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Chiefs treating trip to Tampa Super Bowl ‘like a regular away game’

A 4 p.m. Saturday arrival is planned after spending the week in Kansas City due to coronavirus protocols.
A band plays while waiting for the arrival of the Kansas City Chiefs at the Miami International Airport for Super Bowl 54. Unlike last year, the Chiefs won't travel a week out from the game, instead arriving the day before.
A band plays while waiting for the arrival of the Kansas City Chiefs at the Miami International Airport for Super Bowl 54. Unlike last year, the Chiefs won't travel a week out from the game, instead arriving the day before. [ CHRIS CARLSON | Associated Press (2020) ]
Published Feb. 3, 2021

The Chiefs won’t join the Super Bowl scene until late Saturday afternoon.

Rather than the usual routine of arriving in the host city the Sunday before the game, the Chiefs are spending the week in Kansas City as part of the league’s coronavirus pandemic protocols.

And by not making the two-plus-hour flight until after noon Saturday and arriving at 4 p.m., barely 24 hours before game time, they are treating the trip pretty much like any other during the season. There was some discussion about traveling Friday.

This way, they won’t really have time to see or do anything, even socially distanced, related to the grand event, as there will be a team meeting at the hotel after they arrive.

“It takes a lot of the hoopla out of the Super Bowl, but at the same time it’s a business trip,” veteran backup quarterback Chad Henne said Wednesday on a media zoom call. “It kind of takes the distractions out of it for us. So I think it’s just like a regular away game for us leading up to to it.”

Except they know, especially having won last year’s championship in Miami Gardens, it isn’t like any other game.

“It’s the Super Bowl all right, no way around that,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “Doesn’t matter what it is that’s going on, we’re going to be ready to roll come Super Bowl day. Doesn’t matter when we fly in and get there, I think ... we’re ready for the challenge.”

As the Chiefs seek to become the first repeat champions since the 2003-04 Patriots, coach Andy Reid said he has something special planned for his Saturday night address to the team, but wouldn’t give any hints.

At least for some players, the biggest challenge will be after the flight and the meeting.

“Saturday night is just looking for ways to sleep, honestly,” defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon said. “There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of energy you build up throughout the week. The key is just letting it out at the right time Sunday.”

• • •

Tampa Bay Times Super Bowl 55 coverage

TIMELINE: How the Bucs and Tampa converged for Super Bowl 55

ATTENTION SUPER BOWL VISITORS: Here’s our guide to Tampa Bay’s socially distanced attractions

PARTY PLANNING IN A PANDEMIC: How to host a safe Super Bowl party

FANS IN TAMPA: A first look inside the Super Bowl Experience in Tampa

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