Always Isn’t Always Anymore

Sometimes I stop by the library on my lunch break at work. Yesterday I happened to see a children’s book about the history of my beloved Kansas City Chiefs laying out.

“Well, that’s pretty cool,” I told myself, and grabbed it.

The last sentence I read was this:

“You can always depend on the Kansas City Chiefs. They will always be the loudest stadium in the NFL. They will always have one of the most exciting players in the league. Teams will always fear playing at Arrowhead.”

Wow…

Those are words that will turn a crappy day at work into a great day to be alive pretty quickly. That day they most certainly did.

Our Kansas City Chiefs. Our Arrowhead. Always the most exciting!

I shall never forget the day I saw Dick Vermeil take the field wearing the Kansas City Chiefs colors and taking command of our team in 2003.  He hadn’t exactly set the world on fire the previous two seasons, but something about this one was different.

Priest Holmes. Trent Green. Dante Hall.

Truly three of the league’s most exciting players.

Every time Dante got his hands on the ball, every single time, I knew he could take it all the way.

Teams feared coming to Arrowhead that year. Our nine game winning streak and 80,000 screaming fans game after game after game gave them good reason to.

Those 80,000 fans just like me made Arrowhead hands down the loudest and most exciting NFL stadium in the world.

Yep, those words changed my day.

But it didn’t last like it should have.

You see, I don’t believe in my heart they hold true anymore.

I saw Dexter McCluster score his first NFL touchdown, a 94-yard punt return, in his professional debut on September 13, 2010 against the San Diego Chargers. The 94-yard punt return was the longest in Chiefs history. And it happened right before my eyes. He seemed to be running right to my little seat on the second row. Truly that day he was one of the most exciting players in the NFL.

But in the last game of the 2011 season he wasn’t.

On that Monday night in September, Arrowhead was truly the most exciting NFL stadium, hell the most exciting place on earth, a day I shall never forget.

But for a good part of the 2011 season it wasn’t.

Arrowhead was certainly a place to be feared when the fans willed the Kansas City Chiefs a win over Buffalo on Halloween 2010. Ryan Succop’s overtime kick brought us a win. That kick was one of the most difficult I could imagine as I held onto my hat in one of the most brutal crosswinds I’ve seen a kicker battle.

But for most of the 2011 season it wasn’t feared much.

Things changed. Things have to I guess. Nothing can last forever.

Will Arrowhead be back? Of course it will. I saw that when an overconfident Green Bay team took us for granted. It cost them a chance at one of the most coveted achievements an NFL team can possess, even more coveted than a Superbowl win–it cost them their run at an undefeated season.

“You can always depend on the Kansas City Chiefs. They will always be the loudest stadium in the NFL. They will always have one of the most exciting players in the league. Teams will always fear playing at Arrowhead.”

As true today as it was in 1969 I guess. Just not “always” anymore.

 

The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble. ~Henry Miller

 

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