Kansas City Chiefs fans did not need their morning cup of coffee to wake up for Sunday's early game. Rather, the Chief's thrilling first half and blood pressure-raising second half induced the same effect.
Kansas City traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, to finally face the wide receiver Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. This is a matchup that the fan base, and probably the organization, circled and focused on upon the 2023 schedule release. Fans knew the storylines heading in, and this was far from a perfect win. But all that matters in the standings is the final score, with Kansas City winning 21-14.
The win helped ease concerns following the Denver loss, plus it gave Kansas City a resounding 7-2 record ahead of their bye week. The Chiefs historically tun on the jets post-bye under head coach Andy Reid, and fans will be very happy to see that.
I cannot stress enough that this was not a perfect game at all. The Chiefs offense looked immune from jet lag to start Sunday's game. Kansas City only needed seven plays to travel 75 yards, scoring a touchdown in less than three game minutes. Yet, the unit only scored one more touchdown all game, and the defense hid their mistakes and scored the final Kansas City touchdown of the day.
There will be plenty of time to break down the minute details of Sunday's win. For now, let's get to this week's overreactions.
1. The Chiefs are the NFL's best international brand.
While Chiefs fans would likely rather boo Hill's return to Arrowhead Stadium, this matchup served as the NFL's best international tilt ever. The score may not have been otherworldly, but the excitement was palpable with the game's flow and story. The Chiefs' defense had one of the best touchdowns fans will see this season, plus both teams had their hot streaks. This was not a beatdown on either side, despite Miami's 21-0 first-half deficit.
If one listened to the crowd in Germany and did not know the game's setting, which home stadium would that person pick? It would undeniably be the Chiefs' home, albeit with a lukewarm crowd. The 50,023 fans at Deutsche Bank Park did not match the fire and volume of the Arrowhead faithful, but they made a very good impression. Sunday's crowd felt like a Chiefs home crowd, whether it be cheering plays, jeering penalty flags, or the undeniable rhythm of The Chop.
The Chiefs were an afterthought franchise for much of my childhood. Whether it be a losing season or uninteresting offseason storylines, the national media did not pay much attention to the lowly football franchise in Missouri. I could not imagine telling my younger self how popular this team has become in recent years. It is for all the right reasons, too. That is why Kansas City is the league's strongest brand to reach abroad. The Chiefs are a winning franchise, come from a relatively smaller area, and have many of the game's best players. The fans in Germany validated those strengths, and the Chiefs' win abroad cemented their status.