KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- That aching feeling you may have felt on Monday isn't a hangover or the flu.
Kansas City Chiefs fans know the sting of playoff losses all too well, and that includes Sunday night's crushing overtime defeat in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. However, unlike past playoff heartaches, the feeling this time around is a bit different.
It's as if Kansas City Chiefs fans gave themselves a late-night pep talk. It must be tempting to hang their heads, given that Monday night's loss to New England ends an otherwise amazing season. However, there's an unusually positive mood around town, and the Chiefs fanatics FOX4 spoke with on Monday afternoon aren't wasting time moping over the loss.
One loss doesn't ruin a fantastic season with a surprisingly strong record (12-4) during which, Arrowhead Stadium was full. The Chiefs averaged more than 75,000 fans in their eight home games this season. That ranked the Chiefs sixth in attendance percentage among the league's 32 franchises, having sold 99.4 percent of the franchise's tickets.
In his first season as a full-time starter, Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes performed like a polished pro, tossing 50 touchdowns for the year. At only 23 years old, Mahomes looks to have an amazing career ahead of him, and published reports from the week say the Chiefs franchise could make him the NFL's first $200M man when his next contract is negotiated in 2020.
Football fever remains high at Rally House in the Power and Light District. Beau Tuttle, the store's manager, said fans are still coming into the store to purchase Chiefs gear, including Mahomes-themed jerseys and t-shirts, and they're not dwelling on the loss to New England. Instead, Tuttle said, they're already looking ahead to next season.
"Everyone's response today has been, 'We could be doing better, but we're here.' They still love the Chiefs," Tuttle said. "They're looking forward to what the Chiefs will do next year and what they will be able to do next year. This is just a sneak peek of what they're able to do. They're going to show us next year."
And just down Grand Avenue from Rally House, the lunchtime crowd at Johnny's Tavern is also pumped for pigskin to begin again. Samantha Green, an active Chiefs supporter from Paola, Kansas, said the Chiefs easily beat her expectations for the 2018 season.
"I think that's an understatement," Green laughed. "They blew any expectations we had out of the water especially with Mahomes and this being his first year as our quarterback. I think all of us were in shock in a positive way."
"I have expectations, but I support them, no matter what. Having season tickets for many years, I support them good and bad. I was there until the end last night, and I will continue to be," Michele Paver, a Chiefs season ticket holder from Kansas City, Kansas said.
Those fans also said their outlook will be brighter when Chiefs camp opens in July. Football fans have to believe the weather will be warmer too, and this loss will go into cold storage.
The early outlook on Super Bowl LIII favors the Patriots. Most Las Vegas sportsbooks are giving New England an early two-point edge. If the Patriots beat The Rams on February 3 in Atlanta, the franchise would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the record with its sixth Super Bowl appearance. Super Bowl LIII will be the 11th Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots.