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2003 Playoff Memories

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[editor's note, by Chris] This is a previous post, reposted here for your reading pleasure. --Chris

January 11, 2004.

Kansas City Chiefs v. Indianapolis Colts

Final Score - 38-31 in favor of the Colts.

While finishing up school in St. Louis, the belly of the beast for Chiefs fans, I woke up that Sunday morning with the intention of celebrating a Chiefs playoff win that night.  No such luck.

Like any good KC Chiefs fan, we rounded up a football, a few beers and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  Being in midtown Baghdad St. Louis, we had very few options to hold a true KC tailgate. We had to improvise.  

Despite not being near any civilization whatsoever, some friends and I decided to hold the first ever Kansas City Chiefs tailgate in my apartment parking lot.  We turned up the radio, fired up the grill and started throwing the football around.  The doors on the car were open and girls were trying to play catch.  So far, so good.  We had managed, at least for the pregame, to recreate a bit of Kansas City magic in the concrete jungle of STL.  

Noon.  Gametime.  Manning drives the Colts down the field, nearly mistake free, on the Colts first drive to set up a TD.  Over the course of the next three hours, it was an emotional rollercoaster and anyone who was there can tell you, at some point, they thought about shedding a tear.  

While grabbing some fresh air and watching the game from my apartment building's lounge, the Colts had just scored to make it 31 to 17, in favor of the Foreheads.  As my friends and I sat there watching the players line up for the ensuing kickoff, we all agreed that if we EVER needed a TD return from Dante Hall, it was now.  

The kick was off and Dante grabbed it.  10 yard line. 20 yard line. Jukes a few guys and just sprints the length of the field to score the TD and notch the score at 31 to 24.  Euphoria overwhelmed us all as we chanted "Dante!" throughout the building to the dismay of basically anyone who heard us.

As time wound down in the game and our playoff loss and dream season slowly came to a grinding halt, we ended the season with about a ten-minute Tomahawk Chop.  

Devastated, we did what any Chiefs fans in St. Louis would do.  We picked up a case of beer and proceeded to one of the local Jesuit high schools and broke into the football field.  Case of beer in tow, we ran routes, kicked field goals and tried to extend that magical 2003 season for just a few more hours.  

As the light dimmed a bit, we all knew it was over.  The joy over going 9-0 to begin the season, Dante Hall's record setting kick returns, Priest Holmes' monstrous season and any hope for peace in our time were all faded memories now.

I have never felt excitement about the Chiefs like I did in 2003.  Yes, the defense was weak. But I, like many people, had a feeling of destiny as the team kept extending their undefeated streak. Alas, it was not meant to be.