There’s plenty of excitement, surrounding the Chiefs upcoming date with the 49ers, in Super Bowl LIV on February 2 in Miami.
NBC 10’s Chris Demirdjian catches up with former Kansas City defensive tackle, Leonard Griffin, following Sunday’s game.
“Watching the game was quite emotional, ” Griffin reflects.
Chiefs fans echo the same feeling, after the team’s gutsy win over Tennessee. Now, Kansas City is Miami bound for the Super Bowl.
“I was more nervous watching the game, than I was as a player, ” says Griffin.
Leonard Griffin, a former defensive end and defensive tackle for the Chiefs has been waiting for the franchise to do something his teams weren’t able to – play in the “Big Game”.
“You learn to put it behind you, ” Griffin says. “You don’t dwell on it. Once that last zero rolls up on that clock and you walk away, you have a 24 hour rule. You learn it’s actually a business. You’re there to have fun and enjoy it. The ultimate purpose is to win.”
In five of Griffin’s eight years in Kansas City, the team advanced to the postseason. Before the NFL, the Lake Providence native was part of two championship teams at Grambling, under the legendary Eddie Robinson.
“[Coach Robinson] was a jokester, ” Griffin recalls. “Always had that great story to lead into whatever it was he was discussing at the same time. He was a father figure to many of us.”
Coach Rob was also there when Griffin suffered a neck injury, that nearly ended his career.
“The first thing [Coach Robinson] told me was that ‘We’re going to honor your scholarship, even though you’re no longer going to play football, ‘” Griffin remembers. “For a year I accepted that. But, then I wanted to play. So, I begged. Finally [Coach Robinson] relented, and let me back on the football field and compete.”
That proved to be the right call. Griffin was selected in the third round by the Chiefs in the 1986 NFL Draft. He suited up in 103 games. He ended with 16-and-a-half career sacks. Now, he’s tackling the role of administrator at West Ouachita High School.
“Everybody asks me why I still work, because you want to have that impact, ” says Griffin. You want to have that relationship where you could steer guys in the right direction. Give them some positive vibes to go on and be successful.”
Now watching as a fan, bringing a Lombardi trophy to Kansas City is special. But, it’ll never trump the graces given to him by the name that’s on the AFC Championship trophy, Lamar Hunt.
“It means everything, ” says Griffin. “You have that relationship to the organization that you want to see Clark Hunt and his family succeed. Even though I won’t get a ring, I would love to see all of those players. I would just be happier as a bug in the rug.”