In case you haven’t noticed, the Kansas City Chiefs are awful. With a fourth quarter shellacking against the Chargers now under their belt heading into another prime time game next Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think it’s safe to say the Chiefs season is, for all intents and purposes (intents and purposes being a playoff berth) over. The Broncos look to run away with the division and the Chiefs would have to win out to finish with a winning record.
So yeah, this team is done.
The struggle of being a Chiefs fan, however, never ends. And while the players can take solace in paychecks, the fans are left feeling hopeless amid another losing season, the soon-to-be third one during general manager Scott Pioli’s four years. But some fans are tired of feeling hopeless, want their voices heard, and are willing to go to great lengths in an attempt to make a difference.
One such group, and the one making the most noise, is ‘Save Our Chiefs.’ If you haven’t heard of them, they are evolving from a simple social media movement into an organized, active and influential critic of the Chiefs current regime and a tangible venting of fan frustration. If you have heard of them, it’s probably because you follow them on Twitter or heard their name associated with the “Fire Pioli, Bench Cassel” banner that recently flew over Arrowhead.
But they are growing into something that I never thought was possible. Frankly, I figured when the Chiefs started winning games, the whole thing would just die down. But the team keeps on losing and Save Our Chiefs movement keeps on growing. If (big if) the Chiefs start winning games, will Save Our Chiefs be a forgotten cause? I don’t know, but for now, it seems a safe bet that the groundswell of support they are receiving will continue to build. Heck, they even have a music video now.
I had the opportunity to interview the founder of Save Our Chiefs this week and ask him about the campaign. Before I begin, I just want to clarify that I am not involved in the movement. I follow Save Our Chiefs on Twitter, but that’s the extent of my involvement. In other words, I’m not shamelessly pushing my own project. I did, however, want to bring attention to the cause; no matter if you do or don’t support what Save Our Chiefs is doing/trying to do, it is unfortunately (I don’t say unfortunately because I don’t agree with the movement, I say unfortunately because I wish there didn’t have to be a movement) an important part of this 2012 season.
Here’s what was said.
For those unfamiliar or only slightly familiar with Save Our Chiefs, what is it? What is the mission statement?
We are a group of fans dedicated to changing the culture at Arrowhead and returning a winning team to Kansas City. Our focus is to show the organization that the fanbase of the Chiefs is united in voice and number that we are tired of losing. For instance, the Pioli regime, to date, features 57 games. We have lost by 14 or more points in 19 of those games. That is the worst margin in the NFL.
Did you see this season coming? I, for one, was very optimistic heading into this season. The players coming back from injury, the free agent additions, and that blowout opening preseason game against the Cardinals all led me to believe this was going to be a special season for the Chiefs. Were you as optimistic as myself and other fans?
Nobody saw this coming. We had a lot of positives with the end of the 2011 campaign and with the talent load we have, expectations were high. This season has been a dumpster fire with some of the worst statistical performances not only in Chiefs history but in the entire history of the NFL. We even saw brief glimpses during preseason that showed a potential rebound to the 2010 season in which we won the division.
All hope was eroded come September. Several fans from Chiefsplanet.com wondered aloud how we could speak up. We just didn’t want to complain on a message board. We wanted to be change agents because we are passionate about Chiefs football. We had a member of our group come up with the idea of flying a banner overhead and I personally started the social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.
What has Save Our Chiefs done so far to spread the message across the Chiefs fanbase?
To get the word out is a challenge. We have raised $4,000 which covers banner expenses and isn’t close to being anything of substance to develop a full out media campaign so we needed a grassroots effort and social media is perfect for that. As of this interview we have close to 104,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 11,000 likes on Facebook. It’s reached epic proportions in just a month. We are producing factual content, comical images, and we are a giant interactive zone for Chief fans to commiserate with each other. You can find us on Twitter at @SaveOurChiefs and via the web at www.saveourchiefs.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaveOurChiefs
One of the biggest wins with social media is the ability to communicate about the Blackout Arrowhead movement on November 18 against the Bengals.
Tell me more about the blackout game Save Our Chiefs is coordinating. You aren’t discouraging fans from attending the game, you are actually ENCOURAGING fans to go, but while wearing black, so that the black among the sea of red stands out, right?
We are organizing a blackout of Arrowhead on November 18 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Thousands of people have already purchased tickets and pre-paid for parking passes. People will still go to the game and tailgate. This creates a situation called “sunken cost.” Logistically we can’t encourage thousands of people to stay home or walk out because they still want to attend the game. In this case, wearing black chiefs gear or Blackout Arrowhead t-shirts (available at Sports Nutz (816) 923-7529) to the game will create a visual demonstration of “mourning” over the Chiefs. We are still supporting the players and the hoodies we have are in the same colors of the Chiefs. We are not dressing like Raider fans either, as some have suggested.
Have you received any negative feedback, either from fans or from the Chiefs themselves, or has it all been positive?
With any structured movement you have some negative Nellies to deal with. We did have some of that occurring early on with the movement but a lot of the people providing negative feedback have finally come to the same conclusions we did awhile ago and now support us. We have had people call us bandwagon fans or fair weather fans and even closet Raider fans just for suggesting black. Those are all hollow arguments at best. The Chiefs sell a substantial amount of black fan gear. Fair weather fans wouldn’t do the things we’ve done to send a message to the franchise.
With all the events you’ve been organizing, and all the feedback from fans alike, how much media coverage, both locally and nationally, have you received?
We are receiving daily mentions on just about every KC sports radio channel. 610 AM was first to reach out to us and we appreciate that. We’ve received mentions in the USA Today as well as Fox Sports and dozens of websites and we’ve received some on-air comments that were very supportive from Rich Eisen to Jason Whitlock to Bill Simmons and more. Without this movement, the national media would continue to ignore KC and the dire situation we are facing.
So, after all this coverage, and after all the attention Save Our Chiefs has brought to a front office that seemingly is lacking accountability, do you think it will pay off? Or do you think the cause is falling upon deaf ears?
We think it will pay off, and we suggest everyone to stand by and watch.