I was born in Kansas City but I currently live in Tampa, Florida — the home of sweltering heat, obnoxious Vintage Vines/boat shoes-wearing bros, and 45-year-old quarterbacks. So needless to say I very rarely get to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play in person.
So what do you do when you are far away from home, but you want to watch the game like you're back in KC?
Today, I’m going to share some tips that I’ve learned in my time marooned away from the Paris of the plains.
Make a plan to get the game on TV
This may seem like it goes without saying, but until you live in a city that’s different from the team you root for, it’s hard to appreciate the ease with which Chiefs games are available to watch in Kansas City.
My first year in Tampa was in 2016. Alex Smith was quarterback, and the Chiefs were good enough to make the playoffs, but not exciting enough to be nationally televised outside of a handful of primetime games.
Luckily nowadays there are ways that you can get the game ... that don’t involve doing shady things on the internet. You aren’t going to find all of the games in one spot, but with a little planning (and the Arrowhead Pride “How to Watch” guides!) you can make sure you don’t miss a single game on a relatively cheap budget.
The NFL Network and NFL+ offer all of the preseason games starting at $4.99 a month. If you want to make sure you have the preseason games available to you, then this is a cost-effective and safe option.
Since NFL+ is paid month-to-month, once the regular season starts you can cancel the service and transition those funds to pay for another streaming service that offers some Chiefs games like Paramount +.
Another option is that if you or someone in your household is a college student, you can get NFL Sunday Ticket at a discounted rate. Last season, the Chiefs were nationally televised so much that I only ended up using my Sunday Ticket subscription once, but it’s nice to have it as a fallback in case of an emergency.
Seek out fellow fans ... and when all else fails, recruit new ones
Finding people to watch the game with can be a problem when you move to a new city, especially if that city already has an NFL team of its own.
Luckily, Chiefs Kingdom is large and far-reaching. Do a simple Google search of your city for Chiefs supporter groups. I Googled Chiefs fans in Tampa and found the Arrowhead South, which happens to have a chapter located just down the street from my house.
Another thing you can do is advertise your fandom. When I first moved to Tampa I wore my Chiefs hat every day and put a Chiefs sticker on my car. You will be surprised how many other Chiefs fans you come in contact with this way.
In Kansas City, everyone wears Chiefs gear, but if you’re in Target in Tampa and you see a guy who’s rocking the Mahomes jersey, you’re going to say hi to him and vice versa.
If looking for Chiefs fans in the wild is not your cup of tea, then you can always try to cultivate one. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk about the Chiefs a lot — and when I talk, things tend to get a little animated. I’ve found that for the most part, your friends want to take part in the things that excite you: Joy is contagious, and your friends want to hang out with you.
Even if your friends aren’t Chiefs fans, invite them over to watch the game. As long as the snacks and drinks are good, people will want to come just for the social aspect. You do this long enough, and you’ll be surprised to see that over time, friends who were indifferent to the Chiefs at one point can become huge KC fans.
Sports and superstitions go together like Derek Carr and mediocre quarterback play. But here is the thing about superstitions, they are only weird if they don’t work.
In our house, we have the same game day ritual each week. About an hour before kickoff, I grab my 18-month-old son and we walk over to the Chiefs flag that’s hanging in my office and kiss. We follow this up by placing our Patrick Mahomes football card on the mantle and reciting the pledge of allegiance to the Chiefs, which goes something like this:
I pledge allegiance to the Chiefs,
And all Chiefs Kingdom,
And to Travis Kelce and Andy Reid,
One team led by Mahomes,
In victory and championships for all.
My son really enjoys this, even if he can’t recite the pledge yet, he mumbles along and smiles the best he can. The last stop in our pregame ritual is to set out the lucky bag of chips next to the TV. We started doing this in 2018. The first week of that season, my friend Joel came over to my house to watch the game, and we were eating dill pickle-flavored potato chips. At some point, somebody set the half-eaten bag of chips next to the television — the Chiefs went on to win the game, and a new superstition was born. We kept the same bag of chips for the entire season, all the way up until Dee Ford jumped offsides in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.
At the beginning of the following season, we opened a new bag of chips. They are always dill pickle flavored and we keep the same unfinished bag until the season is over.
The Chiefs have made it to at least the AFC Championship game every year since we started doing it ... as I said, it’s only weird if it doesn't work.
The food is critical
There are a few different schools of thought on how to approach food for a game. The first is that you order some pizzas and fill the cooler with drinks and call it good.
This is fine if you are running short on time or just feeling lazy.
But with a little bit of effort, you can take your homegating (watching the game from home) party from “meh” to a potluck smorgasbord to die for. The key is to have a well-varied and well-balanced spread.
It all starts with choosing the right protein. I suggest something like ribs or pulled pork. It’s impossible to get good barbecue in Tampa, so if people know they are getting the best barbecue in town when they come to my house, then they will be flocking to watch the game with me. If you don’t want to put forward that level of effort then making/ordering hot wings is a good alternative.
When it comes to sides, you want to have at least three types of chips. One that's plain, another that’s something fun like Hot Cheetos, and a third that is a tortilla chip for dipping. For the dips, don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone, and try a new recipe that you found online. Go ahead and put some extra cumin in the guacamole, you only live once!
Finish it off with a few other items like little smokies in the crock pot, cookies, and a couple of cold ones and you have the makings of a great time on your hands.
It’s hard to have a bad time watching the Chiefs
As long as you have the right people and the right food, it’s pretty easy to have a good time.
What are some tips you have for homegating?