I am not the longest tenured Kansas City Chiefs fan in the world. In fact, their match up against the Lions at Wembley Stadium in 2015 was my first exposure to the sport in any capacity. However, I didn’t let the recency of my fandom stop me from crying my eyes out when the final whistle blew in Super Bowl LIV.
2015 to now has been a dramatic half a decade for members of the Chiefs Kingdom; five consecutive playoff appearances would have you thinking that the team was in good shape. But regular season success meant nothing in the playoffs, where heartbreak reared its ugly head year in, year out.
From losing to the Steelers without them scoring a single touchdown to Marcus Mariota catching his own pass for seven points in the 2017 wildcard round, the Kingdom has truly been through it all.
Those crushing losses made Sunday night a whole lot sweeter and I would live through them all over again in exchange for another title.
Super Bowl LIV felt like a microcosm of those past five years. The first three quarters were very reminiscent of 2015-17: there was a lot to be happy about but ultimately, we couldn’t put together anything convincing enough for a victory.
The second quarter Bashaud Breeland interception, aided by pressure from Chris Jones and Mike Pennel, continued to build upon the momentum we already gained from scoring the first touchdown of the game.
Our run defence also did a reasonably good job of slowing down San Francisco’s backs in the first 45 minutes, which was definitely a defensive focal point for the Chiefs going into this game.
These moments didn’t come without our own mistakes. A consistent pass rush from Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner, as well as Jaquiski Tartt crashing into the backfield from the safety position, put Mahomes under considerable pressure throughout. He threw bad interceptions in back-to-back drives to end the third quarter of action.
The game seemed to be hanging by a thread, especially because the touchdown that the niners scored after the first Mahomes pick gave them a ten-point lead with just over 15 minutes to go.
But one quarter was all the Chiefs needed.
After conceding the second interception of his playoff career Mahomes came back with a vengeance, and it was felt from all the way over here in the UK. He went on to lead the offence to three touchdowns in consecutive drives and truly earned his Super Bowl MVP award.
That’s what I think the beauty of this 2019 Chiefs team was: you can never count them out. If any other team had been down by ten points with a little more than eight minutes left on the clock then it would have pretty much game over, barring any potential miracles.
But miracles have become a normality in Kansas City since Mahomes took the reins in 2018.
He has never lost an NFL game by more than one score and he turned three consecutive 10+ point postseason deficits into 10+ point victories.
It wasn’t just the offence that stepped up in the final quarter either. The defence completely shut down Shanahan and his offence.
Here’s how San Francisco’s final four drives unfolded:
- 5 plays, 17 yards – PUNT
- 3 plays, 5 yards – PUNT
- 7 plays, 27 yards – TURNOVER ON DOWNS
- 2 plays, 0 yards – INTERCEPTION
I cannot explain the feeling when Damian Williams ran in for the final touchdown of the game. Nor can I express the way I felt when Kendal Fuller intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo to ensure a Chiefs victory.
But that’s mainly because those plays meant so much more than simply the end of a football game.
They gave a legendary head coach the acknowledgment he deserved after seven years of successful leadership. They put the cherry on top of one of the greatest first two seasons by a starting quarterback of all-time. And they may even turn out to be the beginning of a new NFL dynasty.
As rewarding as these things are however, ending 50 years of no Super Bowl success might just top all of them.
On the morning of this year’s Super Bowl Sunday it had been 18,284 days since Len Dawson hoisted the trophy for Kansas City back in Super Bowl IV. This was the second longest Lombardi drought out of all the Super Bowl winning franchises.
Regardless of the length of my fandom, I will never forget the moment the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV. As indescribable as it was, the one thing I can tell you is that it felt as good as you can imagine and more.
Me and the rest of the Arrowheads Abroad team are going to be celebrating for the foreseeable future.