Super Bowl parties–
I believe that I hosted one of the first Super Bowl parties. Technically, it was still the AFL-NFL Championship game held on January 15, 1967 between the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers of the NFL. We had no naked girls in body paint, but my eight-grade buddies and I enjoyed the chips and pop more than the Packers second-half beat-down of the Chiefs. On that dark day, we would have felt better if we had known that the Chiefs would be back 3 years later to conduct their own beat-down of the NFL Minnesota Vikings, who had been favored by double digits over the AFL Chiefs despite Namath’s victory over the Colts the year before.
During the fifty years that followed the Chiefs SB IV victory, they managed to win only one divisional playoff game after which the Bills quickly dispatched the Joe Montana-led Chiefs in the AFC championship. No more trips to the Super Bowl While they enjoyed a lot of regular season success at times, they could never win playoff games, especially at home. By 2012 though, things had deteriorated even further. The Chiefs were the worst team in the NFL during a season whose low point was the suicide of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher performed at Arrowhead in front of the team’s coach and GM after Belcher had shot and killed his girl friend at their home.
Cue the arrival of the recently fired Eagles coach, Andy Reid, who cleaned up the team’s operations, got the team in the playoffs and began a string of divisional championships that has now reached eight, short only of the Patriots’ eleven. Still, playoff wins with quarterback Alex Smith were rare. At the end of the 2017 season, the Chiefs blew a 21-3 halftime lead over the Titans with rookie Patrick Mahomes sitting on the bench.
Since that game and Mahomes assuming the starting QB role, the Chiefs have gone 14-3 in playoff games, reached six straight AFC championships (short only of the Patriots’ eight) and will play in their fourth Super Bowl in five years, something only managed by the Bills (who lost all four) and the Patriots, whose streak ended in 2018. The Chiefs, who dominated the AFL during its existence with 3 championships in 10 years, have finally reached an even higher pinnacle with Mahomes under center.
And as was the case 57 years ago, we’re hosting a little Super Bowl party attended by all three of our children, including the eldest back from Thailand for the first time in over a decade, and both our grandchildren. Nothing too fancy on the menu–burgers, brats, posole for good luck, pies, etc.–but we’re really looking forward to the family time together.
Our middle child roots for the 9-ers, a holdover from the days when he played Tecmo Bowl with his brother and dad and became enamored of that team during its Steve Young/Jerry Rice phase. We watched the game three years ago together, and he’s still sensitive about the Chiefs’ three touchdowns in the last 7 minutes of the game to overcome a 10-point deficit for the win.
So over the last nearly six decades, a game that was widely ignored back in ’67 has become an occasion for people all over the world to get together and celebrate something. After the two recent wins for the Chiefs, I’m not too invested in a Chiefs victory this time around. I’m already enjoying the win of having everybody together. And best wishes to everyone today whether you’re joining in ritual or pointedly ignoring it.