Merlin’s Arrowhead Adventure


Confession time: Merlin has never been to Arrowhead. A 40-year plus long distance love affair changed on Sunday, October 2, 2011. That day, I entered Arrowhead for the first time of my life. Now, I had seen the Chiefs play before in places like the Meadowlands, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but never Arrowhead.

Being in ‘enemy territory’ I am used to being a minority fan. The vast majority of the other team’s fans are decent. However, there may be a few to worry about. I never really had a stadium problem anywhere I went. The worst was when one of the Cleveland Brown dog mascots squirted water at me. To be fair, I was calling for the dog catcher before that.

It was a real treat to be around so many fellow Chiefs fans. By and large, the Chiefs fans were passionate and knowledgeable. Save for one adorable fan who cheered hard for Matt Cassel when the Chiefs were on defense, yelled for Tamba Hali when the Chiefs were on offense and randomly shouted out her love for Todd Haley. It’s all good when you are having a good time. Chiefs fans are good fans. They remind me of the passion you see in Pittsburgh for the Steelers. Several Vikings fans made the trip down to see their team. I don’t care what team you follow, if you travel to watch a winless team, you have my respect. The Stadium is loud, that’s no joke. I can see where with a Super Bowl contender, Arrowhead would be a hellish place for an opponent to play.

I had planned on getting together with Randy5K, AA’s official Arrowhead Adventurer. However, spotty cell phone service meant I missed linking up with him. I did manage to get together with another one of the old guard at AA, fellow writer DD. I had a great time with him and his tailgate buddies. They were a good group to hang out with.

The game itself was interesting. The Chiefs showed up and Todd Haley’s seat got a bit cooler. The defense really stepped up. Adrian Peterson only got off one good run. Holding a back of his caliber to eighty yards is quite a performance. The defense is going to have to carry the Chiefs this year. Offensively, Matt Cassel shows his limitations. He rarely scans the whole field. You watch him drop back and you know the side of the field he is throwing to. At this point in his career, that just will not cut it. The Chiefs can win a Super Bowl with Cassel, but the rest of the team has to be very, very good. Basically, Cassel is an average starting quarterback. The Chiefs need better than that.

If the Chiefs are picking high in round one, a quarterback should be a very real possibility. For this year, Breaston starting to show up is a great sign. The Chiefs are going to have to be a pass first team without Charles. If Baldwin can play and put in a decent contribution, the Chiefs could win more than four games.

I am a big BBQ fan. I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the various KC BBQ spots. I sampled the burnt ends at Jack Stack’s, Gates and LC’s. Among those three, the winner by a long shot was………. Gates. Gates had the char and the tang I was looking for. Jack Stack’s wasn’t stacked at all. The portions were small and the flavor was lacking. LC’s had great portions, but didn’t match the quality of Gates.