Super Bowl LVII Watch Party at KC Live! // Photo by Tyler Schneider
For those who couldn’t make the 1,219-mile journey to Glendale, Arizona, February 12 to watch the Kansas City Chiefs go head-to-head with the Philadelphia Eagles in their third Super Bowl in four seasons, the next best option was to share the raw, emotional experience with thousands of like-minded and like-jersied fans at the—very audible—KC Live! Block at the Power & Light District. Festoon String Lights
Chiefs Kingdom came to play. Some courageous diehards—many of them Arrowhead tailgate veterans—were ready to go as early as 10 a.m. From then until kickoff at 5:30 p.m., the “Red Kingdom Block Party” included all the fanfare and pomp worthy of meeting such an occasion: DJs, giveaways, multiple stages, LED screens, cheer squads, drumlines, and, of course, $10 domestic drafts.
Everyone knew what was coming. As the game approached, the roars of this formidable sea of red, white, and gold reverberated throughout in recognition and anticipation of a moment in time that could yield the potential birth of the next great American sports dynasty. Goosebumps abound.
With all the “15” jerseys in the hive, this was how it must have felt to live in Chicago in the ‘90s. Playing under arguably the greatest coach in NFL history and supported by the greatest tight end the game has ever seen in Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes II was one win away from his second championship ring at just 27 years old.
The early goal-line score by Philadelphia did little to dampen those spirits, and it would only matter for a few minutes anyway as Mahomes slung an 18-yarder to Kelce, tying the game at 7-7 with minutes left to go in the first quarter.
The booms and chatters of the crowd began to die down some as Harrison Butker missed a 42-yard field goal attempt as the first quarter came to a close and continued to lag when the Eagles pulled ahead on a deep ball early in the second quarter.
The Chiefs took their first punt of the game, still down a score. Just as things were seemingly at their lowest, former Mizzou star and second-year linebacker Nick Bolton scooped an interception and became the first Tiger product to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
The reaction at that moment was like none that had come before it, with thousands of roaring voices morphing into echoes of an appropriately timed Tech N9ne hook as it played over the loudspeakers: “This the type of shit that make the hood go crazy.”
At the half, I pressed on outside to the second large screen, set up across from the T-Mobile Center on Grand Boulevard. Again, fans were packed in for hundreds of yards.
Many more viewed the action from just outside the venue gates. One of them, Fernando Fuentes, said he and his family had travelled just that day from Chicago—where he had previously relocated for work—to watch the game in the heart of Kansas City.
As his team trailed 14-24 at the half, Fuentes, who had been waving a giant Chiefs flag back and forth for most of the game, didn’t waver in his optimism. As the crowds watched Rihanna’s magic platform wizardry lower her onto the field via the big screen, Fuentes hoisted himself up on top of the “KC” letter sculpture and resumed his fanfare from above.
Mahomes and company also soon found a way to elevate themselves on a masterful 12-play, 75-yard drive to start the third quarter. The rest of the quarter trailed off on a long Eagles possession which resulted in a field goal, putting Philly up 27-21.
Still, the momentum and excitement were maintained in the hearts of a fandom that had seen Mahomes do more in 13 seconds and even in a single play than most could hope to accomplish in an entire playing career. Down one score in the fourth quarter, there’s nobody you’d rather have under center.
With just over 12 minutes left in the game, the Chiefs’ offense marched back out and took their first lead of the night on a 5-yard toss from Mahomes to Kadarius Toney. From here, the “MVP” chants began to boom and ricochet throughout the Power & Light District before spilling over into the surrounding streets.
An Eagles punt gave the ball right back, and Toney again made his presence known as he cut and slashed his way downfield for 65 yards—the longest punt return in Super Bowl history. Mahomes naturally made short work of the last 5 yards, throwing his third touchdown of the half to Skyy Moore for a 35-27 lead with just under 10 minutes to go.
The tension increased among the masses when Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts ran one in for another touchdown and proceeded to run it back again for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 35-35.
Minutes later, Butker booted in the 27-yard game-winning field goal. Not a soul in the Power & Light District was dwelling on an allegedly controversial call already flooding internet discussion and media coverage worldwide. Instead, we went ballistic to the tune of “We Are the Champions” as confetti rained onto KC Live! The celebration would continue on into the next day as generations of fans traded shots, toasts, and sentiments on what this team has meant to them and their loved ones.
Constant honking and cheering echoed throughout the downtown area into the early morning, though it’s a pretty safe bet that somewhere, somehow, the party is still going.
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