KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Place kicker Ryan Succop #6 of the Kansas City Chiefs has his field goal attempt blocked by the Oakland Raiders at the end of regulation on December 24, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Oakland defeated Kansas City 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Hanukkah, or a a Swell Quanta, or whatever other mystical dogma filled belief system day off work that you subscribe to most. I enjoyed having dinner with some family and passing out presents to the kids while drinking bourbon with a like minded in-law. It was a day of relaxation and smiles that was almost perfect.
Too bad that in the back of my mind an ulcer inducing pest was chewing away at my brain while a sinking feeling in my gut gnawed at the lining of my stomach. The Chiefs blew it on Saturday. There's no way to sugar coat the outcome of that game. They got down on their knees and pulled the pooch over in front of them squarely, facing away from them, and proceeded to move their hips in a repeated forward and backward motion.
Don't mistake my disgust for misplaced hope. I'm fully aware that the Chiefs chances to make the playoffs hinged on the outcome of four different games. Denver had to lose to Buffalo (which no one in their right mind thought was going to happen). And then Norv Turner's team would have to lose to Megatron's group and propel the Lions into the playoffs. Even if both those things happened, the Chiefs would still have needed to beat the Broncos in a head to head match up in the final week of the season with the division championship as the prize.
I had to work for the majority of Christmas Eve. I didn't get off work until after seven at night, so I recorded all three games on the trusty DVR. I turned off my cell phone and tablet so that no one would send me texts to ruin my game experience, and I specifically informed staff members that mentioning ANY football score at any point during the day at work would cost them a minimum of three teeth. (Possibly more depending on the game they ruined for me). No, I'm not kidding. I actually told them I would punch them as many times as it took to knock teeth out of their head if they so much as breathed a word about what was going on in my games of interest.
No one said a word. I arrived at home and decided to save the Chiefs game for last. I poured myself a drink and settled in for the Broncos game (speed mode, fast forwarding through the commercials). I cannot explain to you the pureness of my joy with each successive interception thrown by Tim, "I'm a runner, not a quarterback" Tebow. Nothing about the Bills game could be described any way other than perfect. The kick return for a touchdown by Buffalo marked the high point of my day. I jumped out of my chair, screaming at the television, scaring my girlfriend and my dogs enough that all three got up and left the room.
I ran out to the kitchen to refill my adult beverage. I tossed some frozen food egg-rolls into the counter top fryer and tore open a family size bag of Cheetos for dinner. (I'm a health nut, don't cha-know) Fifteen minutes later, armed with bowl of wasabi and soy sauce, I took my place on the Lazy Boy. Balancing a plate of fried goodness and a sloshing bowl of spicy dip on the pillow over my lap, I clicked on the next game.
With the first game in the books, I actually started believing in a Christmas miracle for the Chiefs. I thought the Denver vs. Buffalo game was the biggest hurdle to the Chiefs winning the division. Detroit needed to win their game against San Diego in order to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since rocks became dirt. They had plenty of motivation to come out swinging. The Chargers always manage to suck just enough to keep it interesting, no matter how horrible of a team they play. I wasn't worried about a Charger blow out. I just knew that no matter how well San Diego played that they would make enough stupid plays to keep it close. As it turned out, they didn't play well at all. The Phillip Rivers from week four, five, and six trotted out onto the field Saturday. Norv Turner showed once again why he should never be a head coach in the NFL by extending his streak of seasons in which the team falls even more short than they did the previous year.
When the final seconds ticked away I actually shouted, "PLAYOFFS BABY!" to no one in particular. Apparently, this angered the little lady and her dog protectors trying to sleep in the next room. I was too enthralled in joy, and engulfed in a football and bourbon haze to notice that the clock displayed an A.M. number as opposed to P.M. Christmas had arrived, if only by a few minutes, and the Chiefs miracle playoff berth was just what I had asked for from Santa.
I seriously considered saving the Chiefs v. Raiders game for Christmas morning. Of course, that plan also included an immediate influx of midnight celebration nookie from the woman sleeping in the bedroom. For some reason, my whiskey and football-joy induced request (made by flinging the blankets off the bed and announcing, "It's Sexy Time.") was hastily rebuked. No matter. The hypnotic orange blinking light on the DVR reminded me that I was mere seconds away from starting up a football game that was sure to act as a surrogate for a sexy time crisis. Stomping on the Raiders would the only gift that mattered that day.
I don't have the heart to describe the actual football game here today. I'm sure we've all heard, read, and seen enough to last us until next years holiday season. On a positive note, the multitude of Kyle Orton-gasms I'd been forced to read in the last week should reduce greatly in number after that performance. Ryan Succop kicked a field goal to take the record for the most consecutive field goals on a kick that meant nothing. He had two additional chances at kicking a field goal that could have been more meaningful that I can begin to put into words. The line failed to block Richard Seymore adequately on both attempts. The Chiefs season is now officially over, and my Christmas miracle went down the drain. As Seabass took the field, I violently hurled an open bag of Cheetos at the flat screen and let out a stream of curses as the orange crunchy treats exploded across the carpet. Gone is the dream of a meaningful Broncos versus Chiefs match up for week seventeen.
I did not respond well to the outcome of the game. After watching all the things that had to happen fall right into place, like so many dominoes lined up to the big finale, the Chiefs managed to blow the only part of the equation within their control. I finished off rest of the bottle of adult beverage: warm, without an ice cube or a mixer and then stumbled off to bed in a Christmas funk.
Bless her heart, my beloved kissed me awake. She was wearing only some red silky underthings and a Santa hat. She whispered Merry Christmas, and informed me that the Turkey was in the oven and we had about two hours of "alone time" (said with a sly look on her face) before family started arriving. My head was pounding, and the sick feeling in my stomach caused not by alcohol, but by football, had not gone away. I'm still a human male, so we enjoyed our couple hours, but my heart just wasn't in it. Christmas, for all intents and purposes, was going to be a black day for me. The Chiefs choked away a game and let the playoffs slip through their fingers. The joy of watching children tear open presents was enough to sate my depression, if but for a few hours. I had a perfectly okay holiday. But make no mistake, the Chiefs ruined Christmas.
Did the game have an effect on your holiday season? Tell us about it in the comments.