Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was born in Washington state, but raised in San Diego County, CA. Although he later played for the San Francisco 49ers, he grew up a fan of their in-state rivals, the San Diego Chargers. His favorite player was QB Stan Humphries.
Humphries was traded to the Chargers by the Washington Redskins in 1992 after then San Diego QB John Friesz went down with a preseason injury. His new team was coming off a 4-12 season, and with him at the helm, started the year 0-4. San Diego then won 11 of the next 12, the AFC West, and made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
In the wildcard game, No. 12 would play, despite having a separated shoulder, and lead the Bolts to a shutout 17-0 victory over, sure enough, Kansas City.
Smith came to the Chiefs from the 49ers in a trade because he suffered a concussion, and his backup, Colin Kaepernick, led San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII. His new team was coming off a 2-14 season. Smith has them off to a 9-1 start and in good position to make the playoffs, also for the first time in a decade.
In 1994, Humphries took the Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl. He did so by scoring 16 unanswered second-half points against Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins for a 22-21 victory in the divisional round, and by upsetting the 10.5 point favorite Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship.
San Diego lost Super Bowl XXIX to San Francisco, but returned home to 100,000 plus fans cheering for them.
It’s going on a half century since Kansas City’s franchise has made it to the big game. If Smith can even get the Chiefs back there, he, like his idol, would receive a hero’s welcome in Arrowhead Stadium. The parallels between the two exist, but first things first…
Win against your favorite childhood team (now division rival) Chargers on Sunday.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.