“The fans are going to be loud,” head coach Andy Reid predicted in Friday’s post-practice press conference in Frankfurt, “and they’re going to be loud for both offense and defense. That’s just how that goes, at least with my past experience playing overseas.
“That’s OK — we like that. The thing I’ve seen is just there’s a bunch of different jerseys from different teams in the stadium. We like that in the National Football League because that fanbase is very important. To have a fanbase that is in Europe is a big thing for all of us.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has become one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet. He is happy to give his international fans a chance to see him.
“I’ve had this game circled,” reigning league MVP stated speaking after Reid, “knowing that the Chiefs Kingdom is in Germany. I want them to be able to see us firsthand. I’m excited to be able to play out here.”
Always impeccable with history of the NFL, Reid showed respect to Germany’s support for NFL Europa, which folded in 2007. When the league ceased operations, five of the remaining six teams were in Germany.
“All the teams started all through Europe,” Reid recalled, “[but] they all ended up in Germany. That’s because of the fanbase and the passion that the people of Germany have for football.”
The faces of the NFL’s most successful team of the last half-decade recognize the importance of Sunday’s showcase in raising the league’s global profile.
“You see what’s happened with basketball,” Reid observed, “you’ve seen what’s happened with baseball, and over the years, you’ve seen this grow in the National Football League. I’m passionate about football: that’s what we do. To see it be potentially worldwide, that’s a great thing.
“It’s an enjoyable game. It’s fun. It’s exciting. There’s a little bit of that angriness that comes out in guys when they go out and play and hit each other. I’ve always said if we could figure out how to get all the countries to play, we wouldn’t have wars. We’d just go play football — and it’d be a great place.”
Mahomes hopes to see the expanded access to football create new opportunities for more fans.
“It’s really cool to see, even from the “Play 60” that just went by,” he noted. “Just seeing American football has taken [its presence] to further parts. It’s gone all the way across the world with flag football coming to the Olympics. I think it’s really cool because football is such a great game that’s given me so much. I want to make sure everybody gets the same experiences that I got growing up.”
Mahomes’ success goes well beyond football. The international trip is also meaningful to him due to business ventures off the field.
“It’s really cool to be on this stage — the world stage in Germany,” said Mahomes. “I’ve been wanting to get to Germany for a while working with Adidas and Boss and some of the companies that I work with. To be able to be here playing football against a great football team is going to be a tremendous experience, and I’m glad I get to experience it.”
Even so, the league’s best quarterback made it clear that this visit is a business trip — and that sightseeing and partnerships can happen on his own time.
“I’m hoping that I can obviously get the win here,” Mahomes explained, “and then try to visit Germany again in the offseason. It’s going to be a great experience, and I think a lot of guys are extremely happy to be here.”
Mahomes has a guess as to which teammate may be the happiest.
“The happiest to be here: [running back] Jerick McKinnon,” he identified. “I don’t if it’s everywhere, but he loves traveling, [and] he loves doing stuff like that. I’m extremely happy to be here as well.”
For the most anticipated international matchup in league history, Mahomes had a message to fans on both sides.
“Bring energy,” he advised. “Cheer loud, enjoy it, [and] no hostility. We’re here to enjoy the NFL. We want to try to win, but at the same time, we want to just enjoy this experience in bringing the NFL to Germany. Just enjoy every single moment of it. These things fly by fast. I’ve always tried to enjoy every moment of my career. This will be one that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
Should any fan want to make Reid’s short stay in Germany more comfortable, the coach did have one idea.
“I haven’t had a bratwurst yet,” he joked. “I’m going to have one though — maybe two.”