In the interest of full disclosure, let me say this: I am not a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I’ve never been to Kansas City, neither the Kansas nor Missouri side. In fact, I’ve never been to Kansas nor Missouri at all, even for a connecting flight. I have no family from the region. I have a few friends whose family is from Missouri, but that doesn’t play a part in my football fandom. I am not a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
There was an extremely short time in my days as a young football fan that my team allegiance was nothing short of random and incoherent. It had nothing to do with teams, but with players. At one point I was a huge Joe Montana fan, so I assumed the role of a 49ers fan for a short time. Then came the day of The Changing of the Guard in San Francisco when Steve Young replaced Joe Montana, who was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Looking back on that day, I know that I was never a true 49ers fan. I was a Joe Montana fan, and promptly changed my allegiance to the Kansas City Chiefs. I knew nothing about the Chiefs nor any of the other players that made up the team besides Joe Montana, but I rooted for them just the same. Why? Because I was a Joe Montana fan.
During that time, I also began to have a man-crush on the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Randall Cunningham. Something about his run-and-gun style of play excited me, so I became a Philadelphia Eagles fan. This time I could be considered an actual fan of a football team, because I knew other players on the team, like Herschel Walker and Reggie White, and rooted for them too. My first Starter™ jacket was the Philadelphia Eagles, much to the pain of my cousin who was a die-hard New York Giants fan.
Finally, when Cunningham went to the Minnesota Vikings, I saw what I was doing. I was rooting for players, not teams. It was then that I kept my green and white pride and transferred my love of those colors to the local team I painfully root for today: the New York Jets.
Unfortunately the Jets, like another 19 NFL teams, did not make the playoffs this season, making the post-season little more than light-hearted entertainment for most sports fans whose teams couldn’t get there. But it can be exciting if you can invest some interest into one team to win it all on the way to hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy. So why not make it the Chiefs? There are plenty of reasons why you can root for the Chiefs and still support your own crappy team.
No Underdog Story is Better than “Worst to First”
It’s a story as old as time in sports: a rag-tag team of athletes whose highlights look more like a blooper reel come together with a dark knight leader on the field and a coach with something to prove to go from the joke of the league to revered champions. Everyone loves to root for an underdog when they have nothing left to see from their own team. Just look at sports movies. If there was a film about the New York Yankees or New England Patriots going through the motions of another season to take home their hundredth championship, it wouldn’t even make it to theaters. It would be a direct to DVD release, and make it onto Netflix a month later. But films like The Bad News Bears, Major League 1-50, Fever Pitch, Rookie of the Year, Necessary Roughness, The Replacements, Slap Shot, and countless others are loved by all. Why? Because the underdog wins.
The Kansas City Chiefs are this season’s underdog story. Last season, they went 2-14 and were awarded the honor every worst team in the league receives: the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. This lead to even more hilarity, as a shallow draft left them using that pick for offensive tackle Eric Fisher. Add that to the piles of fat jokes that came with the hiring of shunned Eagles coach Andy Reid and you had a sports comedy begging to be made.
The jokes didn’t stop there. The Chiefs then decided to continue the tradition of recycling the cast-off quarterbacks of the San Francisco 49ers by trading for Alex Smith, who was all but shoved out the door when he was injured so Colin Kaepernick could take on the starting quarterback role.
The results are still up in the air, but we may very well have a “worst to first” story on our hands. It’s not only interesting and heart-warming. It gives all fans whose teams are sitting outside of the playoffs looking in hope that, next year, they could make such an implausible run. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even make an awesome comedy about it starring Ralphie May as Andy Reid. (Okay, maybe not Ralphie May, but the well of fat comedians took a hard hit when Chris Farley and John Candy passed away.)
Nothing Will Piss Off 49ers Fans More
The phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” has been around for centuries. While its use is normally reserved for important, world-altering decisions of loyalty such as in war, football has enough war metaphors to allow it. George Carlin compared football to war, and I found him to be a tremendously hilarious analyst of culture, as did most of us with a firm, mental grasp on reality.
So what better way is there for a rival Cowboys, Giants, or Rams fan to stick it to the 49ers than to root for the team who received their maligned quarterback, Alex Smith, in order to make way for the future, bicep-kissing Colin Kaepernick?
The story would be epic, and haunt 49ers fans for decades. The #1 draft pick of 2005, Alex Smith, is stuck on a team that continues to struggle with an identity crisis. Finally, with the team finding a sense of security with Jim Harbaugh as coach, Smith begins his ascent to the status of a franchise quarterback, driving the 49ers to the playoffs until he is injured and makes way for rising biceps Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick continues the drive, finishing with a loss in the Super Bowl and plans to return. Seeing no use for Alex Smith anymore, the 49ers trade him to a struggling team in the AFC West in the process of beginning a rebuilding year. Instead of rebuilding, the team gathers itself with a new quarterback, a new coach, and new hope, starting the season with a 9-0 record. After slowing down, the team goes into the playoffs as a wild-card, defeating each team by a thread until they arrive at Super Bowl XLVIII. Their opponent? The San Francisco 49ers. In a battle of the ages, Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs would emerge victorious, hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy as the 49ers were left as the NFL bridesmaid for the second straight year.
Seriously, you couldn’t make up a better revenge story that would put Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy to shame.
Nothing Will Piss Off Eagles Fans More
This is the same idea as The Vengeance of Alex Smith above, just a slightly different story. Our hero in this tale is the mighty Andy Reid, who travels from The Land of Philly Cheesesteaks to The Land of Kansas City BBQ in order to find the one true food.
Besides how awesome that movie would sound, the revenge story of Andy Reid taking the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl after being ousted out of Philadelphia for failing to do so with the Eagles more than once is a story that fans of the Cowboys, Redskins, Giants should easily latch onto.
In one year, Reid took the worst team in the league and a cast-off quarterback and turned them into a playoff team. But that’s just what he does. He sent the Eagles to countless playoff appearances, so it’s not as if he’s a shoddy coach. Now he can show up his old team. Who knows? Maybe he’ll show up his old team with the ultimate revenge: defeating them in Super Bowl XLVIII and helping the Eagles continue their tradition of never quite winning the big game.
Jamaal Charles Helped You Win Your Fantasy Football League
The fantasy football season may be over but, if you managed to win one of your leagues, the pride of your self-proclaimed quasi-expert analysis leading you to select the appropriate players that brought you the victory doesn’t have to end. What could be better than being so right about your #1 fantasy draft pick that he goes on to win Super Bowl MVP honors as his team hoists up the Lombardi Trophy?
The player that probably won (or cost) you your fantasy football championship was Jamaal Charles. Touted as a mere #6 pick in the preseason, Charles’ accumulation of 1,287 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns and 693 receiving yards with 7 touchdowns turned the running back into a fantasy monster, and a lock for the #1 fantasy draft pick in 2014, even outside of PPR leagues.
Sure, it’s six degrees of separation and probably the weirdest reason to root for the Chiefs, but it works for me.