January 30, 2022

'We love it here' : Kansas City shows up as Chiefs fight for 3rd straight Super Bowl run

A sea of red returned to Kansas City’s Power & Light District Sunday as fans cheered the Chiefs through to their first two touchdowns of the game.

KC Live!, the downtown entertainment district, remained a popular place to watch the Chiefs fight for what could lead to possession of the Lamar Hunt Trophy for the third straight year. The Chiefs again faced off with the Bengals, who on Jan. 2, beat Kansas City 34-31, earning Cincinnati the AFC North title.

Last year, no fans at KC Live! were allowed on the second floor of the deck during a Super Bowl viewing. Tables on the main floor were spread out to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 2021.The scene was vastly different this year. Fans were packed shoulder to shoulder into KC Live! by 2 p.m. kickoff of the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Most were maskless. Fists were thrown in the air and cheers erupted from the Power & Light crowd as quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw to wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the first touchdown of the game less than eight minutes into the first quarter.

Among those packed into KC Live! were Tim and Angie Righi, who drove from Blue Springs with their college-aged daughter to “soak up” the atmosphere from the crowd. He said it was the closest thing to an exciting stadium experience.After the first quarter, the couple was sure the Chiefs were on the right track for a victory. “We love it here,” Angie Righi, 55, said. Mahomes threw a second touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce at the top of the second, bringing the score to 13-2. Cheers from the crowd echoed through downtown Kansas City as fans across the metro hoped for a third-straight Super Bowl appearance by their favorite team. When a display on the KC Live! screen advised fans to “get loud” — many obliged, smacking their hands against the fence on the upper level. Brian Barlow, 30, recently moved to Topeka from Trenton, New Jersey. He was told Power & Light was the place to be on Sunday, so he made the hour-long drive to downtown Kansas City. He and his girlfriend wanted to feel “the vibe” among the ocean of red jerseys and hats.

Barlow — a new Chiefs fan — guessed there were a thousand fans at the event space, where music blasted from the bars inside. “I thought I was at the stadium, man,” Barlow said above the cheers. The third touchdown came with five minutes left in the second quarter as Mahomes threw his third touchdown of the game to wide receiver Mecole Hardman. Fans threw their hands into the air several minutes later, some spilling their drinks, as the Chiefs advanced down the field in the second quarter. Excitement and joy pulsed through the crowd. Strangers from across the region celebrated as if at a large family party, exchanging high-fives and fist pumps. “Let’s hear it for the KC Chiefs!” an announcer shouted with less than a minute left in the second quarter. “We only need 13 seconds!”

While the Chiefs failed to complete a fourth touchdown in the last five seconds, the Chiefs remained up 21-10 at the end of the first half. Gerardo Ortiz, 21, of Kansas City, called Power & Light a great experience — a place where fans can gather and meet “new friends.” He was thrilled at the Chiefs’ season, saying they had been playing really well, adding, “this season has been crazy.” Several fans, when asked if they wanted to add anything else, shouted, “Yeah. Go Chiefs!” In the last several seconds of the third quarter, the Bengals tied up the game with a touchdown.

“Sports.” Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted as Chiefs fans seemed to collectively let out a nervous exhale.

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