Super Bowl 2024: How the Chiefs and 49ers players are embracing ‘boring’ Henderson with the town of 300,000 – that sits 16 miles away from the Las Vegas Strip – their home this week: ‘It’s not like we can go gamble’

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Written By Maya Cantina

Henderson, Nevada is, according to the city’s motto, ‘A Place To Call Home.’

That’s exactly what the San Francisco 49ers and defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs will be calling it until Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will be played 16 miles west, in a town with a decidedly different motto: ‘What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas.’

But even if that suggestive, overused maxim were true, it loses all meaning this week as hundreds of thousands cell-phone carrying Chiefs and Niners fans descend on Sin City with an eye towards running into their favorite players. Quite simply, what happens in Sin City this week could determine the rest of these players and coaches’ professional lives.

‘Believe me, I love Vegas,’ a smiling 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said Wednesday. ‘I love everything it has to offer. But I’m not experiencing anything of that right now. We kind of have a team mantra: ”Stay boring.” We’re just hanging out in the hotel, hanging out in our rooms, hanging out with each other.’

After the Super Bowl, Juszczyk continued, he and his teammates can ‘enjoy everything Vegas has to offer.’ But for now, it’s just the 49ers, the Chiefs, and a narrow corner of a manmade reservoir euphemistically dubbed: Lake Las Vegas.

Travis Kelce interacts with the media on Tuesday, less than a day after talking to them Monday

The Henderson resorts have been blanketed by clouds rain since the teams arrived Sunday

The Henderson resorts have been blanketed by clouds rain since the teams arrived Sunday

As Chiefs coach Andy Reid pointed out at Monday’s Opening Night, the rival AFC and NFC champions are ‘kinda neighbors out there’ in Henderson.

Each club encompasses its own well-guarded golf resort in the city of roughly 320,000, although with persistent rain and mid-40s temperatures, nobody was threatening to hit the links early this week.

Besides, who has the time?

Even if the players’ game preparation remained constant from the regular season, there is added media and promotional responsibilities that arise for those who reach the Super Bowl.

‘We haven’t had any down time,’ Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend told DailyMail.com. ‘When we got in Sunday night, we went straight into meetings and then straight to bed, then next morning practice, then practice to Opening Night. We had a little break last night, but straight into it again this morning.’

As Chiefs center Creed Humphrey put it: ‘It’s nice kind of being away from the big scene of everything.’

The boredom of Henderson has been so welcome, players are even enjoying their interactions with journalists, however tiresome they may become.

When asked if he’s enjoying the media attention, Juszczyk confessed he ‘honestly’ is.

‘I don’t want to say you forget, but you almost forget just what a huge deal this is,’ said the 32-year-old Ohio native. ‘This game is one of the sports spectacles in the world. And to get to do stuff like this with you guys, it really is just a reminder what a big event it really is.’

Juszczyk is the first to admit an affinity for Las Vegas. The 49ers fullback just isn't going now

Juszczyk is the first to admit an affinity for Las Vegas. The 49ers fullback just isn’t going now

Best of all, when the media packed up and returned to Las Vegas in the afternoon, the players had the chance to enjoy the moment and each other’s company, void of any distractions.

‘There’s no shortage of parties or things to do to do,’ Chiefs safety Justin Reid said of Vegas. ‘I think it’s great for the fans to be in such a fun atmosphere. For us, we’re just focused on one thing, which is the game Sunday. So I think it’s very healthy for us to be a bit removed from that.’

And there ain’t much to get distracted with in Henderson, as nice as it may be.

On Tuesday, exactly one fan was seen outside the teams’ respective resorts — an excited woman wearing a Chiefs jacket who mistakenly took the media bus for a player shuttle. (Let’s hope she never learns the truth)

The closest thing Henderson has to The Strip is a remake of Florence, Italy’s Ponte Vecchio, only instead walking tours and diamond merchants, Nevada’s version of the medieval bridge is home to some resort condominiums.

As Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, players are accustomed to Las Vegas' trappings already

As Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, players are accustomed to Las Vegas’ trappings already 

Chiefs star Travis Kelce is rumored to have his own villa abutting the Chiefs’ facility, although any obsessed Swiftiess would do well to avoid the considerable police presence scattered throughout Henderson this week.

But should anyone think this is a secret party den for players, it’s good to remember that the 49ers and Chiefs both played in Las Vegas and stayed in the area in the preseason and regular season, respectively. 

Neither team filmed a sequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas during their brief stays, so it’s easy to assume that the temptation is equally underwhelming now. 

‘I’ve been to Vegas before,’ 49ers star defensive end Chase Young told DailyMail.com on Tuesday. ‘I’ve enjoyed Vegas. I like Vegas only because, other than the Strip, I think Vegas is real chill, laid back. Kinda do what you please at any time of the day.’

Reid is unsurprised.

‘The guys all come out here on their own time,’ he said Monday. ‘They’ll do that. But while they’re here [this time], they focus.’

A single Kansas City Chiefs fan was able to sniff out the team facilities in Henderson

A single Kansas City Chiefs fan was able to sniff out the team facilities in Henderson 

Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend is enjoying the the absence of gambling from Henderson

Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend is enjoying the the absence of gambling from Henderson 

Chase Young's big concern for the afternoon? Getting a massage and watching some tape

Chase Young’s big concern for the afternoon? Getting a massage and watching some tape 

Numerous players on both teams reminded reporters that this is a ‘business trip,’ which while cliche, remains a popular response nonetheless. 

Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis likened it to his team’s November road trip to Germany, calling it ‘an extended away game.’

Others described the largely hollow resorts as a welcome oasis, far from anything that promises to sabotage their Sunday.

‘I don’t mind it at all,’ Townsend said. ‘It’s not like we can go gamble or anything. At the end of the day, it’s a business trip. It’s good that we’re out here, just limiting other distractions. If we were on the Strip, there’d be a lot of stuff going on and we wouldn’t be able to do anything.

‘I think it’s good that we’re staying out here.’

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority might disagree, but Henderson does have its advantages: Comfort, peace, security, a safe buffer from Sin City, and a staff of hundreds waiting to serve any football-related need.

‘I’m about to go get a massage,’ Young said as media availability came to a close on Tuesday.

Young’s afternoon plans may lack excitement, but as Juszczyk said, the 49ers strive to ‘stay boring’ — which, by the way, would be a great new motto for Henderson. 

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