A Seattle-versus-Kansas City match-up in East Rutherford, NJ, come February 2.
"For the love of all that's holy!" I can hear some folks shout. "Why???"
It's simple, really. I'm a child of the 80s, and can remember some of the games played between the Seahawks and the Chiefs when both teams played each other in the AFC West. Growing up in a community of just north of 40,000 in Eastern Idaho meant you had allegiance to one of three teams: Denver, San Francisco, or Seattle. I practically idolized Joe Montana during his career with the 49ers. Yet I wasn't adverse to liking a team from the opposing conference, either; after all, for a six-year-old to jump up and down on the couch during the 51-48 overtime win by the Seahawks over the Chiefs in 1983, only to be yelled at by his father meant I needed to calm the heck down...even though much later, my father found it amusing.
Moving to Washington in 1986 only solidified my appreciation for the Seahawks even more. Oh sure, I still thought Joe Cool was one of the best quarterbacks in the known universe. Jerry Rice was becoming my favorite wide receiver. But Steve Largent, though...for a nine-year-old, I was impressed. Seeing him in action during his final year with the 'Hawks wasn't one of his best years, yet after all was said and done he had racked up 819 catches for over 13,000 yards, and a whopping 100 touchdowns (stats courtesy NFL.com). (Yes, I know Jerry Rice's stats are mind-blowing and vastly out-do Largent's. In Largent's defense, he started out in 1976 and retired after fourteen seasons. Rice started in 1985 and lasted until 2004.)
Fast forward to 1993, when Joe Cool started playing for...you guessed it, the Kansas City Chiefs. And just like that, my appreciation for the Chiefs was born. I'll be up front and honest with you lifelong Chiefs' fans, the name Derrick Thomas wasn't exactly a name in my vocabulary until I started studying the Chiefs' roster in detail. The man was a beast, and I mean an outright beast. No wonder he was feared by opposing quarterbacks. Oh sure, I still rooted for the Seahawks whenever they played the rest of the division, as I rooted for Kansas City. But when the two teams played each other, I didn't care which team won. As long as both teams kept the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders out of contention, that was all I cared about. (Of course, that didn't always work out like I hoped...)
So now to bring us to today's NFL, how is it that I can like two teams from different conferences? Well, remember that in 2002, the NFL expanded to its' current 32-team format, and shuffled everyone around into a new eight-division setup. The Seahawks went back to the NFC West. The Chiefs remained in the AFC West. The rivalry between the teams was starting to fade into the sunset. Call me nostalgic, but looking back there were some great games between the two teams (depending on which side you were rooting for). Since the realignment, they've only squared off three times: 2002, 2006, and 2010. If this is any indication of a trend, it's likely they won't play each other again until the 2014 season. I don't want to wait until next year, or every four years for that matter, for it to happen. I've heard through the various circles that it'll be either the Seahawks or the 49ers to square off against the Broncos in this year's Super Bowl. No thanks. I'd rather see another Seattle-Kansas City game, only with the Lombardi Trophy on the line.
I've bled Chiefs' Red since 1993, but my heart will always beat Seahawks Blue.