It’s Gameday! Everything you need to know before opening night at Arrowhead

FILE: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts after defeating the...
FILE: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Super Bowl 57 football game Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. The Chiefs begin their title defense Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 1:15 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 2:29 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The long wait is over. Since the Chiefs brought the Lombardi Trophy home from Arizona in February, the countdown has been on to Sept. 7.

Now, we’re here and the Chiefs are set to take on the Detroit Lions Thursday night at 7:20 p.m. CT. Shortly before kickoff the Chiefs will raise championship flags above the west end zone.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Arrowhead Stadium timeline:

  • 3:00 p.m. Parking Gates Open:

As in years past, anyone driving to the game needs to buy parking online and in advance of arriving at the stadium.

  • 3:30 p.m. Ford Tailgate District Opens
  • 4:30 p.m. CommunityAmerica Club Level Gates Open
  • 4:30 p.m. World’s Largest Tailgate presented by Bud Light

The tailgating scene at Arrowhead significantly helped Kansas City’s stadium in its high ranking in The Athletic’s recent rankings.

  • 5:00 p.m. All GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium Gates Open

Guests are reminded to access their mobile tickets and parking passes in advance of the event and add them to their mobile wallet for expedited entry.

  • 6:20 p.m. Team Warm-Ups Begin

The Chiefs plan to hold a short ceremony on the field during pregame. During that ceremony, the team will unveil its new championship banner inside the stadium. Mitch Holthus, the “Voice of the Chiefs” will lead the ceremony.

Pregame entertainment will also include the Kansas City Boys Choir and Kansas City Girls Choir singing ‘Lift Every Voice.’

Nine-time Grammy nominee and five-time Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the year Natalie Grant will sing the national anthem while the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard will present the colors.

  • 7:13 p.m. Chiefs Team Introduction
  • 7:14 p.m. Lions Team Introduction
  • 7:17 p.m. Coin Toss
  • 7:19 p.m. National Anthem B-2 Flyover
  • 7:22 p.m. Kickoff

Find out more on the Chiefs’ plans to celebrate on opening night.

On Wednesday, Chiefs Kingdom continued with preparations for the opening night with a Red Wednesday. Once again, the organization is selling a limited-edition commemorative flag for a minimum donation of $5 to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

READ MORE: Kansas City Chiefs invite fans to ‘World’s Largest Tailgate’

Multiple local school athletic teams -- from Kansas and Missouri -- prepared for this season by appearing in ads for products advertised for by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. While plenty of Chiefs fans from around the metro will converge at the Truman Sports Complex Thursday night, one fan’s trek was a bit longer.

A general view of Arrowhead Stadium during the first half of an NFL playoff game between the...
A general view of Arrowhead Stadium during the first half of an NFL playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo.(Reed Hoffmann | AP)

Kansas City’s offseason hasn’t been without distractions. Unlike during their Super Bowl LIV celebrations -- which were muted as the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic -- the Chiefs were able to take full advantage of their championship status.

Chief among the missed out opportunities from the previous Super Bowl win was a visit to the White House. Kansas City corrected that with a visit to President Joe Biden in June.

Whether it was tight end Travis Kelce hosting SNL, Mahomes calling Rider’s Up! at the Kentucky Derby, or appearances at the ESPYs -- where the Chiefs were named Best Team -- Kansas City’s offseason was busy.

Chiefs-Lions: What to know about the matchup

The Line: Chiefs -4.5, over/under 53 (per DraftKings)

Kickoff: 7:20 p.m. CT

Just about everyone in the Kansas City Chiefs locker room has moved past their latest Super Bowl triumph by this point, turning their focus toward the Detroit Lions in Thursday night’s NFL opener and the prospect of becoming the first repeat NFL champions in nearly two decades.

“Listen, right now the guys are focused on the Lions,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Tuesday. Reid and the Chiefs have won eight consecutive openers. “All that other stuff — it’s going to be an exciting environment, but right now we’ve got to make sure we’re not looking at all that stuff and we’re looking at the Lions. They get your attention when you watch the tape.”

Indeed, the Lions responded to losing six of their first seven games last season by winning eight of their last 10, and there were few offenses in the NFL that were scoring at the same clip as Jared Goff and Co. down the stretch.

Kansas City has won the AFC West each of the past seven seasons, hosted the conference title game a record five straight years, and Patrick Mahomes — the reigning league MVP — has never lost an opener in five games as the starting quarterback.

Four of those games the Chiefs won by double digits with Mahomes throwing 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

“Obviously the preseason is one thing,” he said, “but taking that next step into the regular season will be big, and it’s not always going to be perfect. But how are you going to battle the entire game to find a way to win?’

READ MORE: Chiefs begin NFL title defense against Lions on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium

On Thursday night, Kansas City could be without two All-Pros. Defensive tackle Chris Jones is in the midst of a months-long holdout and tight end Travis Kelce is questionable due to a hyperextended knee.

The road to a repeat begins Thursday night.

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