Arrowhead’s Awakening

 

With the No. 1 seed in the AFC, you may not look at the Kansas City Chiefs as underdogs. Statistically speaking, they’re not. They had a first-round bye, home field advantage, and they’re favored for the second consecutive week when they play the Patriots Sunday. But this franchise, its players, coaches, fans, and even the stadium itself are all historical underdogs with something to prove.  

There’s a good chance that you, reader, are not a Chiefs fan. If you were, here’s what you might know:

The Super Bowl Drought

Kansas City claims the longest Super Bowl drought of the four remaining teams in the playoffs, by a long shot. The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in 1970 against the Green Bay Packers, and they haven’t been back since. That’s 49 years, not just without a Super Bowl win, but an appearance.  

The three other teams since 1970?

  • Patriots: Won 5 in last 16 years; Appeared in 8

  • Rams: Won 1 (2002); Appeared in 3

  • Saints: Won 1 (2010); Appeared in 1

The Stadium

Arrowhead Stadium is one of the NFL’s most iconic venues. It’s the fifth-oldest actively used stadium in the league behind the L.A. Coliseum, Oakland Coliseum, Soldier Field, and Lambeau Field. Arrowhead was built in 1972 just after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, and it’s never hosted an AFC Championship Game.  

The Coach

It’s Andy Reid’s 20th season as an NFL head coach. He’s taken his teams to the playoffs in 13 out of 19 years, made the AFC/NFC Championship Game five times, reached the Super Bowl once, and never won. His record of 195-124 (.611%) gives him the third-highest win percentage among active coaches with more than three seasons. He trails only Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick – both with Super Bowl rings.  

The Players

So many stories make this team special. Patrick Mahomes’ record-breaking season. Eric Berry returning after cancer and other injuries. Running back Damien Williams dominating the run game after the team cut Kareem Hunt. On Kansas City’s 53-man roster, only one player has a Super Bowl ring; linebacker Frank Zombo (Packers, 2011).

The Fans

Despite 49 years since a SB appearance, let alone a championship, the KC fans known as ‘Chiefs Kingdom’ are some of the most dedicated fans in the NFL. They make Arrowhead one of the toughest places to play, and Sunday will be no exception.

With Kansas City looking at an “arctic blast” on Sunday, temperatures are expected anywhere from 10 degrees to below zero – potentially the coldest game ever played at Arrowhead, just in time for the 47-year-old stadium’s first-ever AFC Championship party.

Bundle up, Chiefs Kingdom. You have history to make.

 
Justin Tangjanuary2019