When Kansas City takes the field against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, aside from the expected-low temperature and possible precipitation, the Chiefs will also have to handle the high altitude at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is familiar with the Denver elevation, but doesn't envision it impacting the game's final outcome.
"At this time in the year, I think the guys are into football shape," coach Reid said. "We're not running a marathon; we're playing a football game. So, I haven't seen that being an impact. I played in college at BYU, obviously, which is (elevated), so I understand all of that. But, I don't think that will be a factor in this game."
Chiefs Pro Bowl LB Derrick Johnson, who has played eight-career games in Denver, described what it's like playing in thin air.
"The Mile High altitude hurts you at the beginning of the game," Johnson said. "You can't catch your breath; there's always a time, where during warmups, you're breathing hard, but eventually you get your second wind and it's not a big problem."
Fellow Pro Bowler, Chiefs LB Tamba Hali handles the playing conditions in Denver the same way he does for every game.
"You have to go out there, get the blood flowing, getting the kinks out, loosen up and get a little tired and then go back in the locker room and when we come out, our second wind is already in us," Hali said. "We look forward to all of those things. You have to embrace it. You just go in and adjust to it on the fly; there's no way you can prepare for the height and altitude out there. Once you get there, you have to understand that you have to play fast, you'll feel it in your chest and lungs, but it's really not a big deal."
As for the timing of the game, 7:30 PM CST on Sunday night, Hali wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love night games," Hali said. "That's all I played in high school; we were the last game on Saturday night in New Jersey at 7:30 PM. I love night games. We play our preseason games in the night; those are great. As far as focusing, we are busy during the day. We get some rest and then we get ready to go play. There is no anxiety of waiting for a 7:30 PM kickoff; I love the fact that we're playing at night."
Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers feels the same way as Tamba; he likes playing at night.
"I love it," Flowers said. "We don't get too many primetime games, here. I think that will fire up our team, knowing we're going to be playing then. We can't wait to just have fun and fly around. We just love playing football, so any football game, we're up for. That's what we get paid to do; no matter the circumstance and what time the game is, we're just going to go out there and play football. Myself being a veteran in the league, I know how to get ready for night games; don't get up too early and just stay calm."
The Chiefs will continue to stay calm, while also diligently preparing the next few days for what will be a momentous AFC West showdown on Sunday night.