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Rocky’s World: We are ‘Chiefs Kingdom’

At the end of the day, we all have one thing in common.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns Set Number: X163794 TK1

The word fan is short for fanatic — which Merriam-Webster defines as, "A person who is extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity." You probably knew that. But did you know that the word fanatic is derived from the Latin word fanatics, which means "Insanely but divinely inspired"? It was originally used to refer to a sacred place such as a temple.

I can't think of many places more sacred than Arrowhead Stadium. The moment you pull into the parking lot, you are met by an ocean of red jerseys and gray billows rising up from the grills of tailgaters — like smoke signals in the distance, calling you home. It's then that you know that you are in a place where you belong.

It invokes memories of games past, where we gathered together and screamed ourselves hoarse — sometimes with friends, sometimes with family — and sometimes with those who are no longer with us.

For a few precious hours, you can let go of all of the stress and worries from the week. All that matters is that you get to see the Kansas City Chiefs play football.

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Being a fan of a football team is not something to be entered into lightly. What many people don't realize — perhaps until it's too late — is that when choosing a football team, you are choosing what could be the longest-lasting relationship in your life. I've known my wife for seven years — but I've loved the Chiefs since I was eight years old.

But recent events have reminded me of my mother. When I was a child — and I did something dumb — she would say, "I love you, but I don't like you right now."

For many of us, that's how last week's game against the Tennessee Titans felt. It's how the 1995 AFC Divisional game against the Indianapolis Colts felt, when he who shall not be named missed three field goals — including one that would have tied the game with just 37 seconds remaining.

These moments have a way of defining us. They are the passport of our fandom, the proof of our journey — and all of the joy and pain we've felt along the way.


The invention of social media has revolutionized the player/fan experience. It used to be that if you wanted to talk to your favorite player, you either had to take the time to write them fan mail in the hope that they would see it and respond.

Now, all you have to do is pull out your phone and "@" (mention) them on Twitter. This is both a beautiful and terrible thing. It has never been easier to connect with our team and the players on it — and at the same time, it's never been harder to filter ourselves.

Based on my thorough Twitter research, I believe there are four types of Chiefs fans.

The overly zealous fan

This fan has often supported their team for a long time. They have been through the muddy valleys — and now that they have had a taste of the fresh air at the mountaintop, they refuse to go back. They relish in the victories more — and take the defeats harder — than an average person. These fans genuinely live and die by their team. When things go wrong, these are the fans who are the most vocal about it.

The ride or die fan

These fans wear their loyalty on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They will blindly support a 2-15 team the same as they would a 15-2 team. You can find these fans on social media after a tough loss, encouraging players by saying things like, "It's okay, you'll get them next week. We believe in you."

These fans will look for the positive in any situation. They are the ones who might say, "If we had just been able to cut down on the fumbles, we would have won."

The (allegedly) level-headed fan

While generally not the loudest group, these fans can be the most vocal. They like to tell you why the sky isn't falling — while also pointing out everything that went wrong and how they would fix it. These fans are usually very active on social media and like to use tools like analytics to make their point. Win or lose, they pride themselves on staying calm and not jumping to rash conclusions. They can also be a bunch of know-it-alls.

The generational fan

These fans remember when Fran Tarkenton came into Arrowhead on December 14th, 1974, and led the Vikings to a 10-4 victory over the Chiefs — and they'd love to tell you about it. They have a story for every situation. Like the (allegedly) level-headed fan, they don't allow themselves to get too worked up — partially because they no longer have the energy to be outraged after so many years of supporting the same team.

At one point or another in my life, I've been a little bit of all of these. I have learned that if I don't check myself, there is always a little bit of the overly zealous fan lurking down there — just waiting to get out. So please keep an eye on me.


The legendary gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson once wrote,

“Football fans share a universal language that cuts across many cultures and many personality types. A serious football fan is never alone. We are legion, and football is often the only thing we have in common.”

Once everything is stripped away — the wins and losses, the types of fans we are — just one thing remains: we love the Chiefs — even when we don't particularly like them.

Nothing else matters — our backgrounds, how we look or which college team we root for on Saturdays — because on Sundays (and an occasional Monday or Thursday) we all wear red, shouting in one voice to make sure that our presence haunts an opposing quarterback's dreams.

We are Chiefs Kingdom. Win or lose, we belong to each other.

Poll

What kind of Chiefs fan are you?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    The overly zealous fan
    (78 votes)
  • 36%
    The ride or die fan
    (153 votes)
  • 23%
    The (allegedly) level-headed fan
    (101 votes)
  • 21%
    The generational fan
    (90 votes)
422 votes total Vote Now