The Road To Glory: Part XX

Super Bowl: Kansas City Chiefs 38, Philadelphia Eagles 35

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

I’ve no idea how to start this or what to say, for I am overwhelmed by a certain and very specific mixture of immense happiness that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, relief that my feelings — or intuition, I suppose — heading into the game were justified, a little bit of sadness that the 2022 football season is over, and yeah probably some remainder of all the alcohol that was consumed during the course of the game. My body is tired. My brain is spent. But I can’t deny that it was and is incredibly worth it.

Yes it’s true: The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions for the second time in four years. The last time it happened, in 2020 (which was technically the 2019 NFL season), was literally a month before the world shut down due to Covid-19. I was elated then in a different way than I am now, because that one was more like Thank God They Won I Can Die Happy; this time around was to build on a legacy that I have always felt was real, and right in their grasp, but came with it a strong sense of anxiety due to just how difficult it is to get to this point in the season.

Chiefs fans all have these wild hopes and dreams about Patrick Mahomes one day putting himself within some reasonable striking distance of Tom Brady’s seven championship rings. We want so desperately for his very plain and obvious talents to be rewarded in terms of Super Bowl titles. I think we are all aware of how ridiculous and unlikely it is that it actually comes to fruition, but I suppose that’s why I call it a dream. After the first championship I bargained with myself that winning the big game three times is something I would be happy with, knowing once Mahomes got there I would settle for nothing less than five.

The problem with it all is that even getting three can’t happen until you get to two, and for a large stretch of this game against the Eagles it felt on the brink of impossible. I paced around my backyard at halftime scrolling Twitter as my timeline oozed about the utter domination Philadelphia had put on the Chiefs in the first half, on top of being reminded that teams who trailed by 10+ points at halftime were a basically moribund 1-26 in Super Bowl history. There wasn’t a lot to feel good about as Rihanna distracted me for a few seconds while Kansas City faced a 24-14 deficit.

But then the second half started, and I was brought back into the world where Patrick Mahomes plays quarterback for my team and nothing else matters. The second half was an offensive symphony by Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid, one that twice saw red zone touchdowns where the wide receiver was the only player within ten yards of the football. Absolute walk-ins. The Chiefs got contributions from everybody, including rookies and free agent signings and, yes, even a mid-season acquisition who now owns the record for the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.

I titled this series The Road To Glory not only because I felt like a second Super Bowl in four years was in reach — which I did — but concurrently that the NFL season mirrors my own life and times. I can’t help but feel like these arduous sporting campaigns are a reflection of me in some way, that there is a real relationship between what is going on with my favorite football team and what is going on in my personal world. How well they do relates to how well I do, and how well I am doing to some degree dictates how well they are doing.

I’m aware that I have no control over how well the Chiefs perform on Sundays (and an occasional Thursday or Saturday or Monday), I’m just saying it is absolutely a part of me. This season in particular has coincided with a rather interesting stage, or phase, of my day-to-day reality, and there have been stretches where football mattered a lot less to me than it has in previous years. As magical and as important as this Super Bowl means to the Chiefs, and to me, by extension, what this season has taught me is that I have bigger fish to fry and significantly more consequential matters to hang the hat of my happiness on.

Just as the Chiefs take it one week at a time, and one play at a time, I am trying to get back to living my life one day at a time. I can have all the hopes and dreams for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but what truly makes me happy are my own hopes, and my own dreams. Sometimes I get caught with my hand in the cookie jar of my future, and I look ahead too much to ever make it come alive. I have sacrificed so many days envisioning what may or may not be instead of appreciating what I have in front of me, and who I have in front of me. What is a stupid sport compared to that?

Kansas City went on their road to glory in 2022 and found it. I have been on my road for my entire life, and though I have yet to realize it I know what it is, and I know what I have to do, and I know that I just have to keep going. I want it more than any Super Bowl, and any thing. And here I am.

This has been a wonderful football season and an even better season of my life. I am so happy to be here, right now, in February of 2023. And I look forward to many more football seasons and many more Februaries.