KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs fans are gearing up for Super Bowl LIV by heading to Miami or planning watch parties at home in Kansas City.
But for Gil Carter, the AFC championship was a bittersweet win without his wife, Cara, who he was married to for 18 years, by his side.
The pair's first game as a couple was in 2012. Last Sunday, he went to cheer on the Chiefs without his late wife.
But this week, Carter is crediting the Chiefs for a special moment he experienced at the AFC Championship that he'll remember forever.
"Even with all the chaos and all the crowd yelling and being all happy, I looked over to the seat next to me, and I literally saw an image of her," he said. "And it was the same look that she gave me when we went to our first game, like 'I'm here. This is what you wanted. I'm here,'" said Carter, a lifelong Chiefs fan.
Carter said his wife found a way to be with him after all. During those minutes, he was frozen in time, with his wife by his side.
"This game has a special meaning, just because how special it was for her to be there, even though she wasn’t there physically," Carter said. “She made that promise the championship game last year: 'If we make it this far next year, I’ll be with you.' I didn’t think anything of it until I looked over."
But for Carter, that was only the start of what was to come. His new puppy made an unexpected discovery while he was away at the AFC title game: an old iPhone.
“It’s an iPhone 4. You know those are extinct," he said. "I believe I lost it, and I couldn’t find it for the longest time. I kind of gave up on it."
On the phone were beloved pictures Carter thought were gone forever, special moments with his wife, photos of them together and the Chiefs, too.
Carter said it's a two-fold joy -- not just a reason to celebrate his favorite team but also a reason to celebrate love.
"For me now, I live for those moments, and that was like a sign," he said. "And with the help of the Chiefs, no way that could have happened."