So you're standing at the "water cooler" at work and a conversation about the weekends football games comes up and you hear the mention of the Chiefs. You get a little smile on your face and you just so happen to perk up a lil' bit. It just so happens that you don't live or work in the Kansas City area so it's a little more exciting because there's not a constant discussion about your team. Your co-workers go on and on about how the Chiefs managed to slide into first place for this reason and that reason so you revert to some answers from here. You have a short conversation about the team in which you are now loaded with ammo in defending your team that has now become relevant.
I think all of us in some way or another can relate this situation to our everyday lives. Whether it's with co-workers, friends at school, teammates, wives (or husbands), kids, or neighbors. All of us have been in these situations recently where talking about the Chiefs with these people has made us feel good. Not only good but it's that feeling of 'we matter now' that has us talking with a little more energy and passion than before. I know that the majority of 'consistent' AP readers find themselves a little more versed in the nuances of the team and its news than your casual fans. I would assume, could be wrong, but a lot of us who spend a lot of time on AP have people in our lives who know how engaged we are with the Chiefs. Maybe it's text messages from family (for me) before/during/after games, or people at work (me again....damnit) that know what kind of mood you'll be in on Monday based on how Sundays game went. Maybe it's validation from those who don't pay nearly as much attention as we do as to what is going on with this team and this organization that makes us feel better.
I think I finally figured out what this feeling was that helped me look at the "big picture". It's that we're relevant now. This is not a discussion about whether the team is 'championship worthy' right now. It's the mere fact that we matter. It's been a few years since we could say that. You can say "rising team', or "surprise team", basically it's just saying "Welcome to the discussion about teams that matter". It's been a great year for the NFL and I know that going into the weekend there was a stat that had every division leader in the NFL had no more than a one game lead. That's a pretty cool stat if you are a football fan. That means that a lot of teams in the NFL are going to play meaningful games over the next few weeks. But I can also name 7 teams whose SB nation sites should be loaded with mock drafts over the next few days. It's great to get off that list.
"So Bajah......this is all great and everything and it's nice to be in the race but it doesn't matter if we don't win the Superbowl" ....... It's a valid point if you are looking at this from the 'point of view' after the season is over. I'm not saying that relevance is/was the goal. But as fans, isn't it nice to have those friendly discussions with a hint of optimism in our voices about the current season rather than the "If we get the 6th pick and Luck is available........type of comments and posts.
The folks at Merriam-Webster define relevant as "having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand". So it's not just relevance in the NFL that I am discussing. When teams are scouting us and looking at tape they are seeing how relevant our running game is and how relevant our QB is becoming. They are seeing how relevant #91 off the edge is and how relevant #24 is when throwing his way. But most importantly from this weekend we learned that Arrowhead stadium and all the Chiefs fans in attendance were relevant in how the game was played. We have a team that people will be talking about, not just in KC, but around the country. We aren't where we want to be yet, but it's good to finally matter again in the race.