Chiefs fans at Arrowhead Stadium are trying to make this a normal day after Saturday's tragedy, even though it's anything but.
The scene at Arrowhead Stadium more than 24 hours after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself in front of GM Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel wasn't noticeably somber. Fans continued to gather around their tailgates and talk Chiefs football before Sunday's game against the Panthers.
But some unsettled feelings remained as fans continued to figure out why a 25-year old starting linebacker for the Chiefs would commit such an act. After talking to several groups of fans, the conversation continually turned to Zoey, the three-month-old daughter Belcher left behind. Several fans wondered what they could do to help her.
The parking lot at the practice facility, where Belcher took his life, remained relatively unchanged from Saturday morning. Media and fans are not allowed into that area. News trucks remained lined up along the practice facility.
Some fans I spoke with said they were planning on coming to the game anyway. Others, like one group from Wichita, which is roughly two hours from Kansas City, said they bought tickets on Saturday night to show support for the team. Another said he donated an extra ticket to kids charitable group. The phrase, "I felt I just had to be there," came from two different groups of fans.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference came when players, coaches and other team personnel, including GM Scott Pioli, walked into the stadium. Fans gathered on the hill above the tunnel where team staffers enter the stadium -- just outside the players parking lot -- and as Pioli pulled up and walked in, fans began cheering. He looked up, waved to the fans, acknowledging them, and walked into the facility.
Fans are trying to go through the motions and make this a regular day, but it's far from that.