Titan in Chiefs Kingdom

Long snapper Beau Brinkley of the Tennessee Titans grew up in Kearney and will face the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.

KANSAS CITY — When the Kansas City Chiefs (13-4) take on the Tennessee Titans (11-7) Sunday, Jan. 19, for the AFC Championship, there will be at least one Northland native on the gridiron, Beau Brinkley.

The former Kearney Bulldog and Mizzou Tiger has been a long snapper with the Titans since 2012. Last year, Brinkley and his Titans teammates bested the Chiefs in a playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium. Brinkley hopes to repeat the success this Sunday.

“I got to treat it like it’s just another game. I got to go out there, have fun and do my job, not do more than what I’m supposed to,” Brinkley said, referring to how he mentally prepares for a matchup of this magnitude.

The winner will represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for Feb. 2 in Miami Gardens. The AFC champion will face the winner of Sunday’s NFC championship matchup in San Francisco between the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

This week marks the second playoff game between the Titans and Chiefs in a three-year span. The Titans defeated the Chiefs 22-21 in a wild card game at Kansas City following the 2017 campaign. However, in three all-time playoff meetings between the two charter American Football League clubs, the Chiefs own a 2-1 advantage.Growing up, Brinkley said he and his family were Chiefs fans. Some of his favorites to watch play included Derrick Thomas, Priest Holmes and Dante Hall.

Now as a player in the NFL himself, Brinkley said he is honored to get to play on the same field as some of his favorites, a field with an atmosphere he knows both as a player and a fan.

“I’m extremely blessed to be able to have the opportunity to play for that. Coming from a small town like Kearney to working up through Mizzou, it’s a huge honor to be able to go back to my hometown and be able to play in front of my family and friends on a such a huge stage. It’s what dreams are made of,” the long snapper said. “... Being able to work your way through the playoff to the AFC Championship is an honor. Some players’ have never reached that before and I’m going to hold that in back of mind dearly.”

While Brinkley is playing for the opposite team of those most in the area will be rooting for this Sunday, Kearney High School Athletic Director Dave Schwarzenbach said Brinkley’s work ethic and giving nature earned him many fans, including himself, who root for him on and off the field.

“We are very excited for him and his family. I’m not sure how other NFL players spend their offseason, but it’s not uncommon to find Beau at the high school weight room interacting with our athletes and coaching staff. He has been a great role model for our athletes and I think it would be pretty cool for him to be in the Super Bowl,” he said.

When asked if his family or friends give the now-Titan grief for being on the opposite end of the gridiron in a crucial matchup for members of the Chiefs Kingdom, Brinkley said yes and no.

“Well, family is on my team. They are big Titans fans, so I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I do have some guys from high school and college who are giving me a little grief, but it’s all friendly fun. I understand it and am going to take it with a grain of salt and just rock and roll.”

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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