But Which County Will Host the Super Bowl?

With the news yesterday afternoon that the National Football League will award Kansas City a Super Bowl somewhere between 2012 and 2021, the race between Jackson County Missouri and Wyandotte County Kansas is starting to heat up. At stake for each County is the future home of the Chiefs and the benefactor of a future Super Bowl.

It's official. The battle lines have been drawn for what could be the best battle in the history of the ‘Border War'. Both states covet the same enterprise. Missouri would like to keep the Chiefs and Royals but would likely settle for one or the other. Kansas has made it clear that they'd like to have the Chiefs and park them next to the NASCAR track in Wyandotte County.

But let's look at the tale of the tape.

In one corner we have the Sports Authority and Jackson County officials; both are a very predictable steadfast but underachieving group. Their history suggests that they are far more interested in eating free food in one of Lamar Hunts' suites and stealing lollipops from babies rather than making any real progress. They are trying to convince voters to pay for the projected $600 million to renovate both stadiums by themselves. The Missouri legislation wants nothing to do with this vote, as they've lied in the past to save face by offering phony support to both organizations. Now it's possible that State Legislators could line the halls of the NFL offices and try to convince them that St. Louis is a much better location for a Super Bowl than Kansas City. After all, it was St. Louis based Enterprise Rent-A-Car that tried to torpedo the new Sprint Center hosting of a potential NBA or NHL franchise.

In the other corner, we have Wyandotte County. They are progressive, strong, smart and unified. Their singular purpose is to bring more dollars and opportunities for the citizens of their county and state. They want to be the true gateway to the west, north and south. They have some very forward thinkers, solid city leaders and a proven track record for luring the best of the best when it comes to sports, shopping and entertainment.

The folks in the Missouri Legislation have only one agenda; to serve the business and civic leaders in the St. Louis area; they've basically abandoned the folks in Kansas City. Their political campaigns are littered with cash donations that directly benefit the most powerful city in the state of Missouri—that, of course, being St. Louis. Many think they're being foolish by not supporting sports interests in Kansas City, but what else is new with this group. The legislation has turned their backs on Jackson County and refused to help. Now it's the sole responsibility of Jackson County to save two of the state's most precious commodities—the Chiefs and Royals.

In Kansas, they stole NASCAR away from Missouri. Ok they won it by default because Missouri took the folks in Wyandotte County for granted and did not consider them a serious threat. Even though Kansas had not secured the land for the race track, they were confident they could get it done. Still, Missouri drug their feet while Kansas took the ball and ran with it.

They also put the money on the table and convinced NASCAR that Kansas was a better place than Missouri to pin their Midwest hopes on expanding their sport. They convinced NASCAR that they had more compelling reasons to put the race track in Kansas. The ultimate decision was made because Kansas had a plan that could be executed while Missouri was flying on their seat of their pants.

But they paid a price for their forward thinking. It's true that Wyandotte County has some of the highest property taxes in the metropolitan area. But that's the price you have to pay for growth. Look at the area today: development of Village West, plans for a new Water Theme Park and a plot of land near the race track that will be a perfect location for a new Chiefs stadium that would include a retractable roof.

In Missouri, the majority of state legislators with pull comprise counties that are located closer to St. Louis than Kansas City. The State Capitol is Jefferson City, and St. Louis factions have had political apologists for decades convincing voters to change their tunes when the polls open. That's never going to change. The stadium issues are Kansas City's responsibility to change and it's debatable if they have the means to get this vote passed on April 4th, 2006.

Kansas has a proven track record. Though they're young in the game they have been productive. Wyandotte County forged ahead and threw caution to the wind after they cleaned house in their local government. One bad politician after another either shaped up or was shipped out. What they've done in ten short years is nothing short of amazing.

When the Truman Sports Complex was conceived back in the 60's, most of the city planners wanted to put the facilities down by the River front. If that had happened, none of this talk would be taking place now. Instead, the Missouri politicians favored a barren plot of land because those in charge had land interests where Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums now sit. But that happens in every city. The problem is the area surrounding the ball parks has never been properly developed and that's the main problem with retro-fitting both stadiums.

Now the Kansas City area is faced with a true dilemma. The NFL has done everything in their power to force the hand of both cities to give the Chiefs what they deserve. Let's face it. Arrowhead is falling apart. The infrastructure and the foundation is crumbling and is in need of major upgrades.

The Hunt family really does not want to move to Kansas. At least they won't publicly say it. You could spend a billion dollars and not build a stadium with better site lines than those that exist at Arrowhead stadium. Yes the rebuild and retro-fit for a retractable roof would cost virtually the same amount to build a new stadium in Kansas – give or take $100 or $200 million. Still the Chiefs would prefer to stay in Missouri.

But Kansas, who some say is financially strapped, probably could make this deal happen. The Chiefs have spoken with officials in Kansas and they have a clear understanding as to what the State is willing to build to get them to jump to the Land of Oz.

As we reported several months ago, Kansas could build the Chiefs a state of the art stadium with the retractable roof, practice facility (both indoors and outdoors), a hall of fame for the team and a smaller stadium that could be used for training camp in the off season and by local schools in the fall.

But at the end of the day, is that enough to lure the Chiefs from Missouri to Kansas? Maybe so, but they won't get that chance unless voters in Jackson County defeat the proposal next April. If the vote fails, then the Chiefs and Royals will become free agents.

It's clear that Jackson County could support one team and probably would get more support from the Missouri legislators to help fund one or the other sports franchises if the vote fails. But how do you choose? It'll should be easy, because the Royals are demanding far less cash. But they're not the stable franchise.

And that is truly the driving force behind this entire process. To their credit the Chiefs, if they stay at Arrowhead and the vote is passed, they will kick in a large chunk of cash reportedly in the $50-100 million range to help fund the improvements and the retractable roof. Lamar and Clark Hunt understand what's at stake and are not willing to let the tax payers in Missouri or Kansas foot the entire bill.

The Hunts also know that their franchise is the jewel of the sports landscape in Kansas City. So do the taxpayers who will have to pay for both franchises to keep the Chiefs and the Royals on the Missouri side of the state line.

That's a tough call because the Royals franchise is clearly a rudderless ship that's sinking further with each passing day. It might take new ownership to clean that house. But until then, they'll be a benefactor of whatever happens to the Chiefs and continue to ride their coattails.

But that should not diminish the importance of yesterday's announcement by the NFL. This is a great day for our city. If the voters in Missouri are willing to approve the proposed tax, the Chiefs and the Royals will be the benefactors. So will the residents of Missouri and Kansas. That fact can't be lost.

But if Jackson County does not get the paperwork in by January 24th, 2006 so this can get on the ballot in April, then one of the sports franchises could be jettisoned to Kansas. Once again by default.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories