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The Chiefs game I couldn’t finish (and neither could you)

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I have seen some remarkably bad football during my time as a fan. Seeing as we’re all already close to the ledge I won’t bring you further down by listing ALL the terrible football I’ve seen the Chiefs plays over the years, but you don’t have to reach back far to remember a time when this team was just... bad.

I’ve seen this team blown out. I’ve seen this team so clearly inferior to the opposition that it was something close to sad. I’ve seen games where it was so clear the Chiefs were unprepared that it bordered on comical. And I’ve sat through every one of those games until the bitter end.

Until Sunday night.

I actually made a special trip in order to watch Sunday’s game live. As many of you know, I don’t watch games live due to a lack of Direct TV (Chiefs games aren’t exactly in high demand on local channels around here). I watch them later in the evening on NFL Gamepass.

Since the Chiefs were on primetime, though, I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to drive to my older sister’s house and watch the game with her and her husband on their ridiculously large television. I even brought my two oldest sons along, as their fanhood has grown by leaps and bounds this year.

By the end of the first quarter I was regretting my decision to put mileage on the family minivan for that game. Yes, that game was worth less than the 45 or so miles added to my odometer. That may be some kind of record.

By the time halftime came around things had shifted to comical. My last bit of rage was drained by Andy Reid’s decision to (with eight seconds and a timeout remaining) forgo a shot at the end zone in favor of a field goal ... which, of course, missed. Because it was always doomed to miss. That kick had less of a shot going in than I have of one day calling the plays for Reid and company (they keep not returning my calls, oddly).

The third uarter began and it was more of the same. The Chiefs were hapless, hopeless, and hairless (well, not that last one, but I like alliteration). At some point early in the third, I began to drift off to sleep. I can’t remember the last time this happened to me during a Chiefs game, as I generally spend the entire game pacing around. I pace because I care. A lot. An unhealthy amount really.

But as the Chiefs continued to look like a team that didn’t belong in the same league as the Steelers, a wave of some emotion I cannot remembering experience when it comes to the Chiefs came over me. It took me a bit to identify it, as it was totally foreign, but I eventually named it.

Apathy.

I just. Didn’t. Care.

As I allowed the sweet sense of “this isn’t bothering me anymore” gradually wash through me and permeate my being, I slowly nodded off and dreamed dreams that had nothing to do with the Chiefs, football, or Big Ben throwing touchdown after touchdown.

I woke up with something around 10 minutes left in the game. The reason I don’t remember the exact time is ... well, I didn’t care enough to really pay attention. I saw the score was still “a lot to a little” and I couldn’t even muster up enough “gives a crap” to ask how the Chiefs had scored a touchdown.

At this point it was already after 10 p.m., and as a guy who needed to be at work in the morning the idea of getting home and getting an extra half hour of sleep seemed more appealing than watching the rest of the game.

Just to clarify: I cared so little that A HALF HOUR OF SLEEP WAS PREFERABLE TO WATCHING THE CHIEFS PLAY.

I watch every single Chiefs game multiple times over. I obsess over draft picks and game film. I spend hours upon hours thinking about the Chiefs. I write about the Chiefs as a part time job, for crying out loud. I am a diehard.

And for one night, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to care about a team that didn’t show up and compete.

I’m sure the players care. This isn’t a “I’m calling out the players for not caring” article. This is simply the only statement I can make right now about the worst game I have ever watched as a fan: I stopped caring, if only for a single evening. To be honest, though, my level of “I care” hasn’t yet even risen to the point of checking the final stats of the game.

I’m sure the Chiefs know that if a guy like me can lose interest for a day and a half, anyone can fall away from the passion required for people to cough up hard-earned money or spend precious time on a game. If they don’t want to have more people lose interest, at least temporarily, they’re going to have to figure out what went wrong against Pittsburgh, and quickly.

I’ve called these Chiefs The Walking Chiefs for their resilience. Well, they’re gonna need it now more than ever. I just hope Sunday wasn’t the head shot that finished them off.

In the interest of solidarity, I asked you to share with me on Twitter when you stopped watching the game and what the last straw was. Ya’ll came out in force. Let’s close with fans from all over telling when they finally drew the line and walked away. I told my story, and I think it’s only fair that you got to tell yours. Let’s share some grief...

(These are, like, a quarter of the tweets sent my way. Sorry for not including them all, but I have a lot of kids)

If you feel like reading through the rest of the responses, feel free. I read every single one of them, and I hope Andy Reid and some of the Chiefs somehow, some way, see them too.

There’s a bye week now, and we all know one bad game is just that: one bad game. But Reid and company are going to need to dig deep on the same level they did after the 1-5 start last season. Changes are needed (I’m going to get into this in the Alex Smith column, so sharpen your pitchforks). They did it last year, we’ll see if they’ve got the guts to do it again.