“Hear the sound of the falling rain?
Coming down like an Armageddon flame!
A shame –
The ones who died without a name …
Hear the dogs howling out of key?
To a hymn called faith and misery!
And bleed –
The company lost the war today …
I beg to dream and differ,
From your hollow lies!
This? Is the dawning
Of the rest of our lives!
On holiday! …
Hear the drum pounding out of time?
Another protester has crossed the line!
To find –
The money’s on the other side …
Can I get another amen? (Amen!)
There’s a flag wrapped around a score of men!
A gag –
A plastic bag on a monument …
I beg to dream and differ,
From your hollow lies!
This? Is the dawning
Of the rest of our lives!
On holiday! …”
In the words of my second favorite song by the Beatles: “there are places I remember, all my life -- though some have changed”.
Saturday, January 9, 2016, at approximately 6:36pm, is one of those moments. And I wouldn't change a damned thing about it.
And even more to the point, it was one of those moments, that truly and unquestionably qualifies as a “Stevo Moment”. Something that (probably) only I would find the amazing in. Something that (possibly) only I would be moved to tears over.
Because Saturday, January 9, 2016, at approximately 6:35pm, as the Chiefs’ Sean Smith sprinted – sprinted! – towards the huddled mass of Chiefs fans behind the bench … well, let’s do this right.
Here is your recap, of the sweetest, most satisfying Chiefs game I have attended in at least twenty two years.
I spent Thursday night in my ol’ stomping grounds of Fort Worth, staying with a great friend of my Second Parents, John O. Since I apparently was “the guest of honor” for this trip (aka “I just turned 39”), I got to pick the restaurant for Thursday night.
Gee, let me think. Fort Worth side of the Metroplex … we all like Mexican … cannot POSSIBLY imagine what I picked!
Yup – Uncle Julio’s.
The dinner was phenomenal. Uncle Julio’s was every bit the slice of paradise I remembered. Right down to the greatest cocktail that doesn’t involve vodka or whiskey, that I’ve ever had:
(“The Swirl”! It’s a margarita / sangria mix. Image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)
After finishing off the better part of two fajita platters, a trayful of The Swirls, and a few other assorted alcoholic concoctions, I opted not to force John O to head the two miles to the TCU campus, to see what things look like nowadays. Mainly because it was pushing 9pm, and you couldn’t exactly “see” the campus.
I went to bed Thursday night a little bit after 11pm. And I had what can only be described, as the most surreal dream of my life, that night. I choose not to really describe what said dream was about … because it was so … I’m looking for the right word here. Real? It honestly felt like I was living a real life moment, and I rarely if ever have had a dream, like I did Thursday night. I know it was a dream, given who the other participant in it was.
It honestly felt like I was seeing my future at some point. Every detail was so specific, so visual, so clear and obvious.
What truly scares me … is that I’m not sure I want this dream, to actually come to fruition in real life. Ten months ago, I did. Now? I don’t.
I swear to God – NOT drinking a stiff Weller and Diet with Lime to fall asleep, really messes with my mind in seriously bleeped up ways.
We departed for Houston a little bit before 10am. I had to work on the drive down, which kind of sucked, but also kind of didn’t, since it meant I had something to do besides drain my data plan watching classic episodes of television on Netflix or Hulu.
The drive to Houston was spectacular. We made it across the Metroplex in barely forty minutes, and were in the northern suburbs a little before 12:15pm. (For those doing the speeding math, we were flying. To make it from southeast Dallas to northeast Houston in barely 2 ½ hours, you’re not exactly messing around.)
And then … Houston happened.
I love Texas. I truly do. I’d give damned near anything to move back, and this weekend only reinforced just how much I want to head south and just start the whole damned thing over, just hit the reset button to December 1998 and undo what I am beginning to realize was the biggest mistake of my life (the decision to move back to Kansas City after college).
But my God, I do not miss the traffic. I-45 was at a standstill for the better part of ten miles. It took over an hour to get from 610 to downtown. It took another thirty minutes once we got on 288 to get to 610. Finally, about 1:30, I’ve had enough. I logged into the App Store on my phone, and downloaded Google Maps.
In hindsight? That lil’ app that could, would have to be named the MVP of the weekend.
We bailed on 288, used the app to maneuver a few back roads, and arrived at the lovely Comfort Suites NRG Park at exactly 2pm. After we check in and get the bags and the coolers up to the room, it was … hang on. I haven’t properly congratulated this dude yet, so let me take the opportunity to do that now.
In the words of CBS Sportsline national columnist – and good friend – Heath: “it’s beer thirty, and I’m beer thirsty”.
Keep the traffic debacle in mind. It’s going to come into significant play, about forty hours later.
(Note: that debacle is one of the two stories, I left on the cutting room floor of this post.)
I spent the afternoon doing job stuff, and enjoying a few cocktails. The plan for Friday was to head downtown to the Flying Saucer for the 610 / Chiefs Twitter pre-party, then head out towards the Galleria for dinner at Willie G’s later that night. We made reservations for 9:30pm, and headed out for downtown.
Thankfully, it was a straight shot from our hotel to the Flying Saucer. Main Street took you the entire way. Unfortunately, we no sooner stepped out the door, than it began raining. If you’ve ever been to Houston, you know those fine folks don’t believe in things like curbs, and drainage ditches, so the water just piles on the streets. Made a 25 minute drive last close to an hour. But we finally made it, and had a solid hour or so of fun.
I enjoyed meeting some folks I’ve been Twitter friends with for awhile now; hopefully they felt the same meeting the dude whose avatar is a lynched denver broncos doll. But after an hour or so, it was obvious this wasn’t going to be anything like the Tilted Kilt in Indy two years ago, so we made the decision to bail and move up the Willie G’s reservation if possible. After mission accomplished and paying the single most ridiculous bar tab I’ve ever paid in my life *, we headed out for Willie G’s.
And no sooner did we get onto 610, than the rain intensified. The hail began. You couldn’t see five feet in front of you. It sucked. The ten minute drive took thirty, and we were all grateful to simply survive it. I cracked the never funny “if the animals start showing up in pairs, I’m leaving” joke at some point to no applause.
We entered Willie G’s drenched, but hungry. And holy cow, did this place once again not disappoint. The manager was great – he kept asking us when we were going to order the main course, so that he could ensure it was “made special for you Chiefs fans”. The wait staff was awesome. (The rain made it a slow night at that fine dining establishment.) The food was incredible as always. I chose to go with the Velvet Devil merlot as my drink of choice; it might be the best merlot I’ve ever had. And God knows I’ve had a few.
We were there for pushing two hours, before finally realizing we were too stuffed to down another tray of oysters or this shrimp concoction that is shrimp, wrapped with bacon, with pepperjack cheese and a jalapeno inside. (I was good for two whole trays of that bad boy.)
We got one of the kitchen staff to snap a picture of us and the waiters:
(These guys were great. Image credit: Willie G’s staffer via Mona's Canon thingy.)
Then it was back to the hotel, where we caught up with the various other friends and Chiefs fans slowly yet surely making their way towards Houston, while enjoying a few quality Weller and Diet’s. (Hell no, I wasn’t repeating the previous night’s mistake of going to bed whiskey-free. I enjoy brain dead sleep, rather than “what the hell does this mean” dreams, thank you very much.)
Anthony, Jaimmie, and Miranda were pushing Tulsa when we left off with them. Ron and Ryan and Tyler and their crew was heading down from Dallas in the morning. As they had the parking pass, we all agreed they’d set the start time for tailgating based on when they arrived.
I went to bed a little before midnight.
(*: we had, between three of us, five Beam and Diet’s, and three Beam and Dr. Pepper’s. (You can guess which three were mine. I’m telling you, whiskey and DP – they go well together! (Pause). What? (Pause). Oh come on! That’s not what I meant! I … fine. (Sighing in disgust). That’s what she said. There, you happy?)
Anyways, eight drinks with sh*tty Jim Beam in them (because the only two whiskeys this place had were Beam and Jack. Seriously?). Since Russ and Mona were getting the tab at Willie G’s, I thought I’d be a nice guy and pick up the tab at the Flying Saucer. So let’s compare tabs, shall we?
Willie G’s: Russ had three Weller and Diet’s; Mona had three glasses of riesling, I had four glasses of merlot. Between the three of us we had three trays of a dozen oysters, four of the fancy shrimp trays, and opted for salads as well (rather than a large main course). Tab total: $132 plus tip.
Flying Saucer: eight Beam and mixers; no food of any kind. Tab total: $52 plus tip.
Needless to say, when our hotel front desk dude recommended the Flying Saucer as a place to go watch the Steelers game on Saturday night, we looked at him like he was the dumbest piece of sh*t in the state of Texas.
Compared to where we wound up on Saturday night? The Flying Saucer might have been worth it …)
(Oh, and note, where we wound up on Saturday night? Is the second story left on the cutting room floor.)
And I woke up a little bit before 8am. I frankly have no idea how I slept, other than “heavily medicated”.
I hopped in the shower, got dressed, and headed down to the lobby to eat some breakfast. When I got down there about 8:20, there were a couple nice Chiefs fans from Garland at a table, another couple of Chiefs fans from San Antonio at a second table, and a collection of people from Louisiana with no obvious interest in football, at a third table.
I grabbed this yogurt thingy by Dannon that has actual fruit in the bottom of it. I didn’t believe the labeling. It was damned good. I ate three of those peach ones. It was as I was eating the second one, that the people at the Louisiana table, engaged in the single most incredible conversation I’ve ever eavesdropped on in my life.
I was so stunned at what I heard, I immediately pulled up my email and had to send the conversation to The Voice of Reason, to record what was said.
Here is that email:
(image credit: me, via the Snag-It tool on the laptop.)
I mean, how do you top that on the Random-o-Meter? Unbelievable.
(As a follow-up, they were back at the same table Sunday morning. Sadly, they were more subdued.)
We headed out a little bit after 11am. Already the line to get into the Yellow Lot was stretched back onto Main Street, going back almost all the way to 610 half a mile away. And there were a TON of Chiefs fans in that line. Our group was tailgating in Orange Lot, which (go figure) was on the complete opposite side of NRG Park than our hotel. So we started hoofing it, since Ron had called and said they were grabbing some food, and should be parked and tailgating within the half hour.
It was a healthy three mile walk from our hotel to the Orange Lot. Someone called to let us know it was O13. I had just finished all the Coors Lights I had brought for the walk when I saw them -- pretty close to O13. Russ and Mona either recognized a few people in the front of Orange Lot and stopped to say hello for a bit ... or made new friends of a few people in the front of the Orange Lot.
Either way, I headed down, exchanged pleasantries, met a few new folks that the Springfield crew had brought with them, and then we started doing what we do best – drinking in the sun. And sadly, it was not quite warm enough to contemplate shirts off. Friday in Houston it was 75. Saturday was windy, but still in the high 50s as tailgating began, and not a cloud in the sky. I texted my brother to ask him what it was like in KC at that moment. His response? “22 and sh*ttacular”. OK then! I’ll take almost 60 and sunny for 800, Alex!
Anthony, Jaimmie, and Miranda made it a little bit after 1pm. And for the next ninety minutes or so, it was a good, fun afternoon. Here was the setup:
(Yes, that is the "rastrodome!" to your left. Eighth wonder of the world my (rear end). image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)
There will be those of you -- the astute of the, uuh, astute -- who will take a look at that picture and think "wow, that looks way different than how tailgating at Arrowhead looks".
(Pause). Do I do this? (Pause). Yeah, it needs to be said.
So let me lay out a few reasons why NRG Park’s, uuh, parking for tailgating, is so damned superior to Arrowhead’s, that the Chiefs organization should be publically shamed, for what they claim are “regulations that work!”
1. The striping of parking spots. At NRG, the stripes don’t go all the way to the through lane. They give you a solid 4, 5 feet behind where you park, yet in front of the through way. (Look at the picture above -- you'll see what I mean.) What a novel idea – if you demand people “tailgate in front of or behind their vehicle”, as the Chiefs do? Give them an actual spot to do that, that isn’t an impediment to traffic or a danger to the tailgater’s lives! How novel!
2. Zero, zip, nada, not a single regulation on vehicle size. You want to bring your bus? Bring it! You want to bring a smoker attached to your trailer hitch? Just be nice enough to share what you’re smoking!
3. Park wherever the hell you want within the lot. No, really – wherever the hell you want! You aren’t forced to the front of the lot. You are towed if you dare defy that directive. There is NOBODY inside the lot forcing you to go where you don’t want to. You hand your pre-paid pass to the attendant, drive through the gate, and that’s it. You aren’t bothered again.
4. Here’s a stunner – the parking attendants direct traffic exiting the facility! It’s not a gigantic free-for-all turned into an indefensible clusterf*ck with orange barriers that make no sense, parking attendants nowhere to be found, and no discernible or enforceable exiting flow to follow. We got back to our hotel a little bit before 7pm (about a half hour after the game ended). By the time we left for dinner fifteen, twenty minutes later? The lots had emptied, traffic was back to normal, and the cops were packing up to head home for the night.
For the record, and for the interest of fairness, here is a complete and detailed listing of everything I did not care for, about the Texans parking setup at NRG Park.
Yeah, I got nothing.
So let me counter the obvious counter-arguments the Chiefs would offer up, to the Texans parking setup.
1. “It costs double per game what the Jackson County Sports Authority charges you to park at Arrowhead”.
This is a factually correct statement – the Red Reserve pass we use is $27 / vehicle; we paid $52 / pass for parking in Orange Lot on Saturday. And you know what? We had to buy three passes for the twenty or so who were tailgating (fourteen of whom are Season Ticket Members). EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US agreed, we’d happily pay double what we do now, to be able to park under Houston Texans parking regulations at Arrowhead. Every. Single. One of us.
2. “The Texans require every vehicle to have a pre-paid pass.”
Again – this is a factually correct statement, to park in one of the color-coded NRG Park lots. To which I would remind the Chiefs that, I don’t know, you’re going to pre-paid parking passes only, as soon as next year! This argument makes no sense.
3. “Well, we limit the size of vehicles and enforce the rules we do because we have limited parking space.”
Again – this is a factually correct statement. There are a finite amount of spots to park at the Truman Sports Complex. However, it is also a factually correct statement that the Truman Sports Complex has nearly 30% more parking spaces, than NRG Park does. And even if you account for the fact that shaving 5-6 inches off of each row means they’re giving up three parking rows per lot? TSC would STILL have more parking than NRG by at least 15%.
4. “Well, even if every argument you’ve made is right, Stevo, we don’t control parking at the Sports Complex – the Jackson County Sports Authority does.”
Again – a 100% factually correct statement. And it’s also 100% full of unfiltered foul-smelling donkey manure. Does ANYONE with an IQ above a corpse honestly think if the Chiefs requested the Sports Authority to change the way parking is handled, that the Sports Authority would say no?
Yo, Kansas City Chiefs! You’ve done things your way for twenty years. It DOES NOT work. NOONE is happy. So do yourselves – and most especially, us, your paying customer that you don’t truly give a crap about – a little bone here. When you “devise” and “revise” the parking regulations for 2016? Let the fans who tailgate every week have a voice. Let those of us who have to live with your choices, tell you what the consequences of those choices are. Let us open your eyes to what an abject failure the way you people run things at the Sports Complex, has always been.
A little bit after 2pm, Russ and Mona decided to head in. It was a healthy hike from where we were in the Orange Lot to our seats inside NRG Stadium to begin with, and they wanted to do some shopping in the various team shops beforehand.
Before taking off, they handed me my ticket, and it is at this moment, that I finally notice what can only be called … “The Omen”.
“The Omen”. Perhaps best known by some of you as a 1976 horror film in which the viewing public was introduced to the literal Son of Satan. That’s probably not a good thing.
But “omen”, according to Wikipedia, “is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change”.
The moment I took a look at my ticket, took a look at my beer, and finally realized where I was standing, I suddenly and all at once looked at Anthony, Tyler, and Ryan, and simply said “we are so winning this f*cking game!”
(Note: that's the first truly "seven dirty words", uuh, word to appear in this post ... and I'm on page ten. New year, new me, same "site"! #itworkedforpercysnow #backintheday)
So let me back up a moment. I entered this trip believing with full confidence that the Chiefs should win this game. I said to countless people that “if they can’t win this game, in this spot, they’re never winning a playoff game”. Because this is a (chuck barkley voice) turrible Texans squad, whose ass we’d already whipped in their building to open the season. They were starting arguably the worst – and certainly he’s in the top five worst – quarterbacks to ever start a playoff game in NFL history. The Chiefs entered not only having won ten straight games, but our last four on the road were all blowout victories – destroying satan’s squad, embarrassing the “Super” Chargers, taking the faiders to the woodshed, and treating the Ravens like that poor government mule Reverend Sharpton whines about every four years at the DNC. We had destroyed the Lions by five touchdowns in a neutral site game, and taken care of business the five home games (albeit barely in some cases): Steelers, Bills, “Super” Chargers, Browns, “pride and poise boys”. (The point being: the Chiefs play far better away from Arrowhead, than they do inside those hallowed walls, for some reason.)
My official pick before leaving the office was Chiefs 23, Texans 16 … and I wasn’t sold on it.
But then, “The Omen” happened.
I have my drinking buddy, affectionately known as 13. This no doubt is because "he" is a Chiefs jersey coozie with the number 13 on it **. Here he is at his finest:
(image credit: me, via a iPhone.)
I suddenly realized, not only was my coozie rocking the 13 … but we were parked in Orange Lot 13:
(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6).
And as if that wasn’t a double off the wall, the trifecta? I was sitting in 121, EE … seat 13:
(no clue who James Forbes is ... but he made a boatload of cash off of me and my crew this past weekend, if face value was $100 ... and we paid $326 / apiece. Image credit: me, via my iPhone 6).
Hence my declaration to my fellow tailgaters. From that moment on, I was the model of calm and cool and confidence ***. There was no way a trifecta of 13’s could be a coincidence.
We were winning this f*cking game.
(**: why, you ask, does a coozie make me so happy? For three reasons, really. (1) I started using 13 in (go figure) 2013. In the three seasons he's been in the pilot's seat for my alcoholic adventure, the Chiefs have posted three winning seasons. The Royals have posted three winning seasons. The Chiefs have made the playoff twice. The Royals have made the playoffs twice. The Royals made the World Series twice, winning it once. (2) Because who doesn't love a coozie that is a football jersey? And most importantly, (3) courtesy of a great friend: if you're drinking with a coozie on your glass or bottle or can? You'll never have to drink alone. Feel free to use that one when the wife / girlfriend / awesome hookup / "Coyote Ugly" mistake b*tches at you the next time that you drink too much on the couch. You're not alone!)
(***: this, for once, is not an abject lie. I never doubted we’d win this game from that moment on. I just doubted we’d win by 30, in a game we should have won by 50.)
Anthony, Jaimmie, Miranda and I headed in a little after 2:30. And so, allow me a quick shout-out to those great friends and tailgating buddies. They literally drove all night Friday night to make the game. (Anthony couldn’t get off work before 9pm Friday.) They arrived in H-Town about 9am Saturday. They took a quick power nap, and then went right back at it all day and night long. Mad kudos for not only making it, but making the sacrifices to your health and sleeping habits, to make it happen!
I grabbed a few “power towels” on the walk in – and yes, Mr. Reason, they not only were called “power towels”, but on multiple occasions during the game, the PA announcer encouraged fans to “waive your power towels to support your Texans!” Somewhere, Ron Prince has to be smiling. (Note: if you aren’t a KU or KSU Football fan, that will mean nothing to you. If you are? It will either have you laughing and damned near crying from hysteria (KU), or embarrassed as hell (KSU). Your call.)
Here’s what those bad boys looked like:
(what, no HEB as the primary sponsor? #disgraceful Image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)
I treated that like I would a towel at Arrowhead: I draped it John Thompson Senior style and bit the hell out of it from stress. But personally, I liked Ryan’s reaction to what he thought of it.
“Hey! What do you think of my new (ejaculation) rag?”
As I noted to his lovely girlfriend Alyssa, standing next to us: “you must be so proud”.
I mean, after all – I would be, if my girlfriend referred to the enemy’s power towel as a “(ejaculation) rag”. Now I just need to find a girlfriend who’d say that. (Pause). Or just a girlfriend, period. I can always work on corrupting her.
That, incredibly, amazingly? Wasn’t even Ryan’s third greatest comment of the day.
My favorite moment of the pregame: The Eli Young Band performing “Deep In The Heart of Texas”. I was so giddy over that, I texted a bunch of people what was happening. To which multiples of you replied “did they remember the words?”
Yes. Yes they did.
(Even if they have to restart the pre-recorded version. God bless them all!)
As did I. Twenty plus years after I first stepped foot in the greatest place on earth? I still know how to honor it properly.
(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)
I mean, isn't that freaking awesome? I think it is. And since this is my site, I'm playing the selfish asshat card and declaring that to be freaking awesome.
Texans won the toss, chose to defer. It’s what I’d do.
I noted to Ryan that “I should warn you, most people don’t like sitting by me. You have no idea what you’re in for.” To which he replied “no, you have no idea what YOU’RE in for!”
Sweet merciful Lord Jesus, was he right. All I can say is that to all of you reading this who have ever sat by me at Arrowhead, or watched a game with me, and seen me at my “finest”?
Ryan puts me to shame. I look like an uninterested third-party neutral observer compared to him. I think that’s a good thing … for both of us.
So, as the Chiefs head out to receive the kick, Ryan yells to all of us sitting there “Knile Davis is taking this to the house!’ Considering he was double fisting Bud Light’s as he said this (and wasn’t exactly sober entering this matchup), I just laughed. He then looked at me with a look of secure seriousness, and shouted straight into my face “you doubt me? He’s taking this to the mother f*cking house!”
Eleven seconds later? Chiefs 7, Texans 0, on the quickest score in NFL Playoff history.
If there was any doubt left that the Chiefs would win this game? That one play erased them. NRG Stadium was a lunatic asylum for that kickoff, even with about 30% of the seats being filled with Chiefs fans. It never again even approached that level of noise.
At least when the home team was on defense.
Because it sure as hell did, when Bulldog Bob Sutton’s boys, were on the turf.
(I should note, for the rest of the game recap, I’m pulling from the NFL Game Center thingy, to ensure accuracy of down, distance, and timing, when necessary.)
The Texans came out and went three and punt.
The Chiefs mounted a short drive, before punting. On this drive, the Chiefs missed a golden opportunity to blow this thing wide, wide open before 80% of the fans were in their seats, when Alex Smith threw what I thought was a damned solid deep ball intended for Albert Wilson.
And that, folks, is what drives me bat bleep crazy about Albert Wilson -- he won't lay out for anything.
Had he dove for that pass, at worst he's touched down just short of the goalline. At best, he'd have scored. Instead, the pass fell incomplete in front of him, and the Chiefs punted.
If the Chiefs are to pull off the upset Saturday night in Foxboro, Albert Wilson has to make that catch.
After the punt, the Texans threw their first interception of the day, a pathetic toss that Eric Berry handled. And then the Chiefs promptly returned the favor, with a questionable throw to Jeremy Maclin that was mishandled, and Brian Cushing picked off.
The Texans then mounted a decent drive, before the devastating two-some of Allen Bailey and Dontari Poe absolutely decapitated poor Bryan Hoyer, who fumbled the ball and the Chiefs recovered.
In the Chronicle on Sunday, every columnist mercilessly unloaded on poor Mr. Hoyer. And certainly, he looked God awful on Saturday. But (dana wright voice) for the love. People? You could have the greatest quarterback in NFL history under center for Houston on Saturday against this defense (and that would be “he who shall not be named” – I hate saying it, but ol’ horse face is the best ever), and even “he who shall not be named” would have looked like an incompetent boob back there.
And -- sssshhhhh! -- here's the dirty little secret: the Chiefs weren't anywhere near as healthy last Saturday ... as they will be this Saturday.
For all intents and purposes, the game ended on two back-to-back plays in which Texans coach Bill O'Brien -- apparently possessed by the offensive acumen of his defensive coordinator, Romeo "Coach Buffoon" Crennel -- virtually sealed his team's defeat.
The Chiefs led 13-0 with time running down in the first half. After a great run by Alfred Blue ****, and a great third and short inside draw by Mr. Blue, the Texans had goal to go at the Chiefs 2.
In trots "all world, all everything", Number 99 in your programs, JJ Watt.
There were over 72,000 of us in attendance on Saturday. Every single one of us, knew what was coming.
Sure as stuff, direct snap to JJ Watt, who loses a yard on the play.
Second down, a designed delayed pass over the middle for Alfred Blue. Brian Hoyer missed it high, and threw it right into the waiting arms of Josh Mauga, who for the second time in a month, secured the deflating interception that all but crushed the hopes of the home team.
From that moment on, every single time Brian Hoyer did anything -- attempt a pass, get picked off, fumble, sacked, simply trot onto the field -- he was booed mercilessly.
Which did lead to this fun exchange:
(dude in front of me) I've never heard a quarterback booed like this!
(me) I have.
(me) Matt Cassel, 2012. Hell, we cheered when he left concussed for crying out loud! You think this tops cheering a dude's brain getting scrambled?
(dude) Now that you mention it, we were pretty hard on Matt Schaub a couple years ago ...
After yet another Brian Hoyer interception, we reach the half. Chiefs 13, Texans 0.
(****: lots of "you're my boy, Blue!" yelling after he did anything good. And considering he was the only player on that squad who earned his Toro on his helmet Saturday, you heard a lot of it.)
Halftime. As promised, we got Lil' Jon. Sadly, my hoped for appearance by some "self employed models" courtesy of RCI Entertainment ***** did not materialize. However, the Texans cheerleaders were an acceptable replacement as the background entertainment.
You knew this was going to be something (the great mr. hugh m. hefner voice) REALLY special!, when Mr. Jon opened the performance by dedicating his performance "to all my b*tches and ho's in the 369!" It was that, or he was asking all his b*tches and ho's to perform some 69. Either way, it was great.
And actually, it was -- dare I say it -- entertaining! There's a novel idea, NFL: put on halftime shows that keep people's asses in the seats, rather than fleeing them! Mad props to the Texans, who always have a mini-concert at halftime. (When I went in 2007, for example, they had Clay Walker perform. 2010 I believe it was Gary Allan, if I recall correctly. Earlier this year? You guessed it -- Frank Stallone!) I ask you Chiefs fans, what would YOU rather watch: some 420 lb chicks Jazzercising on a 100 foot HD video board ... or Lil' Jon makin' it rain on some scantily chad cheerleaders?
Good job, Lil' Jon. And mad props for refusing to edit the lyrics. Because NOTHING says wholesome family entertainment like a live, uncensored performance of "Get Low"!
(*****: funny and true story time! My first job out of college, I worked for Rubbermaid. My job was to drive all over Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota and get yelled at all day for every wrong that apparently has ever existed.
Anyway, in either late April or early May that year, I had to go man our booth at some trade show in Sioux Falls with whoever our rep that had Iowa and Minnesota was. (I remember his first name was Chad; I don't remember the last.) Anyway, we got along pretty well, and one of the nights, we decided to put a bender at the hotel bar on the company's card. So we're sitting there, and he tells me about this chick he almost hired a few months earlier to take over some of his territory. As he recalled, she seemed too good for the job, too over-qualified, because she listed as her job history almost fifteen years in "client relations for some company based in Houston. RCI something." I immediately lost it. Once I stopped laughing, I asked "did you hire her?" He sadly didn't; he went with someone else. I then asked "did you ever look into what RCI Entertainment is?" He said no. I looked at him and said "ok, well, technically, she didn't lie ... but dude, RCI is short for Rick's Cabaret International. She was a stripper / hooker for fifteen years."
That's why I kept saying "I want the dancers to be brought in by RCI Entertainment", for Lil' Jon's performance. Because the only way a dude rapping about the sh*t he does -- uncensored! -- could be topped?
Is if a couple of "client relationship coordinators" from Texas' most infamous adult entertainment establishment, was the background noise.
Oh, and yes, I have been to a RCI Cabaret. It can't hold a candle, to the "Outback Steakhouse" on "Two for Twenty" night.)
The second half had its share of moments, but one play stood out above all others -- for both the Chiefs and the Texans.
Midway through the 3rd Quarter, score still 13-0, the Chiefs have the ball and are driving. (The drive started at their own 6.) The Red and Gold has 2nd and 10 at the Chiefs 38.
Alex drops back and completes a 7 yard pass to the sideline my seats were on, to set up a makeable 3rd and 3. However, the receiver, Jeremy Maclin, isn’t getting up.
And far behind the line of scrimmage, 99 Houston isn’t getting up either.
Thanks to a dirty, dirty cheap shot by Eric Fisher.
Neither player returned to the contest – and from all early indications, Mr. Maclin will probably be OK to play Saturday afternoon. (Whew!)
What I want to do, is praise Eric Fisher. Because FINALLY, he played like an offensive lineman picked first in the freaking draft, should play.
Because ... JJ Watt accomplished nothing on Saturday.
He had one carry for minus one yard. But that can be blamed on Bill O’Brien channeling his inner Dom Capers, his inner Gary “Krap Of” Kubiak.
JJ Watt had one assisted tackle on Saturday. Nothing solo. No sacks. No quarterback pressures. No strips, fumble recoveries, not even a freaking knockdown of 11.
All game long, the Chiefs let Mr. Fisher take him on.
And all game long, Mr. Fisher answered the bell. Up to and including knocking him out of the game with a blatant cheap shot that Jerry “The King” Lawler would be verbally fellating, and “Good Ol’” JR would be screaming to God in Heaven above was a “low blow! Low blow!”
As I said to Mona after that play: “I think our kid is all growed up now!”
Job well done, Eric. Job freaking well done.
With about eight minutes to play, Ron and Ryan and Michelle and the lovely Alyssa decided to head down to the rapidly growing mass of Chiefs fans behind the Chiefs bench. I opted to stay put for the time being.
With about six minutes left to play, I couldn’t resist anymore.
I headed down.
And what a glorious, incredible sight it was:
(Note: this was taken AFTER I went back to my seat in 121. The tunnel was in 133 if I remember the seating chart correctly. 12 straight sections of Greatness. The Sea of Red extended that far, long, and wide! (Pause). Of course -- that's what she said! Image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)
I didn’t stick around for long – Anthony texted me that they were headed down, and frankly, after the debacle of Indy two years ago … and all the utter indefensible crap we've sat through since 1/4/98 ... there’s no two people I wanted to enjoy the final seconds with more, than my Second Parents.
I made it back to my seat right as the two minute warning hit. And I know I’m a sucker for “the moment”, and a sucker for “nostalgia” (just wait until we get to the lead of this post in about five more paragraphs) … but I thought it was total fitting justice, that the play that officially clinched, for all intents and purposes, the Chiefs first playoff win in over 8,000 days … was a four yard run on 3rd and 3 by the forgotten man, “Fury of the” Knile Davis. (Shoutout to @hisdirkness for that awesome nickname.)
I can’t speak for any of you, but I could not for the life of me figure out why Knile Davis wasn’t the next man up after Jamaal Charles went down. Which is probably why I loved the opening return so much, and the fact that Mr. Davis gained the clinching yardage that allowed Chase Daniel to take a couple (al michaels voice) knees, and end it.
Thank you Knile Davis, for refusing to do what so many of would have done, when being passed over for no obvious reason, and tanking or giving up or refusing to put in a professional day’s work.
Some NFL team is gonna get greatness next fall with Mr. Davis. I hate that it won’t be the Red and Gold.
But at least we’ll always have Saturday.
For the record, I did not cry like a freaking newborn baby when that clock hit triple zeros.
I stood there, 13 and an empty beer cup in my right hand, and just felt numb. No tears, just … numb.
Sure, there were plenty of hugs to go around, none sweeter than with the Second Parents. A high infinity with Anthony. Hell, I even ran into Tyler exiting where all the Chiefs fans were gathering, and he and I both had the same “holy f*cking sh*t, this is happening!!!!!” look of ecstasy and utter shock and awe on our faces as we man-hugged it out.
In the words of Jim Mora Junior: “it was really neat!”
But no tears.
Then came 6:36pm, Saturday, January 9, 2016.
The moment I’ll never forget.
Flashing back nearly eleven and a half years now to the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield’s funeral (and anyone reading this who knew Randy, you f*cking KNEW he owned that game for us!), I still remember standing in the family area before his funeral service, and noting to all present that I had to be the single most conscience-less human being of all time, because “I haven’t shed a tear yet. What’s wrong with me?”
And of all people, Mona simply said “when it’s your time, you’ll (grieve).”
“When it’s your time? You’ll cry.”
6:36pm, Saturday, January 9, 2016?
It was Stevo’s turn to cry.
I was intently staring at the Chiefs sideline, as the postgame prayer huddle broke, as the Texans slugged off the field, as the Chiefs began jubilantly celebrating the greatest win of a generation.
At 6:35pm, "as the Chiefs’ Sean Smith sprinted – sprinted! – towards the huddled mass of Chiefs fans behind the bench" ... I smiled at the image playing out in front of me. If only because these guys – for the first time in a generation, the RIGHT 53 – wanted this game even more badly than we the Kingdom did.
A moment later?
The "moment" hit me.
Over the PA, you heard a drum start to beat. Then another one. Then a full on drum procession, followed by the familiar pipes of Billie Joe Armstrong shouting “Hey! Hey!”
(Note: in hindsight, I wish I’d picked the live version I listened to every second of writing this recap, from a concert in Dublin, Ireland, when Mr. Armstrong opens the song by asking “Do you want a f*cking revolution!”
I mean, if Lil’ Jon gets to shout out to all his b*tches and ho’s in the 369 uncensored, what’s a f-bomb at that point going to set you back? Anyway, moving on.)
How that PA guy knew exactly what song to play, in exactly that moment, I’ll never know nor understand nor comprehend.
And frankly, I don’t want to know, or understand, or comprehend.
Because he chose to play a song I hadn’t given a thought to in pushing five, six years.
(Ironically, off of one of my five or six favorite cd's of all time ... that I don't listen to often enough.)
But damn -- at 6:36pm on Saturday, January 9, 2016?
It was perfect.
And folks? As I’ve said many, many times before – I am the one person you will meet in life?
Who believes there is no such thing as coincidence.
As soon as Sean Smith hit the stands, I swear to everything holy, the PA got louder.
“Hear the sound of the falling rain?
Coming down like an Armageddon flame!”
Does that describe the best defense in Chiefs franchise history perfectly, or what?
“Hear the dogs howling out of key?
To a hymn called faith and misery!”
Does that describe the Houston Texans on Saturday pitch perfectly, or what?
“I beg to dream and differ
From your hollow lies!
This is the dawning
Of the rest of our lives!!!!”
Does that describe Chiefs Kingdom at this point beyond perfectly, or what?
Yes, peoples and peepettes, when “Holiday” by Green Day hit the speakers, I literally lost it. I couldn’t have come up with a more perfect song to describe the mood of the day if I’d tried.
Finally, after about five minutes of the water works damned near flooding Section 121, it was time to head off for the hotel, for the eleven bottles of champagne ******, for a night at Wild Wings watching the Steelers and Bengals, for a night of simply celebrating this incredible gift from God we call life …
… and this incredible team we simply call, the Chiefs.
(******: I had help … but there were eleven bottles purchased for the weekend. I’m on the hook for twelve for Saturday. I couldn’t be happier at that indefensible waste of money that will hit my MasterCard about noon a couple days from now.)
Sunday we headed back to John O’s to crash for the afternoon and evening, before heading home Monday. For about five brief moments there was some talk about going to Foxboro this weekend, until a quick scan of the cost of Sunday flights back from either Logan or Providence made us realize “this ain’t happening”.
Monday we got a semi-early start out, because I wanted to swing by and check out the bridal shop my aunt opened in August. I couldn’t make it down for the grand opening due to work obligations, but I swore the next time I was in the Metroplex and had a free five minutes, I’d stop in.
Go figure, the place is closed on Monday. That didn’t matter. Of all my aunts and uncles, Gail is my favorite. Her shop is so freaking cool. It even led to this hysterical exchange:
(my aunt) you realize, when these pictures post, your mom will see you in a bridal shop?
(me) the shock might kill her.
(my aunt) the shock might kill me!
Apparently, when you’re 39, single, and haven’t had a relationship last past night dos in five years, your relatives begin giving up hope you’ll ever meet “The One”. Probably good they ain’t me. She’s out there. I just haven’t met her yet.
(Or, in typical Stevo fashion, I have met her, botched it royally, and in about three years, it’ll all somehow work out perfectly.)
Here’s the link to her business’ page; please, if you’re reading this, click and do what you can to support it. She’s struggling to get noticed on the Google searches and Facebook searches and … well hell, I’m not internet savvy enough to have a clue how that stuff works. If I did, this wouldn’t be a blog read by about 25 regular people. Still, help a relative out if you can. It’s appreciated.
The drive home was so damned boring, I fell asleep twice, even as I was rapidly pulling up “SVU” episodes on the Hulu app, to try to stay awake.
(Note: when you pull up "911" and "Ghost" back to back, and fall asleep? You're done-zo. Also Note: I irrationally love every episode of every L&O franchise.)
We made it back to KC from Keller (a northern suburb of Fort Worth) in barely 7 ½ hours. Even in my peak college days, I couldn’t have topped that timeframe.
I walked in my front door a little bit after 7, cursed at bit at realizing I’d turned off the heat for the five days I was gone (sonofabeach! It was cold!), then called my folks to let them know I was home safe.
And thus ends my magical weekend mystery tour throughout the state of Texas. I am sure I left stuff out. (Most especially getting the hell out of Houston Sunday. That deserves its own post, if I’m being honest. #googlemapsformvp)
This was hands down the funnest week of my life, and I didn’t even recap the first half of it – my birthday bash turning 39, coupled with the raiders game. Maybe I’ll get to that at some point. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
So there you are, Chiefs fans and dedicated readers and die-hard friends. How fitting, that on the day the greatest Die Hard villain ever sadly loses his fight with cancer (seriously, Hans Gruber = greatness always), that I finally give you die-hards what you’ve wanted all season long: a credible, legitimate recap of the Chiefs weekend that was.
I can only hope and pray, I’m typing up another one of these in approximately ten days …
And I plan to post the plans for Saturday's "Game of a Generation", ASAFP, on Friday. Wish me luck in making that happen ...