On Sundays they wear red.
This weekend features one of the biggest professional football games locals have seen in decades, as the Kansas City Chiefs play for a chance to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
To sweeten the deal, the Chiefs are playing against the New England Patriots — a team for which the Super Bowl seems to be routine, and the team that handed the Chiefs their first loss of 2018 in an October shootout.
But for once, the Patriots are not the favorites — Vegas has the Chiefs as a three-point favorite to win the AFC Championship. And with an over/under of 55.5, Vegas is betting it will be another shootout thriller. It certainly helps that the game is being played in Arrowhead Stadium.
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The game starts at 5:40 p.m. Sunday, and is being carried by CBS (KWCH locally).
Chiefs excitement has started to take over Wichita, as the city, state and, well, pretty much the entire country outside of New England is rooting for a Chiefs victory.
Longtime Wichita outdoor business Brady Nursery went viral on Facebook this week for using Photoshop magic to “temporarily rename” the business Mahomes Nursery for the week. Tom Brady is the quarterback of the Patriots, for those not in the know.
Musicians have rescheduled their album-release parties to accommodate the game and radio station 92.7-FM The Blast posted on Facebook that, because actor Mark Wahlberg is a mega Patriots fan, they’re boycotting his group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s music until after the game.
Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun has also gotten in on the fun. Its popular roller-coaster, the Patriot, was renamed “The Patrick,” in honor of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Sunday is about as close to a Super Bowl as Wichita football fans are going to get — as the Super Bowl is being played in Atlanta this year.
Plenty of local Chiefs fans are planning on making the road trip to Arrowhead this weekend, despite a predicted winter storm and frigid temperatures in the KC area.
Some already have their tickets: Wichitans Lacey Matlock and Heath Glasscock are among the lucky ones with seats around the 50-yard line at mid-field.
Wichita native Joey Wenberg, who now lives in Denver, is planning on traveling to Arrowhead with a cadre of buddies who are all Chiefs fans.
Wenberg said some of his earliest sports memories as a kid involve listening to Len Dawson and Mitch Holthus on the radio calling Chiefs games with Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Dante Hall and Trent Green on the field.
“To think that I’ve waited my entire life for an AFC Championship game and then to know that we’re not only in the championship but hosting it, I absolutely had to make the trek to be there for it,” he added.
Some, however, are taking their chances at finding tickets around Arrowhead on Sunday — like Wichitan Steven Skinner and son Daniel Skinner of Overland Park. They’re hoping if the weather is bad Sunday they may be able to find some cheap tickets to the game on the resale market.
“Right now the weather’s looking better, so I might not be able to get them,” said Steven Skinner. “We’re going to have a good time either way, whether we get to go to the game or whether we ... go to an establishment up there and watch it with fans.”
Tickets to the game started at around $175 online Friday afternoon.
Not everyone can make the trek up to Kansas City for the festivities, but plenty of Wichitans are doing their own tailgates here in town.
At the Schinstock house, the tailgating will begin promptly at noon — underneath a Chiefs tent set up in their yard. Grilling will continue through 5 p.m., when the festivities shift inside.
Another Wichitan, Elaine Davis Tubbs, wrote on Facebook she was “treating this game almost the same as Superbowl Sunday,” furnishing her watch party with a Chiefs-themed cake, snack foods, beer and other decorations.
If you prefer watching with fellow Chiefs fans, plenty of Wichita-area bars and restaurants are hosting watch parties this Sunday.
Most anyplace with TVs will likely have them tuned to the game Sunday evening, but some are having special events.
Here’s a listing of where to find special Chiefs watch parties in Wichita:
- 6S Steakhouse, 6200 W. 21st. This upscale steakhouse is celebrating its birthday in addition to the Chiefs game, offering a $20 all-you-can-eat buffet from 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Cocktails start at $1. Tickets must be purchased in advance to get in, and those tickets can be found at www.eventbrite.com.
- Old Chicago, 2240 N. Tyler. The west Old Chicago location is doing raffles throughout the evening and giving away Chiefs pint glasses free with a purchase of any beer (while supplies last). Arrive before kickoff at 5:40 p.m. to receive a raffle ticket. At the end of every quarter, a winner will be drawn.
- Mort’s Martini Bar, 923 E. 1st. Popular Old Town bar Mort’s is hosting a Chiefs watch party starting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, featuring snacks and $5.50 Bloody Marys and $3 Bud Light draws. Beforehand, musician Kevin Herrington will be releasing a new CD at Mort’s between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., so come early if you like music.
- Twin Peaks, 7325 W. Taft. Twin Peaks is raffling off a 65-inch smart TV on Sunday evening, and for every Chiefs Kingdom Blonde Ale purchased, you get one raffle ticket (limit three).
- The Heat, 338 N. Rock. This popular hookah bar is hosting a “Jagermeister championship,” featuring the “Jager girls,” who will be handing out merchandise during the game. Drink specials include $5 Hunter’s Punch, $5 Jager bombs and $3.50 Jager shots.
- Walt’s East, 7732 E. Central. This restaurant, tucked away at Central and Rock, has a TV at every booth, so you’ll never have to crane your neck to see the game. It will also be offering drink specials on Sunday.