Why the Chiefs Matter (Even if You’re Not a Football Fan)

I am the first to admit that my Chiefs fandom is probably going to collapse under Serious Fan scrutiny. I was raised in Chicago by a Bears fan family, and have sort of adopted Kansas City teams as my own by osmosis in the decade I’ve lived here. I’m not long-tortured, I can’t name the greats, and don’t even ask me about the rules beyond the very, very basics. (I did, however, watch at least 80% of games this season, so there’s that.)

But let me tell you. I am JAZZED for the Chiefs big game run.


I’ve spent some time thinking about why I’m so pumped up this year and have come up with a few reasons.

First of all, January is terrible. It is cold, brutal, and everyone is trying to lose weight and save money and is therefore no fun at all. It gets dark about five minutes after my kids get home from school. Just when you think you might survive it, you get thrown a snow day full of fighting, cranky children with a side of influenza for fun. So, when something happy happens in January? YOU RIDE IT. You hold onto it for whatever it’s worth. You milk it as much as possible. If people are smiling because Mecole Hardman is wearing another fantastic outfit on gameday, gosh darn it, you smile, too. It feels good to be a winner in such a bleak month.

Then, there’s the whole “the news is even worse than the existence of January” side of things. Raging bush fires destroying nature, politicians sniping at each other like toddlers at a flu-infested train table, imported viruses when we have enough already here, thank you. It is REALLY nice to see a story about a sweet older lady realizing her football dreams or teammates poking fun at each other’s Kermit the frog voices. It is escapism. And I’m OK with that.

Lastly, I am pumped because of the brief, hopefully-not-fleeting sense of community and a common goal that pops up when sports teams are giving us an ounce of hope. From day to day, there is so much that divides us in Kansas City: politics, a literal river, which barbecue sauce is the best. But lately, I can pop into my favorite donut shop and the usually-reserved clerk lights up when she sees my Chiefs shirt. I can strike up conversations with people at the gym more than twice or less than half my age about whether Andy Reid is finally going to get his big win. Flags are waving in windows from Ward Parkway to Olathe to Liberty and we are stalking Patrick Mahomes’ dogs’ Instagram account like it belongs to our own child.

So, feel free to quiz me on Chiefs history — I won’t know the answers. I can’t explain what offsides are or what a safety does. But know that I am here for the energy, the passion, the excitement, the community — and it’s OK if you are, too. It’s showtime, Kansas City.


Brie Hilton lives in the Northland is a stay-at-home mom with multiple side hustles in the Northland. Her oldest son, Charlie, is 7 and has his own pet-sitting business and outsmarts his parents at least three times a week. Her youngest, Patrick, is 5 and has cerebral palsy and autism, so she considers herself an expert on navigating the special needs life on way too little sleep. In her spare time (ha), Brie teaches group fitness classes, has a boutique in her basement, naps too much, and actively ignores the piles of laundry on the floor.

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