On Monday, I will turn 36. While I feel like I’m getting old, I know I’m not old enough to remember the Kansas City Chiefs’ only Superbowl win. However, as I prepare to celebrate the day of my birth, I thought I would sit back and reflect on what the Kansas City Chiefs have done during my lifetime, take you — my faithful readers — on a trip down memory lane (as painful as it may be) and finally, present five birthday wishes I hope the football gods bring to me this season.
The Chiefs’ season the year I was born (1977 for those of you who don’t feel like doing the math) looked very similar to the one Chiefs fans just finished suffering through. The team only won two games and wouldn’t see another winning season until four years later in the 1981 season when they went 9-7 under future Hall of Fame coach, Marv Levy. It seems during the 80’s the AFC West was quite the division and 9-7 wasn’t even good enough to make the playoffs. No, the post season would elude the Chiefs until 1986 when they went 10-6 under head coach John Mackovic but lost the Wildcard game to the New York Jets.
The following two years were disasters and between the 1988 and 1989 seasons, Chiefs’ owner and founder Lamar Hunt completely overhauled the Kansas City front office. He brought in “King” Carl Peterson and the man who would define football in the BBQ City for a decade, head coach Marty Schottenheimer. With that, “Martyball” was born.
As I researched this piece, it absolutely blew me away to see the coaching roster from that 1989 team. Coach Schottenheimer knew how to put together a staff. In fact, I counted three future head coaches (Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Bruce Arians) who worked under “Schotty” that first season in KC. For the next nine seasons, Chiefs fans were on top of the world. “Martyball” reigned supreme and the team had a winning record every year (except Marty’s last), winning three AFC West Division Titles and qualifying for the playoffs in seven of his seasons. The 90’s were a great time to be a Chiefs fan. However, it was the last time the Chiefs ever won a playoff game. Ever.
The Chiefs’ winning ways declined a bit over the next four seasons until the second year of Coach Dick Vermeil’s run as head of the organization. With the exception of Joe Montana’s legendary run to the AFC Championship game (and aforementioned final playoff win) following the 1993 season, the 2003 season was probably my favorite football season and the ‘03 Chiefs were my favorite team of all time. The Chiefs started 2003 with a nine game winning streak that had even the ’72 Miami Dolphins biting their fingernails with anguish. Many thought the Chiefs, despite their weak defense, could ride the tidal wave of their “O” all the way to Superbowl XXXVIII. However, the Chiefs were slowed down when they lost two of their last four games and went into the AFC Divisional game against the Indianapolis Colts in the now infamous, “No Punt Bowl.” I can remember watching that game as if it were yesterday, screaming at the tv with every score the Colts made, and hoping the “X” Factor, Trent Green and Priest could lead the Chiefs to the promised land. Though KC came out on the losing end, it was still a great season to watch.
Post-Vermeil, Chiefs fans were forced to suffer through a litany of bad coaching and even worse on-field play. In the years spanning from 1989 – 2005, the Chiefs won four division titles and went to the playoffs nine times. Even though head coach Herman “Harm” Edwards took them to the playoffs his first season (many say he was reaping the benefits of the leftovers from Vermeil) the Chiefs wouldn’t see another division title, nor even a winning season until 2010 under head coach Todd Haley. In fact, the Chiefs have been so bad since the 2007 season, their combined record is: 29 – 67. They haven’t even been able to win 30 games in the last six years. That’s bad.
So, fellow Addicts, as I’ve taken you through the last 36 years of Kansas City Chiefs history, a couple of things have become quite clear. History always tends to repeat itself, and a pattern has emerged. The Chiefs are due. They were magical during the 1993 season, led by Joe Montana. They were magical during the 2003 season, led by Trent Green. Here we are; it’s the 2013 season. It’s time for what I like to call the “Ten Year Turnaround” to take effect. It really seems that at least for the last twenty years, the team has turned it around every ten years on the “threes”. Could this be the year? Since we’re talking in the realm of superstition, I’d like to make a few birthday wishes.
1. I Wish that Alex Smith Proves He is the Quarterback I Think He Is
I’m not going to go on and on with endless stats about Alex Smith and how I think he’s the answer. I’ve already done that here and here. I am going to say that twenty years ago a quarterback moved to the BBQ City from the City by the Bay and took Kansas City deep into the playoffs. Many thought his career was over after he was injured and he proved them all wrong. I will also say that ten years after that, another quarterback who wasn’t drafted by the Chiefs led them to the best season they’d had since #19 was under center. My point is, I think #11 in your programs (but #1 in your hearts) Alex Smith is the next big thing for the Chiefs. I just hope he shows it this year.
2. I Wish that Jamaal Charles Finally Wins the NFL Rushing Title
I really want to see #25 rush for 2,000 yards this season. I would love to see his name sitting alone at the top of the list of NFL rushers when the final whistle blows on Week 17. I really think this kid is an elite running back (don’t we all) and I love that he wasn’t a Trent Richardson or a Larry Johnson, first round draft pick. I love that he came out of nowhere, took advantage of the opportunity he was given, put his foot on the gas and hasn’t let up, even when he blew out his knee! I really want him to check that box as the NFL Rushing Leader.
3. I Wish that the Chiefs Sweep the Broncos
I actually would take one victory against the Peyton Manning led Denver Donkeys, but if I’m wishing, I’m going to wish big. There are five teams that I hate in the NFL. I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots because I think they’ve both been too good for too long. I hate the San Diego Chargers because I think Rivers is a cry baby and I can’t understand why any team would want their colors to be “powder blue.” Plus they drafted Ryan Leaf (who is from my hometown and rival high school). I hate the Oakland Raiders because they’re the Oakland Raiders and because I think they’re dirty; I think they cheat and they hate us as much as we hate them. Finally, and most importantly, I hate the Denver Broncos. I’ve hated the Broncos longer than I’ve been a Chiefs fan. I hated the Broncos when Dan Reeves was the head coach and a kid I went to elementary school with (who shared the head coach’s last name) was convinced Reeves was his uncle — and I hated him. I hate John Elway and his big buck teeth. It’s always the Donkeys who are running with the Chiefs. If the Chiefs are the team I think they are this year, it’s Denver who will be the competition. The Chiefs need to beat them at least once to be in the thick of the AFC West race at the end of the season.
4. I Wish the Chiefs Can Make the Playoffs This Year
I love football. I love everything about football. I love the Chiefs, but I still watch football even when they’re not playing. It’s just not as much fun. Watching football after Week 17 hasn’t been a whole lot of fun the last few years. I want to wear my #19 jersey or my #82 jersey (thanks for sticking around D-Bowe, so that $100 wasn’t wasted) past December. The Chiefs need to make the playoffs. I truly hope they will.
5. I Wish the Chiefs Win the Superbowl
There is one reason and one reason only that professional football players play and the fans watch the game. The Superbowl. I hate hearing things like “if we go 8-8 this year I’ll be happy.” I won’t. I’m sick of going 8-8 or 7-9 or 9-7 or hell, even 10-6 and then losing in the Wildcard round of the playoffs. I want to go to the big dance! I want to know what it feels like to have a Superbowl party at my house, and be able to cheer my team on. Unless you’re older than me and remember the days of Len Dawson and the Chiefs winning Superbowl IV (God bless you if you if you do), none of us know what’s it’s like. The dry spell has been long enough. The Chiefs need to win the “big game” and I won’t be truly happy until they do.
There you have it, Addicts. My 36 year run down memory lane and my five birthday wishes for the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs. Do you have any wishes you think I should add to my list? Or, did I go too big with my wishes? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy Birthday to me.
Until next time, Addicts!