The Kansas City Chiefs play the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. That makes today “Red Friday” in the Chiefs Kingdom. It is a tradition for Chiefs fans in Kansas City and all around the country to proudly dawn their red attire in support of their favorite team. It carries over to game days as well as the Chiefs fans that fill Arrowhead Stadium have become known as the “Sea of Red”. However, the poor product being displayed on the field this season has some fans’ pride turning to outrage. On this “Red Friday” morning another SaveOurChiefs banner flew over KC, not over the stadium, but over KC’s rush hour traffic. This same SaveOurChiefs group is encouraging fans to wear all black to Sunday’s game to send a message to Clark Hunt.
By now, I think most people that care enough about the Chiefs to be reading this blog know about the SaveOurChiefs movement. They’ve flown “Fire Pioli” banners over the last couple of games and have tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter. It actually only takes one angry fan with enough funds to rent a plane to fly a banner. Clicking “like” or “follow” on your computer is one thing, but not enough to sway a multi-million dollar operation like a NFL franchise. An owner like Clark Hunt can live in denial that the banners flown around Arrowhead (and over traffic this morning) are just the product of a small vocal minority. That will change though if Hunt’s home stadium if filled with black shirts on Sunday.
Turning the “Sea of Red” into a “Sea of Black” would be an undeniable warning to KC’s owner that the frustration level is reaching its breaking point. I see the message of the “Blackout” game as this. We are still here to cheer on the team because we love the Chiefs, but things have to change or the next step is we stop coming.
I think most people would agree that Clark Hunt is definitely an owner that enjoys making profits. If Hunt looks out into the crowd Sunday that is there to watch his 1-8 football team and sees a full house that is 90% decked out in red with only a speckling of black mixed in the message will be that there is no real pressure to change. Fans are still coming, supporting the team and lining his pockets. However, if Hunt looks out and sees a stadium with more Black than Red that could be a game changer. Hunt strikes me as the kind that can live with angry rants about his team on sports talk radio and blogs like this one as long as the business is thriving. However, if that anger reaches a point that he starts losing out on a significant revenue stream, then he may be prompted to take action.
In a way, the SaveOurChiefs movement has gone “all in” on this Sunday’s game. If the “Blackout” works, the movement is to be taken seriously. It may show up in the national sports media. It will shed a bright light on the problems in the Chiefs organization and send the message that fans will not stand for the “status quo” again next season. It will light a real fire under Clark for change. If the “Blackout” is a dud, it will take a sledge hammer to the SaveOurChiefs movement’s credibility. They will just be “those guys that fly the banners”, an annoyance to the administration, but not a threat to their precious bottom line.
I always look forward to watching the Chiefs play on Sunday afternoons, even this season. What can I say, I’m an Addict. This Sunday I’ll be anxious to turn on the game not because I can’t wait to see what the final score will be, but to see what message the fans send to Clark Hunt. I think it could go a long way to determining what the course of this offseason will be.
So Addicts, are you hoping for a “Sea of Black” on Sunday? Do you see that as a positive demand for change or is it crossing the line? If you’re going to the game will you be dawning black or the traditional red? For better or worse, the fans will send a loud and clear message on Sunday. I just don’t know what that message will be.