A moment of silence was held Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium for victims of domestic violence and those families affected by it.
It was a somber feeling pregame, a day after LB Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and then drove to Kansas City's practice facility and took his own life in front of coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli. During stretching, Crennel went around to his players and shook their hands or wrapped his arms around them. He then met Panthers coaches, including head coach Ron Rivera, at midfield. They hugged.
As the Chiefs took the field 43 minutes before kickoff and gathered in the end zone, fans cheered a team that hasn't received the warmest ovations this year because of a 1-10 start.
Owner Clark Hunt addressed some media on the field before the game and said he flew in Saturday afternoon to be with the team.
"It's been a rough 24 hours for our family and the entire organization," Hunt said. "We have so many guys on the team and the coaching staff who are really, really hurting."
Some questioned whether Sunday's game should even be played, and Hunt acknowledge that canceling or postponing the game was discussed between the Chiefs and the NFL.
"I had a number of conversations yesterday with Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, and at the end of the day, I decided to leave it up to Coach Crennel and the team," Hunt said. "I asked Romeo to call the captains and ask the captains whether or not they felt we should go through with the game. Of course, the captains had been in conversation with their teammates, and they unanimously believed that the right thing to do was to play the game. So, that's how the decision was made.”
After Saturday's murder-suicide, the frustrations from a losing season were forgotten and the Chiefs opened the game in a way they had not all season: they scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Follow the game with our Chiefs-Panthers gametracker.