Three years of Midwestern heartache
I have been a Philadelphia sports fan since the day I was born and a Kansas City Chiefs fan since Dec. 25, 1971. So, I have lived through my share of heartbreak, oft times coming in waves of three.
There were the 1976-77-78 Sixers . . . And the 1976-77-78 Phillies . . . The 2002-03-04 Eagles . . . And don’t get me started on just any three consecutive NCAA Tournaments ending in Big 5 disappointment. Heck, some of those heartbreaks have come in three consecutive time slots.
But as I drove home from watching the AFC Championship Game Sunday, I couldn’t help but feel that the three-peat that the Andy Reids just suffered through may have been the hardest for me to take personally.
Just imagine those thousands and thousands of Chiefs supporters who were at Arrowhead Stadium for all three of these games. (That’s right, each one, right there smackdown in Chiefsville.) It’s a testament to those fans who keep getting up off the floor, dusting themselves off, grabbing another rack of ribs and coming back, knowing enough about sports to realize the losing is what makes the eventual winning feel so good.
Let’s just hope eventual means sooner rather than later. I am not sure just how much more I can take . . .
JAN. 15, 2017 (Divisional Round) – The Chiefs hold the visiting Steelers to six field goals, convert a fourth-and-two from the four-yard-line and score on a Sherman Ware one-yard run with 2:43 remaining to pull within 18-16. Alex Smith finds wide-open tight end Demetrius Harris in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion, but tackle Eric Fisher is called for holding. Smith can’t thread a needle to Jeremy Maclin from the 12 and when the Steelers convert a third-and-3, the Chiefs are toast.
JAN. 6, 2018 (Wild Card Round) – Down 21-3 midway through the third quarter and facing a third-and-goal from the six-yard-line, Marcus Mariota unleashes a play I now call “The 13 Seconds From Hell,” where the Titans’ elusive QB spends forever in the pocket, scrambles to his lift, fires into the end zone (just as he crosses the line of scrimmage) where KC CB Darrelle Revis bats it back . . . right to Mariota who catches it at the four and waltzes in to start the Titans’ comeback. (My mind immediately thinks Vic Davalillo. And if that name doesn’t mean anything to you, google it with Black Friday. We’ll wait.) . . . Trailing, 22-21, KC’s Derrick Johnson returns a Derrick Henry fumble 56 yards for a TD on the first play after the two-minute warning, but it is reversed after the review shows Henry was down before the ball was out. Henry then runs for 22 on a third-and-10 and the Chiefs were also out.
JAN. 20, 2018 (Conference Championship) – Seemingly left for dead down by 14-0 at halftime, the Chiefs storm back, score 31 points in the second half, take two leads in the fourth quarter and seem headed for Super Bowl LIII when rookie Charvarius Ward picks off a deflected Tom Brady pass with under a minute to go, only to see the play negated when LB Dee Ford is called for lining up in the neutral zone. The Patriots go ahead . . . The Chiefs tie it to force OT . . . The Bradys win it in overtime.