canadian wildfires that settled over the region last summer.
It’s difficult to ignore fires, drought and barely breathable air. Accordingly, Rice said he is starting to see a grudging recognition of the problem from the rural Kansans who used to dismiss climate change as “baloney.”
“They may not say the words ‘climate change’” — the term is too “politically tainted” — “but they notice the weather has changed. There’s less snow, more drought, more wildfires,” he said. “I think the last several years have made the real case that some of this stuff is happening now.”
Will that recognition be enough? Rice isn’t sure.
Farmers across the region are accommodating a drier climate with new growing techniques, and his K-State colleagues are researching ways to make crops more drought-resistant. But one climate-fueled extreme weather event could undo that progress.
“When we get a 6-to-8-inch rainstorm event, it’s hard to adapt to that,” he said. “That’s what worries me.”
Those green shoots were covered up on Tuesday morning by a late-arriving snow. So winter still exists in Kansas, after all. But the planet is getting warmer — and so is the Midwest. We shouldn’t panic. But maybe we should be a little more concerned.
Joel Mathis is a regular opinion correspondent for The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle. He lives in Lawrence with his wife and son. Formerly a writer and editor at Kansas newspapers, he served nine years as a syndicated columnist.
This story was originally published December 27, 2023, 5:09 AM.