The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have to be on the field for you to have some fun at Arrowhead Stadium.
While Arrowhead is no doubt an awesome venue for watching a game (it’s known as the loudest stadium in the NFL), a stadium tour is an excellent way to get a dose of football year-round. Consider it a must-do if you’re a serious Chiefs fan.
Along with dozens of works of art found throughout the stadium – including a sculpture by Missouri’s own Thomas Hart Benton – tours at Arrowhead detail how Chiefs’ founder Lamar Hunt shaped and modernized the NFL that exists today.
The Chiefs organization actually began in 1960 as the Dallas Texans, members of the upstart American Football League (AFL) that Hunt founded after he was denied the opportunity to start an expansion team or purchase an existing NFL team.
The original AFL included seven other teams: the Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Chargers, Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, New York Titans and Oakland Raiders.
Interesting tidbit – the founding fathers of those teams collectively were called “The Foolish Club” because all were certain they’d lose a boatload of money and that the league would eventually falter. Today, “The Foolish Club” is the name of one of the indoor areas for grabbing a cold drink and relaxing with friends inside Arrowhead.
Another interesting tidbit – Hunt is credited with coining the term “Super Bowl.” In the early days of the AFL, before its merger with the NFL, the top teams from each league faced off in the AFL-NFL Championship Game. The cumbersome name wasn’t necessarily a hit with owners, fans or the media, and it was Hunt who first threw out the suggestion for calling the game the Super Bowl.
On the tour, you learn that Hunt likely derived the name from a Super Ball, the small, extremely bouncy rubber ball that was popular with his children. In fact, a Super Ball is one of the items on display in the Chiefs Hall of Honor, a highlight of the tour that pays tribute to the best of the best from Chiefs history.
You’ll also find several items related to the AFL and its teams in the Chiefs Hall of Honor – a truly rare example of one franchise honoring rival franchises.
Inside the Hall of Honor, busts depicting Chiefs legends – from quarterback Len Dawson to defensive end Derrick Thomas – are aligned in a locker-like setup. If you’re a big fan of football, you may need to ask for extra time to read and see everything that’s on display.
Among the signature pieces is the trophy from the 1970 AFL-NFL Championship Game, aka Super Bowl IV. The AFL’s Chiefs won, 23-7, over the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. What’s cool about the trophy – and what seems perfectly fitting, considering the Chiefs were the founding members of the AFL – is that it’s the last trophy to have an AFL logo on it, as the two leagues merged prior to the following season.
A bonus tidbit – It was Lamar Hunt’s idea to use Roman numerals when referring to Super Bowls, to lend a little touch of class to the event.
Tours of Arrowhead Stadium include an opportunity to see the press box and locker room and get close to the field – you can walk the track that surrounds the playing surface. Don’t plan on carrying along a football and running post patterns on the field all afternoon. That’s a no-no.
There are several tour options available. General public tours are held twice daily, on Fridays and Saturdays, year-round. Private tours can be arranged by appointment.
The next time you need a football fix, plan a tour at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s a fascinating look at one of the NFL’s most fascinating franchises.