Chiefs’ playoff berth cut short
The Chiefs fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs 18-16.
January 27, 2017
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The Chiefs are down by two points when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finds tight end Demetrius Harris, who is lingering in the end zone, practically undefended. As fans at the Chiefs’ Arrowhead stadium realize that the Chiefs have just tied the game 18-18 the stadium erupts. The deafening roar rivals that of the 142.2 decibels that crowned Arrowhead the “loudest stadium in the world.”
The victory is short lived as a penalty marker the color of Pittsburgh’s infamous “Terrible Towels” finds its way to the field. There’s a flag on the play. The two-point conversion doesn’t count. The Chiefs are losing 18-16 with less than three minutes to play.
“It was dead silent,” recalled sophomore Lindsey Blaich, who attended the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. “That call cost us the game.”
After the two points were taken off of the board, the Chiefs eventually fell to the Steelers 18-16, cutting their playoff run short. The moment was bittersweet for senior Kara Sarson, who is both a Steelers and a Chiefs fan.
“I won’t be sad either way,” Sarson said prior to the game. “Either way one of my teams is going to win. I’ve seen the Steelers win a Super Bowl so I want to see that happen for the Chiefs. It probably won’t, but I’m hoping for the best.”
The Chiefs’ last Super Bowl win came in 1970. Their last home divisional playoff win came in 1993, before any students at STA were even born, against none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. History did not repeat itself, though, and Steelers fans left the record-setting Arrowhead Stadium unshaken by the noise.
Sarson remembers a time when she was one of the Steelers fans who decided to enter Arrowhead for a Chiefs-Steelers game about five years ago. Not only did she have to brave the crowd, but she had to brave the unpredictable Missouri weather.
“It was freezing cold, I remember that much,” Sarson said. “So I was wearing my nice Steelers pajama pants and a Steelers hoodie. I have a lot of gear.”
As far as Arrowhead goes, Blaich couldn’t help but emphasize the atmosphere of the game, the atmosphere that often warrants titles for Chiefs fans like “The Arrowhead Impact.”
“It was loud and crowded,” Blaich said. “And loud,” she repeated three more times.
The red sea of more than 75,000 did not cease banging on their chairs and yelling at the top of their lungs. They chanted the melody to the Tomahawk Chop in a seemingly practiced rhythm, a rhythm that could only be broken by a small yellow flag.
“I was up here,” Blaich said, standing and lifting her hand above her head. “And then I was down here,” she said, returning to her seat.
As Demetrius Harris stood in the end zone holding the football, Chiefs fans hoped that this was the team that would do what Marty Schottenheimer’s Chiefs teams in the 90s and Dick Vermeil’s highflying teams of the early 2000s didn’t: get to the Super Bowl.
When these hopes were taken away, the football town of Kansas City deflated. Speaking of deflate, the Steelers went on to lose to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game Jan. 22.
Blaich was not shy about predicting Pittsburgh’s loss, stressing that they never made it into the end zone against the Chiefs.
“You can’t just kick field goals and win in the playoffs,” Blaich said prior to Pittsburg’s Sunday night loss, “Six field goals doesn’t win Super Bowls.”
The Patriots will move on to play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Patriots fan and STA junior Jordan Kehring was glad to see the Patriots victory, but as a Kansas City native she wanted to see the Chiefs have a longer playoff run.
“I wanted to see the Chiefs win [a Super Bowl],” Kehring said, “It’s been a while.”
Blaich, Sarson and Chiefs fans all over wanted to see the same. For Blaich, the most upsetting part of the loss wasn’t that the Chiefs didn’t win, it’s that they had the chance to win.
“They didn’t win [that game],” Blaich said. “We lost it.”