The last time the Kansas City Chiefs were playing on Championship weekend was 1993. We lost a game to the Buffalo Bills 30-13. Joe Montana‘s interception and eventual concussion kept the Chiefs from having a realistic chance that day. In light of the fact it’s been almost 20 years since the Chiefs had a meaningful championship game, what matters today?
1. Tony Gonzalez – If you’ve been a Chiefs fan for very long, you know the impact and greatness of Tony Gonzalez. I personally have his jersey, and I’m sure tens of thousands of other Chiefs fans do as well. It’s not that hard to cheer against the Atlanta Falcons today, but it’s impossible as a Chiefs fan to cheer against Gonzalez. His emotional first ever playoff win last week was one for the ages.
2. Ray Lewis – The last great Chiefs defensive player was Derrick Thomas, though Jared Allen may have gotten to that level had he stayed in town. With so few teams having a player than can truly shut down a team, it’s great to watch and remember a player like Ray Lewis. Our future is bright. We hope that Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, or Tamba Hali can be a dominating defensive player. To this point, the Chiefs haven’t had a player even close to the excellence of Ray Lewis, since Thomas.
3. Kaepernick and Flacco – Kaepernick’s showing today could help to determine the future of the more fluid run style offense with a dynamic physical talent. His success could also seal the fate of Alex Smith, though it probably has already. If Smith gets cut and is allowed to search the market, the Chiefs are one of many possible destinations. Joe Flacco is also a free agent but even with a poor game, there’s little chance the Ravens let him hit the market.
4. 3-4 vs 4-3 Defense – The 49ers and the Ravens run the 3-4 defense. The Patriots and the Falcons run the 4-3. Defense has a lot to do not only with scheme, but personnel. We all know the 49ers and Ravens have better defenses than the Falcons and Patriots, but today’s games are classic 3-4 vs. 4-3 matchups. Andy Reid has already decided to stick with the 3-4 defense, today’s games give us a chance to see the two styles go head to head.
So that’s four ways today’s Championship games matter as a Chiefs fan. Let’s hope that in the very near future the final score will actually matter as well.