What a weekend this past one was the Kansas City Chiefs football team.
It started with a murder-suicide involving Kansas City linebacker Javon Belcher on Saturday and ended with the Chiefs breaking an eight game losing streak on Sunday. The win was the Chiefs first at Arrowhead this season.
Belcher allegedly killed his girlfriend and the mother of his three-month old daughter in front of his own mother Saturday morning. Shortly after that, he took his own life in front of Kansas City General Manger Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennell at Arrowhead Stadium.
When I first heard of the shooting on Saturday morning, I was sure the Chiefs game would be postponed or canceled. The game could have been moved to Monday as the shooting happened just barely 24 hours before scheduled kickoff. Or, the NFL could have even cancelled the game. It’s not like the Chiefs (2-10) and the Panthers (3-9) are fighting for a playoff spot.
But, by Saturday afternoon the news came out that the game would go on. So, my wife Lindsay and I made the trip to Kansas City for another afternoon of Chiefs football.
Upon arriving at Arrowhead Stadium, it looked like any other game day. The parking lot was full with fans tailgating, passing footballs back and forth and playing other games in the parking lot.
We broke out our BBQ grill and I started the charcoal while my wife got the side dishes ready. We had hamburgers and brats along with macaroni salad, potato salad, chips, beans, and beverages. It was a great meal and we stuffed ourselves, so much that we did not need to purchase any food inside the stadium.
When the game started, the Chiefs did the same thing they did last week, they scored first on the game’s opening drive. Only this time instead of settling for a field goal, the Chiefs got their first touchdown since the first quarter of a 16-13 loss to Pittsburgh in week 10. In all, Kansas City went 11 consecutive quarters of football (175 minutes and 34 seconds) between touchdowns.
Sunday’s win was also the Chiefs’ first with two or more touchdowns in a game since Kansas City scored three TDs against the Chargers back in week four.
After Kansas City took a 7-0 lead, Carolina battled back and quickly tied the game. Kansas City added a field goal in the first quarter to take a 10-7 lead.
Carolina scored first in the second quarter to put the Chiefs down 14-10. But Kansas City countered with a 13 play drive that culminated on a one yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brady Quinn to tight end Tony Moeaki on a fourth and one with two seconds left in the half.
That gave the Chiefs a 17-14 lead going into the half.
During the intermission, the Panthers’ kicker (Graham Gano) came out and was practicing field goal kicks. We were sitting in section 110, row three, right behind the field goal post. While Gano was practicing, a couple of the kicks started to go toward the right. Finally one of them missed the goal post and the safety net and went into the stands. The ball bounced off the (empty) row one chair and the gentleman in front of me dove over the seat to get the ball. While the Panthers coach tried to get the ball back, the fan refused to hand the ball over. Finally the Panther coach gave up, allowing the fan to keep the ball.
When the fans in row one returned right before the game resumed, nobody ever told them about the ball that they missed out on catching.
In the second half, Kansas City scored first when wide receiver Jon Baldwin caught a three yard pass from Quinn right in front of me. The scoring drive covered 87 yards and ate up 9:56 of the third quarter. It gave Kansas City a 24-14 lead.
Carolina scored one more TD in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t matter as the Chiefs were already ahead. Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop added a 52 yard field goal to finish the day’s scoring.
The win, just the second for the Chiefs this season, was a big one.
Did the Chiefs win this one for Belcher?
Belcher had been with the Chiefs for four seasons. He went undrafted out of college, but was signed by the Chiefs as a free agent in 2009. In 2010, Belcher became a starter and helped lead the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and the postseason.
Belcher was involved in the Kansas City community as well as in West Babylon, New York, where he grew up and went to high school. But, even with all the good Belcher did with his life, Kansas City could not publicly do anything for him as he allegedly murdered his girlfriend Saturday morning.
According to the Kansas City Star, Kansas City police reported that Belcher legally owned the gun used in the murder-suicide.
There are people who will say the second amendment is to blame. But they are wrong. Guns do not kill people, people do. If Belcher did not have the gun, he could have used a knife to stab his victim. He then could have just as easily done the same to himself.
Guns are not the problem and when a citizen who has a spotless background, is involved in the community he works in as well as the one he grew up in, let’s not start blaming the gun for the deaths. There was something wrong and although there are other ways to deal with problems, Belcher felt this was the only way out.
Belcher committed the horrible act right in front of his own mother (who notified police). He then took his own life in front of his bosses. He left behind a three month old daughter who will now never know who her mother and father were. The Chiefs players and organization are stepping up to help care for the young child’s future.
We will never know what was going on. We will never understand what he was going through. But if there is anything this can teach us, it is that we need to look out for our friends and family. If they seem off, stop and talk to them. See if there is anything you can do to make things better and help.
Remember, we only have one life to live and it is precious.