Tom Harris

ERIC SPRUILL

After all the confetti had fallen from the sky at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs fans were left with the reality that their team was heading to Miami to play in the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs fell behind early — trailing 17-7 in the second quarter — before roaring back for a 35-24 win. Their opponent will be the San Francisco 49ers, who knocked off the Green Bay Packers Sunday 37-20.

Kansas City’s last Super Bowl appearance came in 1970, where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.

Many fans were uncertain if the Chiefs would ever make it back to the game’s biggest stage.

Chanute’s Tom Harris had never seen the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl. He was walking out of G & W grinning from ear-to-ear on Monday afternoon decked out in Chiefs gear.

“I had always hoped they would make it, but it’s one of those things that is just so hard to do,” he said. “The last time they went it was six years before I was born.”

Outside of his house, he is free to let out his excitement. Harris and his wife recently welcomed a new baby to the family.

“I was as happy as I could be for someone with a newborn baby in the house. We had a baby on New Year’s Day. I tried to contain myself, but everyone in the house knew I was very excited,” Harris said.

John Leroy has been a lifelong Chiefs fan, while his wife, Ruth, has been a die-hard fan for the last 20 years. 

Ruth recalls going to a game in 1970, but not really knowing what was going on.

“That all changed when I married John 20 years ago. We watch every game,” she said. “Those boys need to quit messing around and score some points early on. Playing from behind is really giving me fits.”

As far as how he feels about the San Francisco 49ers, John said, “I am not really a fan of anything that has to do with California.”

Leroy said the 49ers running game has him concerned going into the big game.

“They ran the ball really well against the Packers, that’s for sure,” he said. “They have a talented team. The key will be stopping that running game.”

There seems to be a general distaste for New England quarterback Tom Brady in southeast Kansas. This year’s Super Bowl will mark the first time in four years the Patriots will not play in the game.

But Harris doesn’t believe Brady has passed the torch to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes just yet.

“Brady is Brady. If they get the right people around him, I believe he can lead them on one more magical run,” Harris said. “He has said he wants to play until he’s 45, so he still has a few years left.”

But if that doesn’t happen, there will be no tears wept in this area. 

Enjoy the next two weeks; these opportunities don’t come around often. 

 

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