Even from the sidelines, Eric Berry may be the team MVP of the Kansas City Chiefs this season. His presence appears to be needed even as a spectator.
It has been a rollercoaster season for the Kansas City Chiefs. At times the Chiefs have looked unbeatable, while other times they have looked like garbage. With three offensive players added to the Pro Bowl, the struggling defense didn’t manage to send even one. Perhaps Eric Berry should get some last second votes, if even as a spectator.
As a recent spectator from the sidelines, he has perhaps made the biggest difference in the re-emergence of Kansas City’s stout defense. There is a respect for Berry that few have in the league. He is treated as not just a fellow football player, but a coach, and a father figure. Number 29 of the Chiefs turns 29 on the 29th of December. He is a man who no one wants to disappoint.
When Berry was carted off the field in New England back in week one, it was a dark cloud that hung over an overly sunny victory against the Patriots. The excitement of an improbable victory against Brady’s Patriots was kept down to quiet applause. The Chiefs are a different team without Berry.
Berry has been the leader of this defense ever since he became a Chiefs after they grabbed him from the University of Tennessee in the 2010 draft with the fifth overall pick.
His value on the field is unquestionable. The effort he possesses is contagious. He his an uncanny way of being in the right place at the right time. Eric Berry has single-handedly won football games for Kansas City. An emotional example can be seen here.
His torn ACL is merely a surface scratch compared to his battle with cancer that started December 8th, 2014. On a Thursday night game against Oakland in late November, he played every snap with some unusual discomfort in his chest. The next day he approached the Chiefs training staff, later that night physicians located the mass in his chest.
A little over six months later, on June 22nd, Berry was cancer free. He returned to football that season, a feat that at one time was in doubt. Berry was selected for the Pro Bowl that season, something his doctor didn’t think was possible.
Eric’s fight and defeat of cancer was a true testament to his character and to those who loved him and stood by him. His story brings tears to the faces of stronger men than I. Even writing this now, having already gone through the emotional part of his story once before, can’t fight back the tears.
When Berry is on the field he is the definition of a leader. His presence brings not only an amazing amount of effort, but a fierce fight to the end of each game, giving 100% of that effort 100% of the time. These traits are contagious among his teammates. Berry makes everyone better. whether on the football field, in the hospital or at home. And now, apparently from the sidelines.
From the sidelines
It’s inaccurate to say the Chiefs didn’t play good defense at times this season, there were definitely moments. It is accurate to suggest the defense has struggled much of the season however.
Even in the games where the defense played well, there was an “it” factor missing. Big time plays weren’t coming from the defense. The bend but don’t break defense that Chiefs fans have grown used to was breaking more than bending. Then, week 14 happened.
Berry was there, in the locker room, on the sidelines, and in his teammates head. Steven Terrell, who was a late addition defensive back this season, said Berry “just has that it. He’s just it.”
Ron Parker might have given the best explanation to the Berry phenomenon.
When I see him, it’s like, I can’t let him down. That’s every man’s feeling in this building: When you see him, it’s almost like you fear letting him down.
Since Berry first appeared back on week 14, the Chiefs defense has been lights out. In two games against division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs defense has collected seven turnovers. They also haven’t allowed more than 100 team rushing yards, and they haven’t allowed more than 16 points per game, and those were garbage time scores.
Eric Berry is Kansas City. One man with such a huge influence on everyone around him. A grown man who leads not only by example, but through his motivational ways of getting through to people. This hype video put together by Berry is a prime example. Just softly spoken words, igniting a fuel behind his teammates and their fan base, Chiefs Kingdom.
Softly spoken words. If his words don’t affect you, there is a good chance you may no longer have blood flowing through your veins. If Berry simply being around his teammates can cause this type of turnaround, not only affecting his defense but the offense too, then here’s to hoping he somehow makes every game from here on out.