Once upon a time there was a big buzz on the Chiefs…
There sure was 18 years ago. I got bundled up, even though we had a suite at Arrowhead, I knew at times my pal actor Sonny Landham and I would be sitting outside and watching the game. So on January 8th at 11:30 AM the Joe Montana, Marcus Allen led Chiefs took the field for what would be one of only TWO ever playoff wins at our home stadium.
Yeah we won a game over Oakland in 1991, a wild card game. Marcus Allen fumbled on what may have been the winning drive for the Raiders. He was fired for that, thank God, he came to KC a season later.
Allen would go on to be the overall most valuable player in modern Chiefs history, after the Len Dawson era.
Yes I know about Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith, but Allen was the home run hitter for the 90’s Chiefs.
Sonny was in KC and he had just done a couple movies including Lock-Up with Sly Stallone. He was hiring NFL players to be in his own film Billy Lone Bear and he offered small parts to Derrick and Neil. He even put me in the movie as a lawyer. We shot it in Canada a few months later.
So the least I could do was take him to the playoff game.
It was bitter cold, around 15 degrees. The suite was packed. Everyone was excited about the Chiefs. We even did a pep rally in Westport with Mayor Cleaver, the Chiefs cheerleaders, the Chiefs band, Randy Miller and myself hosting.
That was Friday night and the beginning of pep rallies in Westport for the popular Chiefs.
We had about 25 players on stage that night, boy it was an ice bowl that Friday in Westport, still it drew 5,000 fans. Later we did Red Fridays that had crowds of more than 15,000 when the Chiefs were hot. I had everyone from Bob Cat Golthweight to Pauly Shore on stage over the years – even a Playboy Playmate of the Year one time. Fun times. By 1998 the crowds dropped to under 4,000 as the Chiefs began to fall apart. We did our last one in ’99 with only about 2,000 people on hand. Maybe one day those will happen again. I big time, hope so because they were crazy fun.
It was a back and forth game. Odd you never hear talk about what was one of the greatest Chiefs games ever. And we WON. It was very un-KC like. Seems our teams never get the big break at the end of important games. Aside from this one and, oh yeah, that 1985 Royals Game 6 call at first! The World Series.
With just a little over a minute left in the game, the Steelers had to punt back to the Chiefs. We were down 24-17. The Chiefs would have to go the field from around our 20 to score a touchdown to tie. And we didn’t really have enough time to do it. Plus it was so cold the balls were being dropped that Joe was throwing long.
It was not looking good.
Then the big break came. Tight end Keith Cash on special teams, broke through and blocked the punt. Oh my gosh, we had the ball deep in Steeler territory around their 20 yard line. We had super star Joe Montana. And on what would be the last play of the game in regulation time, Joe hit Tim Barnett in the corner of the end zone for the tie.
Twenty-four ALL. WOW!
Here’s the crazy thing, when Joe was interviewed after the game, he said, "I thought it was third down, you mean it was fourth down?" Yes it was. He hit the touchdown pass on fourth down.
Nick Lowery kicked the winning field goal from about 33 yards out in OT to win the game.
The Chiefs went on to Houston and beat Warren Moon. Cash had a monster series. He led the team in receiving with 7 catches against the Steelers It was Cash who threw the football at the picture of the Houston coach’s head after a touchdown. He was a stud that year. He went from third sting to "star."
Sadly both Cash (who broke his leg the next year and was later released) and Tim Barnett (he was arrested on a rape charge, released) have been forgotten. And really so has that game. The one and only big win ever in the playoffs at Arrowhead.
The Raider win was not a big deal; we looked average and didn’t advance after that close, boring win. I was at that one as well.
Joe Montana doesn’t ever come to Arrowhead anymore. Mostly cause Carl Peterson fired him in the last year of his three year contract and replaced him with Steve Bono. Joe didn’t like that too much. Remember, he played well the next year in ’94 and we had just an average defense and no receivers for him. Still we made the playoffs again, only to lose to Miami.
And the most popular pro athlete of the decade was Marcus Allen, he was so loved here. Yet Allen never comes to KC either. Kinda strange.
It would be nice to have those glory years once more.
But as history has proven, once that Chiefs jersey comes off, it’s just a short time before its, "Keith who?"
Sure there will always be a place for Tony G, Len Dawson, Bobby Bell and a few others, but a very few.
We need to cherish the playoff game this Sunday. We have only won two playoff games in Arrowhead. Ever.