Late Saturday night, one of my regulars at my bar top had an idea to score some tickets to the Falcons playoff game. I had Sunday off and the tickets were going for only $65 a piece so I figured why not. None of us are Falcons fans, and after the Bronco/Ravens game we were just hyped up to see some good football.
After loading up the truck and leaving Knoxville around 9 AM, we pulled into Atlanta's downtown area at about 11:30. It reminded me of my first time at Arrowhead. I wasn't near as excited, but I could still feel football in the air. Playoff football at that. My sole trip to Arrowhead was for my 21st birthday, coming all the way from Southern California, to see the Chiefs take on the Steelers. Sunday night football. I guess I could relate the whole Primetime (or Joel time) feeling to it all.
When I sat down in the Georgia Dome, I was surrounded by red and black jerseys from all angles. There wasn't a single Seahawks fan in our entire section. The crowd was loud and electric. I was pretty much hoarse after Tony Gonzalez was introduced. #88. I only saw him a few times in San Diego. I started driving back in 2007 and was able to catch both the 07 and 08 game before we traded him. I was pulling for him harder than anyone else out on the field, something I'm sure I don't have to talk to any of you about. When he caught that touchdown, I'm sure my family back in San Bernardino county heard me. My man.
The crowd simmered by halftime and by the third quarter some folks were already leaving. I don't really blame them. I had to walk about a mile from my car and if you've ever been in downtown Atlanta after a big event you know how bad the traffic is. I've never left a game early and didn't plan on it today though, so when the Seahawks made their amazing comeback I scoffed at the notion of walking out with time still on the clock.
I'm not a Falcons fan by any means at all, but when Russel Wilson orchestrated that comeback I was pulling for them just like I would my Chiefs. When the Matt Ryan threw the strike to #88 across the middle I knew it was a reception, probably before Tony even caught it. When that kick sailed in the air the entire dome went silent, and all at once erupted. I've never been part of a win like this, not in my years as a Chiefs, Dodgers, or even Lakers fan (and we know all about purple and gold championships in LA).
The party spilled out onto the street where even the security guards were high fiving and dapping people. I was high fiving people. My friends were high fiving people. I was happy just to see these thousands of fans happy. I could relate to them. I've never been able to feel this way as a Chiefs fan. I was only a toddler when the Chiefs last won a playoff game and even if my parents had paid attention to football back then I wouldn't have remembered it. Some of these people looked like they could've written the Mayan calendar themselves, and they were dancing in the middle of the street as if it were a dance floor.
In the midst of all of this celebration, the only thing I could think of is "this is the wrong red". When are we as a fanbase going to spill out into the Arrowhead parking lot and celebrate like these people? When are we going to boast a top five quarterback? When are we going to boast a top five team? As far as I'm concerned, the Chiefs rank near the top of my life. It sounds super silly and I can't even imagine how to explain by speaking the words out of my mouth, but it's something that I've clung onto for the last several years more than just about anything. I can tell you the stats of any Chiefs player for the last decade, but I sure as hell couldn't tell you the equations I learned in Algebra or all of Jesus' disciples. And strange enough, I know that there's a lot of you reading this right now that feel the same way.
Our time is coming Chiefs fans. The Falcons have suffered for years, but after a few successful drafts they have really made a presence in the league. This team will be built by winners, people who have been there before, so while we're busy celebrating wins 1,2,3 and 4 they'll be hard at work making sure we get wins 5,6,7, and 8 (eventually I'd hit 19-0 but you should get the idea by now right?)
Here's a video of people pouring out onto the main street outside of the dome as the game ends. Embrace it Chiefs fans. We're going to be in this situation one day, albeit we may not be this calm.
By the way, for the four people that care, I will be changing my username come tomorrow. I actually did it today but since there's a 24 hour waiting period this will be posted under this account. I will hereby be known as Elliott Duncan, real name. Thanks guys.