If you’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan, chances are you’ve already bought into the hype surrounding this team.
But if you’re still not convinced, not after this record-setting regular season or the team breaking out of a quarter century of dismal home playoff performances and bitter disappointment, maybe I can change your mind.
As an Atlanta Falcons fan who knows heartbreak as intimately as any Chiefs fan, I am here to convince you to give yourself over to the hope this is a team capable, even favored, to make a Super Bowl.
First, some back story. When I first came to Mid-Missouri in the fall of 2013, I was unaware a 3-1 handling by the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the last time I’d see my Braves in the playoffs until the same thing happened this past fall. For obvious reasons, some of which has to do with the 2012 wild card debacle, I wasn’t going to be a postseason Cardinals fan.
I picked up the state’s other team, an American League squad I had no particular prior feelings about, the following post-season and watched as the Kansas City Royals won the most incredible wild-card game I’d ever seen, fall short to San Francisco in seven, and win it all in five against the New York Mets the following year, which was particularly enjoyable for this fan of a different NL East team.
Those Royals teams brought me joy, not so much personally but vicariously, through the friends I had from Kansas City. It was cool for me to see one of my friends, who went to every Chiefs and Royals game she could with her season-ticket-holding dad, celebrate a title with him in 2015.
This Chiefs team reminds me a lot of those Royals teams, though not so much because of the on-the-field stuff. Their offenses aren’t really similar: the 2015 Royals hit the seventh-fewest home runs in MLB that season, relying instead on singles, walks and stolen bases, which is pretty much the opposite of what Eric Bieniemy, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill do, which is go for the home run ball early and often. Those Royals also had one of the game’s best defenses, and although the Chiefs aren’t horrible on that side of the ball and played a great divisional game against the Colts Saturday, one of the league’s best they are not.
They remind me of each other because of the excitement they create. Yordano Ventura, Wade Davis, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and even Christian Colon had heroic moments during that title run. Mahomes is the likely NFL MVP, and the rest of that offense is shot through with playmakers from Hill to Travis Kelce to Spencer Ware.
Take it from a Falcons fan: Yes, the Super Bowl collapse was miserable, as was the NFC Championship loss in Philadelphia the following year. So what? I know three of the remaining teams playoff, including whoever comes to Arrowhead next week, beat the Chiefs in the regular season. So what?
If you’re not already on board, and something tells me this applies to maybe 200 people, take the leap. Even if this season ends in a soul-crushing defeat, Mahomes is a far more dynamic and exciting quarterback than Matt Ryan, whose best character feature despite winning NFL MVP is that he only ever goes home to his wife and kids and acts like every other suburban dad despite the $150-million contract, and his side-armed throws and daring flights of fancy, defensive backs be damned, should grace Kansas City until at least 2021.
Even if this season ends like the 2014 Royals’ season did, the next one could turn out the way the following season did for the Royals, and is something you’ll want to pay attention to no matter what happens.
So, Chiefs fans, if (when?) you find yourselves at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in February, in my fair city, don’t hesitate to reach out for sights to see or places to eat, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just please beat the Saints.