Behind the Scenes of the Chiefs London Trip; A First-Person Account

Chiefs reporter B.J. Kissel writes about the experience

It may have only lasted a few days, but our trip across the pond to play the Detroit Lions was the perfect amount of time to not only see the sites of London, but also watch the coaches and players take care of business on the field as well.

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I'm going to share just a few of the moments that stood out to me about the trip.

First of all, the people in London were awesome.

From the Chiefs fans that made the trip over to the fans who were already living there, the atmosphere they created for all of us was humbling.

Coach Reid has mentioned several times the people of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, the staff at the Hilton, even the staff at Wembley Stadium—they were all fantastic and helpful in every way possible.


We left the Kansas City airport around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night and arrived at the Heathrow Airport around 8:30 a.m. London time on Friday morning.

Once we went through customs and got to the buses, we took the hour-long bus ride to the hotel, which is in the Northwest corner of London and less than 100 yards from Wembley Stadium.

Once we arrived at the hotel, there were just a couple of hours to relax before half of the staff traveled to the party we hosted in downtown London at Trafalgar Square, where chairman and CEO Clark Hunt met with fans, along with former Chiefs greats Christian Okoye and Will Shields, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, "Voice of the Chief"s Mitch Holthus and others.

Hunt even poured a few beers for fans at the party.

Photos from the Pub Party the Chiefs hosted for fans in London

At the same time, about 40 minutes from there, I was with the team at Allianz Park, a rugby field-turned-Chiefs practice facility.

The team went through its regular Friday practice at the park that night.

After taking some pictures and videos for the first 20 minutes of practice, we were able to shoot a short update to show fans what was going on around town.

After practice, coach Reid and several of the players were brought to the press area at the park and were able to speak with the local media, myself and the Kansas City Star's Terez Paylor, who was the only local KC media member at practice that day.


On Saturday, I got up and headed across the street to Wembley Stadium.

The team was going through its walkthrough in the morning and we wanted to catch up with linebacker Derrick Johnson and kicker Cairo Santos after they were finished.

After that walkthrough was finished, everyone had some free time to go and see the sites of London.

Our social media coordinator Mark Misiewicz and I tried to fit as much as we possibly could into that day as we went out and about town.

As we were leaving the hotel, many of the players were grouped together and getting their plans set of what they were going to do that day.

Cairo Santos and Dustin Colquitt were getting ready to head to the Chelsea-Liverpool soccer game.

Throughout the day, I tweeted quite a few photos around town using the Chiefs Kingdom cards that were passed out through various channels.

I even handed several out to Chiefs fans we saw also walking around London.


We were able to see Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, London and Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and even stopped by the British Museum to check out the Rosetta Stone, among other amazing works of art.


It was an amazing day of seeing the sites of London.


To get around London, we took the "tube," also known as a subway.

The Wembley Park station was less than a mile from our hotel and made it pretty easy to get around town—once you figured out the different primary stops and stations.

All of our money was in pounds and the conversion made it difficult to try and buy anything.

Oftentimes, I'd just hand some money over and they'd give some back. I'd count it afterwards when I was less embarrassed of people being around and I always got exact change.

The coins were tricky to figure out, at least for me.

The good merchants of London didn't rip me off by giving me back incorrect money after it was obvious that I didn't have a solid grasp of the math.

Solid people there in London.

Aaoooooo! Where's Wolf in London?! Aaoooooo!

On game day, there were a handful of moments that gave me chills.

The first was during a pregame video being shown on the jumbotron inside of the stadium about 30 minutes before the game began.

Because it was a technically a "home game" for the Chiefs, all of the pregame videos were produced by us.

One of the videos shown on the board went through the history of the Chiefs and specifically, everything our founder, Lamar Hunt, did for not only the Chiefs, but also for the National Football League as we know it today.

As the Chiefs and the AFL-NFL merger is one of his many lasting legacies, I couldn't help but think what it would mean for Lamar to see all of those Chiefs fans packed inside one of the world's premier sports complexes as his team took the field at Wembley Stadium.

The Chiefs were founded upon dreams of expansion by the very man being honored in this video 4,000 miles away from where he began this franchise.

It was a great moment.

The other moment that gave me chills was seeing all of the Chiefs Kingdom flags being waived by the crowd in London, combined with hearing "Home of the Chiefs!" during the National Anthem.


Goosebumps.

The press area at Wembley is actually outside and so we were literally sitting out in the crowd in our own section. It gave us an opportunity to really sense how pro-Chiefs the crowd was becoming as they dominated the Lions throughout the game.

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After the game was over, we rushed out of the stadium because of weather coming to the area.

We were trying to get to Heathrow Airport as soon as possible to hop on the plane and leave, but there was still a delay of a couple of hours.

The players sat and played cards, listened to music and chatted about different moments throughout the game as the Hunt family waited in line with a packed terminal of people waiting to get on their flights.

It was pretty entertaining to see the players go through the security checkpoint and the comments the airport staff were making about the size of them. I guess they aren't used to dozens of the world's biggest and baddest athletes going through their station.

The players were all smiles after their 45-10 win and it showed as it was a pretty long process to board the plane.

The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium in London

Once we were airborne, the players sat in the back of the plane as the staff took the middle with the coaches and executives up front.

Without any Wi-Fi service and considering the plane didn't land in Kansas City until after the Kansas City Royals World Series game had ended, we all found out about the victory at the same time on the plane.

For many of us lifelong Royals fans, it wasn't the ideal situation but should be a pretty good story to tell down the road.

In fact, the whole trip will be a good story to tell.

The last thing I remember about getting off the plane was defensive lineman Dontari Poe saying "Cherrio," which is British slang for goodbye, in a British accent to the staff as he exited the plane.

It created one of many smiles for everyone on that trip.

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