NFL: Chiefs win after murder-suicide
(CNN) — The show went on.
One day after police say Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and then himself, the team faced off against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, as scheduled.
Immediately after the apparent murder-suicide, there had been some question as to whether the game would happen.
It did, though a moment of silence was held before play got under way, and the mood at Arrowhead Stadium was somber.
“I think they made the right decision to play the game because you got to continue on. Life goes on. It’s a tough decision, but I think they made the right decision,” said Mark Mendenhall, a long-time Chiefs fan.
Mike Beisner, another fan, said he felt there wasn’t really a right or wrong choice.
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Morris Claiborne of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates while crossing the goal line to score on a fumble recovery on Sunday, December 2, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Check out the action from Week 13 of the NFL, and look back at the best photos from Week 12.
Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles pulls in a touchdown pass against Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Quarterback Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles looks for an open receiver Sunday under pressure from Anthony Spencer of the Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo runs the ball for a first down Sunday as Kurt Coleman of the Eagles makes the tackle.
Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown pass reception against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a third quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at MT Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Quarterback Charlie Batch of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks at the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive line on Sunday.
Cornerback Cortez Allen of the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens battle for a pass that was incomplete on Sunday.
Fullback Will Johnson of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by safety Bernard Pollard of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Quarterback Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Quarterback Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepares to come out on the field Sunday to warm up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.
Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Quarterback Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands the ball off to running back Doug Martin in their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Wide receiver Trindon Holliday of the Denver Broncos is upended as he returns a kickoff on Sunday.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos celebrates a touchdown on Sunday.
Benjamin Watson of the Cleveland Browns stiff arms Miles Burris of the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday in Oakland, California.
Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders throws the ball against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Brandon Myers of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by Eric Hagg of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns jumps over Philip Wheeler of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders scrambles away from the pressure of Phil Taylor of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Demorrio Williams of the San Diego Chargers returns an intercepted pass against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals calls an audible against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Chris Carr of the San Diego Chargers returns the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Quarterback Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass on Sunday.
Malcom Floyd of the San Diego Chargers gets tackled by Reggie Nelson of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills runs for a first down against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday in Orchard Park, New York.
Cecil Shorts of the Jacksonville Jaguars misses a pass against Ron Brooks of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Brooks was called for interference on the play.
Brad Smith of the Buffalo Bills is stopped after a gain against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills runs ahead of Jeremy Mincey of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Chad Henne of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts hits Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Donnie Avery of the Indianapolis Colts breaks the tackle of Drayton Florence of the Detroit Lions and scores a touchdown on Sunday.
Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions catches the ball in front of Vontae Davis of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Mike Thomas of the Detroit Lions drops a pass in the end zone in front of Vontae Davis of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts completes a short pass to teammate Dwayne Allen against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Brandon Pettigrew of the Detroit Lions leaps over the attempted tackle of Joe Lefeged of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Running back DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers rushes up field against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Before their game against the Carolina Pathers on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs pause for a moment of silence to remember Jovan Belcher, who police said killed the mother of his baby daughter and then himself on Saturday.
Running back Peyton Hillis of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers passes on Sunday.
Running back DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers carries the ball upfield on Sunday.
Earl Bennett of the Chicago Bears catches a touchdown pass as he’s tackled by Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks runs against the Chicago Bears defense on Sunday.
Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears is tackled after a catch by Bobby Wagner, left, and Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Earl Thomas, left, of the Seattle Seahawks knocks the ball away from Earl Bennett of the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears recovers his own fumble as Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks closes in on Sunday.
J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans tackles Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.
Arian Foster of the Houston Texans runs with the ball on Sunday.
David Stewart of the Tennessee Titans lies injured on the field on Sunday.
Ryan Mouton of the Tennessee Titans pursues James Casey of the Houston Texans as he enters the end zone on Sunday.
Quarterback Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans drops back to pass over Whitney Mercilus of the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins dives for a touchdown against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots passes against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Tight end Daniel Fells of the New England Patriots misses a catch as strong safety Chris Clemons of the Miami Dolphins looks on Sunday.
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands off to Stevan Ridley on Sunday.
Daniel Thomas of the Miami Dolphins falls during the game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins runs the ball against cornerback Kyle Arrington of the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings breaks free for an 82-yard touchdown run against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
James Jones of the Green Bay Packers makes a 32-yard touchdown reception against A.J. Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
James Jones of the Green Bay Packers gets tackled on Sunday by Erin Henderson, left, and A.J. Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass the ball while under pressure from Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Rashad Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals gets a first down on a fake punt as Kyle Wilson of the New York Jets makes the tackle on December 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
William Powell of the Arizona Cardinals is stopped by Lex Hilliard of the New York Jets in the first quarter on Sunday.
Stephen Hill of the New York Jets tries to get a few extra yards as Quentin Groves, left, and William Gay, bottom, of the Arizona Cardinals defend on Sunday.
Muhammad Wilkerson of the New York Jets pressures Ryan Lindley of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Beanie Wells of the Arizona Cardinals carries the ball in the first quarter on Sunday against the New York Jets.
LaRon Landry of the New York Jets intercepts a pass on Sunday.
Lance Kendricks of the St. Louis Rams catches a pass against Donte Whitner of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Quarterback Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams hands off the ball on Sunday.
Tight end Delanie Walker of the San Francisco 49ers attempts to evade strong safety Craig Dahl of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers of the San Francisco 49ers tackles tight end Lance Kendricks of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Running back Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers evades Quintin Mikell of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints gets a face mask tackle by William Moore of the Atlanta Falcons during a run on Thursday, November 29, 2012, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints passes against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Thursday.
Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Sean Weatherspoon and Chris Owens of the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons scores a first quarter touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Thomas DeCoud of the Atlanta Falcons intercepts a pass in the end zone of the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints scores a second quarter touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
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“I think either way, the fans would have supported the decision. I think the league would have supported it,” he said.
The Chiefs beat the Panthers 27-21, a welcome boost to the struggling team’s record, now 2-10.
After the game, Chiefs Coach Romeo Crennel spoke to his players in the locker room, congratulating them on their win and for sticking together.
“Really good, you overcame a lot. You stuck together as a team like we talked about — helped each other,” he said. “Family and friends, you relied on those people. You relied on your faith to help get you through this, and we got through it.”
“The win was a really good win,” Crennel said.
So far, police have said little about what happened Saturday. What is known, they say, is that linebacker Belcher, 25, killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, before turning the gun on himself just outside the front door of the Chiefs’ practice facility.
He and Perkins left behind a 3-month-old daughter.
Before Saturday, Belcher’s name had never come up with police, nor had officers ever been called to the residence where the first shooting occurred. But later, they learned the football player and his late girlfriend “had been arguing,” including “before the shooting occurred,” said police spokesman Darin Snapp.
Belcher, a 6-foot-2, 228-pound left-inside linebacker, spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Chiefs, who signed him as a free agent out of college. In all, he played in 59 games, including 44 starts.
Belcher was from West Babylon, New York. He played for the University of Maine Black Bears, where he started in all 45 games of his four-year career.
Asked about the apparent murder-suicide, Jo Brown, another Chiefs fan, described the situation simply as sad.
“It’s sad for that little baby,” she said.
In a separate weekend incident, an employee of the Cleveland Browns organization killed himself, authorities in Cleveland said. Eric Eucker was a member of the groundskeeping staff, “a good friend and colleague, and an outstanding employee,” said team spokesman Neal Gulkis.
CNN’s Casey Wian contributed to this report.