Cover photo: Former Chiefs players Christian Okoye and Kimble Anders after the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead. Photo courtesy Kimble Anders
Chiefs greats excited for Super Bowl win and future of the franchise
By Christina McDonough Hunt
The red and yellow confetti has fallen twice this year for Kansas City Chiefs fans, and in the words of NFL Network sportscaster Peter Schrager, “there is a piece of confetti for every Chiefs fan.”
It’s been 50 years of passion, 50 years of hope, 50 years of heartbreak. But, this 2019-2020 Kansas City Chiefs team is special. But, just how special? World Champions! And fans from all over the world are celebrating, including Kansas City Chiefs greats former Running Back Christian Okoye(1987-92) and Full Back Kimble Anders (1991-2000).
During the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead stadium, Okoye and Anders were immersed in the celebration on the field when Norma and Clark Hunt were presented the Lamar Hunt trophy on behalf of the Kansas City Chiefs organization and the Kingdom.
“Being part of this 100 Year NFL Anniversary and seeing it in living color was exhilarating!” smiled Anders. “As a former player, yes we missed it when we played, but I’m just as happy for this team as I would have been for myself.”
Okoye agreed, “Being on the field for the celebration was euphoric for sure. It was cold, but we didn’t feel the cold. People everywhere were jumping up and down, even people you didn’t even think could jump! It was a happy moment.”
Okoye and Anders were just a few of the many Chiefs greats and alumni that were present at the game. Many of them also regrouped in Miami and attended the multitude of events hosted by the NFL, including the NFL Legends of the Hall, the official former NFL players’ Super Bowl party.
“It was good to see and celebrate with the guys,” Anders said. “It’s a brotherhood for us.”
This AFC Championship win was more valuable to the Chiefs Kingdom, the organization, and the alumni than a simple title or trophy. The AFC Championship trophy is named the Lamar Hunt trophy after Kansas City Chiefs late founder and owner, Lamar Hunt. Hunt passed away in 2006, and it was his dream for the Chiefs to win that trophy at Arrowhead stadium. The Chiefs fulfilled that dream in the 100th season of the NFL. And for those who knew Hunt, this was an extra special and emotional experience.
“It’s very emotional,” Okoye said. “When they won, I said in my mind, this is for Lamar Hunt. Because this is what he always wanted. I wish he [Lamar] was here to see all that, but he’s not. But, I think he’s up above looking down, smiling and is happy.”
Lamar Hunt is an icon in the NFL. And the league is what it is today because of him. No one knows this better than the decades long fans and players that have lived the history of this Chiefs franchise.
“Honestly, Lamar was a pillar in our locker room,” Anders said. “When he saw you he never asked about football. He always asked how you were doing and how your family was. He even knew your family members’ names! We always believed in Lamar and in the foundation of our team. He was always happy. You wish he was here to see this in person.”
So, what makes this championship Kansas City Chiefs team stand out from other teams that we’ve seen in the past? According to Okoye and Anders, it’s timing and it’s a testament to the mental toughness and strong leaders of the team.
“Everything has its time,” Okoye said. “We’ve had great teams in the past and we didn’t make it, but this team made it.”
“This team is mentally tough,” Anders explained. “They overcame things quickly. Mahomes is mature and encouraging. Matthieu is a great motivator. During big games, big players gotta step up and make plays. Coach has his place, but the players gotta play the game, and they did.”
Could Kansas City be the next dynasty franchise? Anders believes the opportunity is there.
“Sports are unpredictable, that’s the beauty of the game. But, Kansas City’s in a situation right now to create a dynasty these next few years. They have a lot of young and great talent. They’re only going to get better,” he said.
Looking forward to the future of this franchise is exciting for Chiefs fans all over the world. Kansas City has a player in Patrick Mahomes that not only is the face of the NFL, he’s becoming the face of sports. His mind-boggling plays and endearing and ‘never give up’ spirit is changing how the game is played and setting the standards high for future athletes, on and off the field.
The future of the game is unknown, but what we know for sure is that the game is getting faster and it’s getting better. The players and coaches are learning and doing things past teams have never seen or tried. And for spectators and players alike, it’s fun to watch.
So, how does it feel to be a former player and watch your team get crowned World Champions?
“I’m very happy! This is my team! We won the Super Bowl! It’s the happiest moment in Kansas City for football, of course!,” exclaimed Okoye.
“A rush came over me,” laughed Anders. “I’m a Chief for life! I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Well, Chiefs Kingdom, there you have it. We’ve waited 50 years for this, some of us, literally our entire lives! So, raise your glass and make a toast to the Super Bowl LIV World Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs and to many more championships to come! Man that feels good to say! Go Chiefs!