As many of you know, the Mayan calendar ends on this day, which means the world is more than likely going to end sometime later today. Before I go looting to celebrate the end of the world, I wanted to share my favorite Kansas City Chiefs memory that I'm gonna take with me when the world does end.
I'm not sure how to pick my all-time favorite Chiefs memory.
There was the January 1994 AFC Championship which, if the Chiefs had won, Old Man Thorman had promised to take Chris and I out of school for the pre-Super Bowl parade. There was the 1994 season when my uncle rented a big screen TV to watch the games that season. (Yeah, back when not everyone had a big screen TV. And renting a TV is ... hilarious these days). There was the time in the '90s the Chiefs landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, picking them to win it all. There was Montana Magic on Monday night in Denver. The Pete Stoyanovich game against the Broncos was amazing. Simply amazing. The Monday Night Meltdown in 1998 isn't a great memory but it's a memory all right. That 2003 team provided so many great memories, from Dante's returns to the Chiefs nine-game winning streak to Priest Holmes setting NFL scoring records. The first Thankgiving night game on NFL Network. Beating the Broncos never felt better. The waiting and the waiting on December 31, 2006 to hear the Chiefs made the playoffs.
But If I had to pick one?
Chiefs-Raiders in Oakland. September 8, 1997. Monday Night Football.
My Mom was usually the one who set the rules in the house, or at least make me abide by them. That's not to say my Dad let me do what I want but he did let me get away with things occasionally -- like getting up and going downstairs (when I was supposed to be in bed) to watch Lenny Dawson on Inside The NFL. I remember thinking that was the greatest show in the world -- partially because it was and partially because I only got to watch it after my bed time when I was breaking the rules.
So, anyway. Monday Night Football is here. The Chiefs are playing the Raiders. I'm staying up late with the Old Man, watching it in the living room.
The Chiefs had the ball on their own 20-yard line with about a minute left to play. The chances of them winning were very small. 80 yards in one minute from Elvis Grbac? Yeah, not likely. But to start the drive Grbac found Lake Dawson for a 21-yard gain. Then a 20-yard gain to Brett Perriman.
Then, with three seconds remaining, from 33 yards out, Grbac threw a strike to Andre 'Spiderman' Rison, who was playing only his second game as a Chief. Rison caught the ball over his shoulder, near the back of the end zone, and dragged his feet in right in front of the Black Hole. Touchdown. Chiefs win.
It was glorious. I jumped up and down, screaming and high-giving the Old Man. We woke my Mom up.
There was more, though. The Chiefs had just signed Rison to a free agent contract. The Chiefs defense was great in those days but the addition of Rison was supposed to bring them to the next level. Expectations were extremely high that year -- Super Bowl or bust. This was the second game of the season. It was on national TV. It was a great feeling.
It was, to this day, the most unbelievable come back I remember.
BJ Kissel: The one that sticks out the most to me was Joe Montana playing against the 49ers in '94. It's probably not the most exciting moment but I remember listening to the radio on the way to Arrowhead that day and how big of a moment it was for that early in the season.
Derrick Thomas picked up three sacks and Montana threw two TDs and the Chiefs won the game and beat his former team and Steve Young. Winning games were nice. /Shrugs
MNChiefsFan: On the morning of October 17th, 1994, I woke up a 9-year-old with no favorite football team. I knew I really liked football and that my dad loved the Vikings, but for some reason I never felt the same way. At the time, we were living in a teeny, tiny town called Marible a couple hours away from Kansas City. Since the Vikings games were almost never on, my father had taken to watching the Chiefs. He was a big fan of Joe Montana and Marcus Allen, and was always a "defense wins championships" guy, so the Chiefs fit him like a glove as a secondary team.
It is only because of this that I found myself sitting with him the evening of October 17th, watching the Chiefs and the Broncos battle it out on Monday Night Football. Being only nine, I didn't know much about much (still don't, really). But even I could tell a great quarterback duel when I saw one. And this one was epic. Two of the best of all time, refusing to let their teams lose.
My father, like any football fan, was completely captured by the display we were witnessing, and his enthusiasm was contagious. When Elway rushed into the end zone to give the Broncos the lead with barely any time left, I pouted (like a typical whiny 9-year-old) that it was over and the Chiefs would lose. My dad knew I was wrong, and told me "that's Joe Montana, and this isn't over." And as we all remember... he was absolutely right. Almost 20 years later, I can't remember all of the plays leading up to it, but I remember the play that ended it: Montana to Willie Davis for the game and "I am the greatest QB that has ever lived" title as the announcers practically cheer and Mile High Stadium is stunned. Freaking GOOSEBUMPS just thinking about it. That's the moment I became a fan.
Matt Verderame: Mine would be the game Pete Stoyanovich beat the Denver Broncos in Arrowhead back on Nov. 16, 1997. The Chiefs were battling hard to stay in the AFC West race and looked to be beaten by John Elway when he rallied Denver once again late in the fourth quarter.
However, Rich Gannon drove the Chiefs down to the 37-yard line with just a few ticks on the clock, setting up a 54-yard field goal that was a low line drive, clearing the crossbar by about a foot. I'll never forget being in my living room, jumping around like only a9-year-old can. I've never heard Arrowhead so loud since.
Matt Conner: There's not a single memory that sticks out per se, but rather it was discovering Christian Okoye, the Nigerian Nightmare, at the age of 10 when I was first finding a love for football that hooked me on the Kansas City Chiefs. While Tecmo Bowl would seal that opinion, it was amazing to watch the way he could completely frustrated a defense with both size and speed. For a kid, everything seems larger than life as it is, but Christian Okoye broke the mold.
Clay Wendler: I suppose my 2nd best Chiefs memory (besides Christian Okoye and Tecmo Bowl), maybe since I experienced it live, was the Chiefs beating the Raiders at Arrowhead in 2006, which hasn't happened since.
That was my first game at Arrowhead in a while ... had been a few years since I had been, and it was Trent Green's first game back. The Chiefs took the lead with about two minutes left, and then the Raiders needed a TD to win. Amazingly Aaron Brooks hit a huge pass and the Raiders had a first and goal...and then on the very next play, Brooks threw a pass intended for Randy Moss right to Jarrad Page. Hearing Arrowhead explode for a last-minute victory is amazing. That was the first time I had experienced such a thing. And then four days later the Chiefs beat the Broncos on Thanksgiving Night, so really one of the best weeks of my life.
upamtn: As many of you may now, I used to be a school teacher for many years, and in the mid 1990's there were a number of reading programs designed for inner city kids. One fine day I was strolling the halls of the school as a guest arrived, none other than one Mr. Derrick Thomas himself, slick gray suit and a smile a mile wide. My favorite Chiefs player (and the one whose name is on the back of my one and only jersey) was at the school I was working at to donate books and money for even more books.
Derrick was an avid reader and believed strongly in the power of imagination, and he donated thousands of books and many thousands of dollars more to schools across the nation. At every city the Chiefs played in, Derrick Thomas would make sure to visit at least one school, see the kids and brighten up the days and lives of those he touched with his warmth and personality, and make sure that under privileged kids across the country had a more than adequate supply of books to enrich their lives and their minds.
A reminder to me then, and now, that football players are so much more than just athletes, they're caring human beings who can enrich our lives in so many ways. Certainly many players donate a good amount of money and time to various charities and do so many wonderful things off the field of play, and Derrick Thomas was was of those who gave of himself off the field as well as on. My memory of Derrick Thomas and his sunshine bright smile is one that I'll carry with me til the end of the world.