The Chiefs have finally ended the long tradition of offseason misery
Around this time every year, I’m still only just barely recovering from yet another miserable Chiefs-perpetuated heartbreak, trapped indoors, unable to venture outside for anything other than work or essentials. Like a bitter, cruel cherry floating in my seasonal depression cocktail, I’d avoid all things football at all costs for months.
I’m competitive. I don’t like losing. Just last week, I gave myself a hematoma on my left hip diving into a curb playing catch in the parking lot during my break at work. (If you follow me on Twitter, I might share the photo.) I completed the process of the catch, though, so it was worth it. It would have hurt worse if I hit the curb but didn’t make the catch.
So when the Chiefs lose, I really feel it. Partly because of that competitiveness, but also because it’s something of which I own zero control that I place immense emotional investment in. I can’t fix what the Chiefs mess up. I typically can’t fix what I mess up either, but I can at least try.
When the Chiefs mess up, I can’t start using the process of trying to get better to turn the unrelenting misery of losing from surround sound to background noise. I just have to soak in it. For decades, being a fan of the Chiefs was like willingly being stabbed in the gut at a snail’s pace by the world’s longest sword.
This year, though, is different. This year, everyone is trapped indoors, unable to venture outside for anything other than work or essentials, and I’m two months into riding one of the most cathartic highs of my life. Fanbases who remain in the boat the Chiefs finally escaped out of are currently rewatching old wins of meaningless games to feel some hollow satisfaction in their slow, extended, torturous nightmare.
The Chiefs have only been out of that boat since February, and I already look upon those fan bases with condescension. “How cute,” I think, “I remember when I was like them.” I’m becoming a monster. The cherries are much sweeter here.
The Chiefs aren’t flukey-great. Their greatness has staying power. The absolute best team in the league is keeping almost every single starter who made a significant impact in 2019 on their 2020 roster. #RunItBack. Some characterize it as the Chiefs failing to “get better” this offseason. Last year, the defense was playing together for the first time. Patrick Mahomes was in his second season as a starting quarterback.
Every single day, the Chiefs get better simply by existing. They’re in that sweetest of spots where time is their friend, and the endless tick forward is actually their progression, not their demise.
I’m not quite sure how to handle being the reigning, defending, undisputed champions of the world. Winning is foreign. It’s a fresh anxiety replacing the dull ache of being the best team at being just barely good enough for the last three decades. Now everyone is gunning for my team. Now every minor slip will be dissected and analyzed and heralded as the harbinger of the end of the dynasty that never was.
The Chiefs have finished their transformation from plucky underdog babyface to monster heel, hated because they’re just that much better than everyone else.
When football returns, and games are played in empty stadiums encased in hermetically- sealed plastic domes, Chiefs fans enter a new existence as supporters of the new final boss of the NFL. To each of their opponents, a regular season game against Kansas City will be one of the most important games they’ll play all year. Beating the Chiefs will be a feather that lesser non-contenders can put in their cap at the end of the season. The Chiefs are now in the business of defending a title, which is of course much more difficult than winning it.
Good thing 2019 wasn’t even their final form.