“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls.”
That was probably one of the ugliest games I’ve seen the Patrick Mahomes’ led Kansas City Chiefs play in the last three years. In fact, it might be one of the ugliest games we’ve seen since Andy Reid became the head coach. From the second or third drive on, it seemed as though everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I’ll dive into those aspects in another piece, but I wanted to take some time to focus on something I think, as a fan base, we could all take stock of.
During the game, and after for quite some time, I found myself angry. I couldn’t believe what was happening, the Chiefs were the better team. Vegas said so. National and local pundits said so. The majority of the sports media infrastructure believed the Chiefs were the better team, yet they got absolutely smoked (for some reasons inside and outside of their control, but I digress).
I really leaned into diehard Chiefs fandom when I was a kid, probably 11 or 12 years old. I watched every game, it was the highlight of my week. I’m half way through 31 now, so that’s been 20 seasons of watching and following this team religiously. I joke with my wife, I wait all year for 48 sacred hours. I’m kidding, but only a little.
Why do I bring this up? Is it just to boast of my chops as a Chiefs fan? It hit me the morning after the game that I had absolutely no reason to be angry. This isn’t the common “those guys don’t owe us anything” mentality you see from some pundits. I have my own nuanced thoughts about that, for another time.
This is based on the fact that in my 20 seasons as a die hard Chiefs fan, especially the 17 before Patrick Mahomes became the starter, the Chiefs were never really a Super Bowl contender. They had some good teams, but there was always a better team when the playoffs rolled around. I watched in hope all season long for something that was never logically realistic.
With the advent of Patrick Mahomes and his dazzling ability to make plays in the most pressure packed moments, the hope I had as a young kid finally began paying dividends. For the first time in my life, as a fan of any team for that matter, my favorite team has a good chance every year of making a deep run in the playoffs and competing for a championship.
What we’ve seen over the last couple years, and I’ve definitely played a part in this myself with several pieces I’ve written, is Chiefs Kingdom and maybe even some in the national media can miss the forest for the trees. As fans, we’ve become so focused on Mahomes’ legacy that we’ve forgotten to simply enjoy the ride—and what a ride it’s been.
After never hosting an AFC Championship game, after not even playing in one since the 1993 season, the Chiefs have hosted three straight AFC Championship games at Arrowhead Stadium. I’ve been blessed to go to two of them. They’ve come out ahead in two of those three contests, just barely missing on the first.
They’ve played in two straight Super Bowls. Last year, they capped off one of the greatest runs in all of sports history with the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 50 seasons, including an exhilarating fourth quarter come-from-behind victory. It was beautiful, and it was only Mahomes’ second year as a starter.
The Chiefs lost this Super Bowl, and it wasn’t particularly close. Regardless of the reasons why, and there are plenty which were a bad look for the NFL in my opinion, let’s not forget that this is only. Mahomes’ third year as a starter in this league.
Mahomes was the youngest player to win an MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP. He would have been the youngest to win multiple Super Bowls, but that didn’t happen. That’s okay, because if the Chiefs make a concerted effort to invest in cost controlled assets along the offensive line and at offensive skill positions, Mahomes will do a heck of a lot more.
Some may not realize this, but it’s very possible these 10 to 15 years with Patrick Mahomes will be the greatest time in the history of the Chiefs franchise. I can’t tell the future, but it may be another 60 seasons before we see anything like it again.
Individuals brilliance fades over time. Let’s not become so fixated on career legacy that we forget to enjoy the moments of excellence that we’re blessed to witness in the here and now.
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
Some parting thoughts on the 2020 season, one that will be remembered for so many reasons other than the Super Bowl. It was a season that, at a time in March and April, seemed next to impossible. Yet in the midst of a global pandemic, one that brought tragedy on so many for a diversity of reasons, we were blessed with a few hours each week to escape with one of our favorite pastimes. That’s something to be thankful for.
I found myself rather depressed the day after the Super Bowl, but it hit me that my feelings likely didn’t measure anywhere close to the feelings of the Chiefs players we root for. Those men, who spent a season fighting in pursuit of an incredibly difficult goal, failed to realize their hopes in the final hour. They failed themselves and they failed their brothers beside them.
The beautiful thing about life, for those who choose to embrace it, is that we fail in order that we may succeed. The above verse has far greater implications than simply practical lessons for overcoming obstacles. Yet it applies here as well.
The hottest fire makes the hardest steel. Failure at the highest level tends to motivate champions to become a greater version of themselves than they otherwise would. This core group of Chiefs players has the collective heartbeat of a champion. I’m confident this failure will push them to greater heights.
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”