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Kansas City's Super Bowl Dreams Come True As Mahomes Rallies Chiefs — Parade Set For Wednesday

No more waiting, Kansas City: The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions again, and it’s time to party.

The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, in a close game that saw Kansas City come back in the fourth quarter and hold on during the final minutes. Damien Williams had two touchdowns, and Travis Kelce and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes had one apiece. Mahomes was named MVP. 

“Through thick and thin, the Chiefs have always been a cornerstone of the city," said 24-year-old Taylor Harwerth, a North Kansas City resident, "even when we had really, really bad years."

The game capped years of waiting — 50, to be exact. Self-proclaimed “diehard Chiefs fan” Jazz Walker of Kansas City, Missouri, came with his brothers (and hundreds of others) to KC Live! in the Power & Light District downtown. He saw what he wanted to see: “something special.”

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Diane Muth of Overland Park watches as the Chiefs win the Super Bowl. "It's nice to have people you don't normally see in the Super Bowl there, kind of like the little guy above all odds."

It was a special night, too, for Andy Reid, a former Mizzou football assistant coach, who gets his first Super Bowl ring as a head coach. 

"Love this guy right here," Reid said right after the game, nodding to Mahomes, the 24-year-old phenom standing alongside. 

The Super Bowl was played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Tickets went for more than $6,000 on the secondary market. But for many fans, there was no place like home — or the Power & Light District, The Ship in the West Bottoms or a good old-fashioned gathering with friends.

And then there was Faye Jacobs at Southeast Community Center in Swope Park at her first Super Bowl party in a long time. She spent nearly 27 years in prison and was released in 2018 with the help of the Midwest Innocence Project. 

“Oh my God, it is just unbelievable. It’s wonderful. It’s a dream come true,” she said. “It’s something that I thought would never happen for me, being that I was sentenced to life without parole at the age of 16. To be able to be here today, is everything.”

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
A giant Andy Reid head looms above the crowd at KC Live! on Sunday night as they celebrated the Chiefs' win over the 49ers.

These fans had been thirsting for a win. They wanted Mahomes to deliver his usual magic. They wanted the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They wanted a parade.

They’re getting their wish: It'll start at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. While the route hasn't been specified, it'll end with a big rally at 1:30 p.m. in front of Union Station.

“The parade is going to be 2 million people, easily. I’m excited,” said Jordan Otto of Kansas City, Missouri.

Robbie Grant watched the win from Fitz’s Blarney Stone in midtown Kansas City.

“Um, it’s overwhelming,” he said, adding later: "What happens is that when your team loses, you stick with them, follow them and help them build."

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Nithin Gunuganti has lived in Overland Park for 15 years, and loves watching Patrick Mahomes run the offense.

Zaqq Williams, 25, just moved back home from Atlanta. As he watched the game at Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas, he said he hadn’t lost faith all season. 

“It’s destiny,” he said. “It’s their time. KC needs to be on the map. We’re the middle of the United States of America. It’s time for us to be recognized.”

And Overland Park resident Nithin Gunuganti, 35, said Mahomes is, simply, the man. 

“What we mean by Mahomes magic is the play never dies,” he said at Prairiefire. “As long as he’s on the field with the ball anything can happen.”  

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
It was time to party at KC Live! in downtown's Power & Light District.

Jack Dykstra, a 24-year-old from Leawood, wore a jersey signed by Jamaal Charles when he was a senior in high school. He “wasn’t smart enough” to take Monday off, but was happy he was out late.

“They poured their hearts out since the beginning of the season, when defense was not playing that well,” Dykstra said. “You know what? I’m glad to be here.” 

John Reichmeier from Overland Park came to KC Live! to watch the game and said the day was “honestly surreal.” 

“I haven’t slept in the last week or so,” he said before the game. “We’re so excited.”

The Chiefs, 12-4 in the regular season, made it to the Super Bowl after a couple of impressive playoff victories at Arrowhead Stadium: First, a historic 51-31 comeback over the Houston Texans on Jan. 12, and a closer, but 35-24 victory against the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 19.

San Francisco’s path to the Super Bowl started by beating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10, and soundly beating the Green Bay Packers 37-20 on Jan. 19 for the NFC title. 

The 49ers, who went 13-3 in the regular season, have a local connection: Assistant offensive coach Katie Sowers grew up in Hesston, Kansas, and worked in Kansas City, Missouri, before finding her way into the NFL. Sowers — the first woman coach and first LGBTQ coach in any Super Bowl — has the city skyline tattooed on her arm. 

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Fans arrived early for a spot in downtown Kansas City.

Julie Denesha is a freelance photographer and reporter for KCUR. Follow her on Twitter @juliedenesha.

Jodi Fortino is a news intern at KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @fortinojodi.

Frank Morris is a national correspondent and senior editor at KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @FrankNewsman.

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter: @larodrig

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @laurazig or email her at lauraz@kcur.org.

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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