A crazy couple days in Kansas City.
I went to the game yesterday. I hadn't originally planned on going, but after the tragic events that occurred on Saturday, I couldn't imagine what the scene at Arrowhead Stadium would be like, and I wasn't going to miss it for the world.
At first, I was disappointed. Disappointed because I had conjured up expectations of a packed Arrowhead Stadium greeting the Kansas City Chiefs' players with the introduction they truly deserved. Alas, it wasn't to be.
I couldn't decide if my expectations were unfair of the crowd, or if I were justifiably right in being disappointed in the so-so greeting. Regardless, I curbed my expectations for the rest of the day from that point on.
What unfolded over the next three hours was a beautiful sight to see.
After being accepted as the de facto behavior towards this 2012 Chiefs team, booing was simply not an option at yesterday's game. Instead, good vibes were tomahawk chopped throughout Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since the 2010 season.
Suddenly, it wasn't about our horrendously bad 1-10 Kansas City Chiefs team hosting an exciting, yet underachieving 3-8 Carolina Panthers team, in what amounted to a mostly meaningless exhibition of football.
It wasn't about Scott Pioli getting fired. It wasn't about "earning" the No. 1 Draft pick. And, pardon my French, but it wasn't about any of the other circumstantial/contextual bullshit that filled the minds of 70,000+ people who walked through those gates.
No, it was about two teams competing their hardest to win a football game. And for me, it was about supporting my team no matter the circumstances. They needed me (us) out there, and damnit, I was going to be there for them when they needed me (us) most.
And they came through. And damn, was I proud.
Looking back on the events of the past three days, and reading what I've written thus far, I can't help but feel kind of silly about all of the stats, the jokes, and hyperbole I've been spewing about how bad the Chiefs have been all season long.
The pain and agony of what I considered to be a "tragic" season was completely washed away by what would actually be classified as a tragedy.
This Kansas City Chiefs' 2012 season needed the perspective.
That group of men, which I thought had caused me real heartache these past three months, endured through real pain, real loss, and real heartache. They came out on Sunday, put their hearts on the line, and won a game that most said shouldn't have been played so soon; a game that nobody would've held against them if they lost.
How many of you sat back in your chairs in the 4th quarter and said something along the lines of, "This is where we blow the game." It was impossible for me not to think it.
But they didn't. They persevered through it all. The team fought hard despite seemingly half of the defense sitting out due to injury (possibly from emotional exhaustion). You had guys like Cory Greenwood, Neiko Thorpe, Tysyn Hartman, and Brandon Siler all playing the most crucial defensive snaps of the game.
You had Brady Quinn, who was the star of the show both on and off the field, play what most would consider to be the best game of his career. After not leading a single touchdown drive all season, he orchestrated three in the same game, including a score on the opening drive that may just break the curse I suggested at last week. It was, by our expectations, an offensive explosion.
You had Jamaal Charles, who was the player perhaps most affected by all of this (his wife is the cousin of Kasandra Perkins, the victim in this tragedy), carry the offense with yet another 20-plus attempt, 100 yards rushing performance (he's now topped the century mark in all 12 games he's received 20+ carries).
You had Romeo Crennel, the excessively maligned head coach, step up as the unquestioned leader of his men, only 28 hours after suffering through events so far beyond my comprehension, that I'll just leave it at that.
You had Dwayne Bowe leaving the field with Clark Hunt, a moment that seemed to capture the essence of the events that had transpired over the past 48 hours...
Exhaustion, elation, togetherness.
And you had every NFL show on Sunday and Monday leading off with highlights of the Chiefs victory. A victory that will go down as one of my favorite of all time.
It bears repeating: I'm damn proud of my Kansas City Chiefs.