Kansas City Chiefs’ Chris Jones has another superstition

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As he prepares to play in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones wants meatballs. Again.

Not just any meatballs, but those prepared by Maria Spagnuolo, the wife of Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. And they need to be just like the ones she made before last year’s Super Bowl, in which Jones played a big part in the Chiefs’ first championship in 50 years.

“I actually asked Spags about the meatballs today,” Jones said Thursday. “I had to pull him to the side and have a one-on-one, heart-to-heart with him. I was telling him, ‘I haven’t asked you all year for your wife to prepare meatballs under the circumstances, but with this being a huge game and last year meatballs were prepared before the Super Bowl, it’s something I was expecting.’

“I’m very superstitious. She made them last year. I was looking forward to them this year. He told me that he told her, ‘It’s OK [not to make them].’ I was telling him, ‘What about the motto that we live by? Team first, team last, team always?’ That’s a part of the team ritual. So I’ve got to do a little more convincing, hoping his wife can open up and have enough time to just prepare me a single [plate] of meatballs.”

Fueled by Maria Spagnuolo’s meatballs, Jones knocked down three passes and pressured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into an interception during the Chiefs’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV last year.

That effort helped Jones earn a four-year contract worth as much as $80 million this past offseason. Jones followed up the new deal wth 7.5 sacks in 12 games this season.

The Chiefs might want to get Jones his meatballs before Sunday. He plays better when he can carry out his superstitions. In 2018, during his streak of 11 games with a sack, Jones never changed his game gloves even though he said by the end they smelled like a dead animal.

He also ate the same meal at the same Kansas City restaurant with the same two teammates every Monday during the streak.

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