It’s a crying shame that an otherwise successful career with the Kansas City Chiefs likely came to an end for Alex Smith on Saturday evening.
Smith and his Chiefs blew a 21-3 halftime lead to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wildcard Playoffs, pretty much ending his career in Kansas City.
The Chiefs will now likely move forward with youngster Patrick Mahomes, looking for the best possible trade package for Smith in the process.
For Smith, it’s just the continuation of a career that has seen him vastly under appreciated and underrated. The veteran was coming off a career-best 2017 campaign that saw him put up 4,042 yards with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
His Chiefs career will now end with the former No. 1 pick boasting a 50-26 record while throwing 69 more touchdowns than interceptions (hey Gronk).
To put this into perspective, Smith’s .666 winning percentage during this span is just a notch below Russell Wilson (.675) and Ben Roethlisberger (.667).
We get it. Quarterback wins aren’t really a stat in and of themselves. But they do tell us a larger picture about how successful a player has been at this position. If we’re going to give Big Ben and Wilson credit, why not throw a little in the direction of Smith? That’s taken to a new level now that Smith has thrown 14 touchdowns and just two picks in his playoff career.
And this is magnified when it comes to the popularity of quarterbacks in today’s NFL. According to our data, Big Ben comes in as the 15th-most popular NFL figure of the past year with Wilson finding himself ranked 22nd. Where is Alex? Directly ahead of Joe Flacco at No. 35 (more on that here).
Smith’s underrated status has also played a role in him failing to make it to the Pro Bowl this season, a Pro Bowl that’s nothing more than a popularity contest. Just ask Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith.
It’s understandable. Smith is an unassuming personality. He has not been linked to drama in Kansas City like we’ve seen in either Pittsburgh or Seattle over the past year. That’s fine.
But at a time when quarterback play has proven to be fruitless around the NFL, Smith’s underrated status makes absolutely no sense.
It started with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 when then head coach Jim Harbaugh benched him for Colin Kaepernick, now one of the most-popular figures in the football world.
Sure that worked out with Kaepernick leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl that season. But what have we seen from San Francisco since? It took Jimmy Garoppolo dropping on to their laps for the quarterback situation to be settled with the 49ers.
It should be about stability. Smith has provided that since he turned his career around back in 2011. The 49ers didn’t appreciate that. Kansas City surely hasn’t appreciated that.
Maybe another team will finally give Smith the credit he deserves, for, among other things, being a pillar of stability and simply going about work on a daily basis without raising a hell storm.
That’s our two cents.