Anything Can Happen … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Brian Waters has played in 150 NFL games.

Casey Wiegmann has stepped on the field for 198 NFL games.

They are the grizzled veterans of the Chiefs. They played a lot of those games together, starting in 2001, going through 2007. They picked up their collaboration again this past Monday night with the 2010 season opener against the Chargers.

Their careers have plenty of memories, moments, plays, games, outcomes that they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives.

But there is one they’ll never forget. When they are living out their days at the Old Offensive Linemen’s Home, and their great grandchildren are coming over and want to hear Pappy tell stories of his days in the NFL, they will both tell their family about the most unforgettable game they’ve played in to date:

Sunday, September 8, 2002. Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was the Chiefs and Browns in the season opener in front of more than 72,000 fans on the Lake Erie shore.

When the players walked off the field that day they left behind one for the ages.

“There are plays from Monday night that I can’t quite remember all the details,” Waters said. “But I can remember everything about the end of that game. I can remember what I saw, what I heard, what I did, what others on the field did.

“It’s like it happened today.”  

Wiegmann’s face lights up when asked about the game. “There haven’t been many like it, I’m sure of that,” the veteran center said. “Not with an ending like that.”

See, that’s the rub – everybody remembers the ending, starting with Trent Green, just as he’s falling to the ground for a sack to end the game, lateraling the ball backwards to his right tackle John Tait. They know that Browns LB Dwayne Rudd (right) ripped off his helmet and threw it. Tait ran down the field, trying to find the end zone, and Waters, Priest Holmes and Willie Roaf chasing behind him, calling for him to lateral the ball. But Tait ran out of bounds and everyone thought the game was over, that the Chiefs had lost 39-37.

But back up where Green fell and Rudd tossed his hat, referee Ron Blum threw a flag. Unsportsmanlike conduct on Rudd for taking his helmet off on the field was the call. It was 15 yards walked off and then because the game cannot end on a defensive penalty, the Chiefs got one more play. That’s when Morten Andersen drilled home a 30-yard field goal and the Chiefs won 40-39.

Understand that so much more happened before those final four seconds ticked off the clock and then it became minutes as the officials sorted out the mess, placed the ball and allowed Andersen the most unusual FG attempt of his long career.

That field goal gave the Chiefs 23 points in the fourth quarter of that game. Holmes had scored three of his four touchdowns in the final period, running in from 26, 15 and seven yards. That was 20 points, as the Chiefs went for a two-point conversion on the last touchdown and missed.

Holmes had a remarkable day, running for 122 yards on 22 carries and scoring those four TDs. WR Eddie Kennison caught four passes for 120 yards and TE Tony Gonzalez had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the Chiefs had 470 yards in offense and five touchdowns. The Browns had 411 yards and four touchdowns. Kickers Phil Dawson and Andersen combined to go six of six on FGs.

All of that falls into fuzzy memory, everything up to the point where 29 seconds were left in the game. Dawson’s 41-yard FG gave the Browns a 39-37 lead. It looked like Butch Davis’ team was going to walk out with a victory.

But that’s when the Browns made their first bone-head play. After the FG went through either Dawson or his holder Chris Gardocki started yelling at the Chiefs. The officials penalized them for taunting and that forced the kickoff back to the Cleveland 15-yard line.

The kickoff was returned to the Chiefs 35-yard line and on first down, Green ran for 12 yards to the 47. On the next snap he drilled the pass into the ground to stop the clock. It showed four seconds to play, the ball at the Kansas City 47. It was second down. Time for a Hail Mary.

All the receivers were set up on the right side and headed for the end zone. Green dropped back, but was flushed out of the pocket to his right. Before he could even cock his arm to throw, he was grabbed by Rudd. As he fell to the ground, he got rid of the ball. “I was just looking for a red jersey, and I saw it was John,” Green said after the game.

Tait was standing almost 10 yards behind Green. He gathered in the ball and took off running.

“We made eye contact and he flipped me the ball,” Tait said after the game. “I’ve never had the ball before, not even in Pop Warner. When I was a kid I always dreamed about doing something like that, but in the dream, I score the winning touchdown.”

With a couple teammates running with him – Roaf, Waters and Holmes — Tait rumbled his way down the left sideline, passing a shocked Cleveland bench before he was run out of bounds by Browns S Devin Bush at the Cleveland 25-yard line.

“Willie was yelling at him the whole time to lateral he ball,” said Waters. “When he ran out of bounds, we all were yelling at him because the clock was gone and that was it. We needed to try a few laterals, do that Cal play against Stanford.”

Wiegmann was near where Green had been taken to the ground. He saw Tait run out of bounds and figured that was it.

“I turned around and I saw the flag and I saw the official (Blum) waving his arms,” said Wiegmann. “I thought it was over.”

It was not. Blum made the ruling, the fourth penalty of the day called against Cleveland. Once they got everybody off the field – the Browns had begun strolling over to shake hands with the Chiefs – and did the math, the ball ended up at the 12-yard line. Anderson hit career FG No. 466 from 30 yards away and the Chiefs had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and left town with the 40-39 winner.

“How many times in history does a game get decided with no time on the clock?” Wiegmann asked. “I don’t remember any other games like that.”

Waters remembers struggling to catch his breath and mentally process what was happening. When he realized the Chiefs were going to get a chance to kick the winning field goal, he couldn’t believe it.

“We were walking off after the field goal and I remember thinking, I may have said it out loud even ‘Did that really just happen?’” Waters said. “That’s stuff you can’t make up.”

While his bone-headed move would cost the Browns a victory, Rudd did not run away from responsibility after the game. The seven-year veteran (1997-2003) who played for the Vikings, Browns and Buccaneers during his career, he put blame squarely where it belonged.

“I thought the game was over,” Rudd said then. “It was like one of those big ‘Oops, my bad’. It’s one of those things. That yellow flag lying on the ground broke the hearts of the team, the fans and myself.

“I was totally wrong for what I did. It deserved a 15-yard penalty. That’s the bottom line. Everything that happened, call it a fluke or whatever, but it was correct officiating.”

And, it was a game where the outcome will live on, certainly as long as Waters, Wiegmann and others that were there have their memories.

“I can still see John Tait running,” Waters said. “Never goin’ forget that.”


The remaking of the Chiefs front office continued this week with the departure of club president Denny Thum and the announcement of the hiring of Dan Crumb as the team’s Chiefs Financial Officer.

Crumb comes to the Chiefs from New Orleans, where he was the CFO of the NBA Hornets. He will report to COO Mark Donovan.

He earned his undergraduate degree in finance at the University of New Orleans and a Master’s degree from Tulane. He is a Certified Public Accountant.


  • CHARGERS – placed LS James Dearth (foot) on the injured reserve list, the day after he signed with the team. Dearth suffered a foot injury in Thursday’s practice; signed LS Ryan Neill, formerly with the Bills.
  • PANTHERS – re-signed DB C.J. Wilson; placed WR Charly Martin (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list, ending his season.

6 Responses to “Anything Can Happen … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 18, 2010  - Brandon says:

    I was in a Hooters when that happened, and there were some Brown’s fans rubbing it in hardcore… until they sorted out the penalty and Anderson did his job.

    Man… was the rest of that day great or what? Felt a bit like the win on Monday night. Like we didn’t really deserve it, but we came away with it regardless.

  • September 18, 2010  - Merwin says:

    I watched the play unfold, I thought it was over with a Trent Green sack. Then see him flick the ball to Tait and thought there was hope. Then I saw Tait run out of bounds as time expired and was crushed. Then the yellow flag and I thought it would be a holding call against the Chiefs. Only to hear what the penalty really was, and see the Chiefs kick the winning FG. What an unreal finish to a game, talk about highs and lows in a matter of seconds.

  • September 18, 2010  - RW says:

    Who can forget that game???? It was like (I imagine) sitting in the electric chair waiting for the juice to hit you at midnight, then a phone call from the Governor, then the Warden comes in and sets you free.

    The only thing missing is a bigger stage like a playoff game or SuperBowl but this one is still way up there in Chief’s lore.

  • September 18, 2010  - John says:


    Of the times you have had available to watch the team practices, how has the new NT Toribio looked?

    With T-Jax looking to possibly not be playing this weekend, I could see them moving Smith over to the end more often. In the SD game Smith and Edwards were providing breaks for each other and this showed to be working real well as Edwards had a hell of a push up the middle and was doing a lot better than last year.

    If Smith is over on the end then Toribio is going to need to be available to help give Edwards a break from time to time. Thanks in advance.

  • September 18, 2010  - Dan says:

    my kid and I watched in sports bar with a bunch of browns fans. As we won we were ecstatic and the browns fans threw paper towels at us. Its a great memory

  • September 18, 2010  - Byzkit says:

    Hey Bob I have a quick question I thought I saw Rich Ganon in the locker room after the Chiefs win on Monday night. Is he working with Matt Cassel or am I seeing things?

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