The Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday was truly unforgettable, in ways both good and bad. All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes left the game with what looked like, at the time, a head injury, but Chiefs fans’ sorrow was somewhat short-lived, as backup Chad Henne was able to do enough to hold off the Browns and send the Chiefs to the AFC championship.
And yet, when the dust settled and the miracle concluded, I didn’t feel joyous the way I felt with past playoff victories. I was enthused, yes, but that glee was tinged with worry—worry that, while the Chiefs won, their Super Bowl hopes took a massive hit.
From a fan’s perspective, the game was confounding. We lost our prized signal caller in rather scary fashion, but also witnessed a tremendous, heart-thumping Chiefs win. It was taxing, as our brains were split between exhilaration and worry.
A lesson in courage
The days leading up to the AFC championship game, as we await the official status of Mahomes, will be filled with a similar uncertainty. On the one hand, we’ve punched our ticket to the AFC Championship game—no small feat even in this era of Chiefs’ supremacy. On the other, there is uncertainty about the most important player on the teams’ availability. So this week, up until we get official word on Mahomes, will be one of a strange cognitive dissonance. There’s simply no way around it.
What we can do as fans is rewatch the way the team responded to Mahomes’ exit. We can take note of the palpable, ferocious energy of our defense. We can take note of the simmering intensity of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. We can rewatch Chade Henne’s 3rd-and-long scramble on repeat, and revel in the selflessness that this Kansas City Chiefs team radiates.
In a week of uncertainty, we can cherish some of the resolute truths about this Chiefs team. This team has no shortage of leaders. This team, rather than wilting, came alive in the most desperate of moments. We cannot control what comes ahead, but we can revel in the courage this team showed when Mahomes exited the game.