When we all heard this, we knew it was officially over. The Chiefs had finally won the AFC Championship, and were returning to the Super Bowl. I was at home, watching the game in my usual spot on the couch, next to our dog, and it didn’t really settle in for me. I’m not a crier, and I didn’t cry after this game. Maybe that’s because I expected to win so my anxiety level was sort of low, but it didn’t really set in for me until the sack. I still have some trouble gathering my thoughts on that we won. It almost doesn’t seem real.
Instead of focusing on the snooze threat that was the NFC Championship, I started to think about what led us here. The earliest I remember the Chiefs was the 2012 season, where we went 2-14. I remember specific players, such as Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson in their peaks. I remember watching Matt Cassel. Some individual games come to mind, such as beating the undefeated Green Bay Packers. The 2012 season was really the only season I specifically remember watching the whole season. That season, even though we were 2-14, was what made me love the Chiefs.
Then, in 2013, Andy Reid got hired. I didn’t really know much about Andy Reid in Philadelphia, as they were never on my TV much and I wasn’t a widespread NFL fan like I am now. When we traded for Alex Smith and made some other moves, I thought we were going to be good. As a 10 year old kid, I expected us to win every game, and for a while, we did win the majority of the games. We just couldn’t get a win in the playoffs, though.
In 2015, when we absolutely ran the brakes off of the Houston Texans, for a while that was my favorite win ever. I’m obviously a defense guy first, and some of my all-time favorite players were dominant that season. Eric Berry, Marcus Peters, Derrick Johnson, and Justin Houston were nearly all at their peaks. The offense was young and had some budding stars on it. I felt like that could be the year we got over the top. When we got beat up that next Saturday by the Patriots I was mad, because I felt we had a shot. We just couldn’t score with them.
Then, the next year, when we got the bye and the two-seed, I felt that was the year. The offense was flying high with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, Alex Smith was great in moments, and the defense was opportunistic enough with Berry that I felt we could do it. But when we lost to Pittsburgh at home, I knew Alex couldn’t do it. The Chiefs were such a better team than Pittsburgh, but Alex lost us that game. He missed so many easy throws, including potential touchdown throws. At that moment, I knew, along with Andy Reid, that Smith wasn’t the guy to win it all.
Before I had a Twitter I watched rumors about the draft and I was absolutely shocked to hear that we had traded up to pick 10. I was expecting us to stay at 27, take a cornerback to complement Marcus Peters, and see if we could make another run. So when they did trade up to 10, I called my brother and we were shocked. Why would they do this? Who were they taking? I was expecting Deshaun Watson, but when the pick was Patrick Mahomes, I had no idea who he really was. I watched Gruden’s camp on Mahomes, but I didn’t really know anything about his career. So when I got on Youtube and watched his highlights, I went insane. The throws he made and the arm he had made my eyes widen and my head goes crazy out of excitement. I knew from that moment, with Andy Reid, we had this.
2017 was fine, I got really frustrated, but really, I think I was waiting for Patrick Mahomes. 2018 came around, and it was a perfect season for our fans. We had the best quarterback in football, with the best receiver and the best offensive coach I had ever seen. I truly thought we were going to win the Super Bowl, regardless of how bad the defense was. So, when Dee Ford lined up offsides and we gave up three 3rd and 10s, I was devastated. I didn’t cry, because I’m not a big crier, but I couldn’t sleep the next night. Having to deal with Patriots fans absolutely made my life torture for weeks, and I just wanted to wait for the next matchup, when we’d beat the brakes off of them.
This year was rough at times. After the week 6 loss to Houston, I didn’t know if we would get back to the AFC Championship. It seemed like Patrick Mahomes was one hit away from landing on IR, and the defense I covered didn’t play with any intensity and refused to tackle well. It wasn’t long to have my faith restored though, as it was rejuvenated when we played Green Bay. I know, we lost, but the fight we showed when we missing 10 starters gave me confidence that we could pull it off. Still, I was waiting for New England.
When week 14 came and we beat New England, I knew we were winning the AFC Championship. Seeing us take down the beast that was the New England dynasty, especially led by our defense and with “championship swagger” was something that I was always going to remember. From that moment forward, I knew we had that swagger we needed the year before. Once Ryan Fitzpatrick played the game of his life as well to get us the bye, it felt like the stars were aligning.
Then, when I looked up two weeks later, it was 24-0. My faith was tested. My anxiety, usually kind of low, was high. I felt we could come back, but I didn’t know if we could pull out a win. The second that Houston missed on the fake punt though, I knew it was instantly over. I knew we were going to win the game, although I felt it would be close. But once they fumbled the kickoff, I knew it was going to be a blowout. The stars were aligning once more.
That’s why I had so much confidence for this week. My anxiety never wavered. Whether we were down 10-0 or 17-7, I knew we would still win. Especially once Patrick Mahomes made the play of his life to run in that touchdown before halftime, I knew we had won the trophy, it was just a matter of time.
Maybe that’s why Frank Clark’s sack to seal the deal hasn’t resonated with me enough yet. All I know is I was incredibly happy for Andy Reid. There’s very few people that love Andy as much as I do. I’ve defended him for years now, and he’s truly my favorite coach ever. All he does is win. He finally got the quarterback he needed to push him over the top. He’s not perfect, but he finally got over the hump and back to the Super Bowl. He’s still got work to do, but getting him there was key. Now, he’s got a chance to seal the deal.
I didn’t get emotional, like many people did. I can’t blame them, most people saw more heartbreaks than I have. I’ve been fortunate to mainly remember the Andy Reid era, where we’ve enjoyed every season and four straight AFC West titles. It may not fully make sense until after the Super Bowl. All I know is, I will never forget this. Thank you Big Red, for all you’ve done for Kansas City. Now, go get the big one. You’ve earned it.