In 2005, Sports Illustrated voted Arrowhead Stadium the "toughest place to play" in the NFL. But after three straight seasons of twelve loses or more, much of the luster has been dimmed out at One Arrowhead Drive.
After nearly 19 straight seasons of smoky parking lots and packed seats, the sellout streak officially ended last season in a mid-December game against the Cleveland Browns.
Since inheriting the Chiefs from his father, Clark Hunt has seen his franchise steadily lose games and fans over his four year reign as owner. But with the tenacity of his late father, Hunt has done everything within his power to rekindle the magic of Arrowhead. After years of seeing failed attempts at building a franchise the "Patriot Way", Hunt decided instead of mimicking the Patriots, he would bring the Patriots to K.C.
Starting at the top, Hunt accomplished what many had failed at: luring Scott Pioli away from his cushy job in New England. While in the Patriot stealing mood, Hunt opened up his pocketbook and made former Patriot backup Matt Cassel their starting quarterback. Presumably not coming with a cheap price-tag, Hunt again sprung for arguably the Patriots all-time best offensive and defensive coordinators in Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel.
Along with revamping the product on the field, Hunt and the tax payers of Jackson County have put a face-lift on the 38 year-old stadium. The revamped "Sea of Red" will feature, among other things, new HD mega screens, a standing room bar, more accessible bathrooms (minus the infamous troughs), and wider concourses featuring new and improved amenities.
K.C. sports fans have endured years of terrible ownership with David Glass and the Kansas City Royals. But with Hunt, fans can take solace in the fact that they have an owner that cares as much about winning as he does the bottom line.
So will Hunt's investments manifest into fans returning to the rejuvenated Arrowhead? We will find out very early when the Chiefs make their home and season opener under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. With some tickets already going as high as $300 a pop, it appears interest is already starting to stir around the Chiefs kingdom.
Ultimately, though, Chiefs fans are diehard through and through. If the Chiefs can take advantage of a down AFC West and make a legitimate run at the playoffs, the fans will return in droves and, in the process, return glory to the previously iconic stadium that was once the standard in professional sports.
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