What powers Kansas City's special teams, rated by Football Outsiders as the second-best unit in the N.F.L. after the Eagles', is equal parts talent, scheme and trust. It begins with the confidence Reid has in Toub, 54, his friend for more than 30 years. It enables Toub, with almost the entire roster at his disposal, to make decisions with conviction.
"I wouldn't say that other ones in the past have looked over their shoulder like, ‘Is this O.K.?'" said Colquitt, in his 12th season punting for the Chiefs. "But Andy trusts him with the whole deal — this is your thing, put your spin on it. He wants to see the Dave Toub side of this play."
But his talents just might extend beyond his playlists. Keys, of Lee’s Summit, started his stadium DJ career across the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium in late summer 2014. The Royals had been losing, so he thought the gig would last only a month. "Coincidentally enough, when I took over, we started winning," Keys says. The Royals made it to the World Series for the first time since 1985. Keys was invited back in 2015, and the Royals became champions. In 2016, Keys got the DJ job at Arrowhead as well. The Chiefs won the AFC West division for the first time since 2010 and on Sunday will host their first home playoff game in six years. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Doug Worgul of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que said Visit KC has a bet with Visit Pittsburgh, the convention and visitors bureau in Pittsburgh. If the Chiefs win on Sunday, Visit KC gets sandwiches from Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. and a burnt almond torte from Prantl's Bakery. If the Steelers win, Visit Pittsburgh gets a Z-Man Kit from Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que and chocolates from Christopher Elbow.
But get this: Smith has a much higher quarterback rating in his five games than Roethlisberger does in his 18, 99.1 to 85.0. And Smith has thrown for 11 touchdowns and been intercepted only once while throwing 186 playoff passes. Roethlisberger has thrown 24 touchdown passes in the playoffs but has been intercepted 21 times.
"Anytime you can get in front of the Arrowhead faithful, it’s a big deal," nose tackle Dontari Poe said. Still, Arrowhead is in danger of losing its mystique if the Chiefs don’t beat the Steelers. The Chiefs have lost their past four postseason games at home, a streak that dates back to 1995.
But don’t think Smith doesn’t know what’s at stake — he does. Big Ben is coming to town, and provided the Chiefs find a way to topple Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, a rematch with four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the New England Patriots looms for the right to go to the Super Bowl. His reality is simple: Come up big, become a hero. Come up short, and people will question whether he can deliver when it matters.
For the Chiefs, they are as healthy as it comes heading into the postseason. Justin Houston will return to the field, and believe it or not, both of these teams are healthy for a game worth all the marbles. For the complete injury report, check the reports below.
A scout had informed Berry, who was in remission by then and on his way to a fourth Pro Bowl selection, about Conner’s diagnosis, and the players spoke on the phone for about a half hour. Berry, whose Chiefs will play host to the Steelers in an AFC divisional round playoff game at 8:20 p.m. today, has remained a role model for Conner.
Something to consider for next Sunday's AFC Championship Game: The Chiefs led the NFL during the regular season with 33 takeaways, and the Steelers matched the Patriots' total of 23.
Arrowhead Stadium maintenance crews could be seen treating parking lots and sidewalks, preparing for the ice storm, and the thousands of rowdy Chiefs fans, that are expected to converge on the stadium. Crews worked into the evening putting down salt on every inch of cement.
A lot has changed since then, and to get the lowdown from the other side of the fence, I went behind enemy lines to ask Joel Thorman, editor of Arrowhead Pride (SB Nation’s Chiefs website), questions about the upcoming game. Burning questions such as how can the Steelers neutralize Tyreek Hill, which Killer B will the Chiefs try to take out first, and more! See the full interview below.