KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fans lined up Wednesday for prime seats in downtown Kansas City as the city celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs’ second Super Bowl championship in four NFL seasons.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes were riding in double-decker buses, joined by teammates, family members and Chiefs officials, in front of standing fans of up to 10 as the parade it wound its way down a main downtown street along the way to a rally at Union Station.
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was in one of the buses holding the Lombardi Trophy, denoting the Chiefs’ 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s Super Bowl. He then handed it to the players, who passed it around.
Most schools, many businesses and some government offices in the Kansas City metropolitan area were closed to allow fans to enjoy the festivities.
Fans were generally happy and in high spirits as they waited in long lines for food trucks, cargo trucks, and, of course, portable toilets. Some people slept overnight to get prime seats in front of Union Station.
But Shellie Diehl, 46, of Kansas City, sat along a street about a block from Union Station as crowds grew more congested in front of the rally site. She was joined by her 8-year-old daughter Skyler; 16-year-old daughter, Taylor; he’s a friend.
Diehl said she came to the Chiefs parade in 2020 and decided to have some mother-daughter time while celebrating Skyler’s first save.
“The last one was so much fun, we decided we had to come to this one,” Diehl said. “We are huge Chiefs fans and wanted to celebrate a great day with the community.”
After decades of a championship drought, the city is gaining experience with victory parades. Four seasons ago, the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers for the team’s first Super Bowl championship in 50 years. This followed the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series in 2015, the city’s first baseball championship in 30 years.
Some fans have admitted that Kansas City may be a little spoiled.
“It takes some getting used to, but that’s okay,” said Liz Barber, 50, of Shawnee, Kansas. “It’s good.”
David Cordray, 38, of Kansas City, said, “We’ve had 50 years of drought, so it’s time we had our own dynasty.”
A group of about 25 Kansas City Chiefs fans, who arrived around 6 a.m., prepared a breakfast feast, complete with corn on the cob, bacon, and potatoes and all the trimmings — and had steaks ready for the day. .
Dominic Zamora, 18, of Kansas City, said friends arrived around 6 a.m. to fix their tailgate, continuing a tradition whenever he and his friends attend Chiefs games. He said he expects to return for more shows in the coming years.
“With Mahomes, there’s more to come,” Zamora said. “It’s going to be fun and I’m excited to introduce myself.”
Manuel Palacio, 48, of Kansas City, wore a cow suit in homage to Kansas City’s “Cowtown” nickname.
He said he was a longtime Buffalo Bills fan who converted to the Chiefs around 1993 after losing a bet with a Chiefs fan.
“I had to convert,” Palacio said. “It’s like being an Oakland Raiders fan; at some point you have to cheer for the team that keeps winning,” he said with a laugh.
Palacio said he and his extended family spend the season watching Chiefs games at home and have decided “when — not if — we’re going to win the Super Bowl, we’re going to go over there and have some fun, celebrate together.”
Officials began planning the save weeks before the Chiefs defeated the Eagles on a field goal with 8 seconds remaining in the game.
Kansas City Police said about 675 law enforcement officers from more than 20 agencies, along with firefighters and transportation leaders, were scattered along the route by the expected crowds.
The City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed to allocate $750,000 for parade-related expenses, and Mayor Quinton Lucas estimated that overtime costs for police and firefighters would total more than $1.5 million.
The Kansas City Sports Commission is expected to contribute an additional $1 million in private donations, and the Jackson County Legislature voted to add $75,000.
Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City contributed to this story.
This story has been updated to correct that it is Kansas City’s second championship in four seasons, not two years.