KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Derrick Nnadi set the internet on fire this week after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl for what he did off the field: he sponsored the adoptions of every dog who was at the KC Pet Project before the game.
At almost any animal shelter with dogs, you’ll hear barking. But there’s not a lot of barking at the KC Pet Project these days. There’s also not a lot of dogs.
It’s because of #91, Derrick Nnadi, a defensive tackle for the Chiefs.
“Personally, I’m a dog man myself,” he said with a smile Saturday. “I’ve always loved dogs. Dogs were always my favorite since I was a little kid.”
This 2019-2020 football season, Nnadi and his Derrick Nnadi Foundation sponsored a dog’s adoption fee after every Chiefs victory. The Chiefs won 12 season games, and all 12 of his dogs were adopted, like Selena after the victory over the Vikings, and Rusty (renamed Nnadi) after the win against Baltimore.
Then, Super Bowl LIV happened. So #91 decided to sponsor the $150 adoption fee for all 109 dogs who were waiting to be adopted before Feb. 2nd, the day of the Super Bowl. That cost more than $18,000, which he wrote a check for on Saturday at the new shelter.
To browse the available dogs from the Kansas City Pet Project, click here. Any dog sponsored by Nnadi will have a note in its bio.
“The fact that people are really trying to make a difference in this world is amazing,” he said soon after he presented the check. “There’s a lot of people on both sides of the spectrum, which is really, really selfish, and ones that are really, really selfless. And those who are selfless should be praised.”
And Nnadi is being praised. Fans yelled their appreciation for him in the atrium of the KC Pet Project’s new shelter. Some lined up to take pictures with him. Families who adopted dogs that he sponsored came to talk with him.
Rich Greenhagen, who adopted Selena, was one of them.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “You see a lot of players giving back to the community, and giving back their time, and that’s great, but you don’t really see dogs that much. You don’t really see the pet side. And people love their dogs.”
The Kansas City Pet Project loves the attention.
“Oh my gosh, we’ve been so busy here at KC Pet Project doing so many wonderful adoptions, thanks to Derrick Nnadi and his Derrick Nnadi Foundaton,” Tori Fugate, Chief Communications Officer for the KC Pet Project, said.
Fugate estimated roughly two million people had heard about Nnadi and his adoption sponsorship over the last week.
“We also want this to inspire so many other people and communities across the country,” Fugate added. “Individuals who have the means to – corporations, athletes, whomever – step up, go to your local shelters, and say, ‘Hey, we want to do this too in our community.'”
That community is much bigger than Kansas City. Rachael Ray reached out to the Kansas City Pet Project and Nnadi and offered her dog food, Nourish, for free for a year to anyone who adopted one of Nnandi’s dogs this week.
The community has a lot to bark about, and Nnadi is part of that.
“It feels amazing,” Nnadi said. “Being here, I feel, like, indebted to help out the city anyway I can. Whether it’s here or back home, I just want to do my part, so to speak.”
Because this football season, Nnadi has been nothing but nice. As of Saturday evening, 90 of his 109 dogs had been adopted.
However, Fugate said KC Pet Project will get as many as 30 new animals in every day – so those kennels will soon fill back up.
By the way, Kansas City Pet Project won a bet against two animal shelters in San Francisco. Kansas City had more adoptions in the week leading up to the Super Bowl than they did, 224-155. Therefore, the Kansas City Pet Project gets to name some of the adoptable animals in San Francisco. There will soon be a Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Derrick Nnadi up for adoption on the West Coast.