This past weekend, the Old Chief took a break from his mundane Missouri life and traveled to Texas for a Texas football two-step. The double header consisted of Mizzou playing at A&M and the Chiefs visiting the Texans.
Our first stop was Austin — where my oldest son and A.A. blogfather Adam lives — where we ran into Cedric Benson at a local watering hole. For all you fantasy owners, he guaranteed a fantastic second-half-of-the-season run. Judging from the groupies that were huddled around him, I’m pretty sure he was guaranteed some success later that night as well.
On Saturday, we ventured down to College Station to watch some college pigskin and the Aggie Corps of Cadets. As we watched the Core do their excellent precision drills and march all over the field, little did we know that would be a harbinger of things to come at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.
Sunday, we scurried off to Reliant Stadium early. Well, early for Texans fans, late for Chiefs ones. The tailgating there, at least by K.C standards, was primitive and underwhelming. Once inside the stadium we met the wives of several Chiefs who were sitting in our section. Derrick Johnson’s wife and family were extremely nice and seemed thrilled with the way he has turned his career around. The wives and families seemed to be relieved and comforted by the presence of the abundance of fans clad in the red and gold.
Later during the pregame festivities, I met up with a true K.C. icon — Patti DiPardo, daughter of Tony DiPardo of the T.D. Pack Band. Tony and his daughter occupied the east endzone of Arrowhead until his retirement last year. His band was infallible and played in all kinds of weather; rain or shine, blistering heat or bitter cold. A tip of the Arrowhead to the great Tony DiPardo and his family for all the spirit and music they brought us over the years.
Finally, it was time for kickoff. Fortunately, we were among other Chiefs faithful or well-behaved Texans rooters. The game started slowly for the Texans with many fans arriving late. Most of them were glad because their beloved Texans quickly succumbed to the Chiefs two-pronged running game. In the third quarter, Reliant Stadium had become mausoleum quiet and uninvolved. That is until Derrick Ward took a simple sweep and went 38 yards up the sideline for six. Suddenly, the fans became passionate. During the fourth quarter, a deafening roar encompassed each Chiefs’ offensive play.
After leaving the stadium with the bittersweet taste of narrowly missing an upset victory, I had time to reflect on my experience during the two-hour post-game traffic jam. While Reliant Stadium is a fine venue and the fans we met were civil, the whole experience lacked the passion, intensity and religious fervor that’s always present at Arrowhead. Thank you, Lamar Hunt, for moving the original Texans to Kansas City.