KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNW/AP) – The Kansas City Chiefs held a parade through downtown on Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday.
Thousands gathered as the team brought home a Super Bowl trophy for the first time in 50 years.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his wife greeted the crowd from an open-air bus as some players took to the street to walk the route. A few lucky fans got to touch the Lombardi trophy as it made its way from bus to bus.
After the parade, a rally was held at Union Station.
Reid thanked the fans for their continued support and for attending the parade.
“Next year, we’re coming right back here,” Reid said in a brief speech. “One more time baby, one more time.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Super Bowl MVP who has captured the fans’ devotion in only his third NFL season, struggled with a strained voice but said the championship fulfilled two goals he set when he became the team’s starter.
First, he said, he wanted to bring the Lamar Hunt trophy for winning the AFC championship back to Kansas City. The late Lamar Hunt and the Hunt family founded the team as the Dallas Texans in 1960 before moving the team to Kansas City in 1963 and changing the name.
“The second most important thing I wanted to do was get the Lombardi Trophy for the greatest coach of all time, Andy Reid,” he said.
Hunt’s son, Clark Hunt, said his father told him before he died in 2006 that the parade and celebration after the 1970 Super Bowl was the best day of his life because of the joy of the fans.
“Thank you for giving my dad and I some of the best days of our lives,” he told the fans. “We love you.”
Tyreek Hill, the speedster wide receiver, also promised fans the team would be back for more Super Bowl parades. He told the fans that their support and love fueled the team’s success.
“That’s what makes us ball everyday,” Hill said. “Get your tickets, you are going to be in this same spot next year.”
During the parade, several players, including Chris Jones, Tyrann Mathieu and Travis Kelce, got off their double-decker buses to high-five fans and dance down the street. Reid left his bus to show The Lombardi Trophy to fans along the route. Other players sprayed fans with champagne and some, including Mahomes, chugged beer. At one point, Mahomes was seen pouring a beer from the top of a double-decker bus into the mouth of Kelce, who was in the street.
Some fans slept overnight and others began arriving in downtown Kansas City in the early hours Wednesday to reserve choice viewing spots.
“This is so awesome,” said Shauntel Lyons, 40, of Kansas City, who was a Chiefs cheerleader from 2003 to 2005. “I learned so many great lessons from my time with the team. To see them bring home that trophy after 50 years is so gratifying. I’m just glad to be part of it.”
Fans bundled up for chilly conditions but the forecast for 2 to 3 inches of snow did not materialize, with only light snow falling intermittently.
“There’s no chance that we weren’t gonna be here today. They’re amazing. We love the Chiefs,” said Deb Williams, Chiefs fan.
“I was like I have to be here. I have to be in the moment for that,” said Julian Niewiadomski, Chiefs fan.
Wind chills in the teens didn’t deter fans like Dana Reynolds, who has been a Chiefs fan for more than 30 years. She and others arrived at 5 a.m. and were taking shelter under a canopy, complete with electric hand warmers, food and everything needed to survive the hours-long wait.
“We want to celebrate the Chiefs season and bring the city together,” she said. “It’s been worth the wait. What Andy Reid and this team have done for the city is amazing.”
The Kansas Legislature took the day off to celebrate and their Missouri counterparts scheduled a light workday. Many area businesses also planned to close or open on a reduced schedule. At Children’s Mercy Kansas City, the emergency room at the main downtown hospital was open, but appointments and some surgeries were rescheduled or moved.
The Chiefs Super Bowl win came five years after the city’s Kansas City Royals baseball team won a World Series. An estimated 800,000 people flocked to that victory parade, shattering expectations in a city with a population of about 470,000 and a metropolitan area of about 2 million. There was no immediate estimate of the crowd size of Wednesday’s rally.
Before the parade, an apparently impaired driver taking a “joy ride” along the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade route in downtown Kansas City was put into a forced spin by law enforcement officers and arrested at gunpoint. No one was injured in the incident, which was captured on video for fans along the route.
Mayor Quinton Lucas told WDAF-TV he was proud of the quick response of officers, who were cheered by fans who witnessed the incident.
“We have even more heroes to cheer today,” Lucas said.
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