Each Spring, when the NFL releases the yearly schedule, our eyes often gravitate to the marquee matchups and primetime games. For players and coaches, though, the bye week is just as important.
Sure, the week off allows teams to get healthy and spend extra time doing self-evaluations. But it also serves as a respite from life in the NFL, where days off are hard to come by. For some, this could mean spending time with family or a weekend trip to their hometown.
For Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, it meant a quick stop in Philadelphia.
Located in South Philadelphia, just two miles north of Lincoln Financial Field is Big Charlie’s Saloon — a safe haven for Chiefs fans in the heart of Eagles’ country. Big Charlie’s is a self-described “Chiefs’ sports bar” where fans flock each Sunday to root for their team from afar.
Spagnuolo has known about Big Charlie’s for a while and was able to pay them a visit during the Chiefs’ week off.
Coach Spags in the house! pic.twitter.com/vRxBpXRibg— Big Charlie's Saloon (@bigcharlies) October 29, 2022
“They’ve been great,” Spagnuolo told the media on Thursday. “Way back when I got the job here I knew about it. So, I stopped over and they’ve become terrific friends.”
Spagnuolo has gotten to know the owners of Big Charlie’s so well that it’s become a family affair.
“When we played the Eagles there, Maria - my wife - went over and was a guest bartender,” Spagnuolo continued. “She took all of her tips and gave them to charity. And the guys were telling me — Maria is so innocent — she’s leaving and she’s got the money for the tips to bring to her charity. She’s in South Philly and she’s just ready to walk out and go to her vehicle. And they go, ‘No, no no,’ and put two bodyguards on her and walked her to her vehicle.”
For Spagnuolo, the trip provided an opportunity to show off some of his hardware. He actually gifted the bar a replica Lombardi Trophy after the Chiefs took home their Super Bowl LIV championship.
What a special gift from Coach Spags and his wife Maria. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/R2msxGfsvJ— Big Charlie's Saloon (@bigcharlies) September 28, 2020
“I had said for two years that I was gonna stop and bring the ring, and I hadn’t had a chance to do it with COVID and everything that had happened. So that was my bye-week deal. It was great.”
Now that the bye week is over, it’s back to business as usual for the Chiefs. That means we may have to wait a while to find out where Spagnuolo will travel next.
Even he seems to understand that wherever it is, it won’t take long for Chiefs’ fans to learn about it.
“You can’t go anywhere without people finding out.”