Steelers at Chiefs: Eric Berry, Le’Veon Bell define their teams

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs will meet in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon, looking for their ticket to the AFC Championship Game.

Two years ago at this time, Eric Berry was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, uncertain if his career, and life, would continue. The cancerous mass was discovered in Berry’s chest in November 2014, ending his season. It was time to put down the football and insert the picc line.

By training camp the following year, Berry’s cancer was in remission. During his chemotherapy, he gained one pound. He suited up for all 16 regular-season games in 2015 and was named a First-Team All-Pro and NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The Chiefs then won a playoff game for the first time in 22 years, beating the Houston Texans, 30-0. Berry notched an interception. While Kansas City lost the following weekend in New England, the groundwork was laid for 2016.

This campaign has been another quality year for a franchise long on tradition but short on banners. The Chiefs won their division with a 12-4 mark, the first time they accomplished that feat since 2010. Kansas City also earned a bye in the AFC playoffs, something not done since 2003.

Berry was at the epicenter of the Chiefs’ remarkable season, despite the gnawing truth that he’s without a contract for next season. He is a constant, scoring three times this season off interceptions to accompany his unquestioned leadership. At 28 years old, Berry is wise beyond his years and has an immeasurable impact on a team nobody talks about but everybody should be acutely aware of.