Chief Resilience

"Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do right now, and do it. Today is your lucky day."

- Will Durant
(20th century American philosopher)

The resiliency of Kansas City's fan base never ceases to amaze me. We're just a little more than two weeks removed from a playoff loss to the Super Bowl-bound Indianapolis Colts. From what I've seen and heard, fans of the red and gold seem to be regaining their swagger.

It begs the question: where does that come from?

It's hard to pinpoint one exact reason why year after year the Chiefs are one of the NFL's league leaders in attendance. The same can't even be said of this year's Super Bowl participants. The Bears and the Colts respectively finished 29th and 32nd in turnstile tallies in 2006.

Unlike those communities, it's the fans in Kansas City that wear the pants in this relationship. I don't want to say that in the 20-plus years I've been a fan I've never been reciprocated for my loyalty, but the peak of my devoted existence is merely watching the Chiefs play and lose in one AFC championship in 1993.

Back then, if you had asked me if the Chiefs would play in a Super Bowl in the next decade, I'd have gladly wagered everything I owned on it.

Fortunately, I didn't have to suffer through the barracks of futility that were the Chiefs from the mid 70's to the mid 80's. As soon as I was old enough to fully comprehend the game of football, the Chiefs were only a few seasons away from putting a solid team on the field on an annual basis.

What followed was playoff loss after playoff loss on the heels of numerous winning seasons. Still, it seemed to be enough. This was a team just marred by bad fortune in the playoffs. Their time would come.

I'm still waiting and still bleeding gold-speckled red. Let's face it – the Chiefs are all I have. With the Royals monopolizing the cellar industry in baseball and no basketball or hockey franchise for Kansas City to speak of, the Chiefs are the town's only viable shot at a professional sports title.

I was six years old when the Royals won the I-70 series in 1985. While there was jubilation, it's entirely possible I was just mimicking the excitement of my family.

Even with the no-show against the Colts this year, any devastation that Chiefs' fans exhibited was surely of the 24-hour variety. There is excitement surrounding the players available to the Chiefs in free agency and the depth of the talent pool in this year's draft.

I was at a fantasy football year-end celebration on Sunday and a few league members showed up in Chiefs gear, silently proclaiming their loyalty will not waiver. It's what makes football such a vital slice of Americana. No matter the degree of disappointment with which the season ends, there are still fans out there who let out a resounding "Go Chiefs!" knowing their team has already been ousted from postseason play. The unity and camaraderie rendered is priceless.

Carl Peterson and company have already embarked on what should prove to be the busiest of offeasons. The focus is now entirely on the 2007 season and what can be done to bring some hardware back to Kansas City. Fans will wait with great anticipation. After all, it's what they do best.

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