By Travis Mounts
MIAMI – The Fairall family of Cheney was stuck on Monday. Their travel plans got canceled, forcing them to spend an extra day in Miami.
Which is just fine. The joy of watching in person as the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years is worth whatever hassle might come with the journey.
Paul and Becky Fairall and their teenage children, Ashlynn and Brennan, were at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami as Kansas City stunned the San Francisco 49ers with yet another come-from-behind playoff win. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the family.
The genesis of this trip goes back to the early 1990s when Paul was moving to a new state.
“Ever since I moved to Kansas, right after college,” he said about becoming a Chiefs fan. “I grew up in Tennessee but we didn’t have a professional team then.”
Paul and Brennan are the big fans in the family. They’re not season tickets holders but go to one or two games per year at Arrowhead Stadium. The family looked at going to Super Bowl LIII.
“I bought tickets last year, and I sold them because the Chiefs lost to the (New England) Patriots,” Paul said.
But after last year’s Super Bowl, they made the decision to go this year. Paul didn’t say how much it cost to go.
“The tickets were really expensive. Parking was $350,” he said. He booked a hotel early enough that he got a hotel at normal rates. And they could have sold off this year’s tickets. Becky said resale value before the game was three times what they paid for them.
But with Patrick Mahomes leading the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl for the first time in five decades, these fans were not going to miss this game, regardless of cost.
“We went because the Chiefs were in it,” Becky said.
“It was worth every penny,” Paul said. “The weather was good. We had a great view of the field.”
They sat behind the San Francisco end zone. They were just a bit to the right of the uprights, from a spectator’s view.
They said the crowd was about evenly split between Chiefs fans and 49ers fans. The stadium was quiet in the second half as quarterback Patrick Mahomes struggled and the Chiefs fell behind. But when Mahomes magic started in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs’ amazing comeback started, the stadium came alive.
“The crowd was going crazy,” Paul said.
Becky said walking out of the stadium, Chiefs fans were still chanting and celebrating. Sunday’s vibe could still be felt on Monday.
“We’re still running into Chiefs fans everywhere, and they live here,” Paul said Monday.
They flew to Miami on Saturday. They expected to return on Tuesday, they said Monday night. Having their travel home delayed was not a problem.
“We’ll take another day in Miami,” Paul said with a laugh.
For a while, it looked like San Francisco would win its sixth Super Bowl, tying the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers with the most ever. Then the Chiefs staged their stunning fourth-quarter comeback.
“When they were down, we didn’t give up. We went from praying to praising. It was insane,” Paul said. “The confetti exploded and it was raining down.”
The family views this weekend’s trip as a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
“I’m sure that they’ll go to the Super Bowl again, but we’re not going anytime soon,” Paul said.
The memories will last forever.
“For me, it was amazing for the kids to have this experience with Paul,” Becky said.