The Show Me State & Football: Tale Of Two Cities

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Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs fan shows her support during the second half of the game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow the Kansas City Chiefs will play hosts to their cross-state neighbors, the St. Louis Rams. This will be only the sixth regular season meeting of these Missouri-based football teams since the Rams relocated to St. Louis in ’95. While only separated by a measly three and a half hours on I-70, the two lie on almost entirely opposite ends of the football spectrum.

It’s very easy to make the case that Kansas City is an excellent football city (if not an excellent sports city in general).

Drive through Kansas City and the amount of Chiefs related merchandise you’ll see is impressive. Arrowhead Stadium has a reputation (and the certificate, suck it Seattle) as being the loudest outdoor stadium in football. The fan base is also highly regarded for our tailgating efforts, and we’ve amassed an impressive attendance record as well. This year, Kansas City has the 7th best attendance record in the NFL this season. Even in 2012, while parts of the fan base were protesting a miserable 2-14 season, the Chiefs still finished the year in the top half of attendance, locking in at 16. Kansas City loves this team.

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Meanwhile, just under 250 miles east of Kansas City, the story is vastly different.

The St. Louis Rams, like the Chiefs (who had been the Dallas Texans for three seasons), are a transplant team from another state, having come from Los Angeles, California, in 1995. Unlike the Chiefs, the Rams were not St. Louis’ first franchise in the NFL. That claim, of course, belongs to the now Arizona Cardinals, who left the city after the 1987 season.

Where the Chiefs fan base has been noted in the NFL as being one of the most ravenous, dedicated groups in football, the Rams have cultivated a different, less flattering image; indifference. Despite campaigning for, and then receiving, an NFL franchise that won a Super Bowl a mere five years after arriving, St. Louis has already grown weary of their second NFL team. The writing on the wall would have you believe that the Rams are on their way out of the Show Me State. The team has quickly become irrelevant to the city, finishing in the bottom four in attendance the last five seasons. Franchise legend Isaac Bruce even addressed the issue. It would seem that the Rams, like so many other things in the city of St. Louis, have taken a back seat to the city’s real darlings, the Cardinals baseball franchise.

How could it be that two cities divided by such a relatively short distance have such glaringly different feelings for their respective NFL franchises?

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Many in St. Louis will point to the Rams inability to produce on the field as being a deciding factor. This is a cop-out, and a huge one to say the least.

Repeat 8-8 years is frustrating? Not winning a Super Bowl since 2001 is too longCoaching instability blah blah blah blah blah.

Don’t tell that to Chiefs fans, who despite pockets of success haven’t won a playoff game in 22 years now. The team hasn’t seen the field on Super Bowl Sunday since 1969. And we aren’t even the fan base that has it the worst. Try using those excuses on Browns fans.

I have a couple of theories on why no one wants to go to Rams games in the city of St. Louis: