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A Chiefs flag may be buried beneath Allegiant Stadium. Will it bring them luck in the Super Bowl?

A man wearing sunglasses, a hard hat and construction boots holds a red and yellow flag with the words "Chiefs Kingdom" in front of land excavated for stadium construction.
Courtesy of Tommy White
A photo of Gerard DeCosta with the flag he said he buried under the field at Allegiant Stadium in Los Vegas was widely circulated on social media.

Is the Super Bowl rigged? The Kansas City Chiefs can't lose to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, because the Las Vegas stadium was built around a Chiefs good luck charm. At least, that’s the myth. It has to do with a flag that some say casts a spell from under the football field.

The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and Gerard DeCosta, a construction worker who lives in Hawaii, says that may have something to do with him.

DeCosta lives almost 4,000 miles from Kansas City, but he’s a major Chiefs fan. And the Chiefs nurse a long and bitter rivalry against the Raiders. Late in 2017, DeCosta's company assigned him to work on a new stadium being built by the hated Raiders in Las Vegas.

“As soon as I got the opportunity, I knew what I had planned already,” DeCosta recalls.

The plan: Bury a “Chiefs Kingdom” flag under the rival team’s home field. Plant a curse in enemy territory.

A tweet went up picturing DeCosta in his white hardhat, standing at the construction site, holding the cheerful red and gold banner. The tweet said the flag was now encased in concrete under the middle of the playing field.

All hell broke loose.

“When this first happened, I get the phone call from the president of the Raiders. He's like, ‘Did you see what's going on, you know, social media? Did they really plant this flag at the stadium?’” remembers Tommy White, the business manager and secretary-treasurer of Laborers Union Local 872 in Las Vagas.

Members of the Allegiant Stadium construction crew and Tommy White (second from left) pretending to rough up Gerard DeCosta over the alleged flag incident.
Courtesy of Tommy White
Members of the Allegiant Stadium construction crew and Tommy White (second from left) pretending to rough up Gerard DeCosta over the alleged flag incident.

White tried to reassure Raiders President Mark Davis that such a thing was impossible. And then he set about identifying and confronting this Chiefs flag-burying troublemaker.

 “And he is like, ‘I'm not gonna say I did, or I didn't,’” White recalls. “I was like, ‘Listen, it's important because they’re gonna can you from the site.’”

White demanded the offending flag. And DeCosta produced a flag just like the one in the photo. (Similar flags currently sell for about $14 on eBay, so it’s not as if they’re in short supply.) DeCosta remains cagey about what he did with The Flag. When pressed, he says he’s “pleading the Fifth.”

Nevertheless, the Raiders have never beaten the Chiefs at home since Allegiant Stadium opened in 2020. So, if there is a curse, it’s working. And as far as a lot of Boston and Chicago fans are concerned, it wouldn’t be the first time.

There was the Curse of the Bambino. Babe Ruth dropped it on the Boston Red Sox when they made a deal with the Yankees sending him to New York in 1920. The Red Sox had been one of the winningest teams in baseball, but they didn’t take another national championship for 86 years.

The Chicago Cubs suffered the Curse of the Billy Goat in 1945. A tavern owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field for bringing his smelly goat into a World Series game. “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” he shouted on his way out. The Cubs blew a two-game lead and lost the series. They didn’t win another one until 2016.

Las Vegas Laborers Union leader Tommy White with the flag he says he took from Gerard DeCosta
Courtesy of Tommy White
Las Vegas Laborers Union leader Tommy White with the flag he says he took from Gerard DeCosta.

White is certain Allegiant Stadium is curse-free, though he understands why so many people yearn for magic from under the sod.

"Everybody wants to believe in a conspiracy theory, right? I would love to turn around and say that the Raiders should have won some of those games. I mean, they lost four games in their home stadium, right, against the Chiefs. But at the end of the day, the Chiefs had a better team," he says.

White says the Chiefs can’t count on any special good luck in the big game. In fact, he says, if there are any little planted curses active in Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, they’ll probably be working against the Chiefs.

After all, Kansas City will be using the Raiders’ locker room and the Raiders’ field as they try to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58.

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.
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