As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium, many in Kansas City are recalling the playoff history between the two clubs—a history in which the Colts have won all four matchups.
One of those games, of course, was a 10-7 loss on January 7, 1996, when kicker Lin Elliott missed three kicks—including a 42-yarder in the game’s final seconds that could have sent it to overtime. The Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game since 1994.
“You saw a little snippet of it with the Chicago game the other day,” Elliott said. “As a kicker, your job is to execute. Your job is to do what you’re supposed to do and when that doesn’t happen and your team ends up losing, it’s a burden. It’s devastating because those guys fight for 60 minutes, tooth and nail, blood and sweat, and then at the end of the game you have a chance to do something and you don’t execute. You do try your best. I think the fans sometimes think that maybe you went out there and you just didn’t try, but you gave it your best shot, and it didn’t work out, but the problem is there’s no tomorrow and that’s playoff football.
“When the Chiefs play on Saturday, when that game’s over, if you don’t have a higher score than the other team, you’re done. Your season’s over. You can get out your fishing pole.”
Elliott explained that like many Chiefs fans, he held onto the results of the game for quite some time after it ended.
“It’s kind of like anything—when the wounds are fresh, they sting,” he said. “They hurt a little bit more. Obviously, two, three, four, five years after it, I would still walk around and kind of have a gut feeling, like dang, I had a chance to do something special and I blew it. That type of mentality because I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a situation where you can do something that makes a huge difference and you drop the ball or miss the kick. That’s obviously what happened, so that stings because I knew I had the capability to execute. There were tough conditions but at the same time, the opportunity was there and I had a great shot to do it and I didn’t. Now that time’s gone by, there are other things in my life that are more important than that kick. But that day and the years after, that kick was pretty important and did weigh on me quite a bit.”
Elliott recalled then-Chiefs teammates like Greg Manusky, Lake Dawson and Danan Hughes consoled him right after the game. Others—to Elliot’s surprise—did not.
“One of them that really was frustrated that didn’t ever want to talk to me again was coach (Marty) Schottenheimer,” Elliot explained. “I thought that was kind of weird that the head coach of the team when it was all said and done—I understand I failed, but I don’t understand why he couldn’t take some kind of a stand and say, ‘Hey, we win as a team, lose as a team.’”
Elliott hopes that a playoff win against the Colts Saturday can help bury the hatchet with Chiefs fans.
“Everything I do, I try to be the best that I can be and I try to execute,” Elliot explained. “Accountable, reliable, dependable—I call them all the ables. That’s kind of who you want to be, but in that situation, you basically failed in all of that, all those categories that matter. But, I failed trying my best, and that’s something that I can live with. I have actually no problem coming on the line and talking to you guys about it. It is history. It’s something that’s still on the minds of people.
“Obviously, I would like them to put it to sleep and let it go away, and maybe a victory over the Colts and a Super Bowl in Kansas City can do that.”
Listen to the full 18-minute interview with Elliott on the 610 Sports Radio website here.