I was on 610 Sports yesterday with Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison and Danny, who is not originally from the Kansas City area, asked us how this Chiefs-Broncos game compares to other regular season Chiefs games in history in terms of hype and anticipation.
I'm not sure any game in my Chiefs-watching era can live up to the hype and anticipation that this game has. But there have been some very memorable games for me in recent history. Here are a few of them...
DT's 7-sack game
The game: Seahawks vs. Chiefs
The date: November 11, 1990
Coming out party
The game: Bills vs. Chiefs, Week 2 (MNF)
The date: October 7, 1991
The Chiefs were an upstart team under Marty Schottenheimer who hadn't done anything yet. They were getting better and the on the verge of breaking out with some good players but they were still a team that hadn't actually accomplished anything.
That all changed on Monday Night Football when the Buffalo Bills came to Arrowhead. The place was packed and the Bills were 3-point favorites in Kansas City. Buffalo, as you know, was in the middle of their run of four straight Super Bowls. In 1990 they made it to the Super Bowl with the league's No. 1 offense. In 1991 they ended up with the No. 2 ranked offense.
But on this Monday night, the Chiefs showed to the world who they were and curb-stomped the Bills, 33-6. It was 13-6 at half before KC just went crazy. Christian Okoye had two second half touchdowns and was one of two Chiefs who ran for 100-plus yards (Harvey Williams being the other). Steve DeBerg was an efficient 16-of-23 for 150 yards. Bill Maas had two sacks. DT had four.
The Bills lost two other games that season -- both by three points. The Chiefs beat them by four touchdowns.
Many people refer to this game as the night Arrowhead was introduced to the world.
Montana vs. 49ers
The game: Chiefs vs. 49ers, Week 2
The date: September 11, 1994
I seem to remember more about the build-up to this game than the game itself. (I remember the 44-9 thrashing four years later a lot better).
For some context, this 49ers team was damn good. In fact, they would prove by the end of the year that they were the best, demolishing the Chargers for the Super Bowl title. The 49ers had traded Montana to Kansas City the year before so this was Montana's second and final season in Kansas City.
Derrick Thomas had three sacks in this game. Steve Young threw two picks. It was your classic defensive game at Arrowhead Stadium. I went to this game and sat in the suite of a friend's parents. Still to this day, the only time I have seen a Chiefs game from a suite (and I was too young to appreciate the booze ... for shame).
The NFL adopted the two-point conversion rule in 1994. Montana hit JJ Birden for a two-point conversion in this game, which I believe was the first two-point conversion in Chiefs history.
Montana Magic at Mile High
The game: Chiefs vs. Broncos, Week 7 (MNF)
The date: October 17, 1994
The game: Broncos vs. Chiefs, Week 12
The date: November 16, 1997
In terms of records and what's on the line, this is probably the best comparable to this year's Chiefs-Broncos match-up. The Broncos were 9-1 entering this game. The Chiefs were 7-3. (Week 12 and down two games in the division? It's never over.) Denver had the No. 1 offense and No. 6 defense. KC had the No. 5 offense and the No. 1 defense.
Sound familiar to this year's game?
Many of you may not remember this because the Chiefs were a 13-3 team and all but Denver was the favorite in this game. And, yes, it was at Arrowhead. 24 degrees at kickoff. Arrowhead was completely packed to the gills. I'm not sure if the Chiefs win this game without Arrowhead having one of its finer days. (Side note: God I love Arrowhead.)
Denver had beaten the Chiefs handily in Week 1, 19-3. Jerome Woods was fined in that game for leveling John Elway (and he would be fined in this game, too). Neil Smith was a Bronco (ugh). Tensions were high.
The Broncos got off to a 13-point lead -- this is usually about the time Old Man Thorman would storm out and claim he's never watching the Chiefs again -- but amazingly from the second to the third quarter the Chiefs put up 21 unanswered.
The game came down to the final seconds. Kicker Pete Stoyanovich lining up with seconds left with the Chiefs down 22-21. Now, for some context. This was only two years removed from the disaster that was The Kicker Who Shall Not Be Named. If you were a Chiefs fan, you just knew Stoyanovich was going to miss this because that's what happens in Kansas City. Our kickers miss crucial kicks at the end of games and then we run them out of the country.
Except incredibly, he made it! I remember looking at that wounded duck of a kick and just being stunned that it somehow, someway made it through the uprights. I absolutely felt like the Chiefs stole one there.
The Thanksgiving night game
The game: Chiefs vs. Broncos, Week 12
The date: November 23, 2006
Perhaps this was Arrowhead at its finest. (Wait, I said that on all these other games, too. See a trend?)
Lamar Hunt, the late Chiefs owner, had been pushing for Kansas City to host a Thanksgiving game for years. He was given his wish on this date. This was also the very first NFL Network game in history. Lamar died a few weeks after this game, which seems kinda fitting given that this was one of Arrowhead's best nights.
Night time at Arrowhead Stadium is something special. It's better than any stadium in the NFL. This night was very, very special. The 7-4 Broncos faced the 7-4 Chiefs.
There's a tradition in Kansas City where on Thanksgiving they turn on the Christmas lights on the Plaza all at once. They do this on Thanksgiving night and it's a big event with thousands of people gathering for the event. I have been to every single Plaza Lights ceremony since I have been born and I left early just one time -- for this game.
This was a special game for me and for a lot of folks because it meant watching it with the entire family, the way Chiefs games were meant to be watched.
Larry Johnson had 157 yards on a whopping 34 carries (remember when backs carried it that much?). LJ carried the game for KC as Trent Green had no touchdowns and one pick. Jared Allen and Tamba Hali combined for two sacks.
This was a special night.
The Monday night opener
The game: Chiefs vs. Chargers, Week 1 (MNF)
The date: September 13, 2010
There was a lot of hype around this game because it was the season opener and the Chiefs had the "New" Arrowhead opening up, which was essentially the same 'ol Arrowhead but with more renovations to the suite areas (and those people hardly come to the game anyway).
Why was this game so anticipated? Because the Chiefs were actually on national TV. They won four games in 2007, two games in 2008 and four games in 2009. That is not the type of team that gets a season opener on Monday Night Football. But the league looooves rewarding teams who upgrade their stadiums or build new ones so this was the Chiefs reward.
I'd like to feel like the Chiefs gave the country a show that night that was worth it. From DMC's record-setting punt return touchdown to Jamaal's 56-yard run, this was an awesome game to watch.
Once again, Arrowhead was electric.
More great ones:
- Tamarick Vanover returns kick for TD in OT, 1995 Week 6
- Chiefs beat Raiders on MNF on last play of game, 1997 Week 2
- Chiefs beat defending Super Bowl champ Rams, 54-34, 2000 Week 8
- Philip Rivers Phumble on MNF, 2011 Week 8
- Chiefs beat the previously unbeaten Packers, 2011 Week 15