It's officially football season in Kansas City on Friday night as the Chiefs kickoff the preseason at 8 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers.
Though the game doesn't count in the standings at the end of the year, it gives the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the roster - particularly the younger players - in a game setting.
"I use it to evaluate and to make sure we're getting the team to where we need to get them," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "Everybody has an opportunity to play in the first preseason game, but after that it's not guaranteed that you're going to play. In the first preseason game, everybody that's been out at camp and that is physically able to play will have that opportunity."
The game allows the players to take what they've worked on in practice and to apply it against another team under the lights.
"The players are evaluated on every play, every day," Reid said. "They can go out and figure out where they stand, and at the same time it gives the coaches an idea of where the guys are at."
While playing at Arrowhead for the first time this season will provide a different look than the practice fields at training camp, Reid's message to the team remains the same.
"For everybody, just execute," Reid said. "That's the main thing: just execute."
The preseason is a little different this year because of the new roster cut-down rules. The NFL eliminated the first round of cuts this offseason, which used to force teams to cut down from 90 to 75 players before the final preseason game. There will be just one round of cuts this year following the preseason - where teams will trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players - meaning the coaching staff gets a longer look at some players.
"It's a positive from that standpoint," Reid said. "It gives you one more look at the guys. You want to make sure you can do as thorough an evaluation as you can."
Friday's game also represents the first time a handful of players will run out of the tunnel at Arrowhead.
"They know the venue. They've seen the fans and know that they're passionate," Reid said. "As coaches, we try to cut it down for them so they can do a little bit less thinking and a little more playing, but I want them to go out there and enjoy the moment. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to do what they're doing."
Catch Reid and the newest Chiefs players living out their dreams on KCTV5 on Friday night at 8 pm against the 49ers.