Well, after growing up on hockey and baseball in Toronto in the 80s and early 90s, it was an 8 month visit to London, Ontario, and Western University, where I met some friends who introduced me to NFL football. Determined to not conform with any norms, I refused to cheer for Buffalo and Dallas, the two greatest teams in the league in 1993, and the two most popular teams among Ontarians.
Enter the 1993 KC Chiefs, who had just acquired legendary 4 time Superbowl winner, and the greatest football player in world history - Joe Montana. A perfect band wagon for me to jump on! well, Joe lead us to the playoffs twice, but no Superbowls. He retired after the 1994 season but he was at least able to help bring a winning attitude back to the team and city.
the next 20 years would feature nothing but heartbreak, as teams finished first overall in the conference in 1995, 98, 2003 and 2nd in conference in 2010, only to lose every play off game. but the worst heartbreak had to be the news yesterday, when a player, Jovan Belcher, killed himself and his girlfriend in a murder/suicide. He shot himself right in front of his coach! and leaves behind a 3 month old daughter.
After starting the season 1-10, chief fans had turned to a variety of public demonstrations of frustration, including flying an airplane with a banner over the stadium asking for the removal of coach and manager. Fans have worn black to the games, worn paper bags over their heads, and many have no-showed despite holding season tickets. from 3000 miles away, on this small island in the north Atlantic, we call Newfoundland, I have been leading the charge on twitter..
But everything change yesterday. the team, the fans, and the city, have all come together to mourn and console each other over this horrible event. the team decided not to cancel the game, even though knowing it would be played under significant emotional duress. a spirited speech by the coach lead to an awesome display of team work, bringing KC an amazing 27-21 win over Carolina today, to move to 2-10 on the season..
I have had the fortune to travel to the USA many times to see football games. I have seen KC play live 6 times. 3 at home and 3 on the road.
How ironic that my last trip to Arrowhead Stadium was a game Oct 1, 2006, to see the then 0-2 Chiefs upset the San Francisco 49ers in a 41-3 blowout win! Damon Huard and Larry Johnson lead the Chiefs to victory. How ironic was it though, that 24 hours earlier, I was sitting in Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend Indiana, watching future KC Chiefs QB Brady Quinn lead his Irish to victory over Purdue.
Brady was a highly touted prospect on draft day, but fell down a few spots, before getting picked by woeful Cleveland, where he had three uneventful years. a trade to Denver saw him sit on the bench for two years and not even get to see any game action, while watching the saga of Tim Tebow. When Denver signed Peyton Manning, Quinn and Tebow were let go, and KC grabbed Quinn for the roster, ironically enough, after losing another former Denver QB, Kyle Orton, to free agency.
I went deep into my storage closet and dug out my collection of KC jerseys' including Tony Gonzalez, Steve Bono, and Elvis Grbac. I was too upset to watch the game on TV live, so I set the VCR and went outside for a walk over to the pond to visit and feed the ducks and get some sun. It was nice to return to see that they had won the game.
I have vlogged here.