In a matter of nine months, Spencer Brown went from watching the Bills and Chiefs play in the 2020 AFC Championship Game in his basement to starting for the Bills at right tackle on Sunday in Kansas City.
It's surreal for the Iowa native who grew up around 150 miles north of Arrowhead Stadium. He remembers watching the AFC title game and rooting for the Bills because of one player in particular.
"I have a lot of Chiefs fans from like my college teammates, a lot are from Kansas City, Missouri. I was one of the few cheering for the Bills. Ike Boettger is from Iowa, Cedar Falls, so I was cheering for the Iowa guys and the Bills as well. So, it's pretty unique that now I'm in this scenario."
Even though Brown has yet to play a game in Arrowhead Stadium, he knows all about how loud the fans can get during the game. The last time Brown was at Arrowhead was to see Peyton Manning play. Manning is one of Brown's favorite players to watch and couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him with a bunch of his family and friends.
For this Sunday's primetime game, Brown expects a lot of his family and friends to be there cheering him on. Brown estimates that around 200-300 people from his hometown of Lenox, Iowa will be there. Lenox only has a population of roughly 1,400 people, of which a seventh of the whole town might be at Sunday night's game.
"The town might shut down quite possibly," Brown said. "They're all in a section together from what I've heard, so it'll be a good experience for them. And I think there's a lot of kids going as well. So just a good experience to see that a Lenox, Iowa kid, or a small-town Iowa kid can go down there and do it as well."
Brown is so happy to hear that a majority of his hometown will be at the game. The town of Lenox sure does seem to support Brown in his NFL journey. On draft night, back in May, Brown had about 40-50 people over at his house. But after he got the call from the Bills, most of the town showed up on his front lawn to party and celebrate with him. The Bills offensive lineman hopes to inspire those from his area that anything is possible if you put the work in.
"It's pretty amazing," Brown said. "I mean to me, it's just another game, just trying to win and be successful. Then along the way, it's just showing like I said, what small-town kids can do. I'm the first from Southwest Iowa to go and play in the NFL, and hopefully, there are many more after me. But I don't want to inspire just Lenox, but as well as the state of Iowa and small-town schools and eight-man football players around."
In terms of the game, Brown isn't getting swept up in the emotions of it all and knows that he has an important job to do Sunday night. This will be Brown's second career start and first on the road. Brown's mindset going into the game is not making it more than it is. That's the message that's been preached around the locker room. Even though Brown wasn't a member of the Bills when they lost to the Chiefs twice last season, he understands how important this game is for himself, his teammates, and this Bills organization.
"You can just tell, the older guys, it's significant to them, and it's been brought up in our meetings that they've been there," Brown stated. "I personally have not, obviously, but just to see the fire in them, and then how they talk about it. And then as a young guy coming in here and contributing to the team, you don't want to let them down. So, my preparation level has gone up a lot because I can see how passionate they are about it, and I don't want to let them down."
Scroll to see photos of the Bills as they prepare for their Week 5 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.