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Opinion: The Chiefs journey to Super Bowl LIV & how it feels as a fan

On Sunday, the Chiefs captured their first Super Bowl berth in 50 years by defeating the red hot Tennessee Titans 35-24 in Arrowhead Stadium. The Lamar Hunt Trophy has come home, but the season is not over yet. Andy Reid has another chance to get his Super Bowl ring, which is what he needs to be considered an All-Time great Head Coach. Patrick Mahomes and company will go out on the field on February 2nd to fight for the second Super Bowl victory in franchise history and first since 1969.

My whole life I have been a diehard Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan. Being a Kansas City sports fan is not easy. The disappointments and lack of success describes KC sports. It wasn’t until 2014 when I saw the Royals in the playoffs for the first time in my life. The Royals hadn’t been to the postseason in 29 years. I went to the 2014 Wild Card game and saw Salvy hit the walk-off single down the third-base line passed the outstretched arm of A’s third baseman, Josh Donaldson. Watching the 2014 playoffs was so exciting seeing one of my hometown teams winning and contending for the World Series. Watching the team hoist the trophy after winning the American League Pennant was incredible. Then came Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. Down 3-2 in the series, young Yordano Ventura comes out and pitches a gem, sending the series to a Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium. Losing Game 7 was devastating as Salvy popped up to Sandoval in foul territory, ending our season without a World Series title, giving me sadness and disappointment once again.

The 2015 season was incredible. The Royals won 95 games, which is the third-highest mark in franchise history. Cruising into the No. 1 seed and having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The comeback against Houston in Game 4 of the ALDS, just to have Johnny Cueto send them home in Game 5 was when I knew the Royals were winning it all. I went to ALCS Game 1 against the Blue Jays, where Edinson Volquez pitch six scoreless inning, just giving up only two hits. Watching the team hoist their second straight American League Pennant celebration, I knew that there was no way the Royals were not winning this one. Game 1 of the World Series with Alcides Escobar leading off the game with an inside-the-park home run and then Alex Gordon’s game-tying solo home run off Jeurys Familia was the moment that sealed the legacy of Alex Gordon. Game 5 with Hosmer taking home off of a weak grounder to third and throwing error by Mets first baseman, Lucas Duda. Christian Colon gives the Royals the lead in the 12th inning, started the 5-run rally, crushing the soul of the Mets. Wade Davis came in and closed it out, striking out Wilmer Flores looking on a pitch on the inside corner to win it all. The emotion that ran through my body was so excited and so happy. Before last Sunday, the last time I cried out of pure happiness was when the Royals won the 2015 World Series.

The parade was incredible. Al the schools were closed and over 1 million paper crowded around Union Station and the World War I Museum to watch the cars drive past with the players and hearing all the speeches from each player was incredible as Kansas City had waited 29 years to make the playoffs, and waiting 30 years to win the second World Series in franchise history. The Royals went through so many struggles and throughout my life the Royals have had 15 losing seasons, including six 100-loss seasons. The sadness and disappointment went away when the Royals won the World Series. All of the sadness, disappointment, and losses made the 2015 World Series way sweeter and more impactful for Kansas City. Being a diehard Royals fan, I take each move and outcome hard because they’re my team and I will always ride with them. Moving on to the Chiefs, it has been the same way, full of disappointment and sadness, but this year could be the end of it all.

As I said, I am a diehard Chiefs and Royals fan, so I take everything hard as they’re my two teams that I have always supported and l will always support and actively cheer and represent those two teams. The Chiefs have not been to the Super Bowl in 50 years and now they head to Miami for Super Bowl LIV. The amount of disappointments the fan base has endured makes this moment so much sweeter. I have waited my whole life to see the Chiefs be elite and play for the Super Bowl trophy.

Before and during my lifetime, the Chiefs have had some disappointing seasons and games in the playoffs. The first one that comes to mind was 25 years ago, the Colts came to Kansas City and won 10-7 in the Divisional Round of the 1995 season. The talented defense led by Derrick Thomas and head Coach Marty Schottenheimer needed the offense to do just enough to get by Jim Harbaugh and the Colts. The Chiefs would have won the game and advanced to the AFC Championship Game, but kicker Lin Elliot went 0-3 on field goals throughout the game.

Don’t forget the worst season in Chiefs history, when they went 2-14 in 2012. All I remember from that season is watching a Chiefs team that was embarrassing and noncompetitive, pairing it with an incompetent coaching staff, and a front office who didn’t care and did nothing. Matt Cassell was booed off the field when he got injured. That season was such an embarrassment that it made one of the greatest fanbases in the world look bad. The season took a turn for the worst when linebacker Jovan Belcher tragically committed suicide at the team’s facilities after murdering his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. After the 2012 season, the Chiefs made a decision that changed the organization for the best

Andy Reid has changed the whole organization. In his seven years as HC, he has had zero losing seasons, six playoff appearances, and six 10-plus win seasons. Reid has proved that his offensive mind is elite and his coaching tree proves how great of a mentor he is for his coordinators and assistants to get head coaching jobs. Andy Reid is an all time great in coaching, but the one thing he is missing is a Super Bowl title. Andy Reid has done tremendous things for the organization and fans, but there have been some bad playoffs games throughout his tenure.

In his first season as HC, Reid and company traveled to Indianapolis for the Wild Card Round in 2013. The Chiefs went into halftime with a 31-10 lead. The second half was a complete 180 with the Colts dominating the Chiefs, outscoring them 35-13, capturing a 45-44 comeback victory over the Chiefs. This game is also the game where Andrew Luck fumbled and still scored a touchdown. The trend of disappointing and sad moments continued into the 2017 Wild Card.

The devastation continued with the Chiefs, but this time it was at the loudest stadium in the world, Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs hosted the Tennessee Titans on Wild Card Weekend in 2017. As against Indianapolis, the Chiefs got out to an early lead and went into halftime with 21-3 lead. The second half was a different story as the Chiefs were held scoreless as Reid went conservative, which is nothing out of the ordinary, and the Chiefs would fall 22-21 at home. Marcus Mariota would win in his first playoff start, where he threw a touchdown pass to himself after the ball was batted into his arms from cornerback Darrelle Revis. The worst one of all came last year when the Chiefs had the Super Bowl in their grasp.

The AFC Championship Game last year was the most devastating Chiefs game I have ever watched. Third down, Brady drops back to pass and Charvarious Ward picks him off, clinching the win and a Super Bowl Berth for the Chiefs! But wait, flag on the field. Referee calls neutral zone infraction on Dee Ford. Patriots go on to score and send the game to overtime, where the Chiefs would lose the coin toss. The Patriots marched down the field and Rex Burkhead runs it in to send the Patriots to Super Bowl LIII. This game reminded me of Game 7 when Gordon hit the triple and Salvy comes up and pops out to Pablo Sandoval in foul territory. This led to the revenge tour the Chiefs are on right now.

This Chiefs team had its struggles this season. After a 4-0 start to the season, the defense was not living up to its potential in the losses to the Colts and Texans in back-to-back weeks at home, being dominated in time of possession. Then in week 7 against Denver, Mahomes goes down, and the season is looking like it is taking a turn for the worst with the franchise star quarterback limping off the field, hoping it’s not a torn ACL. Mahomes would miss the rest of the Broncos game and the next two games, which the Chiefs split. The return of Mahomes was ruined, with the defense giving up 35 points, losing in Tennessee 35-32. However, since that week 10 game, the Chiefs have turned it around and are on an eight-game win streak and the defense has taken it up a notch. Frank Clark and Chris Jones have been all over quarterbacks, while Tyrann Mathieu has been the heart and soul of the defense, playing all over the field, doing anything to make a play. Since week 11, the Chiefs defense has on average giving up 15.5 points per game (including playoffs). The offense is fully healthy as Mahomes keeps getting healthier and better each week he is on the field. This Chiefs team went into the playoffs and were down 24 points to the Texans. They fought back and won by 20 points, then stopped Derrick Henry, who had rushed for 180 yards in the last 3 games prior, holding him to 70 yards. Mahomes was fantastic with 347 total yards (294 passing, 53 rushing) and 4 touchdowns (1 rushing). This Chiefs team is on a revenge tour like the Royals were in 2015. The revenge tour is complete for the AFC, but not for the entire league as they will take on the NFC’s best team in the San Francisco 49ers.

Finally seeing the Chiefs get over the hump, means so much to all the fans. For years, the Chiefs have been so close to getting back to the Super Bowl and just fell short. For me, I have seen the ultimate worst and best of the Chiefs. Seeing the Chiefs hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy and having it home where it belongs, gives me a sense of ultimate happiness that can only be topped with a Super Bowl win. Watching the Chiefs win and having Clark Hunt lift up the trophy named after his dad, made me tear up as the Chiefs are over the second to last hump. For me and for Kansas City, a Super Bowl win means more than the World Series did. Don’t get me wrong, the World Series is huge and I am a baseball guy, but it has been 50 years since the Chiefs won the Super Bowl and after the past six years of tragedy that comes with each of the playoff losses under Andy Reid, the Super Bowl is more important.

People have always counted out the Chiefs and to have them on top of the AFC means the world to me. I have never been happier to be a chiefs fan as I have been over the past few years. The thrill of having a team that is contending every year and a threat is something Kansas City sports fans are not used to, but it means everything to us. I know there is still one more game left and there is unfinished business, but this team has brought so much happiness to all the fans across the world. Watching the games with my fellow Chiefs fans and to see the emotions and excitement is unparalleled to anything else. It is incredible to have my team in the Super Bowl for the first time in my life. I am so excited and so happy to have the Chiefs in the Super Bowl after everything the franchise and fanbase has been through the past 50 years! The only thing left is to go win and bring home that Lombardi Trophy!

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