Long before he was Champ Kind in Anchorman or Todd Packer on The Office, David Koechner was a young boy in central Missouri with a love of the Kansas City Chiefs. He grew up idolizing Willie Lanier and Ed Podolak, and he even proposed to his wife on the same day the two attended a Chiefs victory. Koechner is also a long-time fan of the Kansas City Royals, and he tells ThePostGame how he celebrated the team's World Series championship. Koechner stars in Krampus, a holiday horror to be released Dec. 4. He is a spokesperson for Verizon Thanksgetting, which is providing a variety of free services with partners Amazon, iTunes, Pandora, Lyft, Boingo and Gogo, on Nov. 25, the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, the busiest travel day of the year.
ThePostGame: The Kansas City Chiefs ...
DAVID KOECHNER: Charcandrick West. One of the top three running backs and he just started. The Chiefs always have great running backs. Always. From Christian Okoye, let's talk Eddie Podalak to [Larry] Johnson to Priest Holmes and then we had Jamaal Charles. Of course, tragically he got injured, but West has stepped up.
TPG: Do you have a favorite Kansas City Chief of all time?
KOECHNER: Willie Lanier. I don't know why, but I had a poster of him when I was a kid. I was a linebacker or interior lineman, but whatever it was, that Chiefs period in the early 70s, when I was a kid and I just found them, it was one of favorite eras. Len Dawson, Hank Strand, Eddie Podalack, Elmo Wright, a lot of great Chiefs.
TPG: What do you remember about the 1969 Super Bowl season?
KOECHNER: Well, we were world champions. In '69, I would have been 7 years old. I have fleeting memories of them winning because I'm from Missouri, and my cousins were big Chiefs fans, so I remember that excitement about it, but of course, the Super Bowl wasn't what it is now. I think those early Super Bowls weren't well-attended.
TPG: The Chiefs beat the Broncos last weekend. Any time the Chiefs beat the Broncos how do you feel?
KOECHNER: So great. I mean we're on a roll. We had a tough start. I thought we were going to have such a great season and we went 1-5. You want something to root for and now we have it. The team has stayed healthy, largely, except for Jamaal, and they're doing it. The defense is doing it. Too bad for him, but clearly, Manning is hurt. Congratulations on your win, go ahead and retire. Go out a champion. Every time you beat the Broncos -- I think we'd lost seven in a row -- it's great, so that was beautiful to get that win. It's a tough division. I mean San Diego's taking it on the chin, but the Raiders are good, the Broncos are good.
TPG: Do you think the Chiefs will be a playoff team this year?
KOECHNER: Boy, can we make it? Possibly. It'd be a nice little surprise.
TPG: What's your most memorable Chiefs game you've ever attended?
KOECHNER: Attended? You already know this, don't you?
KOECHNER: The day I got engaged to my wife -- we have five kids, by the way. I really test her. The day we got engaged, we went to a Chiefs game. Chiefs beat the Bills. Her father was a season-ticket holder. They had four seats on the 50-yard line, about 20 rows up. That morning, I proposed to my wife. It was a Sunday. We were in town because her friend's brother got married. That weekend, I went shooting. Her father was a sportsman. He liked shotguns. We went sports skeet shooting. On the way back, I asked for his daughter's hand in marriage, which seems traditional, but it's a bit anti-feminist, let's face it. But it's more out of respect. These days, it's looked at as a respectable thing to do. I asked for his daughter's fan in marriage and this is what he told me (laughs). He didn't say yes, necessarily. He told me, 'Well, I know she's crazy about you.' Is that a yes? It wasn't necessarily I'd love to have you as my son-in-law. We differed politically. A great man, though. That morning, I got up and I dressed as a clown, I swear to God, and went to her room. I had three balloons. One had Hershey's Kisses inside it, one had rose pedals in it and the other one had a ring on a toy airplane because we met on an airplane. I gave her the roses and she used the thorns from the roses to pop the balloons and the final one was the airplane and she was kind of freaked out. She said yes.
TPG: And then what happened in the game?
KOECHNER: We went to the game. The Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills. I can't remember the score, but you'll look it up. It was 1997. September 10 or 11th.
Note: It was Sept. 14, and the Chiefs won, 22-16. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer led Kansas City to victory with Tony Richardson scoring the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. A rookie tight end named Tony Gonzalez had three receptions for 34 yards.
TPG: You didn't want to do it on the Jumbotron?
KOECHNER: (Laughs) I don't think they had one back then. I wasn't as famous as I am now. Now that I'm super famous.
TPG: Are you a big Royals fan?
KOECHNER: You know I'm not huge into baseball, but I do an event every year with the Royals. We do a charity event, myself, Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis and Eric Stonestreet. They're all from Kansas City. My wife's from Kansas City. I grew up in central Missouri. So we host this event, we go back every year, and the Royals are our partner. We raise money for Children's Mercy Hospital. It's called Big Slick because of the charity. We raised $1 million this year and last year. It's a wonderful thing and it's great to have a partnership with the Royals. I could tell last year, something was happening. You know how you can get a sense of a team? We got to do batting practice with those guys and they were having so much fun. I was so happy they made it that far then and for them to come back, all the way back, you know how hard that is, especially to get back after having your back broken, was really special. How fun was that series? There was no quit. There wasn't a pitch they couldn't hit. All we had to do was get in their bullpen. And to watch some of those hits, the strokes were so beautiful. You see those things in slow motion.
TPG: How'd you celebrate the win?
KOECHNER: With a WHAMMY! (Laughs)
I was watching the game largely by myself. The kids were in and out. My wife was in and out, but I remember finishing the game by myself. My celebration was posting WHAMMY on Instagram.
TPG: WHAMMY ... was that something you wrote into the Anchorman script?
KOECHNER: It'd be so great if it was. I would say my contribution was the way I perform it.
TPG: How often do you get asked to do Champ Kind impressions on the street?
KOECHNER: Daily. My favorite is when they get it wrong and they say, 'Give me a BLAMMY?' Or they come up and go, 'BLAMMO.' I'm like, yeah.
TPG: Is that the role you take the most pride in?
KOECHNER: I take pride in all my work. There's something special about Anchorman and I love those guys. They're actual friends. True friends. Great people. When people say, what's Will Ferrell like or Paul Rudd or Steve Carell, I say this and I mean it. They are a better person than you hope. They really are. They're fabulous guys. And you know what else they are? They're great husbands and fathers. They really are. That's a good judgment on their character. Not only are they super talented, but they're good family guys.
I'm the new Ant Man, by the way.
TPG: Sorry, what was that?
KOECHNER: Don't apologize. I'm the new Ant Man. I'm going to start telling people that and we'll see if it gets back to Paul [Rudd]. Someone asked me recently what role I wish I would have gotten and I said Ant Man. Because I love Paul. He's a swell fella.
TPG: What sports role did you enjoy more, Champ Kind or Lambeau Fields in The Comebacks?
KOECHNER: (Laughs). Did you see The Comebacks?
TPG: I did. On an airplane.
KOECHNER: I was the star. The first name for the coach in the script was 'Champ.' I said I think we should change this. What's my favorite role as a sportsperson? Lambeau Fields. Lambeau coached the games. Did you watch the movie? Did you like the movie?
TPG: I did. I'll tell you not all my friends liked it, but I did.
KOECHNER: Oh, you're kind. That was a fun movie. The director wanted to straddle this idea of a spoof movie and one with some true heart. I'm not sure we got all the way there. It's a fine movie. You could probably tell me its flaws more than I can. It was fun to do that movie with all those young people. What's your favorite line from the movie?
TPG: I like when they make fun of Vince Papale from Invincible.
KOECHNER: My favorite line is when my daughter comes to me and says, 'I want what you and mom have' and I say, 'Herpes?' My son, whose 16 now, his favorite line in the movie is 'Scruffy!' I don't know why. He'll just do it every once in a while.
TPG: On to your new movie, Krampus ...
KOECHNER: Yes, Krampus. December 4. It's a holiday horror with humor and heart.
TPG: When I saw the trailer, I saw you and Adam Scott and I thought oh, this is going to be a family comedy. Is that what it is?
KOECHNER: Right. It starts out as a family comedy and then it grows dark and sinister. Because if you lose the spirit of Christmas, young man, Krampus will descend upon you. Krampus is based on an old Germanic legend. He's the anti-Santa Claus or as the grandma says, the shadow of Santa. This woman, Krista Stadler, when she was an old woman growing up in Austria, swear to god she told me this story. My favorite thing was to have her say the word 'Krampus' because she had a beautiful Austrian accent. You know how when you and I, or when most people, go to sit on Santa's lap, there would be one line. When she was a child, there were two lines, one to sit on Santa's lap and one for Krampus' lap. It's so weird. But it's a holiday horror with humor at heart. I say it’s a Christmas horror movie because that describes it. Two families get together for Christmas. They don't necessarily like each other. One boy stops believing, and that's when Krampus comes to haunt and terrorize. Really, it's a message.
ThePostGame: What is Thanksgetting?
DAVID KOECHNER: Verizon is giving to anyone -- you don't even have to be a Verizon customer -- all you have to do is go to www.verizonwireless.com/thanksgetting and you get free stuff because the spirit of Thanksgiving is giving, so Verizon is giving. And you're getting. You get free downloads, eBooks, movies, streaming. Do you need a ride someone? There's free Lyft that day. Courtesy of who? Verizon. If you're actually a Verizon customer, you get one gig free. Go ahead, look stuff up you don't even need to. You're a reader. You seem like a smart guy. Get a book.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.