If you remember the names Bennie Thompson and Todd McNair and are still a Kansas City Chiefs fan, you deserve some credit for this year’s undefeated start. You have stuck with your team through some very bad times and should not be forgotten either.
Thompson and McNair were Chiefs teammates on the most recent Kansas City team to win a playoff game. In fact, they won two playoff games together. One was an overtime thriller in Arrowhead; the other one was on the road against a team that was supposed to win Super Bowl XXVIII. The problem is that they played their final game together way back in 1994.
The 1993, Chiefs made the post season by winning the AFC West with an 11-5 regular season record. They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in the wild card round 27-24. Nick Lowery (remember him?) kicked a 32-yard game winning field goal after a grueling 11:03 of overtime. It was near freezing out, but 74,515 Chiefs fans stayed until the end.
Kansas City beat the Houston Oilers 28-20 in the Astrodome the following week, and then lost the AFC championship game to the Buffalo Bills 30-13. Thompson and McNair were about to find out not all franchises show the devotion you’ll find in Kansas City.
The following season, safety/special teams player Thompson played for a good Cleveland Browns team. They won a playoff game that year, but went 5-11 the next, and owner Art Modell announced he was moving the team to Baltimore.
Running back McNair found himself on the roster of the last team he’d beaten as a Chief in Houston. The Oilers were coming off a 12-4 season, but owner Bud Adams had made true a promise to “blow the team up” if the previous season’s team didn’t win the Super Bowl. He had traded away QB Warren Moon, and allowed defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan to leave for Arizona. Head coach Jack Pardee was replaced by Ryan’s replacement Jeff Fisher mid-season and Houston went 2-14.
Two years later, Adams was in the process of moving his team to Nashville. Fans just quit showing up. Oilers football games were replaced on the radio waves with preseason broadcasts of the Houston Rockets. The move happened a year earlier than expected even though the new stadium wasn’t complete. Number 48 returned home to Kansas City for the final season of his career.
On Sunday against the Bills, the Chiefs will be playing in the newly remodeled Ralph Wilson stadium. The funding for the renovation was passed in part because their owner (which the venue is named after) threatened to move the team to Toronto.
Kansas City didn’t make the playoffs in 2005, yet on April 4, 2006 Jackson County, MO voters said, “yes” to a tax increase for an $850 million fixer-up to Arrowhead. This occurred even though coach Dick Vermiel was calling it quits and the future was uncertain.
The home of the Chiefs has no corporate-sellout surname. It remains simply Arrowhead Stadium and recently regained it’s status as the loudest venue on earth. Give yourself a pat on the back true Kansas City fans. 20 years from now, your name may be as obscure as Bennie and Todd’s but you will still be a part of Chiefs’ history.
It’s looking like it could be one of those “unforgettable moments” right now. Go Chiefs!!
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia