Sunday it was the Kansas City Chiefs at the St. Louis Rams for the Governor’s Cup. For those of us that were able to escape our daily lives and make the trek up to the Edward Jones Dome to support KC the day was not a disappointment. We all know by now that the Chiefs put up a pretty stellar performance despite being on the road and Matt Cassel having an internal organ removed 11 days prior to the game, but was it really a road game?
From my previous posts some of you know that I work retail, so it was a combination of luck and wizardry that got me the last Sunday before Christmas off to travel up to the good ol’ Gateway to the West to watch our beloved Chief’s battle for the rights of best team in MO. After working all day and driving the six hours from Tulsa to St. Louis, I arrived at my hotel to see throngs of Chiefs fans in the lobby and in the street at 1 a.m. yelling “CHIEFS” at me in my red sweatshirt as I toted my bag up to the third floor. I figured that it was because I was in a hotel, and KC fans would be traveling, so it made sense. I retired to my suite to steam my jersey in the bathroom and drink beer out of a MacGyver-esque cooler made out of the garbage pail from our room (clean bag, no worries) with the other people I met up with to watch the game because we were without a refrigerator.
After a clean night of heavy out of town drinking in preparation for a Chiefs game, we strolled out of the Hotel and made our way through downtown a few blocks to the Edward Jones Dome to wait for 10:30 when they opened the gates. I was astounded with the lack of tailgating (it’s in downtown, where are you going to tailgate?), and although Randy already commented on this, it was downright funny to see people lighting up their Hibachi’s in parking garages trying to recreate the experience of an actual football game. All I have to say is be very glad that Kate Barnes did not get her dream of a downtown Royals stadium passed. Really, it was so bad that once we were outside the stadium I didn’t even realize it until I saw “Edward Jones Dome” on the side. It looks like a convention center or upscale shopping center, think Crown Plaza with a football field in the middle of it…
I feel sorry for the St. Louis fans in that respect, but this isn’t about them, it’s about the presence of Red and Gold.
Waiting in what passes for a park outside the dome with live music and beer for sale, I realized that the amount of Chiefs fans at the hotel was not a statistical outlier. There really were that many KC fans at the game. Not only was there a mix of 50% Red and Gold to Blue and whatever, but there was a crazy difference in the way the Chiefs fans acted. We were all getting together and talking about the game, getting rowdy. The Rams fans were subdued, quiet, scared? The way we were acting I expected some banter, some confrontation, something, but it never came. It was official; Kansas City Chiefs fans had taken over downtown St. Louis.
Gametime. We selected our beverages of choice and made our way to our nosebleed seats that cost way too much because ticket scalping is not illegal on the internet to wait for the National Anthem. We all knew what was coming. As the local High School band reached the end of their unfortunate butchering of the Star Spangled Banner, home of the CHIEFS!!! was heard loud and clear throughout the dome. I knew then that St. Louis had better be prepared to handle the crowd noise in their supposed home game. They were not.
Five false start penalties, 13 meager points, and an ass whooping later the game was over. The tomahawk chop and chant were in full effect to the point that the PA was pumped up as loud as possible to drown it out, but there was no stopping us. Leaving the stadium and in the street it was all KC. High fives from strangers wearing Chiefs gear and jerseys along with the Arrowhead chant echoed throughout the streets of downtown St. Louis. For my friend who traveled with me and is a Rams fan, along with the rest of the STL fans at the game, it was an embarrassment and utter defeat. I wish I could have felt remorse about that, but the feeling of elation after seeing Jamaal Charles demolish any glimpse of hope the Rams had in the fourth quarter with an 80 yd romp to secure a KC win was unparalleled. I love Arrowhead Stadium. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of being in that stadium, and you can read Randy’s post to find out how horrible of an experience NFL football is in St. Louis, but to see your team crush an opponent on the road while simultaneously overrunning their house with fans of your team is something special. Well done Chiefs fans, well done.
After the game we returned to the parking garage where our vehicles were and traversed the maze of downtown to end up in East St. Louis. We stopped at a rundown looking gas station to regroup (I drove up and met my brother and his comrade that drove from KC) to find out a place to eat. I popped it into the GPS, and found out there was a White Castle not a half a mile from our current location. I hadn’t eaten White Castle since I was a kid, so we drove past the burnt down buildings (not kidding) and seedy patches of town to arrive at our destination.
You have to go to this White Castle after a Rams game. Seriously. We walked in still wearing our Chiefs gear with hoarse voices to see a gathering of older gentlemen from the community, talking about football. The first thing we heard after walking in was, “So you all really laid an ass whoopin’ on us today huh?” It was sincerely the one of the best parts of the trip. We ordered our food and talked with those guys for a half hour or so about football. They didn’t judge us for being KC fans, and we talked about everything that was going on in the NFL while eating our tiny greasy burgers chocked full of caramelized onions. Great cap off to an awesome trip.
After leaving White Castle we split our ways and I turned on the radio to hear the St. Lois radio sports guys talk about the KC fans taking over downtown as well as hear the players talk about the difficulties of the “home game” and warn fans not to sell their tickets to fans of other teams. It put a smile on my face as I passed by the arch and started the long trek back home. Never question that Chiefs fans are the best in the league, because I have seen it. Merry Christmas everyone, hope you have a great holiday, and also I hope Santa puts a big fat playoff spot in our stockings this year. One down, two to go.