Tony, it was hard for me to remember a time when you were not on the field at Arrowhead. My life changed over the years, so did yours. The one constant was we were both drove through the gates of Arrowhead Stadium for every home game. You were on the field, I was in the stands. We both promised ourselves we would never give up on KC.
But you did.
I began hearing rumors. At first I didn’t believe them. Then I saw the looks on your face from the sidelines the cameras missed at home. I saw the anguish. I saw the sadness. I saw the frustration.
The same looks I was seeing in my bathroom mirror.
Even before Adam posted it on AA, I knew it was true.
And it made me angry.
I didn’t give up on the Chiefs. I kept going to the games. Some of them by myself, some of them when I couldn’t even give away my tickets. I didn’t give up. So how could you?
Joe Delaney never gave up. Joe would never quit. He never had your chance. He gave it up trying to save three kids from drowning in that pond in Louisiana so many years ago. He never had your chance. And here you were giving up. Tony, I hated you.
Then a weird thing happened.
Late last season when the Chargers came to Arrowhead, well Tony, I gave up too.
The pretty older lady at Osceola Cheese must have wondered why my buddies and I didn’t crash in that morning, cleaning the samples out of the place, inviting her along, then dutifully purchasing our 20 oz bottles waters, carefully calculated to quench our thirsts and make it past the gates at our beloved Arrowhead.
The guys at Arthur Bryant’s may have been puzzled that I wasn’t there to slip a dollar tip under the “do not tip sign”, then rub my hands in anticipation of the best BBQ in the world.
As I lay in bed that Sunday morning, I hated you even more.
Well I’m sorry I hated you Tony. And I miss you at Arrowhead again.
I miss your touchdowns, and the goal post dunks. I miss your incredible catches. And most of all I miss that satisfying feeling that we both had made the trip through those gates for another game.
Tony, when I watched your lone figure break from the sidelines and help that tangled paratrooper at Soldier Field, I knew that if those kids in Louisiana needed your help, you would have jumped in the water too.
Tony we are not getting any younger. Too old to hate each other. Too old to blame each other for giving up. Tony, when you are inducted into the hall of fame, I know your gonna choose the red and gold jersey. And I’ll be wearing your number next year at Arrowhead again.
So Tony I forgive you. I’m sorry I got mad. I wish you all the best in your new jersey and your new team.
Oh, and hey Tony, I’ve got a new team too.
We play in the same stadium, we wear the same jersey, but we are not the team we were when you left. We are much better.
And Tony, we are gonna get to the Superbowl before you do.