The Chiefs won the Super Bowl. Kansas City’s team is the world champion.
How many of us have longed to speak those words? I have wanted to write them as long as I have been creating columns – nearly 14 years.
In 2020, the Lombardi is the most coveted American sports trophy, a one-game-only playoff-ender: one night, one game, one champ.
Now, don’t get upset with me, baseball fans. You have to know that the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 World Series appearances, in particular the win in the latter, were exciting moments.
But here’s the thing, I’m 41, born in 1978. I pretty clearly remember the 1985 championship run. But I wasn’t a twinkle in anyone’s eye when the Chiefs were champions of the 1969 season, winning the big game in the opening weeks of 1970.
Last Sunday was something unknown to me, and either unfamiliar or nearly forgotten to many of you. The Chiefs have been a legendary source of heartache for my years on this planet.
Two stretches of Playoff success – one in the Marty Schottenheimer days in the 1990s, and the latest over the past few years with Andy Reid – had done little more than tease Kansas City fans, elevating our championship hopes before abruptly ending them.
Now Chiefs fans can speak the name Patrick Mahomes with pride, rather than muttering the names of Lin Elliott or Dee Ford with frustration. Our legacy has a win at the perfect hour, and it will be our topic of conversation for weeks to come.
We’ll talk about the 49ers posing for a group celebratory picture after intercepting Patrick Mahomes in the fourth quarter. San Fran was up 20-10 at that point. They might have celebrated a few minutes too early.
Side note: it’s becoming more and more important for me to remember that the men playing in the big game are in their 20s for the most part. I have former students who are 10 years older than Patrick Mahomes. They do dumb kid stuff.
On that note, celebrating a win over Mahomes when he has over 6 minutes to score twice – not smart. Alex Smith never would have thrown the two interceptions that Mahomes threw in the big game, but he also would not have been likely to find the way to led two touchdown drives to gain the lead in that amount of time either. That Damien Williams rushing TD put the game away, and this spectator fell to pieces when that happened.
Another side note: my youngest had gone to bed by this point, so my celebration over the big Sammy Watkins catch, and later the Williams score that put us up two scores, were done in whispered screams. The child within me wanted to jump up and down, whoop and holler, and raise the roof. The parent with a sleeping kid showed far better restraint.
I wished they’d have won it with Joe Montana all those years ago – we could have done it, and we should have. But this is a consolation prize that I’ll not complain about. Do I wish Derek Thomas, Tony Gonzalez, Neil Smith, Will Shields, Derrick Johnson and a dozen others could have experienced it? Yes. But sports don’t work that way. You take the wins you get, and you keep a short memory for the losses.
Soon politics and caucuses and observations from life will again dominate our talks in this column. But for one euphoric moment in my life, the only NFL team I ever really cared about is the best on the planet. We have a quarterback who isn’t old enough to rent a car, and he has been a league and Super Bowl MVP already. That hasn’t been the Kansas City narrative since, well, ever. So, I’m going to enjoy it.
Matt Pearl owns and operates newspapers in King City, Albany and Grant City.