Saturday, February 11, 2017

the top twenty seven of twenty sixteen

“Yeah, you can be the greatest;
You can be the best.
You can be the King Kong
Banging on your chest.

You could beat the world;
You could win the war.
You could talk to God;
Go banging on His door.

You can throw your hands up;
You can beat the clock.
You can move a mountain;
You can break rocks.

You can be a master --
Don’t wait for luck.
Dedicate yourself?
And you’re gonna find yourself

Standing in the hall of fame!
And the world’s gonna know your name!
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame!
And the world’s gonna know your name!

‘Cause you’ll be on the walls
Of the Hall of Fame! …”


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Wow, has it really been three months since I last fired up the laptop and typed something up to post on this site?  You’d think I had been in a deep, dark denial of depression regarding being so, so, so incredibly right about who would win the Presidency or something.  (Pause).  Oh.  Let’s just move on.

Anyways, a lot has happened in the three months since that post went up.  Some things stay the same; some things change a lot * . 

But perhaps the second biggest change of the last three months in my life?

Is something that happened while I didn’t even realize it was happening.

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(*: I set out a “bold agenda” for Year Forty on this planet regarding my life.  Specifically, three things I wanted to change / fix / decide once and for all.  I wanted to move and get out of South Bosnia (aka “the Cerner Redevelopment” area).  I need to replace the car, now that the original POS is paid off, and my shady credit is pretty much rebuilt from the destruction done to it five, six years ago.  And I need to decide once and for all, the “coin flip” I’ve been debating for two decades now -- do I want to spend (for all intents and purposes) the rest of my life in KC … or in Texas.

The first of those has been decided -- I moved two weekends into a house in South Waldo that I’m renting the top floor of.  So far, I couldn’t be happier.  Honestly, the only thing I don’t like about the new place is the shared driveway … but if I’m being fair and honest here?  If I decide “Texas” when I make that decision later this year?  I’m gonna have to get used to a shared alleyway with multiple driveways, as opposed to just one with two.  So I’m good with it.

One action item down.  Two to go.  If nothing else, 2017 is going to be the year that defines my life.  (my parents voice) It’s high damned time you decide who the hell you are!  You’re forty now!)

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I always try to pick “The Theme” for each post, to match how I feel about said post.  Because my life moves to music.  Don’t ask why -- I stopped trying to figure me out fifteen years ago, when I actually went to a mental health counselor in the wake of contemplating suicide, and she thought I was so messed up, all she could offer was chemical dependency to cope.  Which is why I think psychiatry is, uuh, psych.  As in false, not a semi-decent television show that ended a few years ago.  Because after all, wasn’t it chemical dependency on booze and weed that explained why I was so f*cked up at that point?

Anyways, back to the point -- the theme.

The first post I, uuh, posted last year, was the recap of the trip to witness the Chiefs win their first playoff game in a generation.  And the moment that hit me the rawest (and most awesome) was as Sean Smith sprinted for the northeast end zone at NRG Reliant after the 30-0 victory went final … and the PA system started playing “Holiday” by Green Day.  It just PERFECTLY captured the moment:

“I beg to dream and differ?
From your hollow lies!
This is the dawning
Of the rest of our lives!”

Twenty two years of being the AFC postseason’s “ejaculation rag”, gone, via one thirty point ass whipping that was decided seven seconds into the game.  (Note: that play seven seconds in, will help explain Number Sixteen in the Top Twenty Seven below.  (Pause).  The play part, not the “look at my new “ejaculation rag” part.  Just to be clear.)

Exiting Arrowhead after the playoff defeat, I hit play on my iTunes, and a song by The Script popped up.  I can’t say that surprised me -- “3” is one of my favorite … whatever you call a cd, nowadays.  I already used the song off that cd that defines how I feel about my last year at least -- “If You Could See Me Now” -- earlier this season.  I love the live version of “Breakeven” (the song that put The Script on the map), included on the deluxe edition of “3”.  And you can argue the song off of “3” I should have chosen for the theme to this post, sums up what most Chiefs fans feel from January to March -- “Six Degrees of Separation”:

“First?  You think the worst is a broken heart.
And what’s gonna kill you is the second part.
Then the third?  When your world,
Splits down the middle!

Fourth?  You’re gonna think that you’ve fixed yourself.
Fifth, you see them out with someone else.
And the sixth?  Is when you admit,
You may have f*cked up a little!”

That pretty much describes us Red and Gold addicts from the final game of the season … until at least the second installment is paid on the season tickets, which is when you realize:

“Oh there’s no starting over?
Without finding closure.
(Which is) When you take them back?
No hesitation!

That’s how you know you’ve reached?
The sixth degree of separation!”

Yet that awesome lil’ track?  Is not what pulled up.

Instead, what pulled up off of “3” … is the song The Script is perhaps best known for … and that made absolutely zero f*cking sense to pull up in that moment -- exiting Arrowhead, after arguably the most painful defeat inside that building since January 2, 2000.

“Hall of Fame”.

Say wha?!?!?!

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I have been saying for at least 21 years (or, literally, over half of my life) that the 1995 Kansas City Chiefs are my favorite team of all time, and the only way they could be knocked from that perch is when or if a Chiefs team reaches the Super Bowl.

I was wr … wr … wr … possibly incorrect, about that statement.

Because exiting Arrowhead that tragic Sunday evening?  Just hearing the anthem playing in my ears?

I flashed back to so many incredible, epic, unforgettable moments from the previous four, five, six months.  At least seven of which I didn’t cram into this look back -- and there’s at least twenty nine, tucked inside these twenty seven … one of which, upon review, is way too high; one of which, depending on how the offseason plays out, may be at least ten spots too low.

(If you were in your seat, in the west end zone, at least thirty minutes before kickoff before the Divisional Round game, you know EXACTLY what moment I’m referencing.  I’m almost disgusted with myself, that I only rated it Number Eleven.  Then I look at what I rated ahead of it … and other than Number Seven?  You find a moment to boot for it.)

Because in thinking back over the season that was, on that long, cold, wet, defeated walk back to The Bus? 

I have to admit something about the 2016 Chiefs?  I didn’t think I would ever say about a non-1995 Chiefs squad that failed to bring Lamar’s Trophy home.

1995 Chiefs?  In the words of our President: “you’re fired!”

(Which, in fairness to Mr. Trump, to quote Dierks Bentley: “am I the only one” who realizes Mr. Trump flat out stole that catchphrase from VIncent Kennedy McMahon?  I’m not?  OK, that makes me feel better.)

The 2016 Chiefs have stolen the gold medal podium, for my favorite sports squad of all time.

Below, are at least twenty seven, of the reasons why that is.

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These are the moments that made this season so f*cking amazing to me.  This probably won’t match your list, were you to create one.  Especially since at least a few of these are moments from tailgating, road trips, and “you had to be there” scenes of life, that sadly most of you only get to read afterwards about, rather than live them in the moment, and enjoy the hell out of the incredible gift this thing called “life” is, at least for me.

(Wow, did I just say life is incredible, and a gift?  Maybe that shrink did help me fifteen years ago!)

The Top Twenty Seven of Twenty Sixteen:

27: The (Literal) Dumpster Fire -- vs Buccaneers, Week Eleven.
26: “You Smoke?” -- vs Chargers, Week One.
25. The Doink -- at those people, Week Twelve.
24. The Return That Was(n’t) -- at Texans, Week Two.
23. “Spray And Put Your Hand There!” -- vs Jaguars, Week Nine.
22. The ShotSki -- vs raiders, Week Fourteen.
21. “It’s Not A Noose!” -- vs those people, Week Sixteen.
20. “Holy Sh*t -- The Window’s Open!” -- at Colts, Week Eight.
19. The Best “Punt” in Franchise History -- vs Jaguars, Week Nine.
18. The Hold -- vs Steelers, Divisional Round.
17. The Safety -- at those people, Week Twelve.
16. The High Five Nobody Else Would Understand -- vs Jaguars, Week Nine.
15a. “Eric Berry May Have Just Saved The Chiefs Season!” -- at Panthers, Week Ten.
15b. “Eric Berry May Have Just Saved The Chiefs Season!” -- at Falcons, Week Thirteen.
14. The Comeback Begins -- vs Chargers, Week One.
13. “Hungry Pig Right?!?!?!” -- at raiders, Week Six.
12. The First STM Email For the Divisional Round -- vs Steelers, Divisional Round.
11. “Blame It On The Rain” -- vs Steelers, Divisional Round.
10. DJ’s Greatest Tackle -- at raiders, Week Six.
9. “Tyreek!  Tyreek!  Tyreek!” -- vs raiders, Week Fourteen.
8. The Second STM Email For the Divisional Round -- vs Steelers, Divisional Round.
7. “Did You At Least Wager On It?” -- vs Chargers, Week One.
6. The First Two Point Interception in NFL History -- at Falcons, Week Thirteen.
5. Marcus Peters Drags DJ Into the End Zone -- vs Jets, Week Three.
4. “Holy Sh*t!  He Stripped It!  He F*cking Stripped It!” -- at Panthers, Week Ten.
3a. “Come on Replay.  Come on Replay.  Come o -- Here We Go!” -- at those people, Week Twelve.
3b. “”No Matter What, There’s No Way Christmas Night Can Top This!” -- at those people, Week Twelve.
2. My Favorite Moment in Arrowhead History (aka “the Chiefs Topped It”) -- vs those people, Week Sixteen.
1. “F*ck Yeah!  F*ck Yeah!  (Fist Pumps!)  F*ck Yeah!” -- vs Chargers, Week One.

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There are seven plays I cut … that I totally understand, if you rip me for not including them.  Those three seven are:

* Albert Wilson’s fake punt TD at Atlanta, Week Thirteen.  If I didn’t include random “whoa!” and “tailgate greatness!” moments in this listing, this would have probably ranked Number Seven.

* Tyreek Hill’s kick return TD at those people, Week Twelve.  I picked four other plays from that game; this one got sacrificed for the greater good.

* Travis Kelce’s flag taunt, vs Jaguars Week Nine.  Even I laughed at it.

* Travis Kelce’s quick out 80 yard TD sprint, vs raiders Week Fourteen.  Just awesome.

* Tyreek Hill’s punt return at Chargers, Week Seventeen.  Sealed the division.

* Danny Sorenson’s TaINT vs Saints, Week Seven.  The Saints crawled back, but couldn’t overcome this one.

* Demetrius Harris’ fumble return for a TD vs Jets, Week Three.  Blew a close game wide open (it came on a kickoff fumble) … and set the stage for arguably the greatest defensive performance in Chiefs franchise history.

I told you people, this was a season unlike any I’ve ever seen …

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27. The Literal (Dumpster) Fire.

The Chiefs have just lost to the Buccaneers, 17-19, to fall to 7-3, facing an impending trip to fake mile high the following Sunday night.  To make matters worse, the raiders stood poised to seize the division away from both the Chiefs and satan’s squad (also 7-3) if they could win the following day against the Texans (they did). 

To say things were depressing exiting Arrowhead that day, is an understatement.

I took my sweet, sweet time heading back to The Bus after that game.  Because few things suck more in life, than departing a defeat at Arrowhead.  I already know even before the schedule is announced, that I have to build in a solid 30-45 minutes after the game, before we even depart for home, given the ridiculous traffic issues, and the fact that my group arrives and departs in a 1963 Dodge school bus.  And if (Lord save us all) I am stuck with the “get us home dude!” duties as the driver?  It’ll take even longer, because I suck at driving a stick shift to begin with, let alone one that lacks power steering.

(Plus -- and on this point I know I’m right -- you try navigating a f*cking school bus (jimmy buffett voice) between the navigational beacons known as “Gate Six Toll Booths”.  It ain’t easy.  And sorry, Cheetos dude -- it ain’t cheezy, either.)

I finally get back to The Bus, and I notice everybody is standing up at the front of our tailgating area, staring at something across the way.  That something?

Was the sacred tailgating grounds of Arrowhead, literally on fire:


(photo credit: me, via my iPhone 6s.)

A real life dumpster fire, immediately after the sole indefensible loss of the season, for the Red and Gold.

In the words of the great David Naster: “sometimes?  You just have to laugh!”

26. “You Smoke?”

Ten years ago, I exited Arrowhead after what should have been a season-ending defeat to the Ravens, to drop the 2006 Chiefs to 7-6, with a brutal three game, “probably gotta win them all” finish, still to go.

I was so disgusted leaving that day, that I took my frustrations out on the G30 light pole, kicking that bastardo every time another thing popped into my head I was disgusted by, that had occurred over the previous three hours.

Most of you who know me best, know that when “Mount Stevo” erupts, it’s best to just stay away and let the “lava” flow.  Just let me vent.  Don’t do anything to make it worse, and once the lava stops flowing, I’ll make it up to you. 

Thankfully, ten years ago, one person didn’t know that.

Because a buddy of Dusty’s approached me, ignored my look of murderous rage at attempting to reason with me in that moment, and simply said “you look like you need this”, before handing me a medicinally legal herbal product I may or may not enjoy way too often, already grinded and rolled into a Swisher to boot. 

Roll the clock forward ten years.

Exiting Arrowhead after the victory that set up everything that followed it (the Home Opener, a 33-27 overtime win over the former San Diego “Super” Chargers), I reach The Bus, punch up the Victory Song (“Dancing On The Ceiling”), and this sixteen, seventeen year old kid whose group had tailgated next to us emerges from The Bus, holding a couple Coors Lights, and simply asks me “you smoke?”, as he shows me his dugout.

As I noted in the Chargers game recap: “I’m done.”

Ten years after I needed to get high to cope with defeat?

I was damned proud to get high, to celebrate victory. 

Via a sixteen year old’s dugout.

I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m sure it’s a positive thing.

Oh, and also -- we’re not done with tailgating from the Home Opener yet.  Because the funniest moment from Tailgating 2016, will appear in the Top Ten of these moments. 

25. The Doink.

Seth Keysor rated this one fourth in his favorite moments of the 2016 season, and yeah, I can understand why you’d do that.  Beating satan’s squad inside the eighth layer of hell for a second year in a row, is a really great thing.

But that wasn’t even the fourth or fifth best moment from that victory, and every Chiefs fan knows it.

Cairo Santos banging the game-winner off the upright, and somehow getting it through, as time expired in overtime, to beat those people 30-27 was epically sweet.

But Cairo Santos’ game-winner doesn’t top at least three other moments, still to appear in this fond, affectionate, “good f*cking God, he just wrote another 27 page post that doubles as toilet paper!” look back at my (now) favorite sports squad of all time.

24. The Return That Was(n’t).

I’ve been blessed enough to step foot inside what I still consider to be the finest NFL facility I’ve ever attended a game in, three times in the last sixteen months.  (That would be NRG Reliant, in Houston … where the Super Bowl just went down.)

The 2015 Opener (a 27-20 Chiefs win).  The 2015 AFC Wild Card Game (a 30-0 Chiefs win).  And 2016 Week Two (a 12-19 Chiefs defeat).

With a fourth trip guaranteed sometime between September 10th and December 31st!

This, for all intents and purposes (sweet Jesus, why do I keep quoting an, uuh, quote, that Mitch Holtgus uses all the time, and that I despise -- “for all intents and purposes”), for all intents and purposes, this is the game that Tyreek Hill arrived.

Because he took a punt return to the house … only to have it negated by the single biggest bullsh*t holding call of the 2016 Chiefs season.

(Yes, the single biggest.  Sorry Chiefs fans -- Eric Fisher all but sodomized that Steelers defensive end, on the two point conversion attempt.  If we lived in Biblical times?  Eric Fisher would be turned into a pillar of salt, for doing to that Steelers player, what he did, on that conversion attempt.  Also, we’re coming to that play in approximately three more pages.)

The Chiefs lost the game … but ultimately won the war, because that was the moment the coaching staff began to believe in Tyreek.

We’re not done with Mr. Hill yet in this post, for what it’s worth.

23. “Spray and Put Your Hand There!”

If there’s anything in life I will never be accused of being, it is street-savvy, or street-smart.

The morning of the Jaguars game, The Bus wouldn’t start.  This is not an uncommon occurrence; usually the solution is something as simple as “spray some ether on the starter while I turn the key”. 

Apparently that didn’t do the trick that Sunday morning, so Russ removed the filter over the carburator, and told me to “spray then put your hand there” as he turned the key.

I did exactly that.

The Bus started.

My glove literally caught on fire.

Who knew that spraying a can of ether over a carburator, as gas floods into it via the key starting the engine, as your hand holds down the opening, would start a small fire?

Not this guy.

22. The ShotSki.

I live a very charmed, blessed existence, even if half the time it seems like I’m the biggest f*ckup and failure mankind has ever known.

The first preseason game, against the Seahawks, was about as perfect of a day as you could think up -- high 80s, not a cloud in the sky.  Half of my tailgating group had other plans that afternoon they couldn’t get out of … but the rest of us ventured out, occupied our usual spot, and we wound up making friends with the chick who parked next to us, a lady named Jennifer, who works for Breckinridge, a distillery in Colorado.

She gave us some stuff to use throughout the season, but thankfully decided that the raiders game, was what she would use, to advertise and market her company’s product to the masses at Arrowhead.

And she used our tailgate to do it.

We turned the beer pong table into her own personal liquor cabinet … and since I had to lug four -- (mike gundy voice) FOUR! -- full boxes of whiskey, vodka, and gin, over to said beer pong table, trust me, we got more than our $0.00 money’s worth of drink on.

Because Jenny brought in the ShotSki. 

At first, I thought it was another promotional item (which we’d been hanging up around the tailgate).  Oh no.

It was a ski … with four carved holes to put a shot glass in.

And then you and three buddies, had to do a shot at the same time.

The “loser”?  Would have what was left of his or her shot, dumped onto him or her, since if you finished at least third, your shot glass would be dry.

Needless to say, I loved it.  As did everyone who tried it.

21. “It’s Not a Noose!”

Christmas Day.  Chiefs.  “those people”. 

It is tradition that every year, the donkey doll gets a new noose around his neck, to hang by during the tailgate.  It is a tradition that started in 2011, when Cinco Noose Donkey was found at the thrift store off 63rd and Woodson.  He came armed with a noose.  He’s added one every year since -- a real rope in 2012, a leather strap in 2013, an easy-up discarded piece in 2014, and a dog chew toy in Chiefs colors in 2015.  Frankly, his neck is so clogged with nooses, the Klan is jealous of this thing by now.

Hence the decision, to not turn Cinco, in Sies, Noose Donkey.

Instead, he got something far more fitting -- a pacifier.

For every Chiefs game from now until the day I die, that bastardo will be sucking on his Chiefs pacifier … while hanging from the five nooses around his neck.

20. “Holy sh*t, the window’s open!”

Week Eight.  “The Kids” of our tailgating group (of which somehow, I’m still a part of) took off for Indianapolis, to take in the Chiefs / Colts matchup.

I was geeked for this trip for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I have yet to attend a game in a retractable roof stadium, where the roof was open.  Every time I’ve been to Houston or Indy, it’s either been (a) so early in the season the roof is closed due to the heat and/or humidity, (b) so late in the season the roof is closed due to the cold and/or inclimate weather, or (c) I’m there for a NCAA Tournament game, so of course the roof is closed.

I honestly thought there was at least a 50/50 shot the roof at Lucas Oil would be open on October 30th.  And truth be told?  It could have been.  The temperature was in the high 60s … but there was a slight chance of rain, so the roof itself stayed closed.

But the side window?  Oh, it was open.  It was WIDE open.

Seriously -- Lucas Oil has a freaking side window that lowers depending on the conditions outside.  That’s … (john davidson voice) that’s incredible!

Don’t believe me?  Here’s your visual proof!


(photo credit: me, via my iPhone 6s.)

19. The Best “Punt” In Franchise History.

Everything about Week Nine should, on paper, have been a f*cking catastrophe for the Chiefs.  No Alex Smith (concussed -- twice!).  No Jeremy Maclin.  No Jamaal Charles.  No Justin Houston.  A desperate Jaguars team (2-5) facing its’ last gasp stand to save a hopeful season gone horribly wrong.

And for most of the day, a game of potential catastrophe multiplied by pure desperation played out as expected -- a craptacular battle of punts, mistakes, and occasional defensive breakdowns disguised as offensive achievements.

Trailing 19-7 early in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars took over at their own 25 yard line after Cairo Santos’ fourth field goal of the day.  Four plays later, the Jags stood at the Chiefs one, poised to punch it in with over ten minutes to play, threatening to do what I feared so tremendously entering this game: they’d steal the win and screw the season.

On 2nd and Goal at the 1, the Jags handed it off to Chris Ivory … who promptly had the ball stripped by Jaye Howard … and said ball was promptly recovered by Marcus Peters midway in the end zone.

And then, Mr. Peters showed off yet another skill only a player so talented and awesome, as the person whose jersey I wore this season, could pull off.

He punted the ball into where I used to sit (george harrison voice) all those years ago, into Section 109.

Somehow, incredibly, the refs didn’t notice it.  I did -- clear across the field, opposite end zone, and even I saw Marcus Peters raise the ball, drop it, and kick it into the stands.

(jim mora jr voice) It was really neat!

(Mr. Peters would do it again the following week in Charlotte.  It wasn’t as neat -- it nearly cost the Chiefs a victory they flat out stole, via a moment yet to appear.)

18. The Hold.

I’m not going to get into hysterics over this one, because it was a blatant hold on Eric Fisher. 

To set the scene, the Chiefs have just managed to reach the end zone, to pull to within two at 16-18 with a little under three minutes to play.  Arrowhead is going nuts.  All the Chiefs have to do is convert a two point conversion, and they’d have finally caught the Steelers, again, with barely three to play, and finally, for the first time really since 2003, the reason you fight for home field advantage would matter in the postseason at Arrowhead, and that reason is one reason, and one reason only:

Bolster the defense, with the game on the line.

In 1995, in 1997, the Chiefs home field didn’t matter in large part, because the final drive was the Chiefs offense trying to score.  Even in 2003, everyone knew last team with the ball would win, and the deciding drive was really with eight minutes left (when satan converted a 3rd and 6 to Marvin Harrison, for all intents and purposes ending the game.) 

(And let’s not discuss 2010, a game that was for all intents and purposes, over by the end of the first quarter.)

The thing is, even with the conversion, succeed or fail?  It’s still what you try to get home field for -- because with a stop, all the Chiefs would need is a field goal to win, irregardless of the two point attempt.

For a solid two, three seconds, as Demetrius Harris once again caught a clutch pass near or in an end zone (which is ironic; he couldn’t catch a cold on any other part of the field, let alone a ball), it was everything we’d dreamed of.  Our team was FINALLY good enough, to risk everything on one final stand, and we in the stands would play a monumental part, in how that drive turned out.

“Holding, 72, Offense.”

The reason this play doesn’t irritate me like it should, is because I have my doubts that the Chiefs defense would have held.  They stopped the Steelers three times all game long up to that point: one punt, one turnover, and one kneeldown to end the first half.  The other six Steeler drives ended in points.  The odds of the Steelers driving forty yards in three minutes to nail a seventh field goal were pretty good.

Still -- if the hold is overlooked (as it so often is in that spot * Cough Patriots in AFC Title Game Cough *), and the Chiefs tie it at 18?  Is Arrowhead just THAT much louder on the 3rd and 7 that decided the season?  Is it just THAT much louder on the 2nd and 12 before it?  (Remember, the Steelers lost two, on the first play of the game-clinching drive.)  Does Coach Asshat reign it in and play for overtime, rather than air it out on that 2nd and 3rd down?

Let’s hope we get some answers to those questions, when Coach Asshat and his Steelers roll into Arrowhead this fall, for what is all but assured to be a prime time contest. 

17. The Safety.

I’m not sure what stuns me more -- that this only ranks seventeenth … or that I ranked it third, on the list of moments from the Sunday Nighter that (hopefully) forever has turned the balance of power of the AFC West back towards Kansas City?

(Cairo Santos’ game winner already appeared back at Number Twenty Five; there are still two moments left to go, and I left Tyreek Hill’s kick return after The Safety on the cutting room floor.)

For the better part of twenty minutes, the Chiefs and those people played to a defensive masterpiece.  Especially by the dueling linebackers, von miller and Justin Houston.  For those who love a quality defensive struggle (Pick me!  Pick me!), it was tremendous theater.

And then, the Chiefs pinned those people deep, late in the second quarter, and on third down, Mr. Houston came untouched around the end, and dropped the worthless trevor siemian to the turf for the first points of the contest.

Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving dude -- both the person giving the business (Mr. Houston) … and the classless asshat taking it.

16. The High Five Nobody Else Would Understand.

Early second quarter, against the Jaguars, the Chiefs insert Knile Davis into the lineup, and he takes a simple handoff up the middle for no gain.  For at least 70,000 people in attendance that afternoon, that play meant nothing.

For three of us in Section 132, it set off a high five celebration that “How I Met Your Mother” would be jealous of.

Knile Davis got a raw deal from this franchise -- both last year, and this year.  Yes, it was a stupid, worthless play in an ultimately mundane victory over a garbage opponent.  But “Fat” Andy, and John Dorsey, having to eat their pride and admit Knile Davis brings something of value to this team -- enough to put him on the field and give him the ball -- meant a lot to me, Ryan, and Tyler.

To understand what that something is?  You had to be there in Section 121 last January, anticipating the opening kickoff of the Chiefs first playoff victory in a generation, I guess.  But trust me -- the three of us, more than understand it.

15a. “Eric Berry May Have Just Saved The Chiefs Season!”
15b. “Eric Berry May Have Just Saved The Chiefs Season!”

Pick your NFC South roadie, that saw Mr. Berry return a timely TaINT to keep the Chiefs in a game they had no business being a part of, as your favorite.  Because I can’t.

His TaINT in Charlotte gave the Chiefs life, led to a tie as time wound down, and ultimately let Number Four occur, to win the game.  His TaINT in Atlanta gave the Chiefs life, allowing Number Six to ultimately occur, to win the game.

If the Chiefs lose EITHER game, the raiders win the division. 

(Pause).

The more I think about it?

The more I think Number Eleven is CRIMINITELY underseeded, in this countdown.

14. The Comeback Begins.

In the history of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise -- about to enter Season Fifty Eight -- the Chiefs had NEVER won a game in which they trailed by more than twenty points, entering the 2016 season.

With barely a quarter and a half to play in the season opener, the Chiefs trailed the Chargers 24-3.

Thus began, a comeback for the ages, a simple quick slant to Tyreek Hill … to pull within two touchdowns.

We’re not done with this game yet.  Not by a long shot.

13. “Hungry Pig Right?!?!?!”

If you had “Alex Smith throwing a quick out to Dontari Poe for the touchdown to clinch a win over a hated divisional rival!” as the most ridiculous play call that would work all season long?

You’d be so, so wrong.  In a really, really good way.

12. The First STM Email for the Divisional Round.

If you peruse through the long-forgotten archives of this site from 2009, 2010, 2011, even occasionally in more modern times, you’ll notice that I had an addiction -- most would argue it was (is?) my most unhealthy one -- I had an addiction to a show called “American Idol”.

No season of “Idol” thrilled me more than Season Six.  Part of it was due to the fact that Season Five’s Top Two was so indefensible, I had reached the “If Bochco Brings Rick Schroeder Back For Another Season, I’m Out” Memorial Moment of television watching with the show.

Thankfully, Mr. Bochco saved my favorite show of all time, by tastefully offing Danny Sorenson in a strip club mob hit, then dumping the body in the (stewie griffin voice) roo-eens of the Twin Towers, to open Season Nine of “NYPD Blue”.

“Idol” did better -- it gave us fans not only the best top six of any season … but my favorite champion, Jordin Sparks.  (In the interest of full disclosure, this site’s puppy / pony / rooster / rubber chicken rooting interest in Season Six was the runner up, Blake Lewis.  But I was perfectly cool with Jordin winning.)

So when the Divisional Round STM email arrived on the Wednesday before the Steelers game, and I scrolled down to see who would beperforming the National Anthem, and saw it was none other than Jordin Sparks, let’s just say, it got a lil’ bit excited in the Casa de Stevo.

Somehow?

The Chiefs would manage to top that email, barely 48 hours later … with what is quite possibly, my favorite non-personal email, I’ve ever received.  (We’re getting to it -- it’s in the top ten.)

(Also, Note: the link for Ms. Sparks' performance is beyond sh*tty, is shot from the opposite end zone of where I sit, and doesn't even come close to doing justice, to how epic not only Number Twelve was ... but how ... uuh ... (lee corso voice) aw, f*ck it!, tear inducing, the next moment to come?

Is.)

11. (Milli Vanilli Voice) “Blame It On The Rain”.

There are not words to describe, what Eric Berry meant to the 2016 Chiefs season.  Not then, not now, not ever.

And if you were in your seat (ideally in the west end zone), about thirty minutes before kickoff of the playoff game against Pittsburgh? 

Words weren’t needed.

Since I can never even attempt to top what the moment meant, compared to Seth Keysor’s reaction (which damned near mirrors mine, save for not having two kids with me), I strongly encourage you to click and read his favorite moment of the 2016 season.

Like I said … I ranked this one way, way too low.

Because I swear to Christ, it was rain falling from my face, as the golf-clap of applause ... built into an appreciative round of applause ... built into "if this is it, if this is your last appearance here as one of us, we're not letting you leave until you at least can possibly comprehend how f*cking much we love you dude!" appreciation.

It wasn't tears.  I swear.  Ask Milli Vanilli -- they always tell the truth!

10. DJ’s Greatest Tackle.

Derrick Johnson’s best moment of the season (at least according to me) is still yet to appear … but this one needs to be noted.  At oakland Week Six, the Chiefs clinging to a lead opening the 4th Quarter, and the raiders have a 1st and 20 near midfield.  They call a quick screen pass to the running back … and Derrick Johnson arrives as the ball does, nearly decapitating the poor raiders player.

I watched this game -- as I do every game the Chiefs play at oakland -- in The Garage in Sioux Falls, with a gigantic contingent of raider fans (and us six Chiefs fans -- the five who made the trek up, and Leslie, the sole Chiefs fan in Dakotaland, apparently). 

Folks?  Even the raider fans were in awe, at DJ’s full on destruction of their player on that play. 

So in awe, in fact, that when Rudy, Ian and I blew off everyone else later that evening and headed over to Eastway for a beer or three ** , we all raised a glass to toast that play, when it aired at halftime of the Colts / Texans Sunday nighter.  When you’re raising a glass to praise the enemy, as those two die-hard raider fans did?  You know it’s something … hang on.  I cannot do a countdown of my favorite plays from my now favorite Chiefs season, without including a quote from arguably the single most influential person to draw breath in the 20th Century.

Ladies and gentlemen, the great Mr. Hugh M. Hefner.  Hef?

(the great mr. hugh m. hefner voice) That was something … REALLY special!

Aw, Hef!

(**: The Eastway is a bowling alley off of 10th Street in North Sioux Falls.  It is the only bowling alley I’ve ever stepped foot in, that approximates how the late, great Shawnee Village Bowl used to be (brantley gilbert voice) back in the day.  It also has Shiner Bock on tap.  Yes -- Sioux Falls has a bowling alley with Shiner Bock on tap.  The two bowling alleys I frequent here in Kansas City (College Lanes, where my league bowls, and Ward Parkway, where I practice, since it’s four blocks from home), do not have Shiner Bock available period.  Not even in a bottle.  And somehow?  Eastway is at best the third go-to bar, in Sioux Falls when I visit.  I swear to God, if it wasn’t below zero four months out of the year, I’d move there yesterday.)

9. “Tyreek!  Tyreek!  Tyreek!”

Thursday, December 8th.  A little over midway through the second quarter.  The Chiefs have just accepted a penalty against the raiders, resulting in a second attempt to get a punt off, with the Chiefs up 14-3.

I believe the chant started in the opposite end zone of where I sit (I sit in the west side), but by the time marquette king got the punt off, the chant was undeniable.

“Tyreek!  Tyreek!  Tyreek!”

Nearly 80 untouched yards later, the second loudest moment of the season had unfolded.  Tyreek Hill, to the house, to all but bury the raiders’ chances at winning the division.

Somehow, this moment -- which, to be fair, did lead this incredibly handsome dude to realize it was awfully, awfully dusty in Section 132 at that moment -- this moment barely cracked the top ten from this past season:



God bless *** , was 2016 something special, in the annals of the Red and Gold’s history.

(***: since I keep getting asked the “why do you say “God Bless” so much nowadays” question … I made my mommy a promise to “cut back on using the Lord’s name in vain”.  And I am trying to honor that promise.  But -- if you employ your $100,000 Pyramid thinking cap, and replace “bless” with “something a beaver builds”, then you can get what I truly intend to say, when I say “God Bless” or “God Bless It”.  Oh -- and if “really” precedes “bless” in that phrase?  As in “God Really Bless It”?  Then just assume it’s my favorite phrase ever, by subbing in the only word that can be used as all eight parts of the English language, for “really”.  And “really” yeah -- the f bomb can be used, as all eight parts, of the English language.  That’s so “really” awesome, “really-er”!)

8. The Second STM Email For the Divisional Round.

Friday, January 13, 2017 dawned like a typical January day in this fine metropolitan area known as Kansas City that most of you reading this have called home at some point in time.  It was cold, but not bitterly so (about 30 as I recall, a month later).  The city was beyond fired up for the playoff game … and beyond ridiculously nervous about the impending weather forecast, which called for the “Ice Storm Of the Century” to occur Saturday night into Sunday morning.

I was in meetings most of the day Friday, and I got back to my desk a little after 2pm, at which point I checked my phone, and saw about six text messages -- and one “marked” email arrival -- notifying me of what can only be described as one of the greatest thrills of my football fandom life.

“The NFL has notified the Chiefs …”

Prime.  Time.  Playoff.  Football.  At.  Arrowhead.

I literally stood and shouted “Sweet Jesus, Yes!  Yes, Yes, Yes!”  Fist pumps were raised.  The poor guy who sits next to me just looked and laughed.  (He’s used to me by now … I think.)  My buddy Eric came over and couldn’t stop smiling -- prime time playoff football at Arrowhead!

Either Ryan or Tyler texted me -- “is it true?”  (They drive up four hours from Springfield for every game.)  Hell yes it’s true!

NFL fans?  When the NFL permanently moves the noon Sunday Divisional Round game to Prime Time (probably beginning this season)?  Just like you have the Chiefs to thank for hosting the first ever prime time Thanksgiving game?

You can thank us for the first ever prime time Sunday Divisional Round game.

7. “Did You At Least Wager On It?”

I have long said that if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you’d better brace for everyone else laughing at you.

I don’t take myself too seriously.  I like to believe I not only have a tremendous sense of humor, but I can roll with any punch life throws at you better than your average bear can.

So for the Home Opener, our friends from Springfield brought up a chick who openly hit on me last season … and began to do it again this season. 

Last season, I was too clueless (aka drunk) to recognize it, until the moment had passed.  This season, I caught on right away … only, well … I’m pretty much spoken for.

And I noted that to this chick, that I’d met an amazing person over the summer, and that for this day and age, she’s the one for me.

Which led the chick to ask “it’s a girl, right?”

Of course it’s a girl!  Why?

Because apparently she and her friend had a wager on whether I was clueless about her blatant hitting on me last year (the chick) … or whether I am gay (the friend).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my life is the next great NBC “Must See Sitcom”, just waiting to happen.  Right down to Gus playing the David Leisure “wacky neighbor next door that nobody can figure out why he’s here, but the laugh track justifies it” role.

6. The first two point interception return in NFL history.

The only reason this one doesn’t rank higher, is because I truly believe the Chiefs would have won that game in Atlanta, even without this play.  We still had over four minutes to play, following the Falcons taking a 28-27 lead, awaiting their two point conversion attempt.  I firmly believe -- especially based on everything that had happened in the season up to this point -- that the Chiefs would have driven the field and won.

But they didn’t have to.  Because on that two point conversion attempt, Matt Ryan dropped back to pass, was fooled by the coverage, and threw it right into Eric Berry’s waiting arms … and 103 yards later, the Chiefs led 29-28, and the Falcons never touched the ball again:



Chiefs?  You have to resign this dude.  Period.  I’m not usually someone who throws out the “money can be no object, just get it done” sentiment.  I get that you have to churn the roster, and that it’s better to move on a year too soon, than a year too late.

Chiefs?  If Eric Berry is not starting for this team come September 7th, 10th, or 11th (whenever we open our season)?  I’m gonna be p*ssed.

5. Marcus Peters drags DJ to the end zone.

Possibly I rated this one too high -- the capper of all cappers, to seal the Chiefs blowout, eight-turnover victory over the Jets in Week Three.

Because the (almost) final turnover, was DJ picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick for the fifth time that rainy late afternoon, and just as he approached the end zone and was visibly gassed from juking and outrunning the entire Jets offense over the course of the previous seventy yards, Marcus Peters grabbed the front of DJ’s jersey, and drug him over the goalline, to seal the victory.

Few plays this season made me openly laugh out loud, like that one did.  If only because -- and if this isn’t proof I am beyond loved in this life, I don’t know what is -- I had six -- six! -- freaking text messages within thirty seconds of this play, asking me if a ceiling was about to be danced on.

You people know me way, way too well, sometimes.

4. “Holy sh*t!  He stripped it!  He f*cking stripped it!  We’re going to win!  We’re going to f*cking win this f*cking game!!!!!!!”

That quote would be me, on The Deck, as Marcus Peters flat out stole the ball from the Panthers inside of thirty seconds to play, to set up “Pedro’s” game winning field goal as time expired, to beat the defending NFC Champion Panthers in their building, all but ending their season.

To be fair, that game is the one that all but convinced me, that this team’s squad is the only one in my lifetime, that even approached the 1995 Chiefs, for a level of greatness earned.  Because winning that game in Carolina, is something no Chiefs team save for that 1995 squad, could have done.

The offense did nothing -- literally nothing.  They did manage a two point conversion to pull within three, but that’s the only time they found the end zone all day.  It was all defense, all special teams, and man, was it beautiful.

(Also, Ian Eagle with the "Karate Kid Part 1" "Sweep The Leg" reference on the link above, is just priceless.)

But not as priceless, as the four moments still to come.

(Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Yeah, I know there’s only three slots left.  You choose which one should have been slotted at 3 … and which one should have been slotted at 3.  Because I can’t pick which play was bigger.

3a. “Come on replay.  Come on replay.  Come o -- here we go!”
3b. “No matter what, there’s no way Christmas Night can top this!”

3a was said by me, as Pete Morelli emerged from the hood of the replay booth, a solid ninety seconds after what I believed to be a touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill, with less than ten seconds remaining, to pull the Chiefs to within two at 22-24, against those people.  

3b was said by me, as Demetrius Harris -- a man who dropped the ball more in 2016 than I did growing up, playing on the grass at Holy Trinity every chance we got.  (There’s a reason why Samie Parker was always referred to as “Hands of Steve”.  Like Mr. Parker, I couldn’t make a catch to save my ass, no matter how perfect the throw was.)

Do yourself a favor, and block off the next six minutes, to relive what in damned near any other season, in damned near any other rivalry, would be the "piece de resistance" of greatness.

That "piece de resistance"?  

Spent less time at Number One, than "Closer" by the Chainsmokers.

You decide which lack of top billing is more offensive.

Because I can.

Cue Number ...

2. My Favorite Moment in Arrowhead’s History.

OK, fine, so 3b above?  Proved to be a total, utter bullsh*t lie.  I didn’t even get to make the lie that 3b was, last a month, for God’s sake, before the sh*t shook hands with the fan, at the ridiculous assertion that nothing could top the awesomeness of stealing a game in those people’s building with the nation watching.

Something could top it -- ripping the division from the dead, bloodied, bruised, defeated carcus of those people, with the nation watching.  Which is what happened, Christmas night.

(For those of you new to this site, and still reading at this point?  I f*cking HATE the denver broncos more than anything in life, and that includes ISIS, religious conservatives, people who hate credibly religious people, Trump blind apologists, and the leftist lunatics who cannot accept Mr. Trump’s election.  Basically, I tend to hate extremes either way … and the denver broncos no matter what.  Thanks for reading.)

For five long, painful years, the denver broncos have owned the Kansas City Chiefs.  It began in 2011, when tim tebow beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead in Week Ten, a game that ultimately determined the division.  It continued in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 -- the last three in prime time -- as “those people” entered the hallowed grounds of Arrowhead, and imposed their will upon us.

For five long, painful years, the Chiefs were the red-headed stepchild to the denver broncos legitimate heir.

Then came Christmas Night.  Specifically, then came Dontari Poe.

The Chiefs led 27-10, with a first and goal exiting the two minute warning of the second half.  Predictably, the Chiefs played it conservative, sending Charcandrick West up the gut for a yard, content to bleed the clock as close to triple zeros as possible.

And then, for some reason, those people chose to call a timeout.

In my seat, I was irate.  Part of it was because I was cold, wet, and already sick to begin with.  Part of it was because I wanted a celebratory chug or five of champagne at finally beating those people at home, after five straight painful defeats.

But mostly, I just wanted to hear our good friend Lionel Richie to open the postgame tailgate.  Those people were beat, whipped, defeated.  And yet here they are, calling timeouts to stall a lost cause?

Aw hell no!, said this ridiculously sexy-as-hell wannabe blogger.

And aw hell no!, said “Fat” Andy Reid, on the Chiefs sideline.

Because into the game, came Dontari Poe.

I would venture 99.24% of those of us there, or watching at home, thought this would be a run up the gut with Mr. Poe.  I was one of those 99.24% … for about two seconds, until the guy next to me grabbed my arm, yanked me down to yell into my ear (because Arrowhead was ridiculously loud, knowing what we thought was about to come, having seen Mr. Poe enter the game), and Craig shouts “where’s Smith?  There’s no QB in the huddle!”

Uuh, there was a QB in the huddle.

His name … was Dontari Poe.

So when Mr. Poe took the snap, took a step towards the line of scrimmage, and then perfectly pulled off the play that put mr. tebow on the map ten years ago against LSU … yeah, Arrowhead exploded:



You can claim it was louder when Tamarick Vanover was (al michaels voice) “officially gone!”, in what for years was my favorite play, the overtime punt return touchdown to beat the defending AFC Champs on a Monday night in early October 1995.

I’ll say you’re probably right.  But, I would argue, Arrowhead has never been prouder, than when Demetrius Harris caught Mr. Poe’s pass, for the “fuck you denver!” exclamation point, “Fat” Andy intended that play to be.

And in any other season, in any other scenario?

That’s Numero Uno not only on the season, but possibly of all time, given that the 2016 Chiefs have replaced Mr. Vanover’s 1995 Chiefs on my Favorite Sports Squad-o-Meter.

And yet, it only ranks second.

My personal choice for number one?

Probably doesn’t rank in many of your top five’s.  (It should at least rank in your top ten’s, if you’re being fair.)

But it’s my site, it’s my choice.  And for me?

There’s no doubt, what the greatest moment of this season was.

--------------------

(****: normally I am the leading advocate of the “shut the f*ck up, we have the ball!” coalition when the Chiefs are on offense in the red zone, and the crowd gets jazzed anticipating what’s coming.  Folks?  Seeing the formation, seeing Mr. Poe in the shotgun, and realizing what “Fat” Andy was about to cram down those people’s throat (to throw their lord and risen savior, timothy r. tebow’s, moment that put him on the map, right back in their face?  Even I was yelling ridiculously … and was going ape sh*t crazy, when Mr. Harris made the catch.  When you’re up seventeen?  It’s ok to break the rules.  Especially if it involves humiliating those people, or any of their worthless fans.)

--------------------

1. “F*ck Yeah!  F*ck Yeah!  (Fist Pumps!!!!!!)  F*CK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!”

For once, that quote wasn’t uttered by me.

It was shouted by Alex Smith, in the west end zone, after his two yard plunge to open the first drive of overtime, sealed the single greatest comeback in Chiefs franchise history -- from down 24-3 in the third quarter, down 27-10 with barely nine minutes to play -- to 33-27 victory.

It is the play that, to me, defined the 2016 season.  Out of nowhere, greatness happened.  And it happened by someone you least expected to deliver it.

I mean seriously, Chiefs fans, just look back over the moments above.  Anything from Marcus Peters, Eric Berry, or even Derrick Johnson, you can see happening.  But NOBODY thought Tyreek Hill would inspire 78,625 of his closest friends to shout his name in anticipation of a punt return.  NOBODY thought Dontari Poe would throw the defining “f*ck you!” moment of a sixty year rivalry, to end those people’s season (and close their championship window). 

And nobody, with nine minutes to play, rationally thought “the Chiefs can do this.  Alex Smith can author this.  We’re winning this game!”  God knows I didn’t think it.

But someone did. 

Alex Smith.

Cue the highlights, culminating with the play that not only is one of the greatest in franchise history ... but sealed a victory that launched one of the greatest seasons in franchise history:



God Really Bless It, this season really did hit the theme, that opened this post.

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Consider the first in my usual season-ending "Chiefs in Review" posts.  I won't promise a second, third, fourth, or fifth, or more, because if I make you no promises, I cannot tell you any lies, right?

Any feedback, reaction, or drunken and/or stoned commentary in response to the above?  There's a comments section, and my email is linked in my profile.

If I do what I intend to do, the next post will be my Bests and Worsts of the 2016 Chiefs, as well as my Dream Schedule for the 2017 Chiefs.  Then after that, Professor Stevo grades the 2016 Roster, Coaching Staff, and Front Office.  And then possibly my free agent and draft thoughts.

Until next time:


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