KANSAS CITY, Mo. – One Chiefs fan had more than one reason to celebrate when the team last appeared in the Super Bowl.
When Carrol ‘Smoky’ Johnson’s wife woke him up early on the morning of January 11, 1970, the 32-year-old was thinking two things: He was about to be the a father for the first time and how in the world was he going to watch the game.
It was the day of Super Bowl IV.
“I told my wife, better not have the baby on Super Bowl Sunday,” Johnson recalled.
However, Johnson’s son wasn’t waiting on a game to come into the world. In fact, he arrived at exactly 2:35 p.m. — kickoff time for Super Bowl IV.
“First born child, you’re kind of anxious and excited, but I was also excited that the Chiefs were in the Super Bowl,” the now 82-year-old remembered.
Johnson ran around the hospital looking for a TV, so he could turn on the game. He eventually found one, but it didn’t work. So after making sure his wife and son were healthy, he went home and watched the Chiefs beat the Vikings in the second half of the big game.
“It was awesome because that was one of the best football teams,” he said.
Later that evening, back at the hospital, Johnson and his wife named their son Jerret Len Johnson.
“The running back was Mike Garrett, so Jerret and Garrett kind of rhymed, and then his middle name is Len after Len Dawson the quarterback,” Johnson said.
Jerret has heard this story countless times, but he understands his father’s choices that day and said he may have done the same — if put in his shoes.
“If you’re a real passionate fan in any sport, about anything, it can have almost or nearly the significance as the birth of a child,” he said. “There’s competing passions and one doesn’t diminish the other, but just like we do with most things in life, we try to have it all.”
Now 50 years later, the father and son are both anxious. Not because there’s a baby on the way, but because their beloved Chiefs are once again playing in the Super Bowl.
“I anticipate a win because we have one of the best quarterbacks that has played football,” said the elder Johnson, referring to Patrick Mahomes.
And this time around, they’ll get to share the experience together.
“This is a special moment in time for Chiefs fans, and I’m thankful and feel very blessed I have the opportunity to watch this with my father,” the younger Johnson added.