During the 2016 season my Chiefs won the best division in football, and were graced with a chance to play at home in the NFL Playoffs. So when the opportunity arose to attend their game at Arrowhead, I was in! As the fateful Sunday drew nearer, it become clear that a huge ice storm was going to be joining me and my friends in Kansas City. My first flight to KC was canceled, so I was super nervous about whether my rebooked flight was in for the same fate. Luckily, this was not the case!
After arriving in Missouri, the two-day pregame party was in full swing. First we hit up the Boulevard Brewing Co's tap room to taste an assortment of the local brewery's seasonal offerings and take reunion photos in their photo booth. Afterwards, it was off to The Jacobson for their special KC Restaurant Week menu.
After a filling late lunch, the crew nestled in the basement of the Peppers' residence to watch the dastardly New England Patriots defeat the feeble offense of the Houston Texans. During the game preparations were made for the trip to Arrowhead the next day, including the traditional two-person defense sign. The weather was cold, rainy, and the forecast called for more ice coming in the overnight hours.
Some ice did accumulate outside the next morning, but it wasn't as bad as the dire predictions being made on television the night before. For lunch we hit up the famous McCoy's in Westport then headed back to get geared up for the game. It was about 33 degrees and drizzling, with the forecast now calling for more of the same with a rainshower for the late afternoon and early evening. Not exactly optimal tailgating weather, but if you think that was stopping Chiefs Kingdom from showing up in the parking lot then you must not know Chiefs fans very well.
There were 1000's of people already parked and setting up when we arrived less than 20 minutes after the gate opened at 2pm. It was cold, it was dreary, and it was rainy, but Chiefs fans were ready to party. And party we did! We had a double canopy setup with a tarp roof linking them together, a fire pit, two grills, two tables of food, 10 gallons of home-brewed IPA, two coolers full of cold beverages, a jar of apple pie moonshine, and a private restroom. Mother nature was not keeping us down that afternoon.
Soon though, it was time to make the short walk into the loudest stadium in the world. The atmosphere inside Arrowhead was lit. As the crowd poured in, you could see and hear thousands of people making the tomahawk motion and chanting Kansas City's famous refrain over and over. There were even handfuls of Steelers fans carrying around their infamous yellow kitchen towels.
The weather dictated that there would be no flyover for this game, but the atmosphere was still electric as the players took the field. Choruses of boos rang down on the Steelers as they came out of the tunnel. Then the crowd roared wildly during the roll call of Chiefs starters taking the field with pyrotechnics aglow.
Unfortunately, Chiefs fans didn't get the result we wanted at the end of the game. My thoughts on the matter are closely aligned with Travis Kelce's post-game opinion. Despite the outcome, it was a great time with good friends, and I'd do it all over again if given the option. So long Arrowhead, hopefully I see you again soon.