There is not much downside to playing with an elite, superstar quarterback.
But if there’s a downside to having such a star player on your squad, it’s that the spotlight is typically squared firmly on him and seldom deviates. Again, it’s a small grievance in the grand scheme of things (assuredly, most NFL players would rather their quarterback be talented and a bit self-centered, as opposed to humble and awful), but it is tough sometimes for the non-quarterbacks to get their flowers.
Not so for Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, whose stellar play was instrumental in his team’s 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
But that recognition for Jones truly began before a single snap was even played.
Jones, the talented Pro Bowl and All Pro interior defensive lineman for the Chiefs, was spotted getting visibly emotional during a genuinely moving rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” before the game began.
You can watch the clip of that recital below:
Not being biased, however, this is how you sing the National Anthem. Retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson performs the National Anthem on January 29th, 2023 pic.twitter.com/jM37njdQxg
— 🔱⚓️🏴☠️🇺🇸I’m The One Called Doc🇺🇸🏴☠️⚓️🔱 (@hmcrem) January 29, 2023
In case you didn’t catch Jones in the above clip, here’s a still of a visibly emotional Jones shedding at least one tear:
Chris Jones emotional during the National Anthem pic.twitter.com/FIZXLt02cB
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 29, 2023
(As a side note, more credit needs to be given to United States Navy Veteran Generald Wilson, who belted that beautiful rendition of the national anthem. There were no frills or lame attempts to “stand out.” It was just a beautifully sung anthem. Period.)
Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a story if Jones subsequently stunk it up in the AFC title game. Alas, quite the opposite happened — Jones may have registered one of the best games of his career.
The stats officially attribute Jones with four total tackles (three solo tackles), two sacks, three tackles for losses and a team-leading five quarterback pressures in the Chief’s (somewhat controversial) win over the Bengals on Sunday night.
Those are mighty impressive numbers for any defensive linemen, but they somehow undersell the total impact that Jones had on this game.
“My whole offseason was dedicated to this game,” Jones said after the win, according to NFL.com. “I missed a few big plays last year, [it’s] unfortunate they were able to move forward, and I put that on my shoulders. So this offseason, I dedicated my whole offseason to making sure that when that moment calls, for me specifically, that I’ll answer the call.”
And boy, did he ever answer that call. The 6-foot-6, 310 pound mountain of a defensive tackle was all over the field and spent a sizable chunk of playing time living in Cincinnati’s backfield, causing all sorts of headaches for the Bengals and their superstar quarterback, Joe Burrow.
Jones, whose talents are so prodigious that he can just as easily shift to edge rusher despite being an interior linemen, even notched one of his sacks from the edge on a crucial play late in the game, forcing the Bengals to punt to the Chiefs on what would turn into the game-deciding drive:
DEFENSIVE END CHRIS JONES. @StoneColdJones
— NFL (@NFL) January 30, 2023
Jones and the Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, which will take place on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Stunningly, Jones and the Chiefs have opened up as the underdogs.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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