KANSAS CITY, Mo.—For our family, there was a Dickensian quality to the Christmas Day game of 1971. My father, holder of two Kansas City Chiefs season tickets, could have brought one of his sons to that playoff game. Instead he took his nephew, 13-year-old Timmy, who was so disabled he could have played Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol."
Although unable to play sports, Timmy followed them obsessively. On that Christmas, he understood that the Chiefs were two games away from their third Super Bowl appearance in six years, and that a second Lombardi trophy (they'd defeated Minnesota in Super Bowl IV) would make them a dynasty.
Yet when the Dolphins devastated Kansas City that day, winning 27-24 in double overtime in what remains the longest NFL game ever played, Timmy neither sulked nor cried. He cheered. At some point during the contest, Timmy had fallen in love with Mercury Morris, Nick Buoniconti, Jim Kiick and Co.—the Dolphins team that a year later would win the Super Bowl undefeated. Until his death at 51, an age his physicians had said Timmy would never reach, his first love was the Dolphins, the Chiefs a distant second.
In the 45 years that my family has owned two season tickets to the Kansas City Chiefs, the argument for dropping them has never been stronger. On Sunday the team fell to 2–13. Early this month, a Chiefs linebacker murdered the mother of his three-month-old baby before killing himself. After an October game, an offensive lineman whose poor blocking all season had contributed to unsafe quarterback conditions wrongly accused "70,000" fans of applauding a quarterback injury.