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5 Years After Rams Broke Local Hearts, Plenty Of St. Louisans Are Rooting For Chiefs

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Chris Caldwell
Webster Groves resident Kendel Beard, center, gets a hug from his friend and fellow Kansas City Chiefs fan Brandon Boyd at Weber's Front Row during the team's moment of victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020.

As a kid growing up in Viburnum, Missouri, Kendel Beard was an enthusiastic St. Louis Cardinals fan — the football kind, that is. But when the team left St. Louis in the late ’80s for Phoenix, Beard soon transferred his gridiron loyalties to the remaining NFL franchise in the Show-Me State.

By 1990, Beard, then in his 20s, was all in for the Kansas City Chiefs. And despite what Beard describes as the team’s penchant for “extreme valleys” and “extreme peaks” in the years since, he’s never looked back, including during the Rams’ two decades in St. Louis, which began in the mid-’90s.

“It’s a fun team to root for,” Beard, who is now a Webster Groves resident, explained of his beloved Chiefs.

He sees more and more residents of the St. Louis region becoming fans, especially since the Rams’ 2016 move back to Los Angeles. The STL Chiefs fan club he helped start in 2008 initially had a membership of just five people. Since then, the group’s ranks have swelled.

One of the club’s other ringleaders is Jeremy Housewright, who grew up in Columbia, Illinois, and now lives in St. Clair, Missouri. He’s been rooting for the Chiefs since age 10, when his grandfather got him hooked.

“It was something I shared with him,” Housewright told St. Louis on the Air. “We used to always get together every week to watch games.”

Like Beard, he’s found a lot of enjoyment from the Chiefs over the years. But it’s also been an emotional roller coaster for him.

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Jeremy Housewright
Jeremy Housewright grew up in Columbia, Illinois, rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We always found a way to lose in the playoffs, and I’m talking heartbreaking losses,” Housewright said. “Just fluke plays throughout the years have really defined the Chiefs — a franchise that could never win the big game.”

A year ago this week, when the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54, Housewright found himself deeply shaken, in the best of ways.

“I just sat there for about 10 minutes, and I was literally in tears,” he recalled. Now, with his team’s Super Bowl 55 appearance set for this Sunday nearing, he’s filled with anticipation.

“To be going back again, it’s very tough to repeat as a Super Bowl champion,” Housewright said. “It hasn’t been done very often.”

If the Chiefs do achieve victory this weekend over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the teacher and former sportswriter has pledged to add a fourth Chiefs tattoo to his body.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, both Beard and Housewright joined host Sarah Fenske to share their perceptions of Chiefs fandom growth in the St. Louis region and what they think makes the Kansas City team distinct.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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