Football is my favorite sport. It’s my favorite to play, favorite to watch and favorite to talk about.
I’ve cheered for our beloved Kansas City Chiefs for as long as I can remember, and football is the reason I ever wanted to be a sports announcer in the first place.
I’ve been a Chiefs fan since back in the day when Steve “Bozo” Bono was the quarterback.
Even though they haven’t won a Super Bowl since the year my dad was born, I am still rooting for them every Sunday. Even though they have disappointed the Chiefs Nation many times over the past couple of decades, I will never wash my hands of them. Why? Because it’s called love of the game, and hometown pride. Being there for your team, whether they are winning or not.
The Chiefs were so dominant, they made the playoffs every year from 1990 to 1995. That is six straight playoff appearances. Compare that to today’s playoff teams. The Indianapolis Colts have made the playoffs in nine straight seasons. The next longest streak belongs to the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, who both have made it the past three years.
It’s hard to believe that once upon a time the Chiefs were one of the best teams in the NFL, year in and year out.
I remember the 1995 playoffs like it was yesterday. The Chiefs finished with the league’s best record, at 13-3.
They clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, so the road to the Super Bowl was poised to run through Kansas City. But, as everyone knows, the Chiefs did not go to the Super Bowl. In fact, they didn’t even get close.
They lost their playoff game against the Colts 10-7.
Lin Elliott missed a ridiculous three field goals in the game, including one with 37 seconds left that would have tied the game up. I remember listening to the radio, eating dinner and waiting for the Chiefs to pull out a win.
Because if they did, guess which 10-year-old was going to the AFC Championship Game? Yep. This guy.
When Elliott missed that last field goal, tears fell into my spaghetti as I realized that I would not be able to go to the largest game in modern Chiefs’ history.
All football fans have memories similar to this. We treasure the ups, cry in the downs and jeer at the success of other teams. During the bad times, we always say, “maybe next year.” During the great times, we think it’ll never end.
But one thing has always stayed the same. Teams played. Players played. Every weekend, from the beginning of the season, till the end of the season. And this has gone on, uninterrupted, for more than 20 years.
In 1987, there was a 24-day players’ strike, cancelling one game and forcing the league to play three others with replacement players. In 1982, though, there was 57-day players’ strike that forced the NFL to cancel seven games.
This generation of football fans has been very fortunate. We have never had to suffer through a strike or a lock-out. But on March 3 of this year, the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement expires.
What does this mean exactly? In short, if a new deal cannot be reached, the owners will most likely lock out the players. What would happen next will be nothing short of a nightmare for everyone involved.
Stay tuned next week as I explain the owners’ views, the players’ views, and the impact a work stoppage will have on the NFL, and its most important commodity, its fans.