‘Nigerian Nightmare’ Okoye brings Chiefs Kingdom to Ramstein Air Base
Stars and Stripes November 2, 2023
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Growing up in Kansas City, Mo., Danielle Ward watched Chiefs football games with her grandmother every Sunday.
Her grandma’s favorite player? None other than the “Nigerian Nightmare,” running back Christian Okoye. Ward met Okoye when the Chiefs visited London in 2015, but she forgot something important: her Okoye jersey.
On Thursday, Ward wore the jersey and finally got it signed by Okoye at an NFL event on base ahead of the matchup between the Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Frankfurt.
“It just solidifies that core, happy memory of watching Chiefs games with her on Sundays and how much she loved the Chiefs and how much I do, too,” Ward said. “It’s kind of awesome to have that come full circle.”
Okoye greeted service members and others along with the Chiefs cheerleaders and the team mascot, K.C. Wolf, at the base food court.
A steady line of fans collected autographs and took photos for an hour and a half, with a short pause to allow the cheerleaders to perform and for a Chiefs trivia session.
Okoye received a lot of attention. The running back played all six of his NFL seasons in Kansas City, finishing his career as the franchise’s leading rusher at the time, with 4,897 yards. He is currently fourth on the franchise’s career list.
Drafted in the second round in 1987, Okoye had his best season in 1989, when he was an All-Pro selection and earned the first of his two Pro Bowl honors. He amassed 1,480 yards on 370 carries and scored 12 touchdowns that season.
That Chiefs squad ended its season against the Miami Dolphins. The same two teams this year find themselves among the best in football as they meet Sunday at Deutsche Bank Park, the home of Bundesliga soccer club Eintracht Frankfurt.
Also on Thursday, two tickets to the game were raffled off to service members. Army Staff Sgt. Hector Hernandez of the 66th Transportation Company took home the grand prize.
Originally from California, Hernandez became a fan of the Chiefs while stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas. He said he’s looking forward to going to the game with his son, Andy.
“That’s something I’m not going to forget,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to be something special for me.”
Hernandez’s fandom began around the same time as the Chiefs’ offense became one of the best in the NFL under coach Andy Reid, with the big-play ability of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Yet when asked about his favorite player, Hernandez struggled to choose.
“All of them are my favorite,” Hernandez said. “It’s hard to say because all of them contribute to winning and driving this team to victory.
“But if I have to pick, I’ll say (tight end Travis) Kelce.”
Kelce has become one of the most popular players in the game by jersey sales ever since music megastar Taylor Swift began showing up to his games. Swift hasn’t announced whether she’ll be in the Frankfurt stands this weekend.