Jan 2, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; General view of Arrowhead Stadium exterior during tailgate festivities before the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Tailgating in the NFL Kansas City Chiefs Style

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.

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  • E-Man

    We travel from Nebraska at least twice every year. My goal is that someday, my bumper will be up against the fence when the roll it open. My bride of amost 30 years rolled her eyes the first time I suggested being there early but now she embraces it. Most of the time it’s just us two but sometimes we brinng someone. Love setting up and getting to know the neighbors. have tickets to the first game (can’t wait to see the reception Tony G gets) and Ravens. I’ll have the Chiefs and Puerto Rico flying if you are looking for me. GO CHIEFS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.brannan.3 Kyle Brannan

    I will be there as well. This will be my first time to arrowhead and i cant wait!!!! Unfortunatly i will not have a vehicle(as i want to partake in the consumption of alcoholic beverages) but i will be walking around enjoying the whole atmosphere im sure!!!!! To see Tony return is just icing on the cake. My prediction the chiefs 24 falcons 17. GO CHIEFS!!!!!

  • KrisRustle

    We’re headed up for Game 1 and so far our group total is 53. Most of us will be in cars and SUV’s but we are lucky enough to have one RV thats been converted into a Chiefs tailgate wagon. I think you guys should do a post on custom tailgaters!