My 7th Inning Stretch – Stadium Reviews

My Pilgrimage to all 30 Major League Baseball Parks 2015-16

My Pilgrimage to all 30 Major League Baseball Parks

Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City (#30)

Chiefs 27, Jaguars 17

My pace of visiting stadiums has slowed quite a bit over the last couple of years mostly with the pandemic to blame, but also my retiring and picking up stakes and moving out west to Denver.

But I am finally down to 2 NFL stadiums to visit, and today I have made the 9 ½ hour road trip on I-70 East across the state of Kansas and into Missouri to see the Chiefs play at Arrowhead.

Being a staunch fan of the Raiders from as early as I was able to speak, I’ve developed a resentment for their arch-rival Chiefs. There have been classic epic battles between the two teams over the years, but more recently it has been the Chiefs who have dominated the AFC West.

I got into the city and to my hotel early this morning. Wanting to avoid stadium traffic (which start around 8AM for the tailgaters) and wanting to avoid the absurd parking prices, I booked a hotel that was only a 10-minute walk to the stadium.

Land was identified in suburban Jackson County near the I-70/I-435 interchange that offered enough room for both the baseball and football stadiums. Being close to this interchange offers two major routes to get to the game.

Arrowhead is located along side Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals in what is known as the Truman Sports Complex in a part of the city that, other than these stadiums, is rundown and desolate. The area offers no pre/post game dining or entertainment options except for a nearby Denny’s.

In recent news, it was reported that the Royals are planning to build a shiny new stadium in the downtown area to move into when their current lease expires in 2029.

 

The Chiefs are a charter member of the old American Football League and have a great deal of team history including being the first and the last representatives of the old AFL in the Super Bowl prior to the merger with the NFL in 1971. They moved into the newly built Arrowhead Stadium in 1972 which makes this the 3rd oldest stadium in the NFL.

Some will argue that the stadium has held up well – and it is in fact well maintained – but does look very dated alongside most of the newer, more modern venues.

Up until last season, Arrowhead was one of only four stadiums in the NFL that did not have a corporate name. This changed with the licensing and rebranding of the stadium as GEHA at Arrowhead (similar to what the Broncos did with Mile High Stadium).

Several legendary NFL athletes had their career years while playing in Arrowhead Stadium including Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Derrick Thomas, Tony Gonzalez as well as coaches Marv Levy and Hank Stram. They, along with many other Chief greats, are immortalized in the Chiefs Hall of Honor found on the concourse level. The Hall is an interactive space recalling the greatest plays and players in Chiefs history and is well worth a visit.

Chief fans are among the most loyal and the loudest fans in football and are certifiably loud, as the Guinness Book of World Records ranked Arrowhead Stadium as the loudest stadium in the world at a near defining 142.2 decibels – louder than even what I experienced in Seattle – which is particularly remarkable given it’s a completely open-air stadium.

The fans start to charge their energy levels at the Ford Fan Experience. This area provides pre-game entertainment, the Bud Light Beer Garden, a performance by the Chiefs cheerleaders and  appearances by Warpaint the Pony and KC Wolf. The tailgating scene in Kansas City is one of the best maybe only being topped by Green Bay and Buffalo. Tailgating starts several hours before kickoff and nearly everyone has a BBQ. The smell is downright intoxicating, especially if you’re a fan of KC BBQ.

The food options inside the stadium are impressive as well. BBQ Row offers vittles from 4 different barbecue joints. Noteworthy eateries are Peace, Love, and Waffles, Florella’s Jack Stack BBQ (great burnt ends) and Arrowhead BBQ Stak.

The game was dominated from start to finish by KC. The opposing Jaguars never had a chance in this one. As much as I dislike the Chiefs, I have to admit there were a couple of times I got caught up in the excitement and participated with the crowd in the ‘Tomahawk Chop’. When in Rome I guess.

I think it’s because they’re a lot like Buffalo Bills fans, a rabid fanbase of diehards that lives and dies by the game of football. In a place like Kansas City, the blue-collar work ethic shines through, as even their sports teams become a reflection of the community as a whole

Overall, it wasn’t a bad experience, but I’d have to rate this towards the bottom of my list. It reminded me a lot of the stadiums in Nashville and Buffalo – dates, grey, lacking, and noteworthy amenities. It was also a really cold day with no place in the stadium to escape the cold (similar, but not nearly as bad of what I had to deal with in Nashville).

The ticket price was exceptionally high as well, very much unlike most Mid-Western sports venues. This no doubt is a result of supply and demand from the Chiefs having such great success in the Mahomes era.

 

I decided to stay an extra day in KC since there is actually quite a bit of history and interesting things to see do there. A few of my highlights and recommendations are –

  • Union Station – One of the country’s nicest train stations and one of the city’s main tourist attractions. It also houses several interesting things to do, including Science City, the Regnier Extreme Screen Theater, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium,
  • Museum of Money at the Federal Reserve Bank – a great free tourist attraction for anyone interested in the history and evolution of American currency  –
  • Crown Center A beautiful 3 level shopping center that features more than 30 shops and restaurants as well as the SeaLife Aquarium and Legoland
  • WW 1 Museum –  Features a variety of artifacts, letters, films, and other pieces of historical significance that were gathered between 1920 and today. http://www.theworldwar.org/
  • College Basketball Experience –  This is the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame featuring lots of interactive exhibits
  • River Market – Nestled just south of the Missouri River this historic neighborhood is a diverse area abundant in local and international flavor with lots of coffee shops, boutiques and the popular City Market
  • The Truman Library and Museum – In nearby Independence,MO , this is one of only 14 presidential libraries –  chronicle the Missourian’s private life and political career — with many interesting artifacts and exhibits
  • 18th & Vine – internationally recognized as one of the cradles of jazz music and a historic hub of African American businesses. Many jazz musicians of the 1930s and 1940s made 18th & Vine their home.
    This historic neighborhood features some beautiful building murals as well as the Negro League Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum, a renowned jazz club called the Blue Room and what is widely regarded as the best BBQ in Kansas City – Arthur Bryant’s.

Fans–  Among the most vocal and devoted of all NFL fan bases

FeaturesD – The Chiefs Hall of Fame was nice – Otherwise a very unremarkable stadium

Location D – Far removed from downtown in a very desolate area. 

Food BSome very good KC BBQ options

GameD – The first half was remarkably close, but KC had the game in hand all the way – No real drama or excitement

Overall Experience – C- – Frigid cold day, an aging stadium with minimal amenities, a terrible stadium location – but it was nice to see two of the NFLs best – Mahomes and Kelce – do their work.

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