I am excited for Saturday. I’m pretty sure that sentiment is echoed by every fan of the Kansas City Chiefs from California to New York and of course right smack in the middle of the country in the City of Fountains. There’s nothing different about me. Nothing special. I’m a Chiefs fan just like you. I’m an Addict, just like you. The only difference is, I haven’t seen the Chiefs play in the playoffs since the now famous — infamous? — “No Punt Bowl” after the 2003 season.
I watched that game from the confines of my couch in Great Falls, Montana. To tell you how long ago that was I was midway through my 20′s not my 30′s; I don’t own that house anymore; I don’t live in that state anymore; hell, I’m not even married to that wife anymore. It was a long time ago.
But I remember watching that game from the edge of my seat as the Chiefs drove down the field and kicked field goals and scored touchdowns. I also remember that gut wrenching feeling as I watched the hapless Chiefs defense unable to do anything about the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts. That feeling of dread and defeat manifested itself as a near ulcer when the Chiefs were unable to score quickly enough, leaving just a smidge over four minutes on the clock and allowing the Colts to run it down to just eight seconds. It was the end of the season and probably the best Chiefs team to hit the field since the Joe Montana led squad in 1994.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “But Jason, the Chiefs have been in the playoffs twice since that game.”
You would be right. But I didn’t get to see them.
If you’ve read my bio you’d see that I am in the U.S. Air Force. When I left Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana in November of 2006 I headed for Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. In my best Forrest Gump voice I’d say “that’s a whole other country.”
While the Armed Forces Network does broadcast NFL games in Korea, they’re on in the middle of the night. As memory serves, as the Chiefs were getting trounced by the Colts in the RCA Dome and Trent Green was throwing the only Chiefs touchdown of the day to Tony Gonzalez, I was freezing my you-know-what off in a rice paddi, during an air base defense exercise which occured on a regular basis at Osan, where we’d practice our ability to defend the base from invading North Koreans. Sounds cool? Yeah, I would have rather been watching the butt-whooping that was the AFC Wildcard match up. Believe me. Thankfully, the exercise ended just in time for the Superbowl — which starts at 7:00 AM on Monday morning by the way — so I got to see the Colts team that beat the Chiefs lay the wood to the Chicago Bears.
And yes, before you say it again, I know the Chiefs have been to the post season one other time since 2003.
I remember the 2010 season quite vividly. I was out of Korea and stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington just outside of Spokane. I was living in a different house and married to a different wife (admittedly a much improved one that actually likes football) and it was my first year having the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package so I could watch every Chiefs game. I remember vividly as the Matt Cassel and Todd Haley led Chiefs played bad football but won the AFC West anyways. Even looking past that, there was a lot to be happy about. The Chiefs were on the rise. Dwayne Bowe led the league in touchdowns and the Chiefs had a new, young back in Jamaal Charles. Despite the mediocre play, I just knew the team was going to make some noise in the post season.
However, duty called once again. Late in 2010, my number came up for a deployment. I would be heading to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan to conduct base defense and law enforcement operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As part of that deployment, I was required to attend pre-deployment training with my team at a tiny — barely a dot on the map — training center just outside of Mineral Wells, Texas. The training center was a hold over from the Army in World War II. It was utilized then because it bore a striking resemblance to the German countryside. However, it looked nothing like Afghanistan…but that’s another story for another time. The biggest downfall of the training center was, there was no television. Anywhere.
If I remember, we were conducting an exercise in land navigation — going from point to point using a map, compass and military GPS device called a DAGR — while the Chiefs were getting embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, I didn’t even know the score of the game or what had happened until that night when we got back to the barracks. I was not happy to say the least. While I felt I should have known the outcome based on how the team backed into the playoffs by getting trounced by the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium the last game of the season, like any Addict I thought “this was the year.”
I obviously survived the deployment to Afghanistan — again, another story for another blog for another time — and am now here to give you the Chiefs information every day. Like you, I suffered through the heartbreak that was the 2011 season with the ACL Trio, the Matt Cassel injury and the Tyler Palko debacle. Like you, I suffered further through last year with the 2-14 record, the murder/suicide and everything that went along with that.
Yes, I write for Arrowhead Addict. That happend because I bugged Patrick Allen — some would say stalked, but whatever — long enough that he gave me a shot. I try to give you the Chiefs news you crave thrown together with my own opinion and spin.
I’m like you in every way.
And like you, I can’t wait for this Saturday. I want 2014 to start out with a win for the Chiefs more than anything in the world.
It’ll be the first time it’s happened since I was a senior in high school. For some of you, it’s the first time it’s happened in your lifetime. For some of you, you want to see it happen before your lifetime ends.
Either way, come Saturday, we’re all one voice. We’re Addicts.