The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last night after a fifty-year drought.
But does it really matter?
If I didn’t know better, I would think the NFL was enterprise invented by billionaires, lawyers, and modern-day gladiators.
It is an American oddity. The world has soccer, known elsewhere as football, in which the feet are actually are used to play the game. America has a vastly different game, called football, in which the feet are rarely used.
Each team is its own billion-dollar industry that generates a mind-boggling amount of commerce and has captured the minds and hearts of Americans like no other game.
I grew up more nerd that jock. I didn’t even understand football. I certainly didn’t understand how people could waste away half a day or more existing in a totally passive state for a game with a book full of detailed rules that nobody totally understood and stretched sixty minutes of play time into three hours.
Yet, here I am a totally devoted Chiefs’ fan.
My odyssey with the team began about fifteen years ago. My son, Nathan, became a Chiefs’ supporter in the nineteen-nineties when we moved to northeastern Illinois. Maybe, he wanted to harken back to our family roots, being from the KC area. Maybe, he really like Joe Montana. Maybe, he just wanted to be different by supporting a team other than Bears or Packers, which would have been much more area appropriate. Probably, it was all of the above.
Anyway, he had the Sunday Ticket and invited us over for food and football in his Chiefs’ Fan Cave. I honestly could have cared less about the game, but I am not going to turn down the opportunity to do a little family bonding and eat some good food. I was dumb as a rock about the particulars of what was happening on the field.
I am not sure how I got addicted, but I did.
I remember the class act of Dick Vermeil, suffered through the Herm Edwards years, had a strange fondness for Todd Haley’s leadership, watched helplessly as the bottom fell-out with Romeo Crennel. Like all long-term Chief’s fans, I have suffered… for many long years.
Then came Big Red. I listened to pressers and read a multitude of blog posts. I think my Chiefs’ craziness may have surpassed that of my son’s for a while. Then here came this kid with the funny haircut and odd voice.
That’s the backstory.
But does it matter that the Chiefs’ won the big game?
It matters to Andy Reid, a life-long coach with winning ways, but not a Super Bowl ring. He is a smart, hard-working coach loved by his players and the league community. It matters to him and all of those who respect him and love him.
It matters to the players who seem to be genuinely team oriented. They never say die. They did their homework, mentally, physically, and emotionally and now they are happy for themselves and each other.
It matters to residents of Kansas City, Missouri. Please remember that the vast majority of the metro area is in Missouri, not Kansas. Arrowhead Stadium is in Missouri.
It is a great city, the barbeque capitol of the world and has more fountains than any city in the world, other than Rome. It is not a Cowtown! The hometown team has a great heritage. The original owner, Lamar Hunt was one of the founders of the AFL and coined the term Super Bowl. It is about time to get some of the attention away from the coasts to much overlooked Midwest.
It matters to me. I have shared this odyssey of countless games, numerous trips to training camp, lots of pregame excitement and postgame analysis, and all of the ups and downs through all of these seasons with my son. Finally, I saw him jumping and screaming in victory. Darn right! It was worth it! It matters! (I am a little choked up right now.)
Ultimately, things have whatever value we assign to them. It seems kind of silly to give a football team such value. Yet, I started out with the Chiefs at a time when I needed a new team in my life. I had suffered a huge disappointment and needed a new identity. They became a part of that.
Does it matter that the Chiefs are Super Bowl champions? Yes, it matters very much to me, very much!