It’s early January. There’s a freezing chill in the air. The smell of smoke and BBQ sweeps across the parking lots of Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs are in the playoffs.
Kansas City came into Saturday's AFC Wild Card matchup with the Tennessee Titans as and 8.5-point favorite and left defeated, dropping the game 22-21.
In an era where sports provide the unexpected year in and year out, the more things stay the same at One Arrowhead Drive. The circumstances change. The faces evolve. The feelings stay the same.
The game itself provided its share of memories, both thrilling and devastating. It always does.
One year a quarterback recovers a fumble and leaps into the end zone, another year a quarterback catches his own pass for a touchdown. One year a 28-point lead is built and blown, another year an 18-point lead is built and blown. One year a kicker misses the biggest kick of his life, another year a kicker misses the biggest kick of his life.
70,000 fans brave the freezing temperatures with a hope, a dream and year by year, a little more doubt than the year before. They’ve seen the movie. They know how it ends. Those new to Kansas City, they quickly learn.
Until one year it’s different.
It won’t be clear in training camp, it won’t be clear week one, it won’t be clear at the start of the playoffs. It won’t be clear until a Lamar Hunt trophy is finally raised by the organization he himself founded.
The time will come. One day. But until that day, it’s more of the same.
There’s nothing prophetic to say, no breakthrough theory, no player that will change the course of a franchise’s history overnight. There’s just a long drive home from Arrowhead Stadium and a long offseason to dream of what could have been. Chiefs fans know the feeling well.
The city deserves better; the fans deserve better. The organization, the coaches, the players deserve better. But sports are a cruel business, one with ultimate euphoria and incomparable reward; but also one with painful feelings and memories that last longer than they should.
One day, the fans of Kansas City football will feel that ultimate euphoria. And it’s days like Saturday and that feeling that will make the feeling of finally winning it all, incomparable.
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