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Old 12-24-2008, 07:08 AM  
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Christmas Reflection from KCJohnny

I was 10 years old on Christmas Day 1971. I was transfixed as two of the brand new AFC’s powerhouses were dueling in the playoffs in what would turn out to be the longest game in NFL history. The two 10-3-1 teams were deadlocked at 24 and heading into a 2nd sudden death overtime. The Chiefs won the toss and Ed Podalak returned the kickoff more than 70 yards deep into Dolphin territory. Future HoF kicker Jan Stenerud mysteriously miffed a medium range FG and the Dolphins drove down the other way for a game-winning Garo Yepremium FG.

Hot tears streamed down my face as I stared at the little black & white TV in stunned disbelief. How could the Chiefs have lost? It would be a feeling that would return more than once.

As a young man I drifted away from many of the things I loved as a boy, and Chiefs football was one of them. For some reason I got very interested again during the 1990 season. These Chiefs were fun to watch! The defense was especially entertaining with some of the league’s top DBs shutting down WRs and Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas disrupting opposing backfields.

There were 3 playoff games and one regular season finale that brought back the bewildered emotions of that little 10 year old boy.

The first was the 1995 AFC Divisional Playoff game against Indy. the kicker that shall go unnamed missed 3 FGs in that game as the Colts beat the Chiefs in a frozen Arrowhead stadium 10-7. I remember walking out into the frigid night air and staring at the Christmas lights decorating the neighborhood apartments and wondering how a mere sports contest could make me feel so lost, so empty, so sad.

The second was the 1997 AFC Divisional Playoff vs the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos. Tony Gonzalez was pushed out of the back of the end zone while making a grab for (an apparent) TD. There was no replay review in those years. Then with the score 14-10 Pete Stoyonavich kicked a 34 yard FG to close the gap to 14-13 – but wait! Holding? Holding on a FG attempt? Announcer Paul McGuire spoke for Chiefs fans around the world when he frantically questioned the call. “Holding?” he shouted in his microphone, “What holding? There was no hold on the play!” The Chiefs backed up 10 yards and missed. Elvis Grbac’s helmet microphone malfunctioned on the final drive and he couldn’t hear O-Coord Paul Hackett’s plays being sent in. The Chiefs ended the game on the Denver 28 with an incomplete pass. Had the phantom holding call not taken those 3 points off the scoreboard, Stoyo would have had a shot at the game winner. Again I walked outside as that sickening feeling returned. Why????

2 January, 2000. I followed the game on the internet in my office 15 miles from the Military Demarcation Line dividing North and South Korea. The game was very personal to me as HC Gunther Cunningham had sent me a “CARE package” with a team poster, media guide, letter from Gun and an autographed Chiefs ball cap. The coolest thing was the Christmas card. Gunther Cunningham grew up in an Army family, his father a career American Soldier like myself. I was genuinely touched. I got up at 0400 hours to log on and follow the game online. The Chiefs jumped out to a 17 point lead and a win would give them the AFC West title. Rich Gannon led the Raiders to a dramatic comeback and the game was knotted up 38-38 when K Pete Stoyanovich, whose 44-yarder beat the Raiders back in Week 12, missed a game-winning attempt and the game went into overtime. Oakland marched down the field after a botched Jon Baker bare-footed kickoff gave Oakland the ball on their 40 (what is it with the Chiefs and kickers????). Raider kicker Joe Nedney spoiled the Kansas City hopes for a playoff berth with his game winning FG. I stared at my computer monitor in familiar shock and disbelief. Did that really just happen? The emotional surge of dark disappointment seemed overwhelming.

Fast forward to Baghdad, January 2004. While deployed in counterinsurgency operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, football seemed like an extravagant, nearly meaningless interest. And yet the game was piped into our Forward Operating Base as the Chiefs and Colts fired up each other’s defenses in a shootout at Arrowhead and I had to watch. One stop! Force one punt and we go to the AFC Title game! I stared again in disbelief as Tony Gonzalez was called for offensive pass interference on a TD that resulted in a missed Morten Andersen FG. Instead, the Chiefs lost as Indy ate up the final 4:16 as the Chiefs squandered a 3rd 13-3 season with homefield advantage… and that awful feeling visited me again, in war-torn Baghdad.

Its almost like it’s become emotionally safer to watch a bad Chiefs team than a competitive one. Almost.

Christmas is an emotional time for me for some very personal reasons. It is for many people that experienced childhood trauma or some other emotional imprinting at the time of year when all should be ‘merry and bright.’ Following the Chiefs all these years has been a roller coaster ride. And losing all those big games in such close fashion always brought me back to that Christmas Day in 1971.

Like every Chiefs fan, the little boy in me that ran around on the sandlots pretending to be Len Dawson or Willie Lanier still believes that a Chiefs Super Bowl will erase it all, redeem the past, and cure for all time that awful feeling of shock, disbelief and aching disillusionment. Perhaps we will see a Lombardi Trophy underneath the tree in a (hopefully near) Christmas yet to come. That’s what little boys dream of isn’t it?

Merry Christmas,
KCJohnny



>>

Last edited by KCJohnny; 12-24-2008 at 07:57 AM.. Reason: spelling/edits.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
InChiefsHell InChiefsHell is offline
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Good read dude. You should submit that to somewhere, it's printable.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:30 AM   #3
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Thanks, ICH, I appreciate that. From your username, I am guessing you feel my pain!
Merry Christmas,
KCJ
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:43 AM   #4
Ebolapox Ebolapox is offline
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the 95 playoff loss to the colts was the first time I wept at a chiefs' loss. I was at the 2000 loss to the raiders in the last game of the year. it was especially painful--the drive home from KC was the longest drive ever.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:50 AM   #5
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H5N1 View Post
the 95 playoff loss to the colts was the first time I wept at a chiefs' loss. I was at the 2000 loss to the raiders in the last game of the year. it was especially painful--the drive home from KC was the longest drive ever.
That 2000 loss was particularly painful for me, too, H5N1.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:52 AM   #6
crazycoffey crazycoffey is offline
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Very good read, nice share and thanks, alot!!!
Oh, and might I say - Stop deploying, retire or at least don't go overseas anymore......
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:58 AM   #7
old_geezer old_geezer is offline
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Being an Old geezer my most painful memory was watching my beloved Chiefs get mugged by the Packers in Super Bowl 1. Of course my favorite memory is watching the incomparable Otis Taylor dance down the sideline to put the exclamation point on the Chief's only Super Bowl win.

Of to work now - Merry Christmas to all (and to all a good night).
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:13 AM   #8
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCoffey View Post
Very good read, nice share and thanks, alot!!!
Oh, and might I say - Stop deploying, retire or at least don't go overseas anymore......
LOL, I hope my deployments aren't part of this awful kickers-cost-us-the-season curse...

Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:17 AM   #9
crazycoffey crazycoffey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCJohnny View Post
LOL, I hope my deployments aren't part of this awful kickers-cost-us-the-season curse...

Merry Christmas!

We'll know for sure someday, within the next 15 years....
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:25 AM   #10
InChiefsHell InChiefsHell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCJohnny View Post
LOL, I hope my deployments aren't part of this awful kickers-cost-us-the-season curse...

Merry Christmas!
Hmmm. Interesting. This whole time it's been Dammit Carl! but perhaps it should have been Dammit KCJ!

...food for thought...

...hehehehe. Thanks for the service, it's at least a little more important than the Chiefs...
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:28 AM   #11
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InChiefsHell View Post
Hmmm. Interesting. This whole time it's been Dammit Carl! but perhaps it should have been Dammit KCJ!

...food for thought...

...hehehehe. Thanks for the service, it's at least a little more important than the Chiefs...
Well, there are multiple causes for all the near misses, but the common denominator in all the heartbreak is KICKERS!!!!!!!
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:32 AM   #12
gblowfish gblowfish is offline
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It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to be a Chiefs Fan.
That's why we're called "Long Suffering Chiefs Fans."

Nice story, Merry Christmas to All The CPers!
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:33 AM   #13
El Jefe El Jefe is offline
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That was a good read. I think one of the hardest games for me to watch was the 04 Colts vs Chiefs game. I also went to watch the game against the Browns when we got beat in OT by an unknown Derek Anderson, it was an amazing game, but a long 3 hour ride back home.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #14
KCJohnny KCJohnny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcchiefsfanGoLJ View Post
That was a good read. I think one of the hardest games for me to watch was the 04 Colts vs Chiefs game. I also went to watch the game against the Browns when we got beat in OT by an unknown Derek Anderson, it was an amazing game, but a long 3 hour ride back home.
Those are painful experiences that endure long after the games themselves. I remember that game. I couldn't believe what was happening.

LOL, Chiefs football is a trauma laden event. Buyers beware!
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:44 AM   #15
El Jefe El Jefe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCJohnny View Post
Those are painful experiences that endure long after the games themselves. I remember that game. I couldn't believe what was happening.

LOL, Chiefs football is a trauma laden event. Buyers beware!
Yeah it always makes me laugh, because at one point, I said to myself "this can't be happening". It's a line I have said to myself way to many times to remember.
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