The Kansas City Chiefs. Decades of heartache. The discomfort of wearing a bag over one’s head season after season. It seemed I had become like an old Chicago Cubs fan. Hoping for the best but always praying that the team’s loss wouldn’t be a complete embarrassment.
I had become an American Football League fan shortly after the league was formed. I grew up in greater Cleveland and was used to watching the NFL play boring football, usually in the snow. At that time the Cleveland Browns were very good but the AFL teams seemed to play a much more exciting game of football. The Oakland Raiders with their “criminal element” were especially fun to watch.
Eventually, I ended up in Kansas City. I was now living in an AFL city and had an excellent team to cheer for. The Chiefs. They were really hot and finally won the Superbowl. I still remember it because that is the year Michael and I won our Superbowl with, “One Toke Over The Line.” We haven’t had that big a hit since the Chiefs had theirs and I always wonder if we shouldn’t have released a single last year…just in case.
I don’t have to remind Chiefs fans of the ups and mostly downs of the last few decades. There were a few times when it looked like “this might be the year” only to be greeted with crushing defeats as the season progressed. There was that year they almost made it to the Super Bowl only to lose the AFC championship game at the very end. They had Joe Montana at quarterback but had let their superstar field goal kicker, Nick Lowery, get away. They lost the game by a missed field goal. Another bag over the head game to end a great season.
I had a connection to both the Chiefs and the Browns that transcended the actual game. In the case of the Browns, it was their practice facility. When I was getting my degree at Baldwin-Wallace College, the Browns used the school’s football field as their practice field. I remember watching Lou Groza kicking field goals as I walked from class to class. Decades later I was hired by Baldwin-Wallace to do a couple of videos for them. The Browns had built an entire facility next to BW which, by that time, had a major in sports management. I was able to spend hours there interviewing students. I had never been in the home of an NFL team with a full-sized football field under a roof. “These guys are serious,” I thought.
The Chiefs’ stadium is famous around the country as being one of the premier facilities in the league. Besides being a great place to watch football, Arrowhead has also become a major concert venue. I can’t forget the first concert held there. It was Elton John with Brewer and Shipley as his opening act. This is back in the days when Elton was doing handstands on his piano and wearing the most outrageous clothing he could have designed. Brewer and Shipley, on the other hand, looked very much like Brewer and Shipley. No sparkles. No bangles. Nothing but blue jeans and guitars.
There was, however, what might have been the only time in my life I felt I was really cool. The jumbotron. I will always remember looking up at the giant screen and seeing a closeup of my face singing into a microphone. “My eye is bigger than my whole body,” I thought to myself as I realized for that instant, I truly was cool. Two seconds later not so much. But for those few seconds when I was up on the jumbotron I knew I was cool. Or at least I thought I was.
So Sunday is the day for another Super Bowl. Like last year, a Super Bowl that really means something. The Chiefs’ young quarterback, who is rapidly becoming the face of the NFL, against the old NFL star best known for winning Super Bowls and deflating footballs. “A game for the ages,” they are calling it. I always thought that was the game they played on Mount Olympus in 572 BC honoring Zeus but I could be wrong. It probably is Super Bowl LV in Tampa this Sunday.
So, as I always say to the family when I am headed off to do something important…Go Chiefs.