KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Moments after leaving the field and entering the home team locker room, the whooping and hollering of Chiefs players and coaches echoed through the lower level of Arrowhead Stadium in celebration of the team's 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“It feels great,” linebacker Dee Ford said. “We're going to enjoy this and carry this momentum into next week, but it feels great.”
Moments after celebrating the team's first home playoff win in 25 years, Ford reflected the attitude of many of his teammates. The mood in the locker room turned to all business for the next task at hand – hosting the first-ever AFC Championship game in Kansas City with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
“Giving Chiefs Kingdom something that we haven't had in 25 years is special, very special,” safety Jordan Lucas said. “We're just looking to keep on building, that's all.”
Tight end Travis Kelce watched from the sidelines as a rookie when the Chiefs blew a 28-point lead over the Colts in a 45-44 Wild Card loss in January 2014. The Chiefs carried a 1-4 playoff record during Kelce's career into Saturday's game. But this win takes greater significance than a simple playoff victory because it carries with it the chance to host next week's AFC title game against New England or the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We've worked extremely hard to get to this point and give ourselves another chance to play in the National Football next Sunday,” Kelce said.
Saturday's game marked the eight postseason game for punter Dustin Colquitt. The Chiefs lost first of his first seven playoff games. He said the Chiefs set a goal to make sure the road to the Super Bowl goes through Arrowhead Stadium, and now the mission is to continuing winning.
“I think everybody is just trying to take care of business on the field and get it done,” Colquitt said.
Chiefs players stressed during the buildup to this game that the franchise's history bears no relation to this year's team. That message came down from the top from head coach Andy Reid.
“I'm into history, I love history if it makes you better,” Reid said. “You learn from it and you move forward. That was the important thing for our guys. Don't get caught up on all the stuff that happened in the past, but if there's something you can from it, if it was the play before or the game before, let's make you even greater than you already are.”
That message resonated with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who emphasized throughout the week that this year's Chiefs team belongs to a new generation.
“We're such a different team with so many young players,” Mahomes said. “We have so much confidence going in that we're going to win every single game.”
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens agrees. He believes the previous 25 years of frustration has nothing to do with this year's squad.
“It's a new team and a new era, and we just have keep building,” Hitchens said.