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Chiefs doing their best to stay within their routines for Super Bowl LVII

Once the team arrives in Phoenix this weekend, things will become much harder to control.

Super Bowl Opening Night Al Diaz/MIami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A week from this Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will make their third Super Bowl appearance in the last four seasons. So it would be reasonable to think that the pregame madness into which they’ll be descending when they arrive at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport will be old hat to the team.

But as our Nate Christensen noted in these pages on Tuesday, fewer than half of the players who won Super Bowl LIV after the 2019 season are still with the team. Some others were on the squad when it played in Super Bowl LV a year later — but because it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience was substantially different.

Head coach Andy Reid, at least, has plenty of experience. This will be his fourth NFL championship game as a head coach — along with two Super Bowl appearances while he was an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers from 1992 through 1998.

“We’re doing the game plan now,” Reid told reporters before Thursday’s practice. “Today, for us, is Wednesday — even though it’s Thursday for everybody else. The one thing we gain as coaches is an extra day to game plan. So you’ve just got to take your time and make sure you’re nice and thorough — that we didn’t rush into it.”

Kansas City Chiefs Media Availability Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The famously routine-oriented head coach said that the team would continue the rest of this week on its normal schedule — just one day later than normal.

“Tomorrow is Friday,” Reid explained. “[It] will be like a Thursday, Saturday will be like a Friday — and then we hop on the plane and go.”

Second-year linebacker Nick Bolton is one of the Chiefs players who will be experiencing Super Bowl week for the first time.

“Just control what you can control,” he said. “Put your best foot forward in football — and then let everything else on the outside handle itself.

“I found that it’s been important — just for me and a lot of other young guys we’ve got on our defense — just trying to knock off all the off-the-field stuff early, [so we can] just worry about football from here on out.”

But that may be quite a bit more difficult to do than Bolton now realizes. Reid has been talking to the team about what it will be like ever since meetings began on Monday.

“Just giving them a heads up on kind of what to expect,“ he said.

Like his defensive backs coach Dave Merritt — who resorted to speaking about the taste of strawberries to find an analogy for describing postseason games to his rookies — Reid said that giving that heads up isn’t easy.

“Until you get there — if you haven’t been there — it’s hard to explain, right?” remarked Reid. “I mean, you tell them — but they’ve got to see it. We’re giving them a heads up on all of that.”

Once in Arizona, Reid will depend on the team’s communications vice president Ted Crews — and as much of the regular routine as he can manage for himself and his team.

“Ted does a good job of kind of managing that,” noted Reid of Super Bowl week’s daily media schedule. “Each coach will have an office, so you can focus in on that. Players will have meeting rooms; they can ‘focus-in’ when they’re in there.”

Just the same, Reid isn’t counting on anything to go as planned in Phoenix.

“We want to get it done here — get the foundation of it put in here,” said Reid of the team’s game plan. “And then when we’re down there, we can go back and review it. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Super Bowl Opening Night presented by BOLT24 Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes — who will be making his third Super Bowl appearance — has worked everything out with his normal wingman: backup quarterback Chad Henne.

“You get there the first time, you don’t know what to expect,” Mahomes told reporters. “You’re going through a whirlwind of media days. Practice is not the normal schedule you usually have. Meetings. Trying to find time to watch film and everything like that.

”Whereas now, you have a plan — Chad was with me last time — [so] I have a plan with him already. We’re going to be able to go out there and do what we usually do throughout a week — [along] with the added stuff we have to do.”

Like the head coach, defensive end Frank Clark is trying to change as little as possible.

“Just keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing — stay focused on the task. Don’t change nothing. Don’t switch up too much. Don’t invite too many more people — I mean, I know it’s the Super Bowl — but just try to do your best to keep everything the same.

“At least... that’s what I’m doing.”

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