The Kansas City Chiefs don't have to be on the field for you to have fun at Arrowhead Stadium.
Known as the loudest stadium in the NFL, Arrowhead is no doubt an awesome venue for watching a game and stadium tours are an excellent way for you to get a generous dose of football year-round. Consider it a must-do if you're a serious fan of the Chiefs.
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 note, 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 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 toy (it's an 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, which is a true rarity - for one franchise to honor 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 next season.
Oh, another 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.
During the tour taken by the VisitMO team, we had the good fortune to bump into Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce and the team's beloved mascot K.C. Wolf. Both were at the stadium as part of a photo shoot for a calendar benefiting a charitable organization.
Tours of Arrowhead include the opportunity to tour the press box, to see the Chiefs' locker room (which is pretty sweet) and to get close to the field - you get to 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 kind of a no-no.
There are several tour options available at Arrowhead. 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 important franchises.
Special thanks to the Chiefs' Mike Davidson for a fun and extremely interesting tour.