Chiefs’ Xavier Williams of KC understands significance of playoff win better than most

Xavier Williams (98) grew up a short drive away from Arrowhead Stadium.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nobody in the Kansas City Chiefs locker room is more keenly aware of the franchise’s heartbreaking playoff history than Xavier Williams, who grew up a short drive away from Arrowhead Stadium.

The defensive lineman was just a toddler when his hometown team lost in the AFC title game in January 1994, when Joe Montana was the quarterback — and the last time the Chiefs were on the cusp of playing in a Super Bowl. He endured the childhood disappointments and the playoff losses while he was starring in high school and at Northern Iowa.

So when the Chiefs finally punched their ticket back to the AFC championship game with a 31-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, there was nobody better to put it into perspective.

“I think if you’re not from here, you don’t know,” Williams said. “People have been waiting for a long, long time. You could just feel how electrifying it is around the city, from the start of the season until now, tonight. A blizzard going on and the crowd sold out. It’s something.”

The Chiefs certainly gave them a reason to brave the weather.

Patrick Mahomes threw for 278 yards while running for a touchdown. Damien Williams ran for 129 yards and a score against a Colts defense that had not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. Tyreek Hill also had a touchdown run, while Travis Kelce topped 100 yards receiving.

The Kansas City defense, which was so maligned all season, shut down Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense in helping Kansas City to its first playoff win over the Colts in five tries.

“Everybody grows up talking about playing for the hometown team,” Williams said. “I mean, it’s a great opportunity we’ve got. And now we’ve got an even bigger opportunity, a chance to bring a Super Bowl to your hometown. That’s what dreams are made of.”

Standing in the way: The Los Angeles Chargers, who split with Kansas City during the regular season with each team winning on the road, or the New England Patriots, who rallied in the final seconds to beat the Chiefs in a 43-40 barnburner at Gillette Stadium in Week 6.

The Chiefs don’t really care who earns the right to visit them Sunday.

“We don’t care who we’re going against. We can be going against brick walls and will find a way to beat them,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “We’re peaking at the right moment.”