Frank Clark found himself packing his bags for Kansas City in April before promptly filling those bags with plenty of new cash.
Clark and the rest of the Chiefs' defense spent Sunday evening celebrating the franchise's first trip to the Super Bowl in 50 years after shutting down the league's top rusher in the second half of a 35-24 AFC Championship Game victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Derrick Henry gained just 69 yards on 19 carries, scoring an early touchdown but failing to make much of a contribution in the game's final two quarters.
The focus of the Chiefs' defense was to stop Henry, who Clark said was "not hard to tackle" on Friday. Consider that achieved.
"Cause we're the best defense in the world right now," Clark told NFL Network's James Palmer when asked how Kansas City was able to limit Henry. "They come in here, they say they're gonna run the ball. I know exactly what they were gonna do, you watching that film, you know what they're going to do. ... Over 200 yards each game. I knew damn well we wasn't going to win the game if we let that happen. They come in here, he runs for 70 yards, they call him the best rusher in the league. We sendin' his a-- home early."
Despite trailing by a single possession in the third before the Chiefs pulled away late, Tennessee ran Henry a mere three times for seven yards in the second half. Those handoffs, stopped for little to no gain by a ferocious defensive line, helped prove the Chiefs were going to do whatever was necessary to keep Henry from beating them in the final two quarters.
In the end, Clark was able to back his words not by taking down Henry, but Tannehill. The defensive end's deft fake spin won his edge rush on fourth down with less than two minutes to play, allowing Clark to get around Titans tackle Taylor Lewan and trip up Tannehill for the takedown and turnover on downs. Because of that play and many more, the Chiefs are headed to Miami.
Clark's arrival came at a cost of first- and second-round picks for the Chiefs and a new five-year, $105 million deal. It seemed like a bit of an unwise investment at the time, especially when compounded with his slow start (due in part to injury).
None of that mattered by Sunday, though. A year after Chiefs Kingdom headed home shaking its collective head over former Kansas City edge rusher Dee Ford's crushing offsides penalty in an overtime loss to New England in the AFC Championship Game, Chiefs fans are celebrating the accomplishment of Ford's vocal replacement.