From Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
It turns out that Gunther Cunningham never had to say a word about how special a victory would be for him over the Chiefs on Sunday.
His defensive “sons” on the Lions know their father well enough to know it was something special.
“He made this game about the players and didn’t make it about him this week,” DE Kyle Vanden Bosch said in the Lions locker room after the game. “But we understood. We felt it.
“I don’t know how things went down (in Kansas City.) I don’t know the history behind it. But I know that this was important to him.
“And so it became really important to us as players.”
That’s why near the end of the game, the Lions defense gave Cunningham a Gatorade bath in honor of Detroit’s 48-3 smashing of the Chiefs.
“Even when we had our big lead in the second half, guys got together and were talking about, ‘We need to finish this off and put an exclamation point on it for Gun’,” Vanden Bosch said. “You don’t see that a lot in the NFL, when players care that much about a coach and want to do things the right way and win for the coach.”
Being fired as head coach, being accused of tampering, there are so many wounds with Cunningham when it comes to the Chiefs. They hurt more than others because Kansas City was where he found his football nirvana. When he talked about the picture he had in his office at Arrowhead as head coach, of the stands full of Chiefs fans and how he coached for them, the media made fun of him. His passion sometimes got the better of him, but passion is what Gunther Cunningham is to his core.
And while he more than likely will land in his office around 4 a.m. Monday morning and begin preparations for the Lions defense and a game next Sunday against Minnesota, Sunday was a day to savor. More than likely he went home with wife Rene and had a Miller Lite plus some sushi and collapsed into bed.
“I don’t want to say it was the biggest win in history for him, but man it’s damn close,” said FS Louis Delmas. “This was very important to him. It’s not bragging rights, it’s not winning, it’s just respect.”