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Tipsheet: Long-suffering Chiefs fans have cause for celebration

Tipsheet: Long-suffering Chiefs fans have cause for celebration

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Tipsheet has avoided the NFL for the entire season. The league is gone and it’s not coming back, so there’s no point dwelling on it any more.

But we’re ending the boycott to salute the Kansas City Chiefs.

That franchise has a massive regional fan base. Folks on Missouri’s Left Coast live and breathe Chiefs football. They’ve had lots of good teams over the years but it’s been 50 years between Super Bowls.

Blues fans can relate to that. Chiefs fans have filled up their stadium year after year after year. They faithfully tailgate week after week after week like few fan bases can.

They have waited and waited and waited for something special to happen for their game.

And now it has. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has made all things possible for the Chiefs, who are headed to Miami to face the San Francisco 49ers after dispatching the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the AFC Championship Game.

Here is what folks are writing about that:

Rodger Sherman, The Ringer:There are no bad times when your quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. You can be buried under a pile of rubble created when a 240-pound running back busted through all the walls of your house like the Kool-Aid Man with abs, and it doesn’t matter. He shines in any weather. Last week, Mahomes’ Chiefs fell into a 24-0 deficit against the Texans. It was weird—his receivers dropped passes; Kansas City’s kick returners muffed kicks; a punt got blocked. Mahomes saw the high bar and treated it as an opportunity to set a new high-jump record, leading the Chiefs on seven straight touchdown drives while throwing five TD passes. In Sunday’s AFC championship game, Mahomes’s Chiefs dug themselves into another double-digit first-half deficit against the Titans, as Derrick Henry trucked through any and all attempted tackles. For the second straight week, Mahomes erased the deficit by halftime. After punting on their first drive, the Chiefs scored touchdowns on five of their next six drives to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 35-17 lead. Mahomes had 294 passing yards and three touchdowns.”

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: “The new face of the NFL took the podium Sunday night wearing a Versace jacket and leopard-print sneakers. His shaggy-do hairstyle had long since inspired wigs that sprung up around town mimicking that new look.  Twenty-four year old Patrick Mahomes stared down at an audience during his postgame presser that included not only the media but fawning septuagenarians -- 70 year olds – Kansas City Chiefs fans, staff -- who had waited half a century to see something like this.  In his second season as a starter, the Chiefs quarterback had accomplished what scores of coaches, general managers and players couldn't since the franchise's last Super Bowl exactly 50 years and eight days ago.  The Chiefs won that one over the Vikings in Super Bowl III. It took a kid who wouldn't even be born for another 26 years for the Chiefs to get back to the championship promised land.”

Albert Breer, SI.com: “It was true to who the Chiefs have been for most of this year: less aesthetically spectacular, but tougher, more complete and more resourceful. That was illustrated by the defining moment of Sunday’s game. With 23 seconds left in the first half and the Chiefs facing second-and-10 at the Tennessee 27, Mahomes took a shotgun snap and stepped up to avoid Titans DE Harold Landry, then ran sideways toward the boundary, slipping past a diving Derick Roberson, then beating Rashaan Evans around the corner. From there, he tightroped up the left sideline past DaQuan Jones, cut back, put his shoulder into Tremaine Brock's chest, spun off him and dove over the goal line. That gave the Chiefs their first lead, 21–17, and changed the complexion of the game. Those inside the organization know that for most of the year, with ankle and knee injuries, that part of Mahomes’s game hasn’t been there as much. But he’s gotten healthier, and it’s the playoffs, so the reigning MVP gritted his teeth and made something out of not a whole lot. Brock’s chest, spun off him and dove over the goal line. That gave the Chiefs their first lead, 21–17, and changed the complexion of the game. Those inside the organization know that for most of the year, with ankle and knee injuries, that part of Mahomes’s game hasn’t been there as much. But he’s gotten healthier, and it’s the playoffs, so the reigning MVP gritted his teeth and made something out of not a whole lot.

Terez Paylor, Yahoo! Sports: “Nevermind the fact the score gave the Chiefs only a four-point lead, and that there were still two quarters left to go in Kansas City’s historic 35-24 victory, or even that the run was arguably the greatest play of Patrick Mahomes’ career (which is saying something).  To Chiefs fans, after years of postseason heartbreak — more than those outside the state of Missouri understand — it just meant more. That fan base included actors Paul Rudd and Eric Stonestreet, who each whooped it up during the game. The two were spotted postgame offering congratulations and hugs to Chiefs players and front-office executives. For one of Chiefs fans’ own to make a play like that — an “I’m the best guy on the field, dammit, and we’re not going to lose this playoff game” play — on the stage he did, against a team that plays a smash-mouth style that has give. In K.C. fits in the recent past, it represented a physical manifestation for why things are different now.. They also posed for photos with the Lamar Hunt Trophy, reveling in the moment.

Ian O’Connor, ESPN.com:Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan can share a few cross-generational notes before they take their talents -- and their talented rosters -- to South Beach. Neither the 61-year-old Reid nor the 40-year-old Shanahan has won a Super Bowl ring, but both are living, breathing advertisements for how to lose one, and for how to handle the fallout with dignity and grace. That fallout is considerable, of course, as the coaches of the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be constantly reminded between now and Feb. 2, in Miami Gardens, Florida -- site of Super Bowl LIV. Back in the big game for the second time in his head-coaching career, and for the first time in 15 years, Reid did not have his Philadelphia Eagles ready to play four quarters in his one-and-done Super Bowl appearance against the New England Patriots. Philly's bizarre bleed-the-clock strategy in the final minutes -- while trailing by two scores -- bewildered Bill Belichick, his players and the Fox broadcast team. Shanahan? He was Atlanta's offensive coordinator and the primary culprit during the mother of all Super Bowl meltdowns three years ago, gifting Belichick another ring in ways even Reid couldn't fathom. His playcalling in the fourth quarter even angered his loyal quarterback, Matt Ryan, as the remains of a 28-3 lead were squandered in what would be a devastating overtime defeat.

MEGAPHONE

“We all believe in him. It’s not just me, it’s everybody. We’re lucky to have some guys that build a lot of confidence within you and from a coaching standpoint, on both sides of the ball. Pat’s a leader of the team and everybody knows that. They all respect him for it. He knows how to handle it and that’s why we’re here.”

• Chiefs coach Andy Reid, on quarterback Patrick Mahomes.


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Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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