Have you ever see a Hallmark channel movie? If not... congrats.
They’re made-for-TV movies starring someone from a ‘90s sitcom — or, for younger generations, the girl from Fuller House with every romantic comedy trope you can imagine somehow crammed into 90 minutes.
For example: a girl and guy meet at a coffee shop owned by one of them... or on a cruise ship... or a toy factory (seriously). Things are going good — too good. Then one of the characters is forced to face the pain of a past relationship. Fear creeps in, and the couple breaks off what was once a budding romance.
Five minutes before another version of the exact same movie in a different setting is scheduled to come on, the conflicted soul sheds their pain — sometimes with a grand romantic gesture from their counterpart — and lives happily ever after with their soulmate Candace Cameron-Bure.
Kansas City Chiefs fans have found their Candace Cameron-Bure. His name is Patrick Mahomes. On Saturday, they’ll be forced to confront the pain of past Indianapolis Colts games — all of which have been conveniently packaged with titles: The Lin Elliott Game. The No Punt Game. 38-10.
The grand romantic gesture that would finally help Chiefs fans relinquish their pain would be for Mahomes and company to molly-whop the Colts on Saturday. Some say they won’t be able to get over their wounds until they are healed with a victory. But I’m here to tell you we can skip the drama from the Hallmark movies.
It just doesn’t have to be like that.
I was there for the Wild Card game against the Tennesee Titans last January. I felt the energy get sucked out of the building when Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself... when Harrison Butker missed that field goal... when forward progress was, uh... “stopped.”
We all said it — whether verbally, on Twitter, or in our heads: Here we go again.
As Chiefs fans, we expect this. We’re used to this. But it’s a crutch. They make great jokes. It’s the saddest badge of honor in sports, but we seem to have some odd fondness for it that makes it easy to fall back on when things start going badly.
The fortunes of the franchise don’t need to change, because they already have. It happened on April 27, 2017 when the Chiefs traded into the top 10, finally breaking the cycle of relying on someone else’s quarterback to lead this team to the promised land.
Now it’s time to break the cycle of fear that shows up at the turn of each new year. We don’t have to acknowledge it any more.
Mahomes shattered Len Dawson’s single season touchdown pass mark in Week 11. He’s the second person in the history of the National Football League to throw 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards in the same season. He exceeded the wildest expectations for his first year under center before Thanksgiving. He’s led this team to 12 wins and the number one seed in the AFC. He’s going to win the leagues highest individual honor: the MVP.
Sadly, when the results of Saturday’s Wild Card game between Indianapolis and Houston came in, the nightmares of yesteryear made some people doubt. We’re still reliving the hurt. Yes, most of the fear falls on the defensive side of the ball. It’s warranted. But it hasn’t stopped them in 75 percent of their games this year.
But we can heal before the game starts. We can do that by acknowledging there are two distinct eras of Chiefs football: Before Mahomes (unfortunately — but perhaps appropriately — abbreviated BM) and After Mahomes.
It’s time to leave The Lin Elliott Game, The No-Punt Game, 38-10 — not to mention the No Touchdown Game and the Forward Progress Game — where they belong: in the BM era.
We’re now fully in the AM era. On Saturday, we aren’t coming in to Arrowhead with that BM baggage. We’re coming with expectations. We’re coming with belief.
In the BM era, the Chiefs needed everything to go right for them to have a chance; both sides of the ball needed to be at their best. In the BM era, the team needed to win in spite of the limitations of their quarterback. But in the AM era, that is no longer true. The current Chiefs defense might’ve buried lesser quarterbacks, but Mahomes has delivered throughout. We need to come to Arrowhead on Saturday with the expectation that he’ll bring this team out of a jam when things don’t go right.
We’re no longer contributing to the palpable fear that could easily overcome the stadium like it did last January... or the January before that... or basically every other January between Super Bowl IV and now. We’re coming with the energy of a fan base that knows they have the best player in football, and we’re not not going to let anything get in the way of that belief.
Besides... what we’ve done before never worked anyway.
We’re coming to Break. The. Cycle.
We know the issues on defense. We know the history all too well. And in the AM era, we don’t care.
Mahomes was four months old when The Lin Elliott Game took place. He was eight years old when The No-Punt Game happened and still in high school when 38-10 happened. He had nothing to do with them. We’re embracing the opportunity he and the Chiefs have to exorcise the demons — all of them.
Things could go wrong, but it’s not going to be because those with their butts in the seats are compounding the problem with nervous energy, because we’re cultivating a new environment in Arrowhead Stadium. It’s about time we start acting like the number one seed with the MVP.
We’re throwing a party!
We can jump straight to the end of the movie. The quarterback to heal all those wounds is already on the roster. It’s not a matter of if it happens. It’s a matter of when it happens. It might as well be Saturday. Expect it. Believe it — even when things aren’t going right.
Because we’re coming to Break. The. Cycle.