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2020 was tough, but it also gave Chiefs fans the run of a lifetime

Kansas City Chiefs fans will always have their Super Bowl win and parade.

Editor’s note: SB Nation sites have teamed up this week to remember some of the best parts — though few — of 2020 as we near turning the page to 2021.


The hypothetical non-option

I am unsure of the official rules on spoilers, but I think given the movie came out 14 years ago, I am OK here.

In “Click,” Adam Sandler’s character, Michael, finds a magic remote control that allows him to speed through time. He clicks his way through a year of his life to get to a job promotion but soon realizes that means he missed much of the good stuff about life — spending time with his wife, parents and kids. And so the movie unfolds.

Looking back on 2020, I think many of us wish we could skip the year entirely — jump right from 2019 to 2021, avoiding the pandemic, the quarantine and all the hardship that went along with it.

But given what football means to Kansas City, skipping 2020 entirely just does not seem plausible. Maybe March to December, sure, but that would be breaking the rules of the hypothetical game we’re playing here.

Just like the remote control in “Click,” there is something magical that happens in Kansas City from September to December — and hopefully, January and beyond. Red and gold Chiefs flags begin to pop up around city districts and car windows, seeing fans wearing jerseys is not uncommon on any day of the week, and Sunday morning plans become just as important as what you’re doing on Friday night.

That feeling predates Patrick Mahomes. Hell, it predates Andy Reid and Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and Will Shields. It is a city in which the anticipation is as important as the Sunday morning tailgate menu, which is as important as the game itself.


The run of a “lifetime”

The last time the Chiefs rose a banner prior to 2020, the game they won was not between the AFC and NFC winners, but rather, the AFL and NFL champions. Occasionally before important games, television network productions will throw around the word, “lifetime,” but Kansas City’s time between Super Bowl trips was actually a lifetime.

Prior to 2019-20, the Chiefs had technically not won an AFC championship (considering it was an AFL title in 1969). In 1985, the trophy awarded to the AFC winner became known as the Lamar Hunt Trophy — named after the founder of the Chiefs and most important pillar of the AFL and its merger with the NFL in 1970.

Hunt passed in 2006, never having the opportunity to see his namesake awarded to the team he founded. On January 19, 2020, it finally happened, with the Chiefs beating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC championship game.

“Well, I’m almost speechless,” Clark Hunt, Lamar’s son and now the Chiefs’ owner, chairman and CEO, said. “This trophy belongs to the best fans in the National Football League.”

“You damn right!” a Chiefs fan screamed in response from the upper deck.


The memories we’ll never forget

Before the AFC title game, Chiefs fans watched as Mahomes and the team rallied back from down 24 points to defeat the Houston Texans in a blowout. And after the AFC title game, they watched as that same quarterback asked his offensive coordinator if he had time in the pocket to run Jet Chip Wasp, a third-and-15 play that resulted in 44 yards and got the Chiefs back in the Super Bowl.

A week after that, on February 5, 2020, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce stood on a parade stage at Union Station in Kansas City, as he shouted his rallying cry of their championship run, ”You’ve got to fight, for your right, to party!”

Who knew that just a month later, that phrase would be so eerily relevant, as the country — and world — has found itself in a place where it has needed to do just that in the form of wearing a mask, quarantining from friends and family and staying away from Arrowhead Stadium, for the most part.

To say 2020 has been a challenging year in Kansas City is a grand understatement. But 50 years was an excruciatingly long time to wait.

Kansas City wouldn’t trade it for anything.