Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes slammed cans of beer thrown to him by spectators, and even stepped out for a quick bathroom break along Wednesday’s parade route in Kansas City, where eager fans braved freezing temperatures and a potential snow storm to celebrate Sunday’s 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers and the team’s first championship in 50 years.
Before the festivities began, however, a pair of joyriders drove through barricades onto the parade route, only to be intentionally spun out by police before anyone could be hurt.
Police arrested the driver and another person at gunpoint, according to officials and video footage of the incident.
Clay County Sheriff’s deputies threw out Stop Sticks and several patrol cars surrounded the car and stopped it as it approached the crowd near Union Station, police said. Video posted by WDAF-TV showed officers approaching the car with weapons drawn before taking two people into custody. No one was injured.
Mayor Quinton Lucas told the TV station that it was an impaired driver taking ‘a joy ride’ and was not terrorism-related. He praised the quick response of the officers who responded, who were cheered by fans who witnessed the incident.
‘We have even more heroes to cheer today,’ Lucas said.
Otherwise the parade went off as planned, aside from the impromptu bathroom stop for Mahomes, who ran off to one of the 700 portable toilets lining the route. Mahomes re-emerged after a few minutes and high-fived a few fans on his way back to the buses.
Some of the other highlights included actor and Kansas City native Paul Rudd riding along in a golf cart, and an exuberant Travis Kelce thanking fans while wearing a WWE championship belt.
At one point Mahomes even poured a beer into Kelce’s mouth from atop a double-decker bus as the All-Pro tight stood on the ground below, twirling underneath the cascading trickle of booze.
Coach Andy 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.’
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 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 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.
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.
Wind chills in the teens didn’t deter fans like Dana Reynolds, of Holt, who has been a Chiefs fan for more than 30 years. She and others arrived at 5am 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.’
When the Royals won the World Series in 2015, an estimated 800,000 people flocked to the victory parade, shattering expectations in a city with a population of about 470,000 and a metropolitan area of about 2 million. Cellphone towers were overwhelmed by the throngs, and motorists began parking along side of the interstate and walking as exits jammed.
The city learned from that experience and is making adjustments, adding a temporary cell tower and increasing the number of portable toilets to 700 from 200. Officials also are boosting the number of lost child stations – something that was deemed crucial after about 100 youngsters became separated from their caretakers in 2015.
Several schools in the area canceled classes, freeing up buses to haul fans to the celebration of the team’s come-from-behind 31-20 win against San Francisco.
‘This is a celebration that is a long time in the making,’said Mayor Quinton Lucas during a news conference Tuesday in which he also urged fans to ‘bundle up’ as forecasters called for 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 centimeters) of snow along the route.
City staff that aren’t involved in public safety or other essential services were freed of their duties to watch the parade, which started at 11:30am local time and ended with a rally in front of the city’s Union Station.
CHIEFS FAN PLUMMETS OFF TREE BRANCH AT PARADE
One Chiefs fan was seen climbing a tree to get a better view along the parade route, but ended up falling about 15 feet or so to the ground below.
It was not immediately known if he suffered any significant injuries, but video of the incident emerged on social media and showed many concerned onlookers reacting to the frightening fall.
The man, who was wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt and struggling to keep his jeans at his waistline, managed to get himself onto one sturdy branch without much trouble.
Things became dangerous, however, when he attempted to ascend to a higher branch.
The man jumped with his arms outstretched, and at first appeared as though he’d be able to pull himself up.
Unfortunately, as the weight of his legs shifted beneath him, he lost his grip and plummeted to the ground below, colliding with another branch on his way down.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Legislature canceled that day’s session, while lawmakers in Missouri planned a light workday. Many businesses in the area also made plans to close or operate on a reduced schedule. At Children’s Mercy Kansas City, the emergency room at the main downtown hospital will be open, but appointments and some surgeries were being rescheduled or moved.
The city provided free shuttles, but dropped parade-goers further from the route to prevent buses from becoming trapped in traffic as happened during the Royals parade.
Kansas City police Major Chip Huth said law enforcement from 19 surrounding agencies were on call to help provide security for the masses.
‘The main thing we have learned,’ he said, ‘is that we need to be ahead of the response.’
The weather made it particularly difficult getting home, due to some light snowfall.
‘One of our messages is it probably won’t be bad getting to the parade but there will be hazardous conditions leaving the parade,’ National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Barham said beforehand.
The National Weather Service predicted 2 inches to 3 inches (5.08 to 7.62 centimeters) of snowfall Wednesday along the parade route, with up to 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) in the Columbia area.
University of Missouri officials announced Wednesday morning that no classes would be held after 1pm because of the storm.
The Missouri Department of Transportation warned in a tweet that road conditions are worsening as the snowfall picks up. The tweet said, ‘If you can avoid it, DO NOT TRAVEL in this storm today!’
In neighboring Kansas, Pittsburg State University announced the cancellation of men’s and women’s basketball games.
Winter storm warnings also were in effect from eastern New Mexico to the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Although it took five decades for the Chiefs to win a second Super Bowl, the team’s players don’t expect to wait that long for a third.
‘Next year we’re coming back,’ Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said after Sunday’s win. ‘We’re coming back for a repeat.’
There’s plenty of reasons to believe they can do it. The Chiefs will return just about every key piece that delivered the city its first championship in 50 years, including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, breakout star Damien Williams and the core of their rebuilt defense, along with a coaching staff that’s gotten plenty of interest for head coaching jobs elsewhere.
So perhaps it was no surprise that most Las Vegas sports books already have installed the Chiefs as 6-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl next season. The Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion Niners were close behind.
‘I’m really excited about it. You get one, you want to get another,’ said Andy Reid, who finally got to bask in his first Super Bowl championship after 21 years of coaching. ‘But we’ve got to backpedal a minute and enjoy this one, and then we’ll get busy on the next one.’
There certainly will be plenty of time to celebrate. The Chiefs wrapped up some media obligations in Miami on Monday, then were to head back to Kansas City, where an entire city was prepping for a victory parade Wednesday.
Not long after that, though, expect Reid and general manager Brett Veach to get down to business.
The Chiefs are likely to make Mahomes the NFL’s highest-paid player this offseason, the first opportunity he will have to sign a contract extension. The Chiefs also must decide what to do with Jones, one of the league’s premier defensive linemen, who is eligible for free agency but has expressed his desire to remain with the team on a long-term deal.
‘Why wouldn’t I want to be here?’ he asked. ‘We have a chance to be a dynasty.’
The Chiefs also had a number of role players whose deals are expiring, and bringing them back or unearthing replacements will be crucial during free agency. Among them are defensive linemen Terrell Suggs, Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavier Williams, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller.
Another question facing the Chiefs: What will they do with Sammy Watkins, who proved his worth with a massive playoff run capped by five catches for 98 yards in the Super Bowl. He is due to count $21 million against the salary cap next year, so the Chiefs are likely to ask him to take a pay cut or restructure his contract or be forced to release him.
‘If we keep going the way we’re going, the sky is the limit for this team,’ said Watkins, who contradicted reports he might even sit out next season by insisting he’d return. ‘Why not? We’ll come back and win next year.’
But even with all those holes to fill, the Chiefs are still in enviable shape. They have arguably the league’s best quarterback and one of its most electrifying pass-catchers in Tyreek Hill. They have one of its premier tight ends in Travis Kelce and a running back in Damien Williams, who gashed the 49ers for 104 yards rushing with TDs on the ground and through the air.
On defense, they have elite pass rusher Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu — the prize acquisitions last offseason who came up big in the Super Bowl — signed to contracts that will keep them in Kansas City at least two more years.
‘It will be important to keep a couple of those other guys and obviously continue to get better, whether that’s through the draft or free agency,’ Mathieu said. ‘The most important thing is our core is intact. We’ve got a hell of a football team, so we are looking forward to next season already.’
There have been seven franchises that have won back-to-back Super Bowls, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who did the trick twice in the 1970s. That now becomes the goal for a team that sees a window of dominance opening in the AFC, where the Chiefs and Ravens already have begun to replace the New England Patriots as the gold standard.
‘I think as long as we keep the people that we have in this organization on this team, with the coach that we have, I think we have a chance to be good year-in and year-out,’ Mahomes said. ‘It’s not going to be easy. We’re sitting here right now, and I know that going back, we’re going to have next year to play a lot of great football teams. There’s a lot of great teams in this league, so you understand that. But at the same time, just try to get better every year.’
Not just to reach the pinnacle of the game. At long last, the Chiefs finally have accomplished that.
The task facing them now is staying there.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Alex Raskin