There are a few moments in life in which you can always remember where you were and who you were with. These moments can be happy or sad — the brain doesn’t seem to care. As long as the time is significant, there will always be a spot for it in your memory.
For any Brit over the age of 30, an example of this would be Princess Diana’s death; for an American of an older generation, it could be the moon landing.
Although these particular moments have no real significance on your day-to-day, the brain chooses to remember not only the event but also the minor details surrounding it, such as your location and emotions. Well, what about moments that do make a significant impact on your day-to-day? Surely, the ever-lasting effects of such an event would leave a permanent imprint on your brain.
With all that being said, we need to rewind to a day Chiefs fans will never forget:
Thursday, April 27, 2017.
The scene for this day was actually set a few months prior, during the 2016-17 NFL playoffs. The Chiefs were the No. 2 seed in the AFC and were welcoming the much-feared Pittsburgh Steelers into town at a time when the “Killer Bs” (Ben, Bell and Brown) were at the peak of their powers.
For the Chiefs to beat the Steelers and advance, it was expected that Kansas City would need to put up a lot of points — the Chiefs’ defense was good but leaning on them to hold the Steelers’ offense was a tall ask.
But that is exactly what happened.
For all of the criticism Bob Sutton received in his Chiefs tenure, it can be easy to forget how good his Chiefs defense used to be. No game demonstrated this more than this particular matchup: his unit somehow held the Steelers to just six field goals and zero touchdowns.
Needing just 19 points to overcome Pittsburgh, the Chiefs’ offense stalled time and again, ultimately falling short and crashing out of the playoffs.
Now, this isn’t a post to criticize Alex Smith, but it was made clear that day he wasn’t going to be the quarterback to take Kansas City over the top. For the Chiefs to reach their ultimate goal, they had to make an upgrade.
In the build-up to the 2017 NFL Draft, no one actually knew for sure that the Chiefs were interested in taking a quarterback. Yes, there was fan interest in a couple of players, but we had yet to see any tangible signs from the Chiefs themselves.
Outside of Chiefs fandom, analysts were clamoring for the team to add another weapon for Smith or to build up the trenches. The idea of the Chiefs trading up for a quarterback when their window was still wide open was simply too crazy for experts to predict. A large portion of the Chiefs fan base wasn’t as optimistic about the Chiefs’ future chances with Smith at quarterback.
By draft night, there seemed to be 3 camps amongst Chiefs fans:
- Draft a non-quarterback in round one
- Draft Deshaun Watson
- Draft Patrick Mahomes
Not to gloat, but on that night, I had entered the “draft Patrick Mahomes” camp. What can I say? I am a sucker for a highlight — and just three months earlier, I had seen my team’s quarterback not throw a deep ball to a wide-open Tyreek Hill in the playoffs. I was ready to live on the edge.
As the draft started, I sat on the sofa at home ready to see what would come. In the UK, the draft starts at 1 a.m., so the Chiefs picking at 28 meant it would likely be closer to 4 a.m. by the time then-general manager John Dorsey made his selection.
As with every draft, I was messaging my two buddies from Arrowheads Abroad — Brad and Dave — as the picks rolled in. For weeks, we had speculated about what the Chiefs would do with their pick. Would the team do what we had wanted them to do so badly?
We knew if they wanted to, the Chiefs would have to trade up to get a quarterback. The question was how far?
An hour or so in, the Bengals had just made the ninth pick of the draft, John Ross. The Buffalo Bills were on the clock. And then, a few moments none of us will ever forget:
The Kansas City Chiefs were on the clock.
I am getting actual goosebumps as I type. That feeling of excitement when the Chiefs had made their move into the top 10 was euphoric. For the first time in decades, the Chiefs were ready to select a first-round quarterback.
There were only ever two players it could be: Watson or Mahomes. I won’t lie to you that despite my pre-draft desire for the Chiefs to take Mahomes, I was convinced at this point it was going to be Watson. After all, Watson was widely expected to be taken ahead of Mahomes. So naturally, I assumed it would be Watson.
I’m sure I am not alone in saying that the next few moments seemed to take a lifetime. Then, all of a sudden out stepped Roger Goodell. Never in my life have I been so pleased to see that man. What followed was the best 18-word sentence in Chiefs history:
“With the 10th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Patrick Mahomes II, quarterback.”
They had done it; they actually had done it. The Chiefs had selected a quarterback in the first round of the draft.
I tried my hardest to stay quiet and not wake the neighbors, yet it was worthless. The pure high of my team making a franchise-changing decision was overwhelming. For hours, messages went to and from other Chiefs fans, congratulating each other like we had made the pick ourselves.
Sport has a funny way of causing an outpouring of emotion. Never had I reacted like this to something in which a game wasn’t actually being played, yet it felt more important than any single result. The events of that night had been well and truly etched into my memory.
What’s your story of the night the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes?