We’ve all been in tumultuous relationships that have forced us to put up walls and prepare ourselves for the worst later in life. Thus is the life of a Chiefs fan, the proverbial girlfriend that promises you all her guy friends are “just friends” yet leaves you wallowing in a pit of unabashed misery when you find out otherwise. Folks, we’ve been here before, and it never stops hurting.
The stats speak for themselves. 2 home playoff wins in the past 47 years. 1 playoff win since 1994. 0-4 in the post-season against this Saturday’s opposition, the Indianapolis Colts (better known as Freddy Krueger to Chiefs fans). The message for this Chiefs team should be simple: to hell with historians who append their tale. After all, the 2018 version of the Kansas City Chiefs just happens to include the NFL’s MVP Patrick Mahomes, the sidearm-slinging, transcendent gunslinger that dazzled us and the rest of America for the past 4 months.
No, 1995, 2003, 2006 nor 2013 will have any real effect on the out coming of Saturday’s divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, yet you can already sense many in the Kansas City community are preparing themselves for therapy appointments next Monday. NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt has already confirmed that it is a “100% certainty” that the 1-seed Chiefs will fall to Andrew Luck and the Colts, the team that started 1-5 before winning 10-of-11 down the stretch. Certainly, Luck is the NFL’s comeback player of the year and he brings with him a nasty running game led by Marlon Mack and a salty Tampa 2 defense that will look to slow down one of the greatest offenses in football history. Yet, maybe…just…maybe this time can be different. Perhaps it’s the Colts that should fear the home-favorite in this game. The offense that became the first in NFL history to score 25 points or more in all 16 contests. No, the Colts have not seen anything like this all season (the only comparable matchup was a 14-point loss to New England back in October).
So while the Chiefs are busy trying to exercise 24 years of playoff futility this Saturday, it’s important to delve into just what brought us to our current mindset. Warning: revisiting the past can be equally devastating as it is therapeutic.
With the wind chill hovering around -11 degrees, my childhood and innocence would be dashed in one fell swoop as the mighty and invincible 13-3 Chiefs would be turned away by a 9-7 wildcard Colts team without Marshall Falk and with quarterback Jim Harbaugh throwing for a paltry 112 yards. Not to be outdone, Chiefs QB Steve Bono threw three devastating interceptions and kicker Lin Elliot missed three field goals in one of the most bitter defeats in franchise history. After 23 years, the kicker that was basically ran out of town, broke his silence and chronicled his experience from the game. Colts 10 Chiefs 7.
The 2003 season was a memorable one indeed as the Chiefs brought another 13-3 record into the playoffs. This time a 2 seed, the Chiefs and a prolific offense were faced with the dubious task of slowing down Peyton Manning and the high-flying Colts. The Chiefs defense may as well have been air in this contest as the Colts were not forced to punt throughout the entirety of the game and another rabid Arrowhead crowd slinks back to their cars after a loss. Colts 38 Chiefs 31.
The 2006 season ended with the Chiefs needing a miracle just to make the post-season and they were gifted said miracle as a peristaltic chain of events sent the team to Indy for round 3. No problem here as the Colts had the 32nd ranked run defense and the Chiefs boasted the league’s top rusher in Larry Johnson. 32 yards and zero touchdowns until the 3rd quarter spelled doom once again and the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl against Chicago. Colts 23 Chiefs 8.
Most fresh in the minds of the Chiefs Kingdom is the 2014 debacle, a game that appeared well in hand until…it wasn’t. Andrew Luck and the Colts erased a 38-10 deficit in the third quarter in route to the second greatest comeback in playoff history. This took place during the first year of the Andy Reid era and still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those involved.
Since that time the organization actually won a playoff game believe it or not- a 30-0 beatdown of the hapless and Brian Hoyer led Texans back in 2016, but a bitter defeat at New England, a loss to the Steelers in a game in which they kicked 5 field goals and a blown 21-3 lead at home against Tennessee have done nothing to take away from the notion that this franchise just cannot win in the post-season regardless of venue, weather or personnel or circumstance. If the frustration doesn’t end Saturday it will only perpetuate the feelings of despair and misery. A win, however, catapults the Chiefs to the AFC championship game, a feat not reached since Joe Montana led them there in 1994, and to reach its first Super Bowl since 1970 all that needs to be accomplished is simply doubling the amount of playoff games every won at Arrowhead Stadium.