Feb 14, 2024; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general overall aerial view of Arrowhead Stadium (foreground) and Kauffman Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs, Royals ponder future after voters reject stadium tax

The Chiefs and Royals are questioning their futures in Kansas City after voters rejected the extension of a sales tax that the teams said would have assured they remain in the area.

Voters in Jackson County, Mo., voted no Tuesday on the ballot measure that would have kept a three-eights-cent sales tax for stadium financing in place for the next 40 years. The measure failed 58.1 percent to 41.9 percent.

The two teams have played at the Truman Sports Complex for more than 50 years — the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium since 1972 and the Royals at Kauffman Stadium since 1973. The Royals want to build a new downtown stadium, and the Chiefs want to make extensive renovations at Arrowhead.

“We respect the democratic process, we respect the voters of Jackson County and the results of the election,” John Sherman, the Royals’ owner, said Tuesday night. “We’re deeply disappointed, as we are steadfast in our belief that Jackson County is far better off with the Chiefs and the Royals. This is a belief I both hold professionally and personally, as someone whose roots run deep in this town.

“We will take some time to reflect on and process the outcome and find a path forward that works for the Royals and our fans.”

Approval of the sales tax extension would have helped fund both a new Royals stadium and the Arrowhead improvements.

Sherman has said ownership of the Royals would contribute at least $1 billion to replace Kauffman, the sixth-oldest stadium in baseball. Clark Hunt, owner of the Chiefs, pledged $300 million toward $800 million for upgrades at Arrowhead, the third-oldest in the NFL.

“We’re disappointed,” Chiefs team president Mark Donovan said. “We feel we put forth the best offer for Jackson County. We were ready to extend the longstanding partnership the teams have enjoyed with this county.

“We will do, and look to do, what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward.”

A variety of community groups in Kansas City had come out against the proposal, saying the burden was too high on taxpayers and ownership needed to do more.

“Two billion dollars in taxpayers money, man, could do a hell of a lot to develop our community,” said Michael Savwoir, a leader of KC Tenants, speaking to local Fox4 on Tuesday night. “The billionaires don’t finance my follies. Why should I finance theirs?”

Royals ownership previously said the team won’t play at Kauffman Stadium past 2030. It is expected other communities will reach out to both clubs to discuss relocation. Kansas City, Kan., has been floated as a possibility for the Chiefs.

The mayor of Kansas City, Mo., Quinton Lucas, said he is ready to go back to the drawing board with the teams.

“The people of Kansas City and Jackson County love the Chiefs and the Royals,” Lucas wrote on social media. “Today, they rejected plans and processes they found inadequate. Over the months ahead, I look forward to working with the Chiefs and Royals to build a stronger, more open, and collaborative process that will ensure the teams, their events and investments remain in Kansas City for generations to come.”

One mayor already has reached out to the Chiefs via social media. That’s Dallas mayor Eric L. Johnson, who reportedly has told local radio shows that he’d like another team to join the Cowboys in his city. The Chiefs played in Dallas before relocating.

“Welcome home, Dallas Texans! #CottonBowl,” Johnson wrote.

–Field Level Media

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11) against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Chiefs releasing WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

The Kansas City Chiefs are releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to save $12 million against the salary cap, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

The 29-year-old veteran won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Chiefs the past two seasons after spending his first four campaigns with the Green Bay Packers.

Valdes-Scantling caught 21 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown in 16 games (10 starts) in the regular season in 2023. He had a 16-yard TD grab in the 25-22 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

A fifth-round pick by the Packers in 2018, Valdes-Scantling has 186 receptions for 3,155 yards and 16 touchdowns in 92 career games (60 starts).

Valdes-Scantling, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract with Kansas City in March 2022, would become an unrestricted free agent.

–Field Level Media

Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders lead the Super Bowl LVII parade through downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade set for Wednesday

Kansas City Chiefs fans can show their love to the Super Bowl LVIII champions during a Valentine’s Day parade through local streets Wednesday.

The victory parade will begin downtown at 11 a.m. local time and will last approximately 90 minutes, organizers announced Monday.

The parade will be followed by a rally outside Union Station at approximately 12:45 p.m., featuring speeches from players, coaches and team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt.

The Chiefs are celebrating their second straight Super Bowl championship and third in five years. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

Oct 12, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton (32) enters the field prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Chiefs LB Nick Bolton (wrist) needs surgery

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton needs surgery to repair his dislocated left wrist and will be sidelined about two months, NFL Network reported Monday.

Head coach Andy Reid confirmed the injury to Bolton following the Chiefs’ 31-17 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Bolton led Kansas City (6-1) with nine tackles despite his early exit. He apparently got hurt when tackling Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen in the fourth quarter, as Allen’s body rolled up on his arm.

Bolton, 23, started all 17 regular-season games and three playoff games last season for Kansas City, but he missed three games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain. Drue Tranquill filled in for Bolton during that absence.

Including Sunday’s effort, Bolton has 28 tackles and one interception in four games this season. The 2021 second-round pick has 320 tackles and three picks in 37 career games (33 starts).

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2023; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) greets fans as he arrives prior to training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, DT Chris Jones will play Sunday

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones will make their season debuts Sunday at Jacksonville, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday.

The two stars did not play for different reasons in the season opener, a 21-20 home loss to the Detroit Lions on Sept. 7.

Kelce, 33, injured his right knee at practice on Sept. 5 and was diagnosed with a bone bruise. He practiced Wednesday and Thursday in a limited capacity.

An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Kelce has totaled 814 catches for 10,344 yards and 69 touchdowns in 144 career games (137 starts) with the Chiefs.

Jones, 29, ended his holdout that began at training camp after agreeing Monday to a new one-year deal with incentives that reportedly could earn him more than his base salary of $19.5 million — the finale of his four-year, $80 million contract signed in 2020.

Jones racked up 15.5 sacks in 17 games last season and earned his fourth Pro Bowl nod. In 107 games (86 starts) for the Chiefs since being drafted in the second round in 2016, Jones has 65 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and 243 tackles.

The Jaguars are 1-0 after a 31-21 win at the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.

–Field Level Media

October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson (84) after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs re-signing WR Justin Watson to 2-year deal

The Kansas City Chiefs are re-signing wide receiver Justin Watson to a two-year deal, his agent announced Friday.

JL Sports did not disclose the contract’s financial details, but ESPN reported it is worth up to $6 million, including $1.4 million guaranteed.

Watson, 27, played in all 17 games (five starts) in his first season with the Chiefs in 2022, catching 15 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

He played his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2018 out of Penn.

Watson has 38 career receptions for 573 yards and four scores in 57 games (nine starts). He also owns two Super Bowl rings, winning one each with the Bucs and Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback coach Matt Nagy watches as quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) warms up prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy returns to role as Chiefs’ OC

Matt Nagy will return to his former role as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, taking back the position after Eric Bieniemy left to take the same position with the Washington Commanders.

Nagy was the Chiefs’ OC for two seasons starting in 2016 before leaving to become the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2018.

After four seasons and a 34-31 regular-season record with the Bears, Nagy was fired and returned to the staff of head coach Andy Reid this past season to become the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach and senior offensive assistant.

Kansas City won Super Bowl LVII earlier this month with a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Alex Smith at quarterback in 2016, Nagy’s offense with the Chiefs was 20th with 343.0 yards per game. One season later, the Chiefs were fifth with 375.4 yards per game.

Nagy led the Bears to the playoffs twice, but they went 0-2. Chicago was 6-11 in 2021 before Nagy was fired.

A former quarterback at Delaware, Nagy served three seasons as an assistant under Reid with the Eagles and then five more under Reid with the Chiefs before leaving for the Bears.

–Field Level Media

Jan 30, 2022; Kansas City, MO, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon (1) slips a tackles attempt by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson (55) and Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell (24) in the first quarter during the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals stun Chiefs in OT to clinch long-awaited Super Bowl return

Evan McPherson sent the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989 with a 31-yard field goal in overtime, capping an 18-point rally en route to a 27-24 upset of the host Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Cincinnati, which had the worst record in the NFL two seasons ago, overcame a 21-3 first-half deficit against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City, holding the high-powered Chiefs to three points after halftime.

Joe Burrow threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and the rookie McPherson went 4-for-4 on field goals for the fourth-seeded Bengals, who will face either the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.

Mahomes passed for 275 yards, three touchdowns and two picks for Kansas City. The second-seeded Chiefs, who got the ball first in overtime last weekend and drove for the winning touchdown against Buffalo, once again won the overtime coin toss Sunday.

However, Mahomes was intercepted on the third play on a deep ball that was broken up by Jessie Bates III and intercepted by Vonn Bell. Burrow and Joe Mixon helped move the ball deep into Kansas City territory, and McPherson drilled his kick to stun the home crowd.

With the game tied 21-21, McPherson snuck a 52-yard field goal inside the left upright with 6:07 to play in the fourth quarter, giving the Bengals their first lead of the game.

That, of course, left more than enough time for Mahomes, who drove the Chiefs inside the Cincinnati 10 with a chance to tie or win the game.

On the next-to-last play of regulation, Mahomes attempted to buy time deep in the pocket before he was stripped by Sam Hubbard. Kansas City recovered, but it forced Harrison Butker to attempt a 44-yard field goal, which he drilled at the buzzer to force overtime.

Trailing 21-3, the Bengals finally generated some momentum in the final 65 seconds of the first half, beginning with Samaje Perine taking a screen pass 41 yards for a touchdown to get the visitors within 21-10. Then after the Chiefs drove to the Cincinnati 1, the Bengals tackled Tyreek Hill inbounds on the final play of the half, causing the typically crisp Kansas City offense to leave points on the board.

Cincinnati’s defense opened the second half strong, as well. The Bengals forced punts on the first two Chiefs possessions and then got within 21-13 on a 31-yard McPherson field goal.

Two plays later, 303-pound lineman B.J. Hill tipped a Mahomes pass and intercepted it, leading to Burrow’s TD strike to Ja’Marr Chase on third-and-goal from the 2. The ensuing two-point conversion pass to a wide-open Trent Taylor tied the score at 21.

Even after Burrow was intercepted by L’Jarius Sneed, Cincinnati’s defense forced another punt, sacking Mahomes on third down for the second consecutive drive.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert (93) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers face long odds vs. Chiefs, but neither team feels assured of anything

The Super Bowl defeat suffered by the Kansas City Chiefs last season provides motivation entering the playoffs but remains a setback that can be compartmentalized.

After all, considerable work remains for the two-time reigning AFC champion before booking a Super Bowl appearance in mid-February. The path begins to unravel Sunday when the Chiefs play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round at Kansas City, Mo.

“it’s in the back of my mind but for the most part it’s a new year,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said about the NFL’s ultimate prize. “You’ve got to focus on things that have happened this year. We’re on a goal to prove to ourselves who we think we are, and we know we are, and that’s Super Bowl champions.”

The Pittsburgh matchup will be a rematch of a Dec. 26 clash Kansas City dominated 36-10 with Kelce sidelined in COVID-19 protocol. The Chiefs went on to go 12-5 while winning nine of their last 10 games and claiming their sixth consecutive AFC West title.

Kansas City has reached the AFC championship game in each of the four seasons primarily engineered by stalwart QB Patrick Mahomes.

“When you get to that playoff game day, you have a little bit different intensity knowing that every play is critical and it could really end your season by making a mistake,” Mahomes said. “At the same time, you want to be loose, you want to have fun and you want to enjoy it.”

Mahomes passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting with the Steelers. The Chiefs also forced three turnovers and limited Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to 159 yards passing.

The Chiefs’ defensive intensity that day followed a trend that began after acquiring a longtime Steeler, Melvin Ingram. Ingram proved instrumental a week ago when he crashed into the backfield to generate a bone-jarring strip the Chiefs converted into a late touchdown return in a 28-24 win at Denver.

“He’s the swag champ,” Kelce said, adding that “you saw how much more fun people were having” after Ingram joined the defensive front.

At times, Mahomes has struggled with his accuracy, but he overcame an early-season rash of mistakes to lead the Chiefs to the league’s third-best production, 396.8 yards on average.

He passed for 4,839 yards while counting on Kelce and Tyreek Hill as 1,000-yard receivers. The committee approach to the backfield could continue with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams coming off injuries.

Second-seeded Kansas City, a two-time Super Bowl champion, will make its seventh consecutive postseason appearance and last faced Pittsburgh in the 2016 playoffs. The Steelers won 18-16. Pittsburgh, a six-time Super Bowl champion, reached the playoffs for the second straight season but last won a postseason game in 2016.

Roethlisberger, whose career could end with the Steelers’ next loss as he considers retiring from football, lamented the long odds his team faces after going 9-7-1 and drawing the No. 7 seed.

“I would assume, as a group, you understand that we probably aren’t supposed to be here,” said Roethlisberger, who is dealing with a strained pectoral and shoulder.

“We probably are not a very good football team. Out of 14 teams I think are in, we’re probably number 14. We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So, let’s just go play, have fun and see what happens.”

Tongue in cheek? Probably. A dose of realism? Yes, that too.

Still, Pittsburgh got in by defeating Baltimore in the season finale and getting help from Jacksonville beating Indianapolis and Las Vegas beating the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime.

RB Najee Harris (ankle) and CB Arthur Maulet (concussion) were slowed at the beginning of preparations for the Chiefs.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gained some satisfaction getting to restrict the all-out aggression of Harris, a 1,200-yard rusher as a rookie.

“It’s a good issue and problem to have,” Tomlin said, “when you have a guy that’s wired the way that he’s wired.”

–Field Level Media