Kansas City’s biggest love fest happened Wednesday as an estimated 850,000 people lined Grand Boulevard downtown and filled the hill in front of the Liberty Memorial and Union Station to celebrate the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory.
The parade started at 11:30 a.m. as players and team personnel manned open-top buses as team Chairman Clark Hunt – who was carrying the Super Bowl trophy – led the way along a jam-packed Grand Boulevard and fans celebrated the end of a 50-year Super Bowl drought.
It didn’t take long for the players to hop off the bus and join the fans’ celebration as wide receiver Tyreek Hill danced, took selfies and seemed to have as much fun as anyone along the route.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Grain Valley resident Danny Stickley, who left his home at 6:45 a.m.
“To be honest with you, I was shocked,” said Stickley, who had a front row view along the parade route. “Once I got off I-70 it took me about 5 minutes to find a parking lot, and before I knew it, here I was on the front row.
“We’ve waited so long for this to happen and as a longtime Chiefs fan, I don’t want this feeling to end.”
Tom Howerton, who woke up in his Independence home shortly after 2:30 a.m., delivered his infant daughter to day care and was on the way to the celebration by 6 a.m., didn’t even try to contain his excitement.
“I’m on the front row, right where the players come in to get on the stage,” said Howerton, a longtime Independence resident, “I can’t believe it.
“It’s cold, but it is so worth it! You go to Arrowhead Stadium and it’s filled with 70,000 fans, and this multiplied that several times. I’ve been a Chiefs fan 30 years, and I have dreamed about this 30 years. And it’s even better than I ever imagined.”
The moment all members of the Chiefs Kingdom waited 50 years for did not disappoint as Governor Mike Parson, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. helped introduce the world champions and their coach, Andy Reid.
“We appreciate everything you do for us,” Reid said to the appreciative crowd. “The parade was second to none. Hey, next year, we’re coming right back here, baby!”
Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, who has been lovingly chided by his teammates for his post-touchdown celebrations, busted out some serious moves throughout his teammates’ speeches.
“When I came here, the first thing I wanted to do was help bring the Lamar Hunt (the AFC Championship trophy) back to the Hunt family and second, win the Super Bowl for the Hunt family and the Chiefs Kingdom, and we did it!” he said, as the crowd exploded.
But as team president Mark Donovan said, “Everyone is here to see what (Travis) Kelce has to say.”
And the All-Pro tight end did not disappoint.
“Let’s say it one more time,” he said, repeating his famous AFC Championship quote, “You have the fight, for the right, to party!”
With Mahomes and his teammates celebrating behind Kelce, who was wearing a Chiefs-themed WWE World Championship belt, the most colorful and quotable player on the team continued.
“Can you dig it?” asked Kelce.“This is the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my life. I cherish every moment with this team.”
The party then ended with Reid banging the Chiefs Kingdom drum, as he his players danced and celebrated like they wanted this party to never end.