KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It had been 602 days since Arrowhead Stadium was full for a Kansas City Chiefs game on GEHA Field.
That changed Sunday for the first time since Jan. 19, 2020, when 73,656 fans watched the Chiefs author a 35-24 comeback win against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
The 72,973 — the official paid attendance for Kansas City’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns — witnessed another memorable rally for a 33-29 win after trailing by two touchdowns at halftime.
“Our fans were unbelievable tonight,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “We let them out of the cage. They were wild — and I loved every minute of it. And it made a difference. When you can get a punter to drop a ball, that’s pretty good by your fans.”
Kansas City trailed 29-20 before Patrick Mahomes uncorked a 75-yard touchdown bomb to Tyreek Hill.
“Getting that play to Tyreek kind of got the crowd back into it,” Mahomes said. “When you’re at Arrowhead and the crowd’s rolling, it gets the defense going and it kind of translates to the offense.”
Defensive end Chris Jones sacked Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on the first play of the ensuing drive to force a punt try.
That’s when Jamie Gillan dropped the snap, resulting in a turnover on downs that allowed the Chiefs to take over at the Cleveland 15-yard line — and take their first lead of the game three plays later.
“That was crazy; you guys keep that up,” Hill said. “My eardrums are crazy right now. I feel like I’m on a Delta flight.”
That’s right, Chiefs Kingdom. Hill says fans are basically a jumbo jet, but fans already knew that — and they already knew football fans were ready to roar again after being largely shuttered for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was loud down there, very loud ...,” Reid said. “When you watched all the college games, you felt that. Arrowhead’s loud anyways. But now, you load this thing up after saying, ‘You can’t come here for a year,’ and you just opened the gates.”