The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Carolina Panthers, 27-21, at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday, a day after Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself. It was an emotional day for Chiefs fans and players alike.
Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride, SB Nation's Chiefs blog, says the win was needed by everyone that holds any ties to the team. After such a shocking event roughly 28 hours earlier, Kansas City fans needed a reason to come together and celebrate:
Kansas City Chiefs fans needed that. We needed it because we need a reason to feel together. We needed it because our team was hurting, and we're really just an extension of them. It's OK to be emotionally invested in this. It's expected. It's OK to be upset. That too is expected. You get through this together. We needed a reason to smile if only for a few seconds, before reality set back in.
As for Kansas City players, they lost a teammate on Saturday, and they will need time to heal, but being able to play and win for Belcher gave them an emotional outlet, if only for three hours:
Chiefs players needed that because they lost one of their own. I'm going to let them grieve however they need to grieve. I'm young. I don't have a lot experience with death, especially not something like this. I don't know what's the right or wrong way to grieve. But I know you can't lose someone you spent so much time of your life with and not feel strong emotions. Tyson Jackson looked down as he talked, softly. He came into the league the same year as Belcher. So did Ryan Succop, who described the emotional scene after the game. Chiefs players needed a reason to come together.
Finally, Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel needed to be able to take care of his team. Crennel witnessed Belcher's suicide, and he needed to be with his football family:
Romeo Crennel needed that. We make jokes about his grandfatherly demeanor, but there's no one else I wanted leading the Chiefs today. A number of Chiefs players said the same thing, unprompted. Those outside the building, but familiar with Romeo, said the same thing. We'll get back to football at some point but today I'm proud of my coach. Romeo needed this because this is his family.