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  • Writer's pictureMike Matson

Molly Putz No More

This column was published February 3, 2024 in the Manhattan Mercury.


My two siblings and I trash talked via text throughout this NFL season. On our own teams. Around Thanksgiving, older sister in Nashville actually threw in the towel on her Tennessee Titans and by season’s end was rooting for them to lose, to secure a higher draft position. Younger brother in the Pacific Northwest found creative ways to consistently lament his beloved Seahawks’ porous defense, but K-Staters will appreciate the fact that he had nice things to say about Tyler Lockett.  


Me, fretting, stewing and yes, complaining about the inability of highly-paid, world class professional receivers who have one job – to catch a football. At one point in early December, I accused the Kansas City Chiefs of playing like Molly Putz. My sibs had to Google it. I’ll save you the trouble. It’s baseball slang for a player who performs badly on the field.


But then, almost as though they were toying with us, the Chiefs reeled off three straight playoff wins, two on the road, culminating with Marquez Regular Season Butterfingers-Post Season Glue Valdez-Scantling, on his backside securing a Patrick Mahomes arched lob and we are going back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years.


No more fretting, stewing or complaining. Just the warm feeling of excitement felt by sports fans when their team wins big. BTW, I was not too crazy about the words, “warm feeling of excitement,” so I asked AI to offer some alternatives. It (they?) suggested “tingling anticipation” or “buoyant thrill.”


Surf’s up, dude.


I’m beginning to get a sense of how the rest of the country feels about the Chiefs. It’s remarkably similar to the way I used to feel about the New England Patriots. It was like clockwork (or calendarwork). Super Bowl Sunday? Tom Brady and the Patriots taking on the most recent NFC champion, spilling out of a revolving door.


I’d watch, because the Super Bowl had become a sacred American tradition, and I’m as faithful to sacred American traditions as the next man, provided the next man is not Donald Trump. But I had more interest in the commercials or Janet Jackson’s wardrobe and its potential to malfunction than in the actual game. I mean, who cares about the Patriots and the Panthers? Wait, the Carolina Panthers actually played in a Super Bowl?


In my life, I’ve been to fewer than a half-dozen Chiefs games in person, and only one in the Mahomes era, the 2019 Divisional playoff vs. DeShaun Watson and the Texans. Down 24-zip, we caught the ball a few times and came back to win 51-31.


Buoyant thrills aplenty.   


Taylor Swift’s music does nothing for me, but I have a GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium full of respect for her talent and business acumen. The fact that she’s nuts about Travis Kelce, the game’s greatest tight end, and he, her, makes them exactly what they are – a very visible love story. Not that they need it, but more power to them.


I have a grandson who lives in Kansas City. He’ll celebrate his fifth birthday next week. Taylor’s boyfriend is his favorite Chief. All he has ever known as an NFL fan is his favorite team in the Super Bowl.


Enjoy it, kid. One day, the warm feeling of excitement will fade. Until then, ride the wave and tingle with anticipation.  


photo c. Patrick Smith via Getty Images



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