Milham Minutes: An ode to Mitch Holthus, the best shepherd for Chiefs Kingdom

The latest Milham's Minutes looks at the importance of Mitch Holthus, reflects on a delicious Denver game, and more.
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Each Kansas City Chiefs fan has a unique introduction to the team they now love. It may have been a surprise game decades ago while visiting Arrowhead Stadium with a loved one. Maybe it was a new player capturing your imagination one night in primetime. Whatever your story, you know how special it was and what made it special. Mine was on a dusty gravel road, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

NFL games were not regular viewing appointments for my family, mainly my father. After church and Sunday lunch, that was time for fishing or odd tasks around the house. I did not realize it at the time, but it was my father's way of providing sustenance for our family and his soul. Material things were not easy growing up, food included. My dad, with me in tow, could toss half a dozen lines in any body of water and catch enough fish for a month. Repeating that cycle religiously on Sunday was more important than my young mind knew.

It was September 14. I had just started my second-grade school year, and fishing was one of the last things I wanted to do. My mind wasn't focused on the fishing rod, but rather on the surrounding area. Before I knew it, we were packing it in and heading home. I don't remember why. Perhaps it was a father's frustration with an impertinent child. Perhaps a Sunday storm was brewing, a common occurrence in northeast Kansas. Perhaps it was just a bad fishing day. No matter the reason, it facilitated my first Chiefs-related memory, the start of something I still hold dear.

I sat in the passenger seat of my dad's beat-up pickup. It was yellow or brown, with some minor holes in the floorboard that made highway driving exhilarating and loud, but the radio worked just fine. While my dad cooled down the truck and packed away the gear, I sat in the cab. There, I heard a man yelling names like I was supposed to know them. Who were Derrick Blaylock and Eddie Kennison? The roar in the background singer told me this Trent Green guy was pretty good, but the play that drew me in was this one:

I didn't care who Priest Holmes or Jason Dunn were in that moment. Rather, I was captivated by this unnamed man calling the action with unbridled passion. He served as the bugle that called me to Chiefs Kingdom. We all know him as Mitch Holthus.

The Voice of the Chiefs has carried more and more with the team's success, appearing on NFL marketing and football commercials around the world. It is deserved; let it be clear.

Holthus's broadcasting career spans two of my lifetimes, ironically with the two teams I love most: the Chiefs and the Kansas State Wildcats. When Holthus' signature line first reached my ears, I didn't know he had crafted his skills for decades at that point. But it was likely that experience that made me feel something—that unknown feeling stayed with me from that Sunday to a thousand others, no matter where I was in the world.

I am currently serving as an active-duty Sailor in Virginia. My first assignment, from 2016 to 2017, was on a small island called Diego Garcia. It was remote, had limited connectivity, and felt very foreign, which was a unique experience for someone from Kansas. However, it was quite challenging to watch the Chiefs games as I had to rely on the Armed Forces Network.

Usually, waking up and getting ready for work coincided with whatever Sunday Night Football game was that week. AFN showed you other live games while you slept, but they didn't broadcast every single game. I maybe stayed awake for one Chiefs game that season, rather opting for a recap on telegram-speed internet. It is a comfort, but having access to any given football game all season is a privilege I have come to appreciate.

That year spent abroad was bridged directly into another deployment to the Pacific. Less than 40 days back home offered me a glimpse of minicamp and a proposal to my now-wife, but that was all before another year without football. Back to the AFN schedules dominated by the Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers. Back to the late nights, hoping for a glimpse of Alex Smith or emerging star Tyreek Hill. Back to another year without those dusty roads.

I arrived home just before Christmas in 2017 with only a few NFL games left in the season. Going back to my hometown, which was smaller than the 505-foot ship I had spent months aboard, made me feel like an outsider. It was reminiscent of someone who didn't belong in the place they had left almost three years ago. Strangely, it was Holthus who brought me back a decade, transporting me to that gravel road.

I forget what I was doing, but I knew Holthus filled my eardrums. His voice boomed through a boombox held together with tape and hope. His voice crescendoed into that touchdown cry, capping off a 64-yard touchdown reception from Hill. I sobbed. I cried. I wept.

Kansas City extending their lead was certainly joyous, yes. But Holthus, the man I couldn't listen to for years, reminded me of my first love. He took me back to a simpler time when I didn't have the weight of circumnavigating the globe on me. All the months of hardship and time spent in the Gulf were melted away by the words we all know and love: Touchdown, Kansas City.

I have never met Holthus, and I may never meet him in my life. Yet his voice, passion, and years of experience make him one of my favorite Chiefs ever. Holthus' talents have been rightfully recognized for his greatness, including inductions into the Kansas State University Athletics Hall of Fame and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. More accolades will come after he turns off the microphone, but Chiefs fans shouldn't wait until then to appreciate his talent.

For those who miss being an unbridled fan, listen to a game instead. Holthus will have you feeling football's emotions in their primal forms. The heartbreak of a missed field goal. The joy behind a Super Bowl-clinching touchdown run. The suspense behind that last-ditch effort. All of that, and more, are palpable when Holthus is calling a game.

And who knows, maybe there is another boy on a dead-end road wondering why people cheer for Patrick Mahomes, pray for Harrison Butker, or celebrate with Travis Kelce. What I know is that Holthus will be there to guide them to the Chiefs Kingdom. We couldn't ask for a better shepherd.

A programming note

As I'm working on this column, I was really thrilled by the response I received regarding my first offering.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I want to hear from you. I am eager for your questions. They can be about the smallest Chiefs-related details or anything about football in general. Hearing from you, the reader, is what made Mellinger Minutes so special with the Kansas City Star.

As the season approaches, I will be increasingly focused on the on-field product. This is the perfect time to ask these questions, and I would really like to hear more about what you want every week. I appreciate the suggestion for identifying who is in the doghouse each week, and I will definitely be incorporating that.

If you have any questions or suggestions, there are several ways to reach out. You can find me on X with your question. You can also comment on Facebook with your questions, as I will check there. If you want a more direct line of communication, you can email me at Let's grow together and get ready for the 2024 season!

Chiefs Recall: Chiefs knock Denver out of contention in 2010

Similar to Mike Shanahan's final season as head coach of the Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniels' first year ended in humiliating fashion after a late-season collapse that ruined a promising start and prevented the Broncos from making the playoffs. That fact alone made my heart happy, as I despised the Broncos more than any other NFL team. But Kansas City putting the final nail in their coffin was just perfect.

In the Chiefs' first victory at Invesco Field, Kansas City defeated the Broncos 44–24 in the 2010 season finale. Jamaal Charles ran for a Chiefs-record 259 yards on 25 carries, while linebacker Derrick Johnson recovered two interceptions of Kyle Orton passes for scores.

This was a game where Charles dominated, averaging 10.4 yards per carry and making explosive runs of 52, 33, and 30 yards, capping it off with a 56-yard TD run with 6:25 remaining. This was my introduction to the game-changing Charles, effortlessly breaking off those long runs. It seemed so easy, reminiscent of how Larry Johnson played in Madden 2007.

I have a vivid memory of watching this game from start to finish. It was such a pleasant surprise to see the Chiefs not only win so dominantly but also prevent Denver from making it to the postseason. It felt like Kansas City was determined to end another team's season if their season was over. I recommend rewatching some of the highlights, particularly because this is the first time I remember seeing the white-on-white combination, which happens to be my favorite modern kit for the Chiefs.

If you have another old game I should rewatch, let me know via email!

Watch of the Week: HBO's House of the Dragon

Hear me out: When Game of Thrones was airing on HBO, the overwhelming hype was exhausting. The award-winning fantasy TV series was widely praised and achieved both commercial and critical success. However, the faults of the last season negatively impacted the overall perception of the franchise. Given the current state of the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, the announcement of numerous Game of Thrones prequels and spin-offs doesn't necessarily scream certain success for the franchise's future.

House of the Dragon, the prequel show, is rivaling its predecessor's gold standard for a fantasy series.

Set nearly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, this show follows the House Targaryen and their eventual decline. The show, only 12 episodes deep, is based on Fire & Blood, a 2018 book by George R. R. Martin. We are only two weeks into the new show, but it is such an engaging watch. This show encapsulates an older world, while actively moving through it rather than the stale worldbuilding its predecessor relied upon.

It is not for everyone, which is fine. It has a fervent fan base, and for good reason. I think it is nice to have a weekly episodic show that I actually want to watch every Sunday. The cast is fantastic, the writing is cohesive, and HBO spared no expense on this show. There is already one season completed, so I recommend watching it and seeing how you feel about the show for yourself.