The year is winding down, and if this wasn’t already one of the greatest years in local sports history, here come the re-energized Kansas City Chiefs. The Royals took the crown, but as commentator Victor Wishna explains in the latest edition of A Fan’s Notes, this might really be “our time.”
So. how ’bout them Chiefs? No, really — if you'd asked a month or so ago, most would’ve said, “Uh…what about ’em?”
In the run to the Royal’s first World Series title in 30 years, the city was lost in a blue haze — it still lingers — and the Chiefs weren’t even an afterthought. More like a painful thought that was easy enough to suppress. After six games, and a downward spiral of heartbreak and futility, any expectations had vanished. No team in the NFL had a worse record, the best player was down and out for the season and it looked like the Chiefs might never win again.
Then something happened: they couldn’t lose.
It went unnoticed at first — that’s what happens when no one is watching. I mean, come on, the Chiefs’ rejuvenating, 35-point blowout of the Detroit Lions happened in London at 8:30 a.m. Kansas City time on the day that would end with a Royals world championship.
But while everyone gathered for a parade, amid reassurances that this “really is a baseball town,” another remarkable Kansas City sports story was taking shape with familiar themes. The Chiefs were busy winning on the strength of teamwork and a grinding, relentless, nearly-error-free style of play. By the time they finished off their decisive, come-from-behind win over the hated Raiders in Oakland Sunday, their streak had reached six, solidifying their standing as the hottest team in the league.
Now, three-fourths of the way through the schedule, and with three of four remaining games at home, all against weak or wounded opponents, the Chiefs lead the Wild Card race. It’s almost like they’re scrounging up a little Royals magic — albeit against a backdrop of mud and blood and freezing rain.
ESPN and the New York Times give them a 93 percent chance of making the playoffs. So, yeah, no guarantees. But we’re on the verge of something unprecedented.
The Chiefs have been playing in Kansas City since 1963. The Royals since ’69. And not once, not ever, have both teams made the postseason in the same year. 2015 might just be the first.
And now the Chiefs are on the clock — they haven’t won a playoff game since Forrest Gump was in theaters. But with a clear path to the playoffs, and a likely favorable matchup looming in the first round, it’s impossible not to wonder whether this could be the breakthrough year.
Could lightning strike twice? Well, it’s long overdue. And the end of one drought doesn’t mean we ignore our thirst. There are dozens of reasons to doubt, but what’s the point?
When times are bleak, sports fans never give up hope. And when things start to turn around, we get nervous. But when the going gets good, like this, we get giddy. And, yeah, a little greedy.