Growing up in red: From KC Chiefs fan to Arrowhead Addict

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

What has it meant to me to be a K.C. Chiefs fan? It’s almost impossible to describe. In just 26 short years, I’ve experienced both the highs and lows that so many other members of the Kingdom are familiar with. Through it all though, some of my greatest memories somehow always seem to tie back to the Chiefs.

My history of being a Chiefs fan goes back almost as far back as I can remember. I have to credit my grandparents for starting me down the path of being a Chiefs fan. My earliest memories are of going over to their house to watch football, and in particular the Chiefs. My dad was also a football fan, although he preferred a team down in Arlington, and his influence also added to my love of the game.

Every so often, my grandparents would take me to see a game at Arrowhead Stadium, where our seats were in the second row from the very top. Talk about nosebleeds. As a kid it always felt like the stadium was going to launch into space as everyone slapped seat backs.

Growing up under the Dick Vermeil and Trent Green-led Chiefs gave me a real early dose of the highs of being a Chiefs fan. The 2003 season was nothing short of incredible, and I still have a framed copy of the iconic Sports Illustrated cover declaring, “The Chiefs Perfect (So Far)” in front of an iconic shot of Green in the midst of their 9-0 start that season.

AA contributor Greg Morse introduces himself with a look back at his Chiefs fandom.

Of course, that period also introduced me to the lows of being a Chiefs fan. We all know how the season ended, with the Chiefs going 13-3 but losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the infamous No Punt Game.

Just a couple of seasons later I was able to go back to Arrowhead with my dad and was able to watch the season finale, a huge Chiefs win against the Bengals. Despite the win we missed the playoffs. I was still too young to understand how that was possible, but one thing I did know: that was Dick Vermeil’s final game.

To me, the post-Vermeil days were the start of the “Dark Ages” for the Chiefs. I know for much older fans, they can probably think of darker days, but I think we can all agree that the Herm Edwards-to-Romeo Crennel days were pretty rough. This painful period was punctuated of course by the lack of a franchise quarterback after we lost Trent Green.

This period corresponded with middle school and high school in my personal life, and as the team got worse my interests and priorities shifted elsewhere. Sundays at Arrowhead slowly faded into a distant childhood memory as I only loosely paid attention to the team from afar. My fandom was reborn though my senior year. It was 2012 and I shamelessly thought Romeo Crennel could lift us to glory.

It’s funny to look back at now, but any trash talking I made quickly ended by September. The abysmal 2-14 season of course came with a bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That bright light was named Andrew Reid.

I don’t need to recap the new epoch in Chiefs Kingdom that Big Red brought, but it was just what was needed to rekindle the dying flames of a once vibrant fandom (for me and many others I’m sure). The Chiefs started winning, and winning, and winning some more. My family I started tuning in every Sunday again, and even going back to Arrowhead Stadium a couple times a year.

In one of greatest moments of my life, my grandpa took me to see the Chiefs play in London in 2015. It was a surreal experience, and in quite the coincidence it happened to be on my birthday. I’m sure lots of people have great 21st birthday celebrations, but watching the Chiefs at Wembley has to be up there.

Of course, we all know the one struggle of the early Andy Chiefs: postseason success. We all know the curse was unofficially broken in the shutout against the Houston Texans, but still we wanted more. Alex Smith can never be thanked enough for bringing us back to relevance (and I hope he joins the Chiefs Ring of Honor one day), but in hindsight, we knew something better was coming.

I remember attending the Chiefs-Titans playoff game at the end of the 2017 season. It was another typical Chiefs fan gut punch: a game they should’ve won that featured a quarterback who caught his own pass, poor officiating, and a blown lead in the playoffs. That day I vowed never to go back to Arrowhead for a playoff game until the Chiefs actually won a playoff game in Arrowhead.

Enter Patrick Mahomes. Can I just say that the rest is history? I probably could, but I have to mention that he quickly ended my vow by officially breaking the curse and winning our first home playoff game in 25 years against the Colts. Man of my word I made my way to Arrowhead the very next week to watch the AFC Championship Game.

That painfully cold night didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but it set the stage for what was to come. I still remember seeing a message on the scoreboard: “The first AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium, but it won’t be the last!” It was almost prophetic.

We all know the rest of the story. The very next year, Mahomes and friends went on an absolute tear through the postseason and overcame three double-digit deficits to win the Lombardi Trophy. For how bad 2020 ended up turning out, I was thankful that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl that year (and the NFL made GamePass free all summer). I sat at home and watched the Chiefs’ legendary run over and over and over. It was amazing.

In a roundabout way, that pretty much sums up my Chiefs fandom to date, and how I went from being a fan to writing at Arrowhead Addict. I am excited to have the opportunity to share more fun Chiefs stories with you—past, present, and into the future. With training camp just a few weeks away, and the new season drawing near, all I can say is, “Go Chiefs!”

Next. The six most important training camp battles. dark