Random Thoughts – Volume IX – Hail to the Chiefs!

Hail to the Chiefs! … Confessions of a life-long fan of the Kansas City Chiefs

In case you weren’t already aware, I am a lifelong fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. Well, perhaps not my whole life – just since I was old enough to understand what it meant to be a fan, which dates back over 50 years.

And I, like the rest of the Chief Kingdom, have waited a long time to have our team and the Super Bowl mentioned in the same sentence.

A full half century.

The last time Kansas City played in the Super Bowl, it was after the 1969 season, in Super Bowl IV.

A long time ago?

Here’s what life was like 50 years ago:

  • The cost of a new house: $15,000
  • A gallon of gasoline: 35 cents
  • Average monthly rent: $135.00
  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon
  • Popular movies: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; True Grit; Midnight Cowboy
  • Born in 1969 … Brett Farve; Jennifer Aniston; Catherine Zeta-Jones

That’s a long time ago. A long time to wait for your favorite NFL team to make it back to the Super Bowl.

If you are wondering why I am a Chiefs fan, it’s really not my fault … you can blame my parents.

Not that they were football fans. In fact, no one else in my family is a sports nut. (Apparently, I was the only one infected with that particular disease.)

No, the fault of my devotion to the Chiefs lies in my parents decision to raise a family in Bozeman, Montana.

In the 1960’s, Bozeman was a sleepy little college town, with around 13,000 residents, plus another 6,000 or so students at Montana State College (MSC became Montana State University in 1965).

One of the college students in Bozeman in the early 1960’s was a scholarship skier from Norway by the name of Jan Stenerud.

Stenerud’s story …  In the fall of 1964, Stenerud was training for the upcoming ski season by running the stadium steps of Gatton Field. That day, he was cooling down from a workout by kicking a football with injured halfback Dale Jackson. Stenerud had played soccer as a youth in Norway, and his right leg’s prowess was observed by basketball head coach Roger Craft. Craft notified football head coach Jim Sweeney of the Norwegian ski jumper’s kicking abilities, and Sweeney offered him a tryout, which was, to say the least, successful.

The next fall, Stenerud kicked what was then a collegiate record 59-yard field goal, and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL. Stenerud went on to an NFL Hall-of-Fame career, scoring 1,699 points in making 66.8% of his field goal attempts. In 1991, Stenerud became the first full-time kicker to be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame (later joined punter Ray Guy and kicker Morten Andersen). Stenerud was just recently named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Hopefully, it goes without saying that it was a big deal for the good folks of little ol’ Bozeman, Montana, that a player from Montana State was playing in the AFL/NFL. It was an even bigger deal that the MSU player was a four-time Pro Bowler.

And it was a huge deal for me as an eight-year old second-grader just learning about football to have a Bobcat not only playing in the Super Bowl, but kicking three field goals (including a then record 48-yarder) in Kansas City’s 23-7 triumph over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.

My devotion to my NFL team was unyielding. As a ten-year old, I held up our family’s Christmas dinner so that I could watch the end of Kansas City’s double-overtime playoff loss to the Miami Dolphins (still the longest football game in NFL history … and it still pains me to remember that game).

And it wasn’t as if there was a great deal of competition for my loyalty when I was growing up. The Seattle Seahawks didn’t even exist at the time (joining the NFL in 1976), and the Denver Broncos … well, they went the entire 1960’s without a winning season (not posting a winning record until the 14th year of their existence, in 1973 … and that was a robust 7-5-2 record). There were fans of the black-and-blue division of the NFC Central – mostly Green Bay Packer and Minnesota Viking fans – but, because of Jan Stenerud, there were a good number of Kansas City fans in Bozeman, and I was proud to be one of them.

When I got to Boulder, and was surrounded by Denver Bronco fans, I had to keep my loyalty largely under wraps (living with my BFF Brad, we split home games … when Denver hosted Kansas City, I vacated the apartment. When the game between the Chiefs and Broncos was to be played in Arrowhead Stadium, Brad watched elsewhere … there was no way we could watch the games in the same room).

In law school, we were asked to pick a three-digit number for my final exams (to keep grading anonymous). So ingrained was my Chief loyalty that I chose the number 389, with the 3 for Jan Stenerud, and the 89 for my all-time favorite player, Kansas City Chief wide receiver Otis Taylor.

Still, it hasn’t been easy cheering for my Chiefs.

Remaining loyal to the Chiefs has been like remaining loyal to the Buffs … teams which tend to test your allegiance.

After all, in CU’s first game of my freshman year, the Buffs fell behind UCLA 56-0 … at halftime.

Now, if I am being honest, I have to admit my interest in my Chiefs, and the NFL as a whole, has waned somewhat in recent years. Tending to the CU at the Game website takes over much of my Sundays during the regular season, with my Saturday game recap, essay, and “Sunday Afternoon Quarterback” eating up a good chunk of the day. Still, I usually have the NFL Red Zone on in the background as I peck away on my computer, and, once we get to December/January, I can actually take the time to watch NFL games once again.

I don’t know if Kansas City will win Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs are slight favorites over the 49ers, but strong arguments can be made for both teams emerging victorious.

What I do know is that Kansas City has won four straight AFC West division titles (my apologies to those of you who are Denver Bronco fans). I know that, as long as Patrick Mahomes can stay healthy, the Chiefs will continue to be a factor in the AFC West race.

I also know that my Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, and the outcome of Super Bowl LIV will not change that fact.

My devotion, spanning half a century, is being rewarded.


Positive attrition … 

A pair of Colorado football players have elected to graduate in May and not play their final seasons with the Buffaloes.

CU confirmed Saturday that defensive back Trey Udoffia and offensive lineman Hunter Vaughn are no longer with the team.

With a paper thin depth chart in the defensive backfield, the loss of Udoffia for the 2020 season may seem to be a true loss. Udoffia did play in 27 games in his CU career, including 10 starts over the 2017 and 2018 season.

The reality is, though, that Udoffia had been passed over by younger players. Even with a lack of quality defensive backs last fall, Udoffia only made it onto the field on special teams.

Special teams was also where offensive lineman Hunter Vaughn spent much of his playing time with the Buffs.

Neither Udoffia nor Vaughn figured to be major contributors this fall, so moving on is a win-win for players and the program. The players get their degree, while the football program does not take a hit on its Academic Progress Rate (APR), which would have occurred had either player simply left the team and Boulder.

Our thanks to Trey and Hunter for their time and sacrifice in being a student-athlete at the University of Colorado, and best wishes for their futures.

And then there were nine … 

The decisions by Udoffia and Vaughn not to play their senior seasons does, however, leave the CU football program with an ever-shrinking senior Class.

As of this date, there are only nine seniors currently listed on the CU football roster.

Since it’s a short list, here they are:

  • Wide receiver K.D. Nixon
  • Safety Derrion Rakestraw
  • Linebacker Jash Allen
  • Defensive end Mustafa Johnson
  • Linebacker Akil Jones
  • Kicker James Stefanou
  • Defensive lineman Va’atofu Sauvao (who has reportedly entered the Transfer Portal)
  • Linebacker Nate Landman
  • Offensive lineman Kary Kutsch

If you want, you can throw in graduate transfer linebacker Brendan Pyne, coming to CU from Brown University, but, any way you slice it, CU has a small senior Class.

It’s certainly going to cut down on the length of time required for the Senior Day pregame against Utah in November …


12 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Volume IX”

  1. I too, watched Super IV with my family, as Chiefs fans 50 yrs. ago on our black & white. We have spoken in person about this Stuart, and I too still love the Chiefs. Old allegiances don’t die, even living in Colorado. I’m very happy for them. Thanks for the essay!

    That being said, I don’t buy much red stuff because of that other red team, just grey and black, mostly, with red accents. And most of all, the Buffs are always my top team! Maybe this is the start of a great year.

  2. Congratulations on the win. Mahomes is the best and Andy Reid got the monkey off his back. With all that said I still rank the Chefs only one notch below may dislike of the Fuskers. No go max out your credit card buying Chees SB victory stuff.

    1. How did you know?
      Sweatshirt and hat on the way.
      Can’t get too bogged down in memorabilia, though … we’d have to move to make room 😉

  3. Stuart:
    Your essay was magnificent.
    As your classmate, I am on the same timeline as you.
    Our trajectories crossed and departed in various directions.
    My love of the current Chiefs is twofold: Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
    My love–and I use the word intentionally–of Andy Reid is based on this:
    He lost a son. 2 of his sons were struggling with addiction, mental health, etc.
    One did not make it.
    As a Public Defender, and then private attorney, my heart bled for Reid.
    And for his family.
    Patrick Mahomes, meanwhile, is magic.
    Go Jan Stenerud! Go Andy Reid! Go Patrick Mahomes!
    Thanks Stuart,

  4. Best comment I’ve read (hattip Vox Popoli blog):

    4TH QUARTER: SF 20 KC 17. Kyle Shanahan is still a choker. Twice, he’s faced 2nd-and-5, tried to get cute instead of relying upon his superior running game, thrown incomplete twice, and been forced to punt. Incredibly stupid considering they have the lead, the ball, and the clock. SF could and should win this game, but if they lose it, it’s on Shanahan’s poor play-calling in the fourth quarter.

    Unbelievable! San Francisco is averaging nearly 9 yards per rush on the ground. It’s first down inside Kansas City territory with four minutes left. So, naturally, you THROW THE BALL FOUR TIMES I A ROW for zero yards to lose the game. Absolutely INDEFENSIBLE stupidity. This is the second time Shanahan has thrown away a perfectly winnable Super Bowl for his team.

    I don’t like the 49ers. I didn’t want them to win, although I’m not looking forward to all the unwarranted, but inevitable Mahomes worship to come. But watching the SF playcalling in the 4th quarter was downright painful. I can’t even imagine how berserk the more knowledgeable 49er fans must have been going when watching that coaching choke job for the ages.
    Labels: sports

  5. I am watching this superbowl to see Mahomes.

    There is no one else I would rather watch play this game Okay Wilson and Rogers of yesteryear.
    Yup ep I recall the whole knock out of Williamson………..and done by a running back. There are a couple of great videos documenting it on utube or is it youtube?

    Wisconsin boy totally loyal to the Pack……………and the Badgers. Still root for them except when they play the Mighty Buffs. When Mel and his Badgers came to Folsom, I had 4 buds come in from Madison. I had multi season tickets at the time on both sides of the stadium Gave them the ones on the badger side. They were pumped. The after party at the house was very interesting and fun.
    Like Mel says…………..Shocked I say just shocked…………

    Always like it when the chiefs lose to the Broncos………..been a while eh. I don’t/can’t root for them but I really wanna see Mahomes and Reed take those “Fony Niners” apart. Ordered extra Guinness…………well just because. Starts at 4? Gonna turn it on about 4:20 when the game starts

    Backgrounding the Golf in phoenix. Some great golf. The place has been packed for 3 days (200k) people. Packed this morning but now just about empty…………….

    Okay then have a great super bowl day
    Go Buffs
    Go Badgers
    Go Pack
    Go Boncos

    And a special

    Go Mahomes

    Okay the wifee is yelling get yur ass up here we got guests. …………oh well it never ends…………….and they are watching all the pre game krappola

  6. I admire your courage Stu for admitting your NFL loyalties among this group. Like the others I have to say the Chiefs are my huskers of the NFL. I do like Mahomes, but I’m rooting for the 9ers. In your case, at least the Chiefs have had some very good seasons. I grew up a Lions fan, which is an entirely different level of misery.

  7. My fandom for CU is a big reason for my hatred of KC. Their colors are way too close the the Huskers so they are my Nebraska of the NFL. So go 49ers and Go Broncos

  8. You knew you were going to trigger us geezers taking about the old days. I grew up as a Green Bay fan. My father got me started and I suspect he was kind of a band wagon guy cause he wasnt from that part of the country and they were winning back when.
    Starr was the coolest QB since Rodgers and we all know where Dowler went to College. My favorite Packers though, were the corners Adderley and Jeter. Even though I was safety in high school and no one hardly passed back then I desperately wished they would so I could shut it down and set a record for picks:-)
    You wont like this, Stu, but one of my favorite memories was when Mr trash talker Fred Williamson had to be carried off the field after he told everyone how he was going to split helmets and knock out Green Bay ball carriers with his karate chop. The guy that shut his mouth was the Packer RB Anderson….no relation to the Buff heroes of yore but the name still rings a bell.
    One of the KC guys I did admire greatly was Willie Lanier. Seems like he was in on every single tackle. I have to admit I watch the Chiefs these days every chance I get simply because of Mahomes. He is Russell Wilson on steroids. He makes it look so easy, almost like he is playing sandlot football but throws laser guided passes no matter what blitzer has their hands on him. Its like he thrives on the danger and drama.

  9. My first Broncos was against the Chefs. Up by roughly 48-3 instead of taking a knee Hank Stram kicked a field goal! Thankfully the fans in the south stands pelted him with anything they could find to throw. My dislike of the chefs is only second to my hate of the bugeaters. Heck I would pull for the Raiders or Cowboys when paying the Chefs. New spelling for a bad word, FUKC.

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