Friday night, I got a Facebook email that, to put it mildly, p*ssed the living hell out of me. I stand behind my belief that this season is NOT a lost cause. One possible reason for that? Is today's opening theme ...
"He was sitting at the bar,
Sipping on a regular Coke.
We were drinking and smoking,
And making him the butt of our jokes.
We all said man, what happened to you,
Why can't you just have a few?
He said I would if I could,
But it's probably best that I don't.
Because the more I drink?
The more I drink!
And I'm the world's greatest lover,
And a dancing machine.
I get loud, I get proud,
And it gets worse.
Well if I have one, I'll have thirteen --
Now there ain't no in between.
Cause the more I drink? The more I drink!"
-- "The More I Drink" by Blake Shelton.
There will be those who will argue that yesterday was a fluke, a stand-alone exception of excellence, in a season that many Chiefs fans have already written off as an abysmal failure. And if you feel that way, good for you. You're a typical Kansas Citian -- you demand nothing but mediocrity out of yourself and everyone around you, then b*tch about the mediocre conditions that exist in your life.
There will be those who will argue that yesterday was a feel-good, once every couple years victory, that will do nothing to turn this season around. And to those of you who feel that I way, I say good for you. Because if yesterday was the high point of this 2011 season, you know what? I'm good with it.
But then there are the rest of us, who believe that yesterday was the beginning of something amazing, who believe that yesterday was the jump-start to a division championship and possibly something more. And to those of us who believe that, today's opening anthem is for us, the legitimate die-hards, the best, most loyal, most vocal fans of the best NFL franchise that exists.
We were loud. We were proud. And it gets worse!
Now we’ve won one! And can still win 13! (Come on, not even I’m that delusional – I only picked us to win 11 in the regular season.)
Cause the more we win? The more we win!
Let's call yesterday what it was: an entertaining as hell contest that, for one Sunday at least, breathed life back into this season. Yes, the Chiefs have some serious issues to address, specifically red-zone play calling. We left at least 12 points on the field yesterday -- three red zone trips, three field goals after imploding (a holding call, an offensive pass interference call, and incompetent quarterbacking that led to a heated verbal b*tch slapping on the sidelines between coach and said incompetent quarterback). But you know what? Every issue with this team is fixable. All of them.
We've seen significant progress made over the last six quarters, none moreso than the fact that Minnesota had the ball at our 40 at the two minute warning, and didn't gain another inch. And now, with the winless Indianapolis Colts on tap (in full-out tanking mode already, really guys, Curtis Painter? Could you make it any more obvious that you're throwing in the towel?), with the Colts on tap, and the bye week after that, it's ok to start thinking happy thoughts again. Sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, all that happy crap I usually have no interest in writing about, well, you can think it again.
The Chiefs are 60 minutes away from being right back in the thick of the playoff race. We're one upset away (San Diego at denver) from controlling our own destiny again*.
(*: you have no idea how much I am dreading cheering for those f*ckheads on Sunday. No freaking idea.)
One more solid Sunday, and suddenly, the person's Facebook comments that infuriated me can be shoved up his mother f*cking ass where they belong.
God bless it, yesterday felt good! That was without question the funnest Chiefs game I've been to since the amazing victory over denver three years ago that ended 346 days of losing. I needed yesterday, big time. If you were there yesterday, and I know many of you reading this were, take a long, magnificent bow. We EARNED this win! Yesterday was the first time in three years that I didn't want a game and a tailgate to end. If everyone else hadn't forced me into the car, I'd probably still be standing in the grass of Lot G right now, Gatorade vodka containing a ton of vodka in hand, celebrating one helluva fun day.
If yesterday was the season's high point? I am PERFECTLY good with it. Because yesterday was freaking FUN! Here's your highlights, as always, brought to you by Sudafed* and whatever the hell brand iced tea they brew up at QuikTrip. Yup, not even the worst allergy spell of the year can derail the joy of this Victory Monday ...
(*: if you've been around me the last 2-3 days, you know how awful I feel right now. I had already popped four Sudafeds by 9am yesterday, and I still couldn't breathe, I was so congested. At one point, I simply took a quick sip of Gatorade ... and let out a horrendous sound that was a combination of me puking and me taking the first hit on a blunt, I was hacking up so much drainage. I feel worse today. Allergies effing suck.)
* First sign this was going to be a unique game day? Saturday night. The Bus wouldn't start. After about six hours of engine work in which the idiot neighbors attempting to help simply made things worse, we had to opt for "Plan B", and just like "Plan B" at a Planned Parenthood, it was no bueno. Because it just ain't a Chiefs game without the Bus.
* the sole highlight from the Bus fiasco? One of the neighbors, who had fewer teeth than fingers, and he didn't appear to have a full component of either, after Russ and the other neighbor headed off to Auto Zone to try to test the starter, we had to talk to the guy left behind. Really nice guy, but most everyone still there couldn't understand one word coming out of his mouth. Me? Understood every word he said. As I said when "translating" his speech, "I speak Raytown-ese". Brought the driveway down.
* the other hilarity from Saturday night, was when me, Katie, Joe, Mona and Susan were sitting around the table, watching the end of Florida get demolished by Alabama, and I had to explain why we call Jason, "Jasson". (Long story short: he can't spell. Every word with a consonant in the middle, always gets doubled up by him. Like paper becomes "papper".) So, for the rest of the weekend, everyone's name got changed. Katie became Kattie. Mona, Monna. Susan, Sussan. If you just read those last few sentences and immediately thought "Christ, they were HAMMERED!", you'd have been absolutely correct. We were multiple bottles of wine, beer, and Weller in at that point.
* Big shoutout "thank you!" to Joe for the Fun House Pizza Saturday night. It hit the freaking spot. God, I love Fun House. Second best pizza joint in the metro area (behind only Pizza Maker, of course. Pizza Maker is the ONLY thing I miss about living in Johnson County. The ONLY thing.)
* I could not sleep worth a damn on Saturday night. I considered that a good sign. Usually I sleep like a newborn baby on the couch in the basement, because it's about 50 freaking degrees down there. Its perfect sleeping conditions. Saturday night? I could not get more than 20 minutes sleep at a time. Made even worse when someone was up and moving around the kitchen above the basement about 2:30am, and kept dropping stuff on the floor. (Again, if you said alcohol was a contributing factor, you'd be 100 percent absolutely correct.) Finally at 5am, I decided "screw it", and I was showered, shaved, dressed, and enjoying a cup of coffee while setting my fantasy lineups by 5:20am.
* "Plan B" was basically loading up everything we normally bring on the Bus, into two SUV's. Somehow, we barely pulled it off. We have 28 days to fix what ails the Bus. Need to get on that pronto ...
* We got to the gates about 6:50am. And NOBODY had a clue what to do. Normally we haul out the speakers, get the iPod going, and party it up with Phil and his crew next to us. Yesterday? No clue. We were totally out of our element. Thankfully Susan remembered the paper ... excuse me, papper ... so I at least got to read the comics and the news and metro sections. (Doonesbury and Garfield were both hysterical yesterday, especially Doonesbury.) Anyways, another sign yesterday was one of those "whoa, this is so freaking weird!" kind of days? The parking chick came around at 7:12am to collect the cash to park. I did a double take at the clock in the car when she came up to the window. Even Katie was like "this is kinda early, isn't it?" Yes, yes it was.
About two minutes later, Anthony comes back, knocks on my window, and goes "hey, they're opening up at 7:30!" Really? SWEET! An extra HOUR of tailgating! On a bright sunny day with temperatures reaching 70 by kickoff! So I hurriedly grab a couple chairs and the cooler out of the car and head down with Anthony to save our spots.
Well, about ten minutes after that, we see Russ walking down. Turns out, gates are opening at 8am. Still ... SWEET! An extra half hour of tailgating!
* After last home game's pathetic showing by our parking nazi, I didn't even attempt to talk to this week's. Come 8am when the mad dash for spots began, this guy was stopping every car driving between G and H. Every freaking car. Which led to this hilarious exchange:
(stevo) it's ok, she's parking right here!
(parking dude) ok! (lets car through)
(parking dude) (stops next car)
(stevo) it's ok, she's parkng right here!
(parking dude) ok! (lets car through)
(parking dude) (stops next car)
(stevo) it's ok, she's with us too!
(parking dude) Jesus, how many people you got?
(stevo) that's the last one ... for now.
Anyways, we had everything set up and ready to go by 8:15am. Unreal.
* How could you possibly beat the weather yesterday? Incredible. Not a cloud in the sky. Very cozy temperatures, even at 8:30 in the morning it was t-shirt and shorts comfortable. In October. If this is what global warming means, I'd like to double down on it please.
* A couple new additions to the iPod play list yesterday. For Russ, we threw on "North to Alaska". Those were probably the only three minutes of yesterday I'd want a do-over on. And for hilarity's sake, we threw on "F*ck You Gently" by Tenacious D. We'll come back to the iPod play list in the postgame, because two hilarious moments arose out of it.
* There were a TON of purple folks out there yesterday. A TON of purple folks. The funniest were the "Purple Pimps", two guys who literally were dressed in purple pimp suits, right down to the stinky cologne that lingers for five minutes after they're gone. Loved those two guys. They had a local TV crew with them from Minneapolis / St. Paul, to try to get the stadium bill passed. Get it done guys. As one of the Pimps noted, "we're a state full of liberals -- they expect to get something for nothing!" As a liberal ... I didn't really have a credible reply. Son of a ...
* Worst moment(s) of tailgating? When the horn battle broke out between the two asshole groups that tailgate by us. Castro's crew began blaring their "116 decibel" horn at every Vikings fan walking by. Then the Lupercio crew began responding to it. Eventually they got into a "horn-off". As I kept noting after every one of these ridiculous exchanges, "congratulations, you all have a small penis!" Then I'd note "wow, almost 2 inches! You must be so godd*mned proud!" They finally wound up at 4 inches by the time they were done, which seems about right for the whole lot of them, they're all dumb as hell. I even reached my breaking point -- me, the anti-gun liberal loony, giving Russ carte blanche to bring his pellet gun to the next game and "take those f*cking horns out". Russ' response? "Nah, (the pellet gun) wouldn't do any good. I'll bring my .22". If it shuts those bastards up, I'll sign off on it.
* Third funniest moment of tailgating, pre-game: when "Baby" by Justin Bieber came on the iPod, and Roger (who tailgates next to us) goes, "Really? Bieber?" Roger is in his 40s. And he recognizes Justin Bieber. This kid might become a star, I'm just saying. (rimshot!)
* Second funniest moment of tailgating, pre-game: Dusty and I get the washers out, are taking a couple practice tosses, and when it comes time to decide who goes first (because losers always open), Dusty goes "did you win the last game?" Total dick move, throwing the fact that I'm 0 for eternity against him in my face. And you know what? It brought the house down. As well it should have -- I'm 0 for eternity against the champ.
* Funniest moment of tailgating, pre-game: when DJ and Kellie and the two Vikings fans with them arrived, and I apologize, but I'm HORRIBLE with names, so I'm not going to even attempt to remember who they were, this exchange occurred:
(kellie) (introducing her friends)
(kellie) this is (dude's name). (I think it was Jeff).
(stevo) well, nice to meet you. (shakes hand)
(kellie) and this is (chick's name). (Not a freaking clue).
(stevo) nice to meet you.
(kellie) you guys have met before!
(stevo) (doing a double take) really? Where?
(chick) I've met you a couple times actually.
(stevo) (in utter shock) really?!?!
I mention this, because (a) I truly had absolutely NO FREAKING CLUE who this chick was, and (b) she was SMOKING hot. You don't forget girls who are as attractive as this one is. And to think I'm 34 and sleeping alone every night. I have no clue why that is either. (rimshot!)
* the burgers were awesome yesterday. Great job by Anthony, Jamie, and Mona on the grill. The fries rocked too.
* Forgot to mention, Anthony and I were talking before the gates opened and we were saving spots. He goes "yeah, my junior year was just terrible. I lost the scholarship, had to drop out ..." And all I could think was "hey, my junior year was awful too! 2.2 GPA represent!" Now, in his defense, he said he was "sick" his whole junior year, which is highly likely. In my defense? I was stoned, drunk, or both every damned day that year. (gregg voice) which is different from today how? Damned if I know. Damned if I know.
* Also forgot to mention, after Russ arrived to help us save spots, he decided it was Beer Thirty, and he was Beer Thirsty. Miraculously, I had drug my cooler down with me, and not even remotely surprisingly, I was already half a Gatorade and vodka in. (Two quick side points here: (1) Anthony noted that Gatorade and vodka is actually more potent than just about any other concoction, because Gatorade is designed to hit your blood stream faster than most beverages. So if I was stumbling a little bit yesterday, please -- blame it on the Gatorade! And (2) while we were waiting, Anthony went through a couple Coors Light bottles, and threw them in the recycle bin next to us. Only after the third bottle went in did he notice "NO GLASS" printed in large lettering on the side of said recycle bin.) Anyways, Russ goes "anyone got a beer?", so I open up my cooler, and there's a ton of Miller Lite in there, but nothing else. Russ PASSES on it, noting "I HATE Miller Lite". I knew I loved that man for a reason. I also HATE Miller Lite! Please, "Bowling Team In Need of a Name", when we get going on Wednesday night, all I ask is ONE WEEK this year where Coors Light wins out. I don't think I'm asking too much of you. Thanks, your buddy Stevo. (dusty and katie voice) sorry pal, you're outvoted -- 2 to 1 every week! Son of a ...
* Finally about 11:15, we packed it up and headed in. Katie still needed a ticket, so we head down to the street in front of Arrowhead's west side, walk around a little bit. I'm holding up the single finger, because we only needed one. Which led to this moment:
(chiefs fan) you guys need one?
(chiefs fan) (sees us in chiefs gear)
(chiefs fan) here you go. (hands over ticket)
(stevo) how much?
(chiefs fan) nothing. Just be loud.
The ticket? WAS FOR CLUB LEVEL! Are you EFFING kidding me?!?! $150 face value! And he charged NOTHING! He just wanted a Chiefs fan in that stadium yesterday to cheer us on to victory with him, and ensure one less Vikings fan was in there. Take a bow sir. Why Arrowhead Nation Rocks 101.
* Well, I can't say 2011 was a total shutout in the scoring department. I got felt up! Unfortunately, it was by security dude at the gates. Yes, he reached down there. The new security measures are RIDICULOUS. And probably unconstitutional. Way to go NFL, way to go. Here's a hint guys -- when a random dude can GRAB YOUR JUNK, in the name of "safety", you've gone too far. You've gone too damned far.
* Let's hit the in-game highlights, low-lights, praise moments, cringe moments, and one "Stevo not only completely overreacted, he was 110 percent incorrect" moment that rarely, if ever, occurs during a game ...
* the lowest point of the day? I left my phone at the car. I had 16 text messages when the game was over. So if you tried to reach me, I apologize. But if the worst moment of the day is having to wait three hours to get a text message, you've had one helluva day.
* also should mention, my brother checked in at about 9:30 encouraging us to "be loud". I only mention this ... because for the first time in ages, he didn't spell loud as "lud". I've always wondered how you can be "lud". I don't even think "lud" is a word, is it? (quick google check ... it is! But it's not a bird. Because that would be grouse.)
* Vikings win the toss, choose to receive. Smart thinking. Never understood why anyone would opt for defense first. And I say this as someone who prefers a 7-3 slugfest over a 48-45 shootout. Vikings go three and out to open, all three plays of a passing variety. As Bryan, one of the two Vikings fans next to me, noted: "figures. We have the best (freaking) running back in football, and we don't use him!" The Leslie Frazier era, everyone!
* Funniest moment just before kickoff: I'm making small talk with Bryan, and his brother Chris, next to him, takes the t-shirt off. (You baked in that sun yesterday, trust me. My face is ON FIRE right now.) Led to this exchange:
(bryan) oh for God's sake, put the shirt on!
(bryan) because nobody else has one off!
(katie) oh, give Steve time, his will be off soon enough.
(everyone) (laughs all around)
For the record ... mine made it until the end of the first quarter. T-shirts optional weather the first week in October. I am VERY COOL with that!
* Balloons! Gregg texted me about 11am that "the blocks are on the field". Hell yes they were! I LOVE the yellow and red chiefs* block letters! Although this pink balloon launch coming out of them, that's ridiculous. Has to be red and gold. Has to be.
(*: nope, this is not a typo. The block letter balloon boxes are in lower case spelling. I'm staying true to tradition.)
* Some chick named Holly White did the National Anthem. Let's just say, based on how her rehearsal sounded, she punted well beyond her coverage. This was the actual conversation when she was warming up about 9:30am Sunday:
(singer) (comes on over pa loudspeaker)
(mona) what the hell is that?
(katie) I think it's someone practicing the Anthem?
(mona) she's terrible!
(stevo) worse than terrible!
Her warmup sounded like a cross between me singing "Sweet Caroline", and a baby seal being clubbed to death. It was TURRIBLE. She drastically exceeded our rock-bottom expectations.
* about midway through the first quarter, Ryan Succup nails a field goal on the Chiefs first offensive possession, to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead. I mention this ... because it was the first time all season the Chiefs had held the lead. And it's WEEK FOUR! Oy, have we sucked something awful up until yesterday.
* Vikings next possession ends on a beautiful McNabb touchdown bomb to give the Vikings the lead to end the first quarter, 7-3. Let's just say, the two Vikings fans (Bryan and Chris) by me were in utter shock at McNabb doing something positive. We "fake traded" McNabb and Cassel for each other at least fifteen times yesterday, always making sure to toss in our useless young backup (in their case, Christian Ponder, in our case, Ricky Stanzi) as well as a six pack of god-awful beer and/or stale food. Who says a battle of 0 and 3 squads can't be entertaining?
* after a pair of three and outs, the Vikings are in business again, and have 1st and 10 inside our 20. Chris at this point goes "you watch, McNabb is going to f*ck this up!" You think we're depressed, Chiefs fans? We got NOTHING on Vikings fans! Sure as sh*t, here's how the next three plays went:
1st down: McNabb fumble, recovered by the Vikings.
2nd down: McNabb sacked.
3rd down: McNabb picked by Brandon Carr.
Again, as Chris noted, "watch McNabb f*ck this up!" Yes, yes he did. Although the elephant in the room is "why the hell aren't you pounding the ball with Adrian Peterson when you're inside the 20?"
* Chiefs capitalize on the interception, and turn it into three points to cut the lead to 7-6. Let's just say, our goal-to-go strategory leaves a LOT to be desired.
* After a Vikings punt, the Chiefs take over with a little over 2 minutes to go at their 20. I believe we had all three timeouts left. It is at this point, that Bill Muir turned the corner as a play-caller. (If you believe he's still calling the plays, and I don't. Coach Haley can deny it all he wants, but this is an entirely different team than the one that hit the locker room at halftime of the Chargers game. I have NO DOUBT Coach Haley is calling the plays now. No doubt whatsoever. Anyways.) The Chiefs get to the Vikings 40 with a little under a minute to play ... and smartly settle for what the Vikings give them. We bleed the clock down to one second to go, call timeout, and Succup nails the 50 yarder as time expires to get the lead at the half 9-7.
Chris and Bryan turn to me and go "that's a great sign!" after Succup's field goal goes through. "Finally, we're losing at the half!" Again Chiefs fans, if you think we're depressed, we got NOTHING on Vikings fans. (Who are now 13 weeks away from their team being free and clear of any and all lease obligations to the Metrodome. A free agent franchise. Good God, Minnesota voters, get the damned stadium financing bill passed. I don't want to see y'all lose your team over 1/8 of one cent on every non-necessities of life purchase in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.)
* Halftime. My God. I have sat through well over 150 halftime performances in that stadium, NONE more tasteless than yesterday's. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month apparently. (Either that, or pink is the new in-fashion color.) So to point out the NFL's dedication to fighting Breast Cancer ... we trot out a bundle of "6 to 17 year old girls" in about as skimpy of outfits as you can get away with wearing and not be charged with indecent exposure, and have them perform to such wholesome family classics as "Girls, Girls, Girls" by Motley Crue. No, I am not making that up. A collection of "6 to 17 year old girls" in skimpy revealing outfits grinding to "Girls Girls Girls" and other assorted wholesome family classics. Really, all that was missing was a huge golden pole at midfield and a banner saying "it's just a buck, so what the f*ck!" in front of said golden pole. I was thoroughly embarrassed by halftime yesterday. Embarrassed. And it's not like I'm a social conservative here. But that was embarrassing.
Hell, even other people around me were saying the same thing. "How can you have a halftime like that?" "Don't the kids moms have even an ounce of dignity?" "I'd never let my 8 year old dance to "Girls, Girls, Girls"." All actual comments made by folks I was sitting by. That was a shameful halftime, and everyone affiliated with it, ESPECIALLY the person who green-lighted it, should be embarrassed and/or fired (in the case of the guy who green-lighted it).
* Chiefs get the ball to open the half, and promptly go three and out. What infuriated me on this possession wasn't necessarily going three and out, or the play calling. What infuriated me was Matt Cassel's refusal to look at ANYONE other than his dumpoff receiver. Dwayne Bowe was WIDE OPEN twenty yards downfield on the 3rd down play. Cassel dumped it off to his safety valve, and go figure, we didn't get the first down. Thankfully, someone got into Cassel's ear on the sideline, because this was the last truly retarded thing he did all day.
(Note: kudos to Cassel for verbally berating the coaching staff for the gameplan on the sideline. Some people objected to it because it "showed up the coach" and/or "wasn't professional". I say, when you see f*cking idiocy on display, and you can correct it? Then correct it. And if it takes calling your head coach a p*ssy as national TV cameras catch the whole exchange? Then call your coach a p*ssy on national television. And again, I say this as someone who tossed Cassel off the bridge, unconscious, tied to a chair and weighed down with forty cinder blocks, three weeks ago.)
* Vikings kick a gimme field goal to take a 10-9 lead midway through the third quarter. The Chiefs answer with a 54 yard field goal to regain the lead 12-10. If it's possible for a game filled with field goals to be fun, exciting, and interesting, well, yesterday was fun, exciting, and interesting.
* Gotta give Succup a ton of credit yesterday. He went 5 for 5 on field goals, including two from 50 plus. Virtually every kickoff went through the end zone, ensuring our god-awful coverage units didn't have to actually cover anyone. I had no complaints on special teams yesterday. None.
* After forcing a three and out, the Chiefs get the ball back near midfield. After a couple nice runs to get to the Minnesota 30, on a first down play, Cassel airs it out for Steve Breaston, and ... he's got it! Touchdown Kansas City! Uuh, no. Because Breaston pushed off on the play. So instead of finally reaching the end zone and taking a 9 point lead, the Chiefs instead are facing a 1st and 25 at the Vikings 40. 1st and 25? With this offense? In the words of my uncle Geno, "fuhgedaboudit!"
I turned to Bryan and Chris and said "why not air this out? What have you got to lose? A pick is no worse than a punt". Well sure as sh*t, the Chiefs air it out! A beautiful Cassel pass to a wide open Dwayne Bowe about 20 yards downfield, and the Chiefs convert a 1st and 25 with a 28 yard pickup! The drive stalled on goal to go (and I would have gone for it on 4th and 2 at the Vikings 4), and the Chiefs kick the field goal to go up 15-10.
* It is at this point, that Arrowhead goes from "loud" to "deafening". The defense forces a 3 and out. The joint is rocking. The Chiefs have the ball on their own 40. Hell, the PA during the timeout between possession exchanges starts playing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. (Is there any better unifying song around than "Don't Stop Believing"? Does anyone NOT know the lyrics to that song? If you walked up to a random stranger on the street and sang "Just a small town girl", you KNOW he'd respond "living in a lonely world!") As I note to Bryan, Chris, Russ, Gary, Katie, Mona, Susan, and everyone else around me: "GO DEEP! GO FOR THE JUGULAR!"
Cassel steps back ... TOUCHDOWN! On a PERFECT deep ball to Dwayne Bowe. 52 yards. Pandemonium in the stands. That place went from "deafening" to "116 decibels" after that play. You could feel it. We were winning this game!
* So of course, this being the Chiefs, what happens? The best Vikings drive of the day, capped off by a McNabb touchdown pass with about six minutes to play. It's 22-17 Chiefs. I gotta admit, I did not see a competitive game coming. I saw a blowout one way or the other, whichever team's awful QB broke first, the other side would win in a rout. I never envisioned a competent quarterback battle breaking out, but that's what we got.
* That Vikings touchdown ... I did not think the receiver got two feet in. Neither did the dude who manages video replays at the stadium -- he kept replaying the "catch" over and over again. No replay review occurred. In section 132, this hot as hell 34 year old (both in looks ... and actual feeling at that point, it was friggin HOT in the lower bowl yesterday), anyways, in my seat, this recapper imploded. As in "multiple f bombs, multiple other swear words, all directed at our clueless head coach for not challenging the play". I was IRATE, to put it mildly. If a random mental health professional had walked by me at that point, they would have rationally called for four guys in white coats to help escort me to my new home with padded walls, no windows, and no forks for dining purposes. It was a classic Stevo meltdown, the likes of which you don't see very often, but when you do, it's highly entertaining. I was FURIOUS that we didn't challenge that play.
I mention this ... because thankfully, someone on the Chiefs staff ... ok, a LOT of someones, had more calm and poise in the heat of the moment, than I did. Because I was 110 percent incorrect. Not in my belief that it was an incomplete pass -- I will go to my grave believing the receiver only got one foot down in bounds, and the "possession of the ball" was questionable at best. But I was 110 percent incorrect -- the Chiefs couldn't challenge that play, because all end zone plays are now automatically reviewed by the replay booth. Furthermore, as the raiders found out two weeks ago, if you do throw the challenge flag on an automatically reviewed play, it's a 15 yard penalty. Take a bow, Coach Haley. I was completely incorrect in my assessment of the play, and you were completely correct. Just don't get used to that -- it won't happen often, where I'm so wrong on a particular play, that it's embarrassing how wrong I am.
* Chiefs take over after the kickoff, and immediately face a 3rd and 10. Cassel again throws short of the down marker, and the Chiefs are forced to punt. I cannot stress this enough -- when you need 10 yards, WHY DO YOU ONLY THROW IT SEVEN? It's not just Cassel that does this, many NFL QBs do. And it's beyond stupid. If you're being rushed, you have to dump off to the safety valve, that's one thing. When, like Cassel in this spot, you just panic and dump the ball off for no obvious reason, short of the yardage to gain, it's moronic.
* Thankfully, after an awful afternoon, Dusty C saved his best effort for last. As soon as the punt went into the air, I just started fist pumping. Percy Harvin was retreating big time. The punt finally is downed at the Vikings 15, a 61 yard effort when we needed a 61 yard effort. When things are going your way, they're going your way.
* The Vikings begin their final drive, and reach the Chiefs 40 as the two minute warning happens. They still have all three timeouts, are 40 yards away from tying this game ... and it is at this point, that the crowd noise went from "116 decibels" to "so loud we can't measure it". First down, McNabb incomplete. Second down, a short pass for no gain. Dovonan then stupidly wastes a timeout. Chris' reaction? "It's Donovan (blanking) McNabb". I love people who drop f bombs in the middle of a phrase when no f bomb is needed. Like "god f*cking dammit", my favorite swear phrase. The god and dammit part kind of already conveys you're hacked, but dropping that f bomb in the middle leaves no doubt about your feelings. "It's Donovan (blanking) McNabb". Perfectly said. Third down, another McNabb pass completed for no gain, setting up the defining moment of the season, for both squads.
* Fourth down, and as I noted in last night's preliminary thoughts, this exchange occurred:
(chris) it's loud in here!
(stevo) (can't hear him) WHAT?!?!
(chris) it's damned loud in here!
(stevo) (still can't hear him) WHAT?!?!
McNabb goes deep for Visanthe Shiancoe ... well, since we had at least one denver fan out there yesterday, let's drag it out, the single WORST chant in sports that I only use twice a year, only when mocking denver's quarterback. What the hell. (guy in fidelity ad) Why not? (denver fans voice) McNabb's pass is IN! COM! PLETE! (waa waa waa waa!!!) The explosion of emotion in the stands after that play was ridiculous. It was extremely loud in there. You couldn't think, there was so much noise.
(stevo fist pumping in celebration!!! ...)
And somehow, in the emotion of the moment ... the offense FINALLY came up big.
* On first down, the Chiefs, up five with 1:40 to go, and the Vikings having two timeouts left (enough to force a punt with about 45 seconds left if we go three and out), do what any smart, competently, decently coached squad would do -- they run the ball. Unfortunately, we chose to run it with Thomas Jones, a man whose usefulness on the football field expired about three years ago (and whose "usefulness" in the locker room has sidelined our first round draft pick for eight weeks and counting.) To Coach Haley's credit, he exploded in rage on the sideline, and sent in Jackie Battle for the 2nd and 11 play upcoming. The Vikings had stopped the clock. Things were not looking good.
And somehow, on 2nd and 11, with every damned person watching the game, whether in person or on television, knowing we were going to run the football ... Jackie Battle got ten yards, and then, on the biggest 3rd down of the season, in the biggest moment of Jackie Battle's life, he plunged forward for two yards and the first down.
* I spent the last 34 seconds literally counting out loud as the clock ran down. 33 ... 32 ... 31 ... and finally 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... zero. Victory! At long last!
* I invited Chris and Bryan back to our postgame tailgate. They're without question the funnest visiting fans I've ever sat by. Sadly, they had to decline, because as Chris noted ...
(chris) I have to be at work at six tomorrow.
(stevo) oh, ok. (completely clueless) but that's like 18 hours from now.
(chris) yeah, but we still have to drive home.
(stevo) oh. where's that at?
(chris) grand forks, north dakota!
Hopefully they made it safely. Given how intoxicated the three of us were, I'm not sure I'd bet on "yes" being the answer.
* Nothing beats the walk up the ramp of Gate H after a win. Fans pounding the columns, the Tomahawk Chop chant flying around, and somehow, since the renovations? The walk out has gotten even cooler. It's chilling, it's actually chilling, to hear the steel smacking into the concrete now on the walk out. I freaking love it. Let's hope we have a few more of those moments left in this season.
* Sadly, DJ and Kellie were gone before I got back to the car. Probably because it took me 20 freaking minutes to walk the parking lot. It was a pretty jubilant celebration. I'm sure I looked ridiculous: goofy ass grin on my face, fist pumping rapidly with both fists, sunburnt to a crisp, t-shirt draped over the shoulder John Thompson-style, with the stress-induced bite marks on it to boot. And you know what? In the words of Fall Out Boy, "I don't care what you think, as long as it's about me. The best of us can find happiness in misery." Yesterday was anything but miserable. It was damned near perfect.
* Two hilarious moments post-game tailgating. (1) I fire up the iPod, it's on random shuffle ... and wouldn't you know it, Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" comes on. I immediately raise my arms straight up ... and this chick in the port-a-potty line, hearing the song come on over the speakers, immediately did the same thing. Hell yes, we had a full on dance-off to "Party in the USA" for the next three minutes! (Holy crap, was I loaded yesterday or what? Damned Gatorade knocking me loopy.) And (2) oh hell to the yes, that magical opening to a certain song, where you hear someone walking down a tiled hall, a door closing, and then the upbeat music starts came on right after that. (OK, ok, I purposely pulled up said song next. I wanted to hear it. It's the crappiest song I love. If it gets me made fun of, hell, it wouldn't be the first time I've been mocked for something I like.)
In the words of that amazing singer in his signature, triumphant song ...
"What is happening here?
Something's going on, and it's not quite clear.
Somebody turn on the lights --
We're gonna have a party, starting tonight ...
(it's cool, sing along. All the cool kids are. God knows I was belting it out loud and proud about 4pm yesterday ...)
Oh, what a feeling!
When we're dancing on the ceiling!
Oh, what a feeling!
When we're dancing on the ceiling!"
And with that, a perfect day, at the most perfect place on earth*, drew to a perfect close. Oh what a feeling. Chiefs fans, we should be dancing on the ceiling this morning. If you were there yesterday, you know how much fun that game was. It was as close to perfection as two flawed teams can stage. For the first time in three years, I left that stadium feeling nothing but joy. Not pride, not satisfaction, just pure unchecked happiness. That was the funnest game I've attended since we whipped denver's ass eight ways from Sunday three years ago. Games like yesterday always remind me of one of the few Jason Whitlock columns I've ever liked, his recap after the Chiefs 40-39 win in Cleveland to open the 2002 season: "Let them play again. Let them play 100 more times. That was too much fun to only happen once."
(*: this is a flat-out lie. The most perfect place on earth, sports venue wise, is located at 16th and Georgetown in Speedway, Indiana. But Arrowhead's a damned close second.)
Leaving that denver beatdown three years ago, anything was possible. Nobody knew where the hell the season was going to go (answer: straight into the sh*tter, and we definitely did not pass go, and definitely did not collect $200 for our troubles), but you left with a sense that anything was possible. Yesterday, I left with that same feeling. To the person who enraged me on Friday night to the point of responding with a three page reply, I'm guessing you still have doubt after yesterday. And that's fine. But when I look at this team, I see a winless Colts team that is intentionally tanking the season at bat. I see a raiders team we've beaten 8 out of our last 9 games against in oakland in the on deck circle. And I see three straight winnable home games in the hole -- Chargers, Dolphins, and "The Day I Live For". This season ain't over yet folks. Not by a wide country mile.
I would like to think that if the greatness that is Marty Schottenheimer had to describe what yesterday meant to this team, to this season, to us, the die-hard fans of this franchise, he'd have seven simple words, and despite the 4,000 some odd words I just typed above, I can't think of seven better words to perfectly sum up yesterday. (marty voice) "There's a gleam men! There's a gleam!"
There's a gleam, Chiefs fans! There's a gleam!