“I’m outta here so we can get the second-half comeback going,” he told viewers in footage he posted on Twitter of himself leaving the stadium.
As it turned out, the Chiefs didn’t even wait until the second half to get going after falling behind by 24 points early in the second quarter. In an unprecedented barrage led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City scored four touchdowns to take a 28-24 lead into halftime. The team kept pouring it on in the second half and pulled away from Houston to win, 51-31.
Meanwhile, Penn returned to his residence nearby to take in the rest of the game, and the video he posted took off. Mahomes was even asked about it after the win, and his advice for Penn was, “Watch the next game at home.”
According to Yahoo Sports, Penn was basing his superstition on recent history: He was in attendance for the Chiefs’ home playoff losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, to the Tennessee Titans in 2018 and, worst of all, to the New England Patriots in overtime in last year’s AFC championship game.
The week before that brutal defeat a year ago, Penn had missed the Chiefs’ home playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. The result of that contest? An easy victory for Kansas City, and the emergence of a personal belief that would attain full karmic potency Sunday.
When the Texans took a 14-0 lead and recovered a fumble by the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill near his team’s end zone, Penn told people sitting near him at Arrowhead that if Houston went up by three touchdowns he would leave. Some on Twitter who already knew of his losing streak at the stadium were encouraging him to go.
“People were in my mentions,” the 31-year-old told Yahoo Sports. “Like: ‘Get ya a-- out the stadium! Right now!’ They swear I’m the only jinx.”
As his video spread on Twitter, some questioned whether he really left the game or perhaps had merely shot the footage on his way to a stadium bathroom. “I’m at the crib, dawg!” Penn tweeted at one skeptic, appending a photo showing himself at his home.
There was less doubt about whether he was ever at the game at all, because Penn had already tweeted photos that showed him there. In response to offers to help defray his ticket cost, he posted his account handles for Venmo and Cash App, and he told Yahoo Sports that other fans wound up more than covering his costs.
Not surprisingly, Penn has no plans to use some of his unexpected windfall to buy a ticket to next week’s AFC championship game, in which the Chiefs will host the Tennessee Titans. “I PROMISE,” he told Twitter users who might have been worried about his bad-luck-charm presence at Arrowhead with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Mahomes, who threw five touchdown passes, four coming in a second-quarter flurry that tied a postseason record set by the Washington Redskins’ Doug Williams in Super Bowl XXII, had another message for Penn after the game.
Of the ardent fan’s act of sacrifice, Mahomes tweeted with laughing emoji, “Appreciate you doing what was best for the Kingdom!”