Wednesday, December 26, 2012

chiefs! colts! where stevo on bended knee, ring in hand, happens ...

“I let ‘em in! I --
Oh man, I let ‘em win.
I’ve burned my house down,
Just to hear them scream my name.

I carried hopes,
And heavy daydreams,
She said, but
I’m done with sleeping.

Take the phone calls!
Take this circus!
Take the drama, ‘cause baby
It’s, it’s just – it’s worthless.

This modern love?  Is not enough!
She said, watch your back,
Cause I’m nobody’s girlfriend.
This modern love?  Is not enough!
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
They said one big exhale
Never did me no good …”


And that … for all intents and purposes, closes out the worst season in franchise history, an absolutely disgraceful 20-13 defeat to the Colts, as the Chiefs become the first team in NFL history to rush for 350 yards in a game, and lose.  And hell, they didn’t just lose – they never led.

Was this season worth it?  Of course not.  The Chiefs lost by 14 or more points in at least half their games, regardless what happens in denver next week.  (The roll call?  Falcons (16), Bills (18), Chargers (17), Bucs (28), Chargers (18), Bengals (22), Browns (23), raiders (15).  Oy.)  Our bitter rival is one very doable combination of games (Colts win at home, donkeys win at home) away from having home field advantage throughout the playoffs, from entering the postseason on an eleven game winning streak … and keep in mind, the Chiefs haven’t won 11 games in a season, period, in a freaking decade.  Hell, if you combine the last two Chiefs seasons?  The best we can do, is 10 wins.

We’ve endured a season where both quarterbacks have been benched for the other, and yet the third option, the only option this current regime drafted?  Can’t get on the field.  We’ve wasted one of the greatest seasons at the running back position ever submitted (by Jamaal Charles).  And sadly, we’ve seen human waste at it’s most ugly and brutal, via the murder / suicide by Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher.

The Chiefs have at least five games (out of fifteen so far) in which we’ve failed to score an offensive touchdown: Ravens (two field goals), Bucs (one defensive TD, one field goal), Bengals (two field goals), broncos (three field goals), and raiders (no points period).  Throw in two more games in which our only touchdown came in garbage time while trailing by at least 17 points (vs raiders, at Chargers), and literally, in half the games we played this season, we had no chance to win from the opening kickoff.

The Chiefs had the lead in exactly five games this season: at Steelers (for 21:21 of the first half), vs Bengals (for 5:40 in the first quarter), vs broncos (for 26:56 in the first three quarters), vs Panthers (for 7:56 of the first half, and incredibly, all 30:00 of the second half), and at Browns (for 15:08 of the first and second quarters).  That’s it.  Out of 908:33 of football the Chiefs have played in the 2012 season, they’ve led for … wait for it … 107:01.  Out of 908:33.  I think my four year old nephew’s pony league soccer team managed more lead time this fall, than the Chiefs did.

And yet, I know that when the season dawns anew come next August … I’ll still be there, still clinging to my blind, delusional faith that this is the year.

Because no matter what Clark Hunt and his clueless ownership gives us, there’s one thing they cannot take from us.  There’s one thing they cannot destroy, and that is the special, amazing relationships that being a paying customer of his broken franchise has given to myself, and so many of you who read this every week for my take on what happened.  There’s something to be said, for knowing that every week, the same people will be lined up at the gates at 7:30 right along with you, ready to head in and make a day of it.  There’s definitely something to be said for the people I’ve sat by for well over a decade now (even if I did have to sneak down this year from my relocated seats.) 

That’s what I will remember the 2012 Chiefs season for.  Much like how I will remember all of 2012.  In my personal life, this year revealed more than any other who my true friends are, and thank God I surrounded myself with so many amazing people.  I feel that way about my Chiefs family as well.  I love that Chris can yell out “(Insert QB Here)’s Pass”, knowing I’ll immediately scream “was IN!  COM!  PLETE!”, and Ray will drop the “waa waa waa waa!” line from the single most annoying, yet fun to do, chant in professional sports.  Only three of us rode out on the Bus today.  Yeah, the core group has somewhat fallen apart as this abortion of a season has unfolded.  

But by 10am?  There were almost 30 people there, marveling in amazement that our group, our tailgating spot, our Bus -- us! -- were going to be featured on an episode airing in mid-January of “Ultimate Tailgaters” on the Travel Channel.

Oh, and by 3pm, a mere five hours later? 

I was engaged.

(cue every reader spitting out his adult beverage at reading that).  Wait, what?!?!?!  Are you … WHAT?!?!?!

What can I say -- sometimes?  This “modern love” is enough.  

And one big exhale can do you some good!

(cue every reader slapping themselves stupid) WHAT?!?!?! 

As always, the answers lay inside the recap, about to unfold below …

* Only three of us rode out Sunday morning.  We left a little bit before 7am.  And for the first 40, 45 minutes in front of the gates, it was a perfectly normal morning – we got stuff ready for the tailgate, played some music, finished putting songs onto the iPod for the day, enjoyed a libation or three.  And then, right as I started to open the door to head down and secure our usual spot, a very nice lady named Cecilia asked if we would mind if she and her recording crew filmed us once we got set up.  We had no idea who it was for, but hell – we’re the folks that Justin Robinson targeted for the better part of a decade for his live reports on Channel 9 every gameday morning, because he knew he could mooch a couple donuts and some spiked hot chocolate from us.  What’s one more camera?  All I knew was, they kept referring to filming us for “the show”.  OK, whatever.

* So we get set up, and we made sure to get everything perfectly laid out (if you’ve ever tailgated with us, you know the table area is usually a complete f*cking catastrophe, stuff everywhere, no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever), and this Cecilia chick and her crew show up about 8:30am.  And for the next 90 minutes, myself, Russ, Mona, and (eventually) Ray, were filmed to be on the show “Ultimate Tailgaters”.  They were meticulous.  (Note to self: good job, Stevo, on not drinking screwdrivers early today!)  They asked a ton of pointed questions.  We even had to do a couple takes on our answers at times.

(cecilia and someone on her crew.  pic: me, via my snapp camera.)

They filmed everything, and I mean everything.  Russ gave them a full on tour of every aspect of the Bus.  They filmed every corner of our tailgate.  Those of you who know me best, know I am camera shy.  I hate being the center of attention.  But today?  I loved it.  I got to represent the team I love, and the thing I love (tailgating) more than anything that isn’t a human being, and I think I did a damned good job in doing both.

(the ultimate tailgaters camera guys.  pic: me via my snapp camera).

I just can’t wait to see how they botch the spelling of either (or both) my first and last names**.

The three highlights:

(1) Having to sign a release form.  I felt like I’d arrived.  It had to be the first time in my life I’ve signed a release form, that either wasn’t (a) to a bail bondsman, or (b) to release me from some penal system on my own recognizance.  Honestly, it was kind of surreal – the legalese on these things is ridiculous. 

(2) the mic / sound boom.  The way they set up the filming, you honestly felt like you were in a studio.  They had the boom mic, complete with shag carpeting cover.  Insane.  And

(3) I wore the mistletoe today (and it worked spectacularly well!  Visual evidence ahead!)  And then realizing about ten minutes after Cecilia and her crew left … that I’ll now be “that tool” who’ll be on national TV next month, wearing a damned clove of mistletoe on his head.  As Ray put it, “well, at least there’ll be no doubt which one is you!”  As I responded, “yeah – I’m the asshat wearing a f*cking flower on my head!”  (Laughs all around.) 

From what we were told, the episode will air Conference Championship weekend on the Travel Channel (which would be January 18-20, 2013), so check your local listings.  (Note to self: confirm I actually get the Travel Channel.)

(**: I had the same English teacher my sophomore and senior year in high school.  Hell, I was the damned editor of the yearbook under her watch my senior year, for crying out loud … and she misspelled BOTH my first AND last name EVERY.  FREAKING.  DAY.  (peter griffin voice) Cracked.)

* the only drawback to filming?  Of COURSE they arrived right in the middle of “One Toke Over the Line” by Brewer and Shipley.  For filming’s sake, they requested we pause the stereo until they were done.  So we got the first chorus and verse … and then had to wait 90 minutes for the finish.  (dusty voice) oh come on Stevo, you’ve never taken 90 minutes to finish anything (rimshot!) 

* The rest of tailgating started uneventfully … until “The Crush” and her crew showed up.  And Good Lord, did they show up.  I’m honestly not certain which “picture” her sister posed for was my favorite: either (a) humping the parking cone, or (b) drinking out of a strategically placed beer bottle on the dude with her.  I lean (a), it was laugh out loud funny.  But (b) brought the house down.  I love drunk people who have no inhibitions.  (dusty voice) Of course you do Stevo – it’s the only way you get any (rimshot!)  Oy.

* Shocking development – I actually got a $20 for my extra today!  Dr. Frank was going to use it, but had something come up last night and had to bail.  So this guy comes strolling through the tailgate while Cecilia and her crew are filming, asking for a ticket.  This was our conversation:

(random dude) any of you guys have an extra?
(stevo) (seeing an opportunity to get beer money) I do!
(random dude) how much?
(stevo) how much are you willing to pay?
(random dude) how much do you want?
(stevo) (knowing I’d accept $0.00) how much are you offering?
(random dude) I won’t go above $20.
(stevo) (a little too enthusiastically) SOLD!!!  (happily reaches in wallet and hands him STH card).
(random dude) (hands over $20)
(random dude) (light bulb comes on)
(random dude) you’d have just given this to me, wouldn’t you?
(stevo) nah.  I’d at least have asked you to say “thank you” for the privilege of watching the Chiefs play.
(random dude) (best one liner of the day) I’d rather give you the $20.

I love people that are total smart asses.

* Upset of the day?  No vodka.  Thankfully “The Crush” had a bottle.  Seriously, I had almost nothing to drink yesterday.  I had three spiked hot chocolates in the first three hours I was there, then two mimosas over the next 90 minutes, and I had two Pale Ales during the game.  That’s usually my 8-9am menu on most gamedays. 

* “The Voice of Reason” was there, and the highlight of his weekend, according to him?  Was finally getting a legitimate night’s sleep last night, probably for the first time since his daughter was born four months ago.  Reason Numero Uno why I’m never having children: I need to sleep in until at least 5:15 every morning.  This 3am feeding / diaper changing crap is NOT for me.

* Forgot to mention, the funniest thing from our fantasy football season, well other than my sad ass roster, is that when “The Voice of Reason” (who’s our league commissioner) sent out the “you still need to pay” email, for the first time in pushing a decade, I was amongst the “already paid” column … as was Jasson.  We’re usually the last two to pay, under the whole “well, if I win more than I owe, I never have to write the check” theory.  team tito version 1.0 went 3-11 this year.  I wasn’t winning anything, other than the toilet bowl trophy that I’ve argued for a decade should go to the last place team.

* The last song to play before we shut the tailgate down?  “Dancing on the Ceiling”.  I knew right then and there we weren’t winning today.

* Oh – proof the mistletoe worked:

(admit it, any ladies reading this: you are so effing jealous of "the crush" right now, I'm that damned sexy.  pic: megan's sister jenny, via my snapp camera.)

* Don’t have much to say about the game, honestly.  Quinn’s pick six was one of the five worst throws I’ve ever witnessed in person.  I have absolutely no idea who or what he saw when he threw that ball.  On the Chiefs next possession (or maybe it was their second possession after the pick six), Quinn missed a layup screen pass to Charles that would have been a touchdown.  There was noone in front of him.  Quinn overthrew him by six yards … ON A SCREEN PASS. 

Quinn had 3 INT’s, and a horrendous non-convert on 4th and 1.  Jamaal Charles had 210 plus yards, true … but one killer fumble lost, and a second that was clearly a fumble, yet Ron Winter’s crew stupidly ruled him down by contact.  Jon Baldwin had one good play, a 57 yard gain in which he was so wide open, I’d have had a 60/40 shot at making the catch, and there’s a reason why this site used to refer to Samie Parker as “Hands of Steve” – because I suck at catching the ball.  Ryan Succup missed yet another makeable field goal (although to be fair … well, hell, there was no wind in there today.  Missing from 43 is inexcusable in weather conditions like today.)  Even Dusty C had a couple brain fart punts.  Terrence Copper damned near got decapitated returning a kickoff.  Devon Wylie has no business returning punts. 

I counted at least four “Stanzi!” chants, and seriously, what possible reason is there to NOT play Stanzi?  Let’s say Stanzi is as sh*ttacular as he appears to be.  SO WHAT?  You need one more loss to clinch the first number one overall pick in franchise history!  If Stanzi is WORSE than Quinn and Cassel?  Then get his ass out there!  This is all about Tankapalooza 2012 now!

* My five favorite Tweets / texts during the Chiefs game:

5. Forget who tweeted this, but showed it to everyone in 132 to laughs all around.  “Today, we have replaced the Kansas City Chiefs with Folgers Crystal coffee.  Let’s see who can tell the difference …”

4. From @HisDirknesS, who’s a big Arrowhead Pride contributor: “Halftime bong hits!”, when asked how to cope with the first half.  Brought 132 down in laughter.  And made me wish said bong hits were readily available.

3. Me to Damien, when he noted that if we had anything under center, we’d be up 31-3 entering the fourth quarter: “You would be an upgrade right now, and I’m accounting for the 11 Coors Lights you’d have already had.”

2. From @SaveOurChiefs: “The Chiefs are now the first NFL team to ever lose after gaining more than 350 yards in rushing.”  Impressive!  But by far and away my favorite:

1. From Gary Lezak: “This is the best Chiefs game in over a year.  They are playing so hard.  This is fun to watch.”

Now, in fairness to Mr. Lezak, who is a long-time season ticket holder over in 130 … dear God Gary.  Have you lost your freaking mind?  What exactly was “fun” about watching the Chiefs thoroughly whip up on the Colts in every way, other than the one that matters (scoreboard)?

* But in a season this ridiculous, this outrageous, this over the top … of course, it couldn’t end there.

Because there were three more impressive things that happened in the fourth quarter today, all three of which I’d never witnessed, or been a participant to, before.

First, some dude four rows in front of us, was so drunk, that emergency assistance had to be called.  And he literally was carried up the aisle between 131 / 132 on a stretcher.  I mean, I recall a KU Football game a few years ago, when a sorority girl was so drunk, that emergency personnel each grabbed a limb and helped her out, but never a stretcher.

Second, KC Wolf helped some dude propose to his girlfriend in 131 at the end of the third quarter.  Yes, let that sink in – a freaking mascot helped a dude propose to his girlfriend, at a Chiefs game, at the end of the worst season in franchise history.  Now, considering that up to this moment in time, I have never been party to a marriage proposal?  I’m just guessing that having a NFL mascot that looks like a rat / mouse* hybrid posing as a wolf, would NOT be how I’d want said proposal to go down.

(*: the neat Colts fans who sat behind me, the guy’s girlfriend or wife, couldn’t figure out what the hell KC Wolf was supposed to be.  “Whatever that is, it ain’t a wolf!”  We finally settled on a rat / mouse hybrid.)

I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.  “The Crush”, who sat next to me all day, and the nice Colts fan behind us, get into a solid ten minute conversation over how NOT to propose.  Needless to say, neither one was a fan of what we witnessed.

Which set in motion, THE intentional comedy moment of a lifetime.  Namely, as Megan was going off about how crappy this proposal was, and how she’d never say yes to any proposal made in that manner …

(mona) you have to!
(stevo) (thinking the same thing) oh hell yes!
(stevo) (light bulb turns on) but I need a ring!
(chris) here!  (hands me the gorgeous gold band with diamond set ring on her finger)
(stevo) well, the worst she can do is say no!
(ray) (playing the dusty role) wouldn’t be the first time you’ve heard that word!
(entire section) (laughs all around)

So I wait for my moment, and after Megan ends her fifteen minute diatribe (and it was a SOLID fifteen minutes) … she finally pauses for a moment, and then grabs me by the shoulder and goes “you agree with me, right Steve?”

Which led to this:

(stevo) of course I do!
(stevo) (hits his knee)
(stevo) hey, honey?  I got something to ask you.
(megan) (in utter shock)
(stevo) (extends ring) uuh … chica?  Will you marry me?
(megan) yes!  yes! 
(megan) (literally knocks me three seats over with a massive hug)
(megan) (plants long kiss on me)

So let me put this in perspective.  The girl I’ve had a massive crush on since the first time I ever laid eyes on her, at a preseason game against the Dolphins in 2007 … has just said “yes!” to my offer to be Mrs. Stevo!!!  Now, granted, it wasn’t a serious proposition*, but still.  Which led to arguably the best one liner of my life:

(megan) but I haven’t even met your mom!
(stevo) oh, she’ll love you.  She’ll love you! 
(megan) really?
(stevo) sure!  She can have a true Christian wedding this way!  Because we haven’t even had sex yet!
(everyone) (laughing their asses off)
(stevo) uuh, that was a hint, chica.
(megan) it’s not happening, Ste --
(stevo) damn.
(megan) – vo!  Today anyways.

(*: yeah, right.)

And that, peoples and peepettes, is about as damned perfect of a finish to this disaster of a season, that can be dreamed up: “The Crush” says “yes!” to being Mrs. Stevo … but without the funnest part of a committed relationship ... or a random "why not" ending to a Friday night at the Eclipse.  Oy.   I swear.

* The rest of the game, as predictable as possible.  The Colts score with four minutes to play.  The Chiefs go three and out, then give up a 3rd and 12 to seal the defeat at the two minute warning.

* Postgame, not much to report.  We actually got out of the stadium within about two minutes of getting back to the Bus.  First game all season we haven’t had to take the back way home – 40 was wide, wide open all the way to Sterling.  And thus concluded yet another season of the home portion of Chiefs tailgating and football.  

One game to go, and just like last year's finale, we're reduced as Chiefs fans to rooting for a bad football team to roo-een denver's postseason plans.  I am going to try to have my Chiefs season ending grades, reflections, thoughts, and other assorted ramblings (as with past years) up by the end of next week.  I can’t promise much posting between now and then.  I am unfortunately dealing with some stuff at work (that’s noone’s fault) that has knocked my social life from “lame” to “non-existant” over the last month, and if anything, I envision things getting worse over the next four to six weeks.  And considering I worked for three hours on Christmas night, versus finishing this recap, that’s pathetic.

So until the next time we meet up, stay safe.  This season is all over, except for the consequences the architects of this abysmal failure have to face, hopefully starting Sunday night ...  

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