How Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf nearly died on the job

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  As Dan Meers can inform you, it’s not all enjoyable and frivolity being an NFL mascot.Meers, who performs KC Wolf for the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, almost misplaced his life on the job.It occurred Nov. 23, 2013, when Meers was training a stunt at Arrowhead Stadium for a recreation in opposition to the San Diego Chargers the subsequent day. He was going to leap out of the lights on the high of the stadium on a bungee twine that might transition to a zipper line carrying him safely all the way down to the sector. He was not in costume on the time.There was a malfunction, nonetheless, and as an alternative of falling 25 ft, he tumbled 75 ft into the seats on the highest deck of the stadium. He landed with such power, he broke two of the seats and uprooted them from the concrete.Astoundingly, Meers survived, though his accidents had been extreme: seven damaged ribs, a collapsed lung, a fractured tailbone, a crushed sacrum and a damaged T-12 vertebrae. He spent 9 days within the hospital, six months on incapacity, and nonetheless has titanium rods in his again that stabilize his backbone.But Meers, 56, who’s in his thirty third 12 months suiting up for the Chiefs, feels solely a deep sense of gratitude as he prepares for his third Tremendous Bowl. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs mascot KC Wolf performs in Phoenix forward of Tremendous Bowl LVII.(Sam Farmer / Los Angeles Occasions) Dan Meers reveals the top of KC Wolf, mascot of the Chiefs, in downtown Phoenix, the place festivities are being held forward of Tremendous Bowl LVII.(Sam Farmer / Los Angeles Occasions) “I as soon as heard that in case your eyes don’t water your head will swell, so my eyes are inclined to water much more now than they used to earlier than my accident,” he mentioned. “However the tears that run down my face are tears of gratitude. Retains me from getting a giant head.”In costume, he has an infinite head, a pear-shaped grey wolf with googly eyes, a crimson Chiefs jersey and matching flower-print pants. In human kind, he’s 6 ft 3 — taller than most mascots — wiry and athletic.He was largely a bench-warmer in baseball, basketball and soccer in highschool however hoped when he acquired to the College of Missouri that he might keep concerned in sports activities by some means. He tried out for the function of Truman the Tiger, the varsity’s mascot, and landed the job. He had loads of success and was named the nation’s finest or second-best school mascot three years in a row.“Once I graduated from school I sort of had a human resume and a mascot resume,” he mentioned. “And apparently the mascot resume regarded a bit higher than the human one.”That launched him on his curious profession path, first working as Redbird for the St. Louis Cardinals, then throughout the state to the Chiefs, the place for 3 a long time he’s been a furry fixture within the franchise.What do the Chiefs need to do with Wolves? KC Wolf is a reference to the “Wolfpack,” a bunch of boisterous followers who sat within the bleachers on the previous Municipal Stadium.A religious Christian, Meers doesn’t simply entertain followers and work as a membership ambassador. He’s additionally been recognized to deal with drunks who hop the wall and bolt onto the sector, and has participated in additional marriage proposals than he can depend.“I’ll present up with an indication that has the lady’s identify on one facet, after which once I get to the seats she suppose she’s received a contest and can get a free T-shirt or one thing,” he mentioned. “However once I get to her seat I’ll flip that signal round and it says `Will you marry me?’ and has the man’s identify. He proposes, then everyone within the part’s cheering for them for his or her special day.”He estimates he has pulled that stunt at the least 150 occasions.“Generally I’ll assist the man who proposed to his girlfriend on the recreation,” he mentioned, “then a couple of 12 months later he’ll name me again and say, `Hey, are you able to come to our marriage ceremony reception?’ As a result of they get married a couple of 12 months later.“Then about two years after that they’re calling to ask me assist them with the gender reveal as a result of his spouse’s now pregnant.”He doesn’t converse whereas in costume, however he offers motivational speeches from coast to coast — significantly after the accident — and infrequently talks to college students.A typical query he fields from youngsters: What do you do if nature calls? Kansas Metropolis Chiefs mascot Okay.C. Wolf, with Dan Meers inside, has been cheering the crew for 33 years.(Reed Hoffmann / Related Press) “I inform youngsters that it’s identical to occurring trip, what’s the very last thing your mother and father inform you to do earlier than you get within the household van? ‘Go to the toilet,’ ” he mentioned. “Similar method you’re as a mascot. Final thing I do once I placed on my costume is go to the toilet. “However I sweat a lot once I’m in costume that I normally don’t have to fret about utilizing the restroom.”Some questions are much less predictable.“My favourite query, at a college final 12 months, a child within the second grade,” he mentioned. “The child requested, ‘Hey, these foot-long scorching canine, are they actually a foot lengthy?’ ”Meers is associates with a lot of the mascots across the NFL, particularly Toro of the Houston Texans — his previous backup in Kansas Metropolis — Blitz of the Seattle Seahawks and Blue of the Indianapolis Colts.“Even Swoop is a reasonably good man,” Meers mentioned, referring to his Tremendous Bowl counterpart, Philadelphia’s eagle character. “We’ve recognized one another a very long time.”Then, he caught himself, including: “Doesn’t imply I’m rooting for him.”