Sitting in the stands at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., to watch the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV was “like a dream come true,” says Cody Thorn.
The downside was he really couldn’t cheer for the team.
“That’s the difficult part of this job,” says Thorn, editor of the Platte County Citizen in Platte City, Mo. “As a media member, you need to keep your emotions in check and not cheer for one team over the other.”
Thorn, who graduated from Missouri Southern in 2009 with a degree in mass communications, didn’t think a small newspaper had a shot at obtaining press credentials through the NFL to cover the Super Bowl.
“I’ve been covering the Chiefs for 13 or 14 years now so that probably helped a bit. I applied and (within a few days) they were sending me stuff,” including security clearance information for the Department of Homeland Security and details on where to pick up his credentials.
He flew to Miami last Wednesday and got a full taste of the Super Bowl experience through media events, a rally for the Chiefs, a special Hall of Fame exhibit and more. It didn’t hurt that the Chiefs had a strong fan showing.
“It was kind of surreal how much Kansas City invaded Miami,” says Thorn. “It was kind of like being at a home game. I saw about two Chiefs fans for every 49ers fan.”
The city was also represented by plenty of barbecue and even a pop-up Boulevard Beer event.
He joined hundreds of other media members from around the world at the media center last Thursday to interview team members.
“Story-wise, people asked so many questions,” says Thorn. “Every star was made available. Patrick Mahomes mentioned that his (signature hairstyle) started as a bet in high school and just carried on over the years. Xavier Williams talked about how he went to school in Grandview and lived 10 miles from Arrowhead Stadium, and now has the chance to play for the Chiefs.”
Thorn and other media members were seated in Section 303 of the stadium’s upper deck for Sunday’s game.
“They had a press box, but it only holds about 50 people,” he says. “So we got actual seats in the stadium. It was tight quarters, and fans were seated just six rows below me.”
By the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs down by 10, Thorn says he wasn’t sure the team would be able to pull off a late comeback.
“I kind of thought they were going to lose and was texting a friend about it and all of a sudden, the score was 20-17 and it just went from there,” he says. “It’s funny … a little negativity paid off a little.”
Covering the Chiefs at the Super Bowl wasn’t Thorn’s first experience representing local media on a national stage.
In 2015, Thorn was able to cover a home game as the Kansas City Royals took on the New York Mets in the World Series, but it was a different experience. He was seated in an auxiliary press room, relegated to watching the game on TV.
“To cover this one and see it right in front of me, that was cool,” he says.