The Chiefs aren’t just Kansas City’s team: they’re Missouri’s team
In 1985, the Kansas City Kings left the Midwest to relocate to Sacramento, Calif. The Kings were never that good in Kansas City, Mo., and they haven’t been good for most of their time outside of Kansas City, but they still left a basketball-team-sized hole in the hearts of their local Kansas City fans. The Kansas University Jayhawks have had an incredible run of success in the last two decades, winning conference and national championships. But like the way a ceiling fan will never capture the same allure of an ocean breeze, college basketball could never replace what was lost in ’85.
It is from this place of deep longing that I can fully sympathize with the plight of former St. Louis Rams fans. Yes, there are other sports. I know there are other teams in the area. But none of them are your professional football team. Some Rams fans likely stayed on board after the move, sad but still content to watch their franchise play their games out West, but many Rams fans entered football limbo: unwilling to root for a team that betrayed them and hesitant to root for anyone else.
On Sunday, I got to witness what all football fans dream of. My beloved Kansas City Chiefs shellacked one of their rivals. The 38-28 win was a true coming out party for the Chief’s young and immensely talented quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. The Texas Tech product lit it up, throwing for 256 yards and four touchdowns in his first meaningful game as a professional. For years, I’d heard the superlatives that fans of teams with elite quarterbacks put on their signal callers. On Sunday, for the first time in my life, I got to be in that group praising the football gods for bestowing my team with such a blessing.
Mahomes is in his second year as a professional. He has a trebuchet for an arm and he already reads a defense like a veteran. He is surrounded by young and dynamic talent. We have a decent defense. Andy Reid is a great coach. This team has the potential to be pretty good.
In fact, I’d say the Chiefs have the potential to be a championship contender.
In fact, I think the Chiefs are going to win a championship with Mahomes under center.
In fact, I fully believe we are watching the beginning of a dynasty.
The Kansas City Chiefs play their games in Missouri and have a solid fan base as far east as Columbia. Why shouldn’t that sphere extend to St. Louis?
When the Rams left, their fans scattered. Some became dispassionate about the sport. Some chose to root for other teams. But the clearest path out of the purgatory Rams fans find themselves in is just down Interstate 70.
Now, I understand the objections.
At one point, there was a pretty milquetoast rivalry between the St. Louis Rams and the Chiefs. But that was always more of a marketing ploy than real animosity. The “Governor’s Cup” was a nice sibling rivalry between two cities with similar personalities. And just as many siblings get older and become kinder to each other, I believe that current Chief’s fans and former Ram’s fans can exist peacefully in one fandom.
Some might say if rooting for the Chiefs is a proximity issue, why not root for the Chicago Bears, a team not that far from St. Louis in its own right. If that’s what a former Ram’s fan wants to do, then by all means, go for it. But to crawl out of the wreckage of this miserable abandoned fan base only to wind up rooting for another terrible team seems like a regression. Nothing about rooting for the Bears seems fun. They have a good defense, but it’s not the best in their division (the Vikings are better). They have the worst quarterback in the division, although I will say that if Mitchell Trubisky really works at it, I think he can become the second worst quarterback in the division. They also can’t beat their rivals. Since 2013, the Bears are 1-9 against the Detroit Lions and 3-7 against the Minnesota Vikings. Since 2010, they have gone 3-15 against the Green Bay Packers. At this point, Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears more than Virginia Halas McCaskey. The Chiefs, by contrast, routinely either defeat or closely contest their rivals. There’s no reason to opt into a painful existence as a fan of the Bears when the Chiefs are still on the come up.
Losing a team is a necessarily painful endeavor that Rams fans have unfortunately had to endure. But the football-shaped-hole in the city doesn’t have to be permanent. There is excellence on the horizon in the state of Missouri. St. Louis is more than welcome to bask in Kansas City’s glory.