SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– With one game to go before the Kansas City Chiefs seal their return to the Superbowl, fans and restaurant owners are celebrating the return of football and what it means for the dining community here in Springfield after an unprecedented year.
A rollercoaster of emotions for Chiefs Kingdom today after Patrick Mahomes was taken out of the game following a concussion.
“Worried. But he’ll be okay. He got hurt last year and we made it,” said Donna Skaggs, a Chiefs fan.
But how are the fans celebrating this year?
It is looking different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over an hour before the game even started, fans are already here saving their seats at Coyote’s Adobe Café, Harbell’s and Bair’s All-American Sports Grill to continue their tradition of watching the Chiefs in the playoff game, two years in a row.”
“Last year, we were about a week away from having the Chiefs parade in Springfield, and then COVID hit, so that killed us,” said David Bauer, owner of Coyote’s Adobe Café and Harbell’s.
Bauer said Coyote’s Adobe Café and Harbell’s have been a Chiefs club since opening almost 30 years ago.
“It’s definitely different because we have to social distance, we can’t have as many people in here as we’re used to,” said Caylin Fuller, an employee at Coyote’s Adobe Café.
“It’s been very tough for the restaurant industry,” said Clayton Donohoe, an employee at Harbell’s.
This year, safety measures are strongly enforced.
“Come on through, they’ll give you a mask inside if you don’t have one, ok?” said Bauer, “operating every other table. If they’re not eating or drinking, we’d prefer they wear a mask.”
People are following the rules, “we have those place markers on every other table to make sure that people aren’t sitting at those tables, and people are really understanding,” said Fuller.
And the Chiefs coming this far has definitely helped business.
“When sports came back, it was absolutely insane. Ever since the Chiefs came back, it was just like a lightning for everyone,” said Donohoe.
Fans said even though the bar’s only operating at 50% capacity and they have to follow safety guidelines, their energy remains the same.
“we’re more excited than ever,” said Skaggs.
“I’m excited. This is definitely our chance to run it back,” said Justin Morris, a Chiefs fan.
Fans tell me after a tough year we all had, Chiefs winning is finally something to celebrate.
“It’s not like it was before, but we’re headed in that direction. I think that sports bring people together, and brings you something calming, that you all have in common. It makes people happy, get along, it’s what everybody needs right now,” said Kyle Blakey, a Chiefs fan.
“Most Chiefs fans, if you think about it, we were all envious of Belichick, Brady, and all the super bowls, well that’s over. Now it’s our turn,” said Brad Youngs, a Chiefs fan.
Now that the Chiefs have won, they will be going to the AFC championship next week.