"Jane? You say it's all over,
For you and me girl!
There's a time for love,
And a time for letting it be, baby!
Jane, you're playing a game called,
Called "hard to get" by its real name!
Making believe that you just don't feel the same?
Jane? You're playing a game,
You can never win, girl!
You're staying away, so I'll ask you,
Where you been, baby?
Like a cat and a mouse --
From door to door, and house to house?
Don't you pretend you don't know,
What I'm talking about!
Were all those nights we spent together,
Only because you didn't know better?
I gotta know!
Jane? You playing a game?
Playing a game?
Playing a game? ..."
-- "Jane" by Jefferson Starship. It's a rarity folks -- both my mommy and daddy, would LOVE the theme, for this post ...
Well, if you’re a Chiefs fan – and let’s be honest, if you’re not, what exactly attracted your attention to this site, since about 44.29% of what’s posted here, is related to the Red and Gold – if you’re a Chiefs fan, you got what you wanted on Sunday.
The Chiefs gave the raiders the business, taking them to the woodshed by a final of 31-13, and ensuring they did their part, to make the Week Sixteen game at Pittsburgh amongst the ten most important regular season games this franchise has played in the last thirty some odd years.
It’s really simple now, kids. The season rests on this game … and then the one after it. And the one after that.
And so on. Until seven straight is completed.
I noted that yesterday, leaving the stadium, when Ryan and I had what can only be described as a “high infinity”* moment – this is the first of seven straight. Seven straight “win or else” games. Seven straight must win contests, to ensure the season is so epically … hang on, let me do this one right.
(30 year old stevo voice) Season! F*CKING! On!!!!!!!!
(*: the “high infinity”, for those of you who tragically have never seen “How I Met Your Mother”, is a high-five to shame every high five throughout eternity. It is the “high infinity”. And yes, we both sprinted towards the other, slammed those right hands together … and those right hands hurt worse than a thirteen year old’s right hand discovering himself for the first time.)
It’s been at least 2006 since the Chiefs played a regular season contest as gigantic as Sunday will be, and arguably it’s 2005, since both “win to stay alive” contests in 2006 required multiple other outcomes to break our way, to reach the postseason. 2010, the Chiefs had margin for error – plenty of it. Ditto last year. Ditto 2003, when the Chiefs clinched a playoff berth over Thanksgiving weekend in San Diego, and clinched the division three weeks later,
Here, then, is this (not even remotely) humble blogger’s opinion, on the ten most important regular season games, the Red and Gold has played, in my lifetime. (Which began thirty (gulp) eight years ago, come Wildcard Saturday.)
10. Colts at Chiefs, Week Sixteen, 1996.
Outcome: Colts 24, Chiefs 19.
Result: well, personally, a profitable one, as I had wagered my dad when the Chiefs made the (idiotic) switch from Steve Bono to Dick Gannon, that the loser had to cover the winner’s Chrismukkah gift costs for 1996 (up to $200). The wager? I bet the 8-4 Chiefs would miss the playoffs; my dad wagered we’d make it. The lesson? Damned if I know; it’s the one wager I’ve won in my life, and I’ve never been more disgusted to be right.
Most folks will point to Game Seven in this list as the key defeat in 1996, and you wouldn’t be wrong, since Week Seventeen’s loss is what actually cost the Chiefs a playoff berth. But this is the game that got away. And was the second of (six and counting) inconsolable defeats to Indianapolis with the season on the line, over the last twenty years.
9. Titans at Chiefs, Week Sixteen, 2010.
Outcome: Chiefs 34, Titans 14.
Result: the Chiefs clinched their first playoff berth in four years, and first division title in seven. This was the last game that counts the Chiefs would win, for nearly 300 more days, as the Chiefs would drop the finale to oakland, the Wildcard Game to Baltimore, and the first three games to open the 2011 season, before finally beating the Vikings, to end the misery.
8. donkeys at Chiefs, Week Fourteen, 1986.
Outcome: Chiefs 37, donkeys 10.
Result: the lunacy that is me. This is the first NFL game I remember attending. I apologize for nothing, when it comes to my feelings for the Red and Gold, as a result of my attendance, that afternoon.
7. Chiefs at Bills, Week Seventeen, 1996.
Outcome: Bills 20, Chiefs 9.
Result: somehow, the Chiefs still almost made the playoffs, despite losing 4 of 5 (3 straight) to end the season. All we needed was a 21 yard Morten Anderson field goal in Jacksonville, to propel the Falcons to the win over the Jaguars. Of course he shanked it.
This game also inspired the gag-gift of a lifetime, as many Chiefs fans were giving Steve Bono jerseys as Christmas gifts that season, thanks to the Chiefs epic collapse (which wasn’t even remotely Mr. Bono’s fault). For those of you who have noticed? You now get the joke. For those of you who haven’t? Let’s just say, I don’t do anything by accident, and I don’t believe in coincidence. The Coozie has 13 on it for a reason, and it ain’t to taunt or tempt the dark side.
6. raiders at Chiefs, Week Sixteen, 2011.
Outcome: raiders 16, Chiefs 13 (overtime).
Result: it’s criminal, how little Chiefs fans remember of 2011. If the Chiefs had won this contest, they’d have won the AFC West at 8-8, instead of timmy tebow and satan’s squad. It’s not quite as criminal as firing Todd Haley for no good reason, other than our dumb f*ck of a general manager thought he knew what he was doing. But it’s close. Again – despise starting a quarterback who couldn’t beat out timmy tebow, despise falling to 5-8, despite firing their head coach, despise losing their best player (Jamaal Charles) in week three for the season, the 2011 Chiefs simply had to beat the raiders at home to win the AFC West. And they failed to do it.
5. Chargers at Chiefs, Week Fifteen, 1989.
Outcome: Chargers 20, Chiefs 13.
Result: according to the official game page thingy, it was 18 degrees at kickoff. The only way it was eighteen degrees was if there was a minus sign in front of it. This is one of the coldest, most brutal games I’ve ever attended, and the ending didn’t help. The Chiefs – who played like chefs most of the day – managed to get inside the San Diego 20 with a shot to tie as time wound down, only to see Steve DeBerg’s effort intercepted, to seal a playoff-less season. Had the Chiefs won this game, they would have hosted the AFC Wild Card game two weeks later, against the Houston Oilers (who they’d already boatraced 34-0 four weeks earlier).
4. Chiefs at Steelers, Week Sixteen, 1986.
Outcome: Chiefs 24, Steelers 19.
Result: for the first time in my life, the Chiefs were playoff bound. For the first time in my life, the Chiefs were relevant. How, you ask, did the Chiefs manage to get in? Simple: every effing … screw it.
Every mother f*cking point, was scored by the special teams unit. A field goal to ensure the win? Check. Three extra points? Check. A punt return for a touchdown? Check. A blocked punt returned for a touchdown? Check. And a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown? Check, check, check!
To those of you who doubt my loyalty to this team, the next time you see me? Look at my left hand, between my second and third fingers. You will see a scar, although it has faded as time has passed. That scar? Was earned when I literally jumped up as the Chiefs clinched the playoffs, and my hand went through the ceiling fan that was being used. Took seven stitches to seal up. That scar is still there, between the knuckles, twenty eight years later.
And to think some people question if I’m really this much of a die-hard fan …
3. Chiefs at raiders, Week Seventeen, 1994.
Outcome: Chiefs 19, raiders 9.
Result: I will never forget showing up for services on Christmas Eve, and whoa! It’s Gregg! In the sweater the Chiefs coaches were wearing! I didn’t even have to ask; he simply said “Dad let me open one gift early. (Pause). He told me which one to open.” Well, then I guess that Santa is a semi-fictional character that continually bypasses the Casa de Stevo then! Because who needs Santa when Gordon is on the job!
This was the final (for now) game the raiders played in Los Angeles. It turned on one of the greatest brain fart interceptions you’ll ever see, as the raiders were driving for at least a field goal to tie the game at 6, with less than twenty seconds to play in the first half … before Mark Collins picked off jeff hostetler, took it to the house, and ensured the first art shell era for the raiders, was the debacle it deserved to be.
2. donkeys at Chiefs, Week Seventeen, 1992.
Outcome: Chiefs 42, satan’s squad 20.
Result: a bona fide playoff game right after Christmas. The 8-7 donkeys at the 9-6 Chiefs; winner’s in, loser’s out. Resulted in dan reeves’ termination as donkeys coach. Nearly saw john elway murder dan reeves on the sideline (and, in john’s defense, he’d have 79,025 witnesses for the defense, had he done it … and I’m guessing a few former friends who were in beautiful Gering, Nebraska, at that point, would join us 79,025 witnesses, for the defense).
This game also saw Kevin Harlan deliver one of the greatest calls of all time, after elway was stripped, sacked, and DT recovered it for a touchdown: “not even Santa Claus can save the denver broncos today!” It had OJ Simpson at halftime saying the Chiefs had no chance if they kept pounding it with the ground game. In his final game as a Chief? Christian Okoye had one carry … for eight yards … and the final points, in the 42-20 woodshed beatdown.
God, how I wish this was numero uno. How I wish this list could end on a positive, uplifting note – because seriously, what could be more positive and uplifting, what could be more unifying, than tearing the denver broncos a new one?
Well … nothing.
But I know what could be worse.
The great … “what if …” …
1. raiders at Chiefs, Week Seventeen, 1999.
Outcome: raiders 41, Chiefs 38 (overtime).
Result: I already wrote about this one. (Note: scroll down. It's number one for a reason.)
But I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted “the moment” that truly sealed this defeat for me, so I’ll post it now … and I apologize to “The Voice of Reason”, for what’s about to be posted … but knowing Gregg, he’ll be laughing along with all of you.
We somehow finally made it back to the apartment after this one. We both did what we did best – grabbed a bottle and headed for our bedrooms, to lock down for the night, and cope with the defeat appropriately. About 7pm, 7:30pm, Gregg poked his head inside my room, and simply said “you able to drive?”
Folks? When my Voice of Reason is asking if I’m sober enough to drive him somewhere? Yeah.
So I threw on a t-shirt, put the shoes on, grabbed my keys, and headed out into the main room. I asked “where we going, champ?” (Note: I probably didn’t say champ … but it seems like a Stevo-type reference to make, fifteen years out.) His response? “Drive.”
We wound up at the K-Mart on Shawnee Mission Parkway and Pflumm. Gregg stormed in like a man on a mission. I followed like … well, like a drunk Chiefs fan still staggering from the defeat that afternoon, and what it meant. (Which, in hindsight? Is WORSE than it was, in reality.)
I followed him back to the section with the bathroom stuff, and finally he stopped.
In front of the scales.
Where he proceeded to grab one, stand on it, and check the poundage.
He obviously knew I had reached my “ok, explain why we’re here” moment – seriously, those of you who doubt why I refer to us as Chandler and Joey, truly didn’t know us (brantley gilbert voice) back in the day – and G’s response was an instant classic.
“(Disgusted and p*ssed off sigh). I weigh as much as him.”
With that, Gregg grabbed the scale, and headed for the checkout counter.
By him, he meant Donnie Edwards.
There were many, great, awesome, still fond and/or hilarious moments from 2000 still to come … but the roommate, my Voice of Reason, deciding that somehow, the Chiefs losing to oakland was a reason to finally give a sh*t about his health, has to rank amongst the top of those moments.
Like it or love it, Chiefs fans, Sunday is going to rank somewhere on this list, come next year.
I only hope and pray, it ranks below next Sunday, when this ranking has to be updated.
I’m not sure how much I’ll post this week. For the record, I’m heading south to watch this game – I’m headed down to Ray and Ana’s, to watch this one with my Second Parents’ former neighbors Joyce and Jerry, and Ray (Joyce’s brother) and Ana, a few miles south of lovely (and I’m told it’s lovely; I have no intention to find out for myself) lovely Clinton, Missouri. If you want to head down for one fun party, you know how to reach me. We’re leaving around 9ish from the Bus Barn.
Just be warned: Ana is the biggest Steelers fan you’ll ever meet. She’s also a great friend … and yeah, the Sunday Nighter four years ago? She’s the friend who helped ensure I wasn’t puking solely from the flu.
I can’t wait to burn one down with her on Sunday … and watch the Chiefs burn the Steelers season down, while saving their own …