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Miracle on One Arrowhead Drive

The Chiefs needed a Christmas miracle for things to swing their way in Week 17 of 2006; they did

It was New Year's Eve eight years ago. December 31st. The final day of 2006.

Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, in his second year in the league and with the Chiefs, was in his small Kansas City apartment watching an overtime game between the Denver Broncos, who were 9-6, and the San Francisco 49ers, who were 6-9.

Jay Cutler versus Alex Smith.

Three hours earlier, a row of dominoes had already inconceivably begun toppling.

For the Chiefs to make the playoffs, they first needed to win their game against the Jaguars at home. While that was going on, they needed the Steelers to beat the Bengals in Cincinnati and the Patriots to beat the Titans in Tennessee.


If all that happened, then and only then could the Chiefs turn to Broncos-49ers, of course, a game played in Denver, needing a subpar 49ers team to win in order to make the playoffs.

"It's interesting because Herm Edwards (then the head coach of the Chiefs) had already talked to us Friday and said basically we didn't make the playoffs this year," Chiefs long snapper and now-Chiefs Live analyst Kendall Gammon said. "[We were] borderline given that speech because the things that needed to happen seemed very, very unlikely."

With the odds stacked against them, the Chiefs hit the field at Arrowhead Stadium against an eight-win Jaguars team. It was their first game at Arrowhead since their legendary original owner, Lamar Hunt, had passed on December 14.

"Please turn your attention to ArrowVision as we take a look back at the life of Lamar Hunt," said the public address announcer, before revealing a picture of Hunt with his Hall of Fame bust.

The Chiefs may not make the playoffs, but they wanted to win this game.

They did.

Running back Larry Johnson carried the ball 33 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs and in the process set a single-season record for the most carries with 416, a mark that still stands today.

The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 35-30 and simultaneously, the Patriots routed the Titans 40-23 and Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes on a 67-yard pass in overtime to beat the Bengals, 23-17.


The Chiefs were alive with one more chip needing to fall.

"I wasn't even paying attention because I didn't think it was really probable to happen," Gammon said. "We had some other things going on (It was New Year's Eve, after all). That may sound kind of odd but that was my attitude."

In Denver and only needing a win over the six-win 49ers to get in, the Broncos were reasonably confident.

Since taking over for Jake Plummer in Week 13, rookie Jay Cutler had led Denver to a 2-2 record and into control of their own playoff destiny entering their last game against the 49ers.

That confidence only grew after the Broncos jumped out to a 13-0 lead. But the 49ers fired back, even leading 23-16 with less than seven minutes to go in the game.

Cutler and the Broncos got the ball back with 6:14 needing to score or face the season's end. 10 plays and 80 yards later, they had it. A nine-yard pass from Cutler to tight end Tony Scheffler tied the game, sending it into overtime, 23-23.

The Broncos had two possessions in overtime including the first before the 49ers got the ball back at their own 39-yard line with four minutes and 28 seconds to play.

It took seven plays for Alex Smith to work the ball to the Broncos 18-yard line, and kicker Joe Nedney came out for the field goal.

With the help of others the 2006 Kansas City Chiefs advance to the playoffs on the final Sunday of the season

By now, most of the Chiefs were watching.

"Brinkley, my oldest son, was like three weeks old sitting on my chest," Colquitt said. "Joe Nedney hit that field goal and it was crazy in our little apartment."

The Chiefs were headed to the 2006 NFL Playoffs.

"It was just like here we go," Gammon said. "The goal is get in the playoffs and have a chance. We were elated we had that chance."

It's hard to believe, but eight years ago, the Chiefs needed even more things to happen in order to make the postseason. Instead of worrying about that, they focused on what they could control, and luck swung in their direction.

Now it's 2014 and they are in a similar predicament.

They need a win on their home field and the Browns and Jaguars to come through.

Improbable, yes. But impossible? Well, stranger things have happened before.

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