Growing up, there was room in the back part of our basement that was mostly used for storage. When I was nine years old, I convinced my parents to convert it into a “play room,” if you will. I essentially created my first ever “man cave.” It consisted of my weight set, a dart board, an old couch and a black-and-white TV. I even had a remote. It had two buttons and made an audible “click” when one of those buttons were pressed.
The Chiefs had just drafted quarterback Todd Blackledge in the first round out of Penn State. Kansas City had gone 3-6 in the previous strike-shortened 1982 season, and I was excited for a turnaround.
The year before the strike (1981), the Raiders had won Super Bowl XV just five days after the Iran hostage crisis had ended. Oakland’s quarterback, and the MVP of that game, was Jim Plunkett. I despised him.
To put that in perspective, I used to put my favorite football cards in a scrapbook to preserve them. This was before sheaths and hard cases. When I’d get a Plunkett card, I’d tape it on the dart board and throw darts at it.
Blackledge turned out to be a bust even though Kansas City chose him over Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Those two are enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. The Chiefs went 14-18 in Blackledge’s first two years, the Raiders and Plunkett went 23-9 and won Super Bowl XVIII.
I vividly remember watching coverage of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan with my Dad in that room on that same old television. He was telling me how he remembered exactly where he was when he heard John F. Kennedy had been shot. I vaguely remember the exact football cards I’d thrown darts at.
My point is, this rivalry is intense and old. I feel it and I missed the entire first quarter. In fact, I looked up the value of the Plunkett cards I could recall this morning, and they average $17 per card. I figure I destroyed at least 10 of them. If I had them today, I’d be headed to the card shop.
Selling them would get me gas to and from the game, a ticket and a parking pass. There’d even be money left over for beer and barbecue. Revenge would be on the house. Go Chiefs!
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia or “Like” him on Facebook.