Sunday marks the third time the Chiefs will have played on Christmas Day. They’re hoping the experience against the Broncos is more like the latter than the former.
In 2004, the Raiders and Chiefs went back and forth at Arrowhead Stadium. Two Trent Green touchdown passes to Tony Gonzalez helped the Chiefs forge a 21-21 tie at halftime, but the Raiders took a 24-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Oakland went ahead on Sebastian Janikowski’s 46-yard field goal with 1:03 remaining. But Dante Hall’s 49-yard kickoff return set up the Chiefs at the Raiders’ 36. The Chiefs moved to the 20, where Lawrence Tynes booted a 38-yard field goal with 26 seconds to play for a 31-30 victory.
Then there was 1971.
Until the Christmas Day, which turned into night, playoff game against the Dolphins in 1971, the Chiefs had appeared in seven postseason games, including one in their original Dallas Texans identity. None were at home.
And the NFL and AFL had never scheduled a game on Christmas Day until 1971, when two postseason games were set: Vikings-Cowboys and Chiefs-Dolphins.
With Arrowhead Stadium set to open the next year, this proved to be the final Chiefs game at Municipal Stadium.
The temperature was an unseasonably warm (60 degrees) at the 4 p.m. kickoff. The Chiefs jumped to a 10-0 lead and never trailed through four quarters.
But when Jan Stenerud pushed right a 31-yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, overtime was assured.
Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian’s 37-yard field goal ended what remains the longest game in NFL history. An exhausting 82 minutes and 40 seconds after it began, the Dolphins prevailed 27-24.
The Chiefs wouldn’t appear in another playoff game until 1986, and the NFL wouldn’t have another Christmas game until 1989, partly because the length of the Chiefs-Dolphins games ruined many Christmas dinners. Sunday will mark the first NFL games on Dec. 25 since 2011.