'It's unbelievable': Albuquerque veteran, a Chiefs fan, gifted two tickets to the Super Bowl

Feb. 6—When you're born and raised in Kansas, there's only one pro football team you root for, Josh Polson says.

"You don't choose any other team but Kansas City," said Polson, who was born into a family of Chiefs fans. "Growing up in that area, I've been a Chiefs fan ever since."

Now 47, Polson will get to see the team he loves play in the biggest game of the NFL season on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In recognition for his 20-year military service and his work with the Wounded Warrior Project, the United Services Automobile Association, or USAA, and the Wounded Warriors Project teamed up to give Polson and his wife an all-expenses paid trip and two tickets to the Super Bowl.

"It's unbelievable," Polson said.

When he first learned in December he would be going to the game at Allegiant Stadium, Polson was hopeful the Chiefs would be there as well.

"Everybody hopes at the beginning of the season your team makes it to the Super Bowl or the playoffs," Polson said.

Winners of two of the past five Super Bowls, Kansas City's regular season seemed to be a down year compared to their recent success. Finishing at 11-6, Kansas City and its star quarterback Patrick Mahomes had to win three playoff games, including the last two on the road at Buffalo and Baltimore, to advance to the Super Bowl.

As the final whistle blew in the AFC Championship Game, the reality of seeing his childhood team live and in the Super Bowl began to sink in for Polson.

"I can't believe this is happening," Polson said. "It's almost like you're dreaming and you have to pinch yourself, and I don't think it's going to fully set in until I'm sitting in those stands and I see (the Chiefs) run out of the tunnel."

The dream was made possible thanks to his years of military service and his volunteer work with fellow veterans following his retirement.

The grandson of World War II Army and Marine veterans, Polson spent 20 years serving with both the Air Force and New Mexico Air National Guard. During his service, he was stationed at numerous military bases around the United States and spent time in Germany and Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, Polson retired from the military with the rank of technical sergeant. Over the course of his decorated service, he received many awards, including the Air Force Achievement Medal, Outstanding Unit Award and National Defense Service Medal. Since his retirement, he has worked as an IT specialist at the New Mexico Veterans Hospital and through his involvement in the Wounded Warriors Project, which includes hosting and conducting monthly peer leader meetings and other events around Albuquerque — group dinners, bowling and going to Isotopes games.

"Wounded Warrior Project is great about getting you out into society," Polson said.

Polson is set to fly to Las Vegas with his wife on Friday. While there, he will meet with Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is involved in the USAA/Wounded Warrior Project promotion. Garoppolo plays for one of the Chiefs' AFC West rivals, but Polson is looking forward to shaking his hand and talking football with him.

As far as the Chiefs' opponent on Super Sunday, Polson admitted he's dreading having to face the San Francisco 49ers, but he is confident that Kansas City's young defense and the star power of Mahomes and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will win the day.

Asked about his final score prediction for the game, "27-14, Chiefs," Polson said, smiling. "But I think it's going to be a little closer than that."