It’s 7:37 a.m. on a Sunday morning in early November. The traffic thickens up along every possible entry into the greatest professional football stadium on the planet. Arriving into the Sports Complex at Gate one you can smell the eclectic aroma of BBQ and grills making it’s way into the brisk morning air. Your stomach reminds you of the motherlode of food and drink that awaits your party the moment you locate your spot for the day, pop the hatch and stretch your legs from the commute in. The dual parking lot set up is unlike any other of its kind. Full scale flag football games are played on this payment on fields twice the size of NFL regulation. A sea of red and white is filing in fast and furious, eager to share the next seven to eight hours with over 76,000 of their closest friends. Yes, you have arrived at Arrowhead Stadium. Welcome home.
If you’re reading this column and without having experienced (several dozen times over) what was just described, you must be either new to AA and to the Kansas City Chiefs, reside overseas or be a fan of another NFL team. Regardless, since we now have the first official game of the 2012 NFL (pre)season under our belt I wanted to revisit the Arrowhead tailgating experience. Tailgating is a rich tradition for football, and albeit I haven’t experienced the Big House, the Coliseum or Texas Memorial,I am confident you can’t find a better place to experience a true tailgate in all its authentic form like you can at 1 Arrowhead Drive in Kansas City. Midwesterns simply know how to get it done.
My favorite part about tailgating in Kansas City is the fact that it only gets better the colder the weather. Don’t get me wrong: tailgating and thus attending the home opener in September is a special thing, but it’s tough to fully embrace the process when the temps are still in the 70’s and 80’s. A frigid November or December morning when you see 33 degrees (or colder) the moment you pop on the T.V. on game day is when you know you are in for a treat. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, will be grilling, both to feed their bellies with the necessary foundation just ahead of pouring around 13+ beers of choice down the windpipe, as well as to stay warm. It’s as common as walking through a campsite at night.
And did I mention the level of camaraderie amongst the fans? Yeah, it’s good. On more than one occasion I can recall leaving something like condiments, paper towels, plates, etc at home in the kitchen and realizing it roughly eight minutes into the drive to the stadium. No need to panic if such happens to you at a future game, because your metal coffin neighbors on the asphalt have your back. Within reason of course. I mean, if you go asking for beers or bloody mary mix you might get a funny look.
From the fans to the tailgating experience to the games themselves, Arrowhead is the greatest stadium to experience being a football fan, bar none. A few NFL stadiums and cities get an honorary mention such as Green Bay, Buffalo and Seattle, but that’s about it. It you feel your city has been drastically mis-represented and left off feel free to bang on me at Twitter, my handle is above in the top right section. For those loyal Addicts frothing at the mouth ready for when the real games begin against Atlanta in a few weeks, please feel free to weigh in below on your best Arrowhead tailgate experience or game. Cheers, and whatever you do, don’t forget the wet naps.