NFL Stadium #3: Arrowhead Stadium

Though I spent two nights in Kansas City this visit was a short one as I arrived in town late Thursday night and was on the first available flight out Friday morning. That meant I needed to pack in as much of the city as I could before heading out to Arrowhead for the game. I didn’t know anyone in KC, but, I found the CUTEST hostel on Airbnb. My host, Brittain was so sweet and helpful, telling me places to go and how to best get around. She even let me borrow one of her Chiefs shirts to wear to the game. If you’re planning a visit to Kansas City for a game or just sightseeing, I highly recommend looking up her Itty Bitty Hostel. It was clean and as a single female, I felt safe… unlike at the hotel I stayed at in Independence during my visit in 2012 to see a Royals game. A third of the cost and I wasn’t afraid of getting stolen!

Anyways, like I mentioned, I needed to get out and explore Kansas City a bit. I had read they had the second most fountains to Rome and thought that would be a good start- a bit of a quest to see as many as possible. Since it was “Red Thursday” the city was Chief-ed out- flags, logos painted on prominent lawns, and even some of the fountains were dyed red. I made my way from the Garment District all the way down to the most popular fountain in Country Club Plaza. Wow, not what I was expecting from a Midwest City at all. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Seville, Spain, but don’t have the money, just go to Kansas City! The area is a scaled version of the city and the fountains and architecture are beautiful, though it seems a little wasted on commercial stores. Seriously, I’m admiring a beautiful fountain and directly behind it is an American Eagle. Shopping in style here!

After walking around the city my phone was ready to die and I hopped on the bus back to the hostel. Funny-ish story here… so I bought organic/all-natural deodorant to be all healthy or what not and well let’s just say it didn’t hold up to my seven mile stroll around town. I was sitting on the bus smelling ripe and hoping we could hurry up through the route! Finally my stop came and I practically ran off that bus trying to make sure I didn’t lift my arms. As soon as I get back to Ohio I’m going back to Dove!

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With a few hours to kickoff I got ready and hopped on a bus that would take me out to the stadium. Arrowhead is located far from Kansas City and I highly recommend you drive there… and be prepared to be stuck in terrible traffic for a couple hours afterword if it’s a close game. The bus took about 40 minutes to get out there, not bad for $1.50. Again the return was up in the air (it didn’t happen). I was blown away by the rows upon rows upon rows of cars deep in tailgate mode. This was the eclectic crowd I’d been waiting for. There were fans in all sorts of getups- habits, a Pope outfit (you know footballs a religion!), head dresses, even a dude in an Elvis jumpsuit. He was also serenading the crowd as they entered into the nearby gate. The line “you ain’t nothin’ but a Broncos fan and you ain’t no friend of mine” definitely happened.

While I was weaving in and out of tailgates I ran into a little Chiefs parade and discovered Warpaint, the official team horse. He is a gorgeous brown and white spotted pony and he was struttin’ his stuff as he went by. It should be noted that the chick that rides him isn’t bad to look at either! Along with Warpaint were some cheerleaders, the drum line, and a few fans that wanted to join in on the fun. The parade looped around the stadium and I managed to catch it twice, once on each side of the stadium. The second time I got beads, so I was happy! After the parade I walked over to the media will call booth and picked up my media credential the Chiefs were kind enough to issue me and headed up to the press box to check in before the game with my stadium contact Luke.

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After touching base with him, I grabbed some dinner and headed down to the stands for team introductions. My plan was to find standing room and I quickly discovered that’s hard to come by in Arrowhead. Suites line the lower bowl almost all the way around and all that’s visible are a few pocketed areas and the stand entrances. What was surprising though is the staff didn’t seem to mind people crowding the entrances as long as they didn’t block people from getting to their seats. Talk about a 180 from most other parks! I crowded in with the other fans ready to watch from the stands entrance when two gentlemen came up to me and asked if I needed a seat. I said no that I was just standing and they insisted saying that one of their friends didn’t show up, they had an extra. Well I wasn’t about to turn down a seat in the lower bowl, so I agreed and followed them down. Gary and Cash soon became my new friends and ambassadors to Chiefs Kingdom. You might’ve even seen them dancing if you followed the NFL string Thursday night on SnapChat!

I’ve heard that Arrowhead was loud and knew they currently hold the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium in the NFL, but I was not prepared for the constant roar and high energy that they brought THE ENTIRE FREAKIN’ GAME. It started with the team warm ups and hell it was pretty warranted as Eric Berry walked out in his first game after beating cancer. It continued into the opening kick and every time Peyton Manning and the Broncos were on the field, the crowd was in it to win it. The game was tight and I stayed in my seat watching the game up until the first half two minute warning before heading out to explore the stadium thoroughly.

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Right as I exited my section I came into the concourse which is old and a bit cramped in parts. The ceilings are fairly low, so it feels tighter than it actually is. The area directly under the press box glows red and houses the Hall of Honor that serves as their Hall of Fame. I love the NFL HOF’s bust room and the Chiefs mimics that a little, through it’s more elaborate. Their busts are set up in rows with tall cases that have the player’s name, jersey, and a bio with pictures. There are about four rows on either end of the Hall and surrounding them are displays with the team and league’s history. You could spend some good time reading and looking at all the memorabilia. I loved the interactive wall with the result of every game the team’s played. You can flip the triangles around for the box score, newspaper headline, and game summary. The Chiefs were never a team I followed closely, but I found myself enthralled in the displays and had to remind myself I was at the game and halftime was almost over.

I popped in and out of the little areas behind some concessions that had standing room and even found a phone charging station. The views of the field weren’t bad, though you couldn’t see the scoreboards. Also the crowd noise didn’t travel back into these areas, so even with the closer view, you were subbing out the game atmosphere a bit. I didn’t want to watch from these angles very long and decided to go up to the 300 level to see what the upper bowl was like before heading back down to my seat with Cash and Gary for the fourth quarter.

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The stadium is a little different with two levels though the upper bowl kind of peaks up on either end which breaks up the concourse. To get up there you have to walk up a tight spiral ramp, but if you pick the right one, your walk has a soundtrack as the team’s drum line, the Rumble perform in the middle. People line the ramps to watch and throw money down on them. I thought that was a little interesting, but hey I like tips just as much as the next person!

I was pleased to find the fans in the upper level were just as passionate as their friends downstairs. The crowd noise carried up and the stands stayed full as the Chiefs and Broncos continued to battle it out on the field. There was a little wind up there, but it was welcome as it was a true summer night- hot and a bit muggy. I weaved in and out of the ramps to look at different field views before heading back down. On my way to my seat I saw two Chiefs cheerleaders and went over to say hi and get my picture taken with them. I was very impressed by their lines of high kicks and told them that. The one girl smiled and said it takes a lot of practice. I believe her. I’ll be getting my stretch on in my living room just to get half that height! They were both very sweet and I would’ve talked to them longer if there wasn’t a long line of men looking to get their pictures as well. I moved along!

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Back in my seat and ready to watch the entire fourth quarter I looked around, amazed that most of the lower bowl was on its feet, yelling and screaming. I know I’ve said that like a million times now, but I still can’t believe it. I’ve gone to a ton of Ohio State games over the years and our crowds are rarely (if ever) all on their feet for an entire game. This was a different beast entirely… welcome to the NFL Alicia! With a minute to go and the Chiefs up by a touchdown, I thought they would be able to hold the Broncos and squeak out the win. Nope. In a crazy turn of events including an untimely fumble (like is there ever a timely one?), the Broncos ended up with the win. Peyton looked like the man during those final two drives. The crowd had zero effect on him as he swaggered up to the line and drove down the field like a boss. He’s my favorite quarterback, so even though I was rooting for the home team the entire game, I wasn’t heartbroken that he got the win.

The Chiefs fans were stunned into silence for the first time all game and that’s when you heard the Broncos fans make some noise. I had seen a fair amount of them including a few in front of us and behind us. The one guy in front of us was a great sport taking all the jawing Cash could give him with a smile. He did get the last laugh though. The close loss did bring out the worst in one Chiefs fan, though others stepped in to defend the Broncos fans and he was told to move on.

The stadium was nearly full and it was a slow exit into the concourse and I made my way up to the press box to get my witness log book signed by Luke. I looked out the window and saw the mess that was the parking lot and decided to hang tight in the press box and wait this out. It took longer than I anticipated, though I snacked and talked to one of the gentlemen that run the game clocks. What a neat job and something I never really gave much thought about. A very important one for sure!

Finally after what seemed for ages, the traffic subsided and I caught a cab back to my hostel. I tried getting an Uber, but the rates were up and when I did agree, the driver canceled on me a few times. It might’ve saved me a few dollars, but at that point I just wanted to go home. My round trip to the stadium still ended up being cheaper than the cost to park, $30 and I didn’t have to rent a car. I’ll take that any day!

Remember I am raising money for the Ronald McDonald House in Central Ohio. Please donate by clicking here.

Special thank you to Luke for his time and assistance during my visit!


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