Fans young and old were enjoying the beautiful weather, throwing footballs around, eating up smoke-ripened delicacies and enjoying their favorite beverages.
It almost reminded me of the parking lots when Carl Peterson was running the show during his heyday in Kansas City. And it hit me that the fans haven't rallied around this iteration of the team yet. But on this day, they were willing to let bygones be bygones and wanted to believe that last year's 10-6 romp through the AFC West was going to be repeated in 2011.
Before the game, the NFL paid tribute around the league by playing Taps and it set the tone for Arrowhead as the fans all chanted "USA! USA! USA!" It was touching, to say the least, and it gave me chills.
Then, when local recording star David Cook offered up his amazing rendition of the National Anthem, the song ended with more "Home of the Brave" chants than "Home of the Chiefs," the traditional Arrowhead line.
And that's the way it should have been on this day.
As the game began, there was hope in the crowd. Even though the Chiefs quickly fell behind, the near capacity crowd did their best to stay in the game and root for their team despite facing such early adversity.
Even at halftime, with the Chiefs down 13, the fans returned for the second half and roared on the team's initial defensive stand against the high powered Buffalo Bills offense.
But as the touchdowns mounted, the fans began to empty Arrowhead. They'd seen enough. They had pitched so much emotion into the pre-game celebrations that the majority had nothing left to give.
And who could blame them? It was supposed to be a day of solemn remembrance followed by an outburst that would ignite Chiefs nation for a season filled with enough emotion to carry this football team back into the playoffs.
But sadly, as the game reached the midway portion of the fourth quarter, the stadium was nearly 80 percent empty and the parking lots were thinning.
It's too early to know what impact this blowout loss will have on KC's fan base this year.
We might not know for certain until the Chiefs return home at the end of this month to face the Minnesota Vikings. Between now and then one can hope that somehow the Chiefs can steal a victory at Detroit or San Diego over the next two weeks.
But until then, fans will be left with a bad taste in the mouth. The crowd wanted to celebrate a Chiefs victory on one of the most important days in the history of our country, but went home defeated. All they asked of their football team was to match the intensity they displayed in the stands on the field of play Sunday. They weren't rewarded.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
If you were at Arrowhead on Sunday, share your thoughts about the pre-game festivities.
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