As countdown to the Kansas City Chiefs home opener winds down, the stage is set in the loudest stadium in the NFL, Arrowhead, who happens to be turning the big 5-0. That's right, Arrowhead is celebrating her 50th season. Yeah, "her." She's tough and has put up with men walking all over her for 50 years.
Since summer camp, maybe even before, all eyes have been on the mega-talented, super-loaded AFC West. The AFC West has given us some dynamite performances and some surprisingly underwhelming ones in recent years, but the competition is heating up as young stars grow into their own. We could discuss the fact that Justin Herbert keeps getting better and better. Did you see his rookie card sold for $1 million? But, there's another gal debuting in 2022 and she's kind of a big deal.
An Iconic NFL Landmark Turns 50
Arrowhead Stadium took four years to build and was completed in 1972. Fun fact, the playing field is actually three stories below ground level. Arrowhead is considered the loudest stadium in the league both unofficially and officially, making the Guinness Book Of World Records as the loudest crowd roar at a stadium. I've been lucky enough to experience the intensity of Arrowhead more times than I can count and it never gets old. The roar, the shaking, the deafening chants -- it's magic, and it's a nightmare for opposing teams.
The now-Kansas City icon and legendary NFL stadium has become such a factor in facing the Chiefs that nearly all NFL players who've played at Arrowhead have something to say about it. To celebrate Arrowhead turning 50, let's look back at some of the NFL greats' thoughts on what it's like to play at the stadium the past five decades.
Is Arrowhead Really That Loud? Yes, It Is.
Something feels perfect about kicking it off with former AFC West rival, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, who has a long history playing at Arrowhead. Chiefs fans will never forget when the Denver QB asked the refs to help quiet the crowd. Sorry Elway, thems the breaks when you step into Arrowhead. He went on to later say, "The one thing I remember the most is that it was loud. As a quarterback, that's your worst enemy."
Players aren't the only ones blown away by the reverberating volume blasted from the fans. Mike McCarthy, who coached for the Chiefs from 1993-1998 recalls the unique feeling generated from Arrowhead. What might be surprising to some NFL fans is he experienced the sensation at Kansas City's 1993 preseason home opener against the Buffalo Bills.
"There's 70-some thousand people, and I'm up in the (coaches') box with the windows open," McCarthy recalled. "When they introduced Marcus Allen and he went running out of that tunnel with the crowd screaming, it was like, 'My God, I've never heard anything like that.' Then they introduced Joe Montana, and you thought the house was going to come down. And it was preseason! I played small-college football, and I'd never been around anything like that. That's something I'll always remember."
Former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi recalls struggling to to hear anything, including himself, saying "[Arrowhead] is the loudest outdoor stadium in the league. It's so loud you can't hear yourself think."
It's not just players who know what challenges you face stepping into Arrowhead to face Kansas City. Former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask once said, "During my years in the league, I found Arrowhead to be the -- or one of the two -- most daunting home field environments for a road team."
Five-time All Pro tight end Antonio Gates broke down what makes it so hard to execute when facing the decibels of Arrowhead.
"I'm telling you, it plays a bigger role than what people may know," Gates said. "It's very loud in that stadium, and you can sense that energy gives them an extra boost and motivation - that's what makes it a very tough place to play. I've played at Arrowhead a bunch of times, and it's very difficult to hear what's being called and what's being checked to. Obviously if we check to a run and you run a route, the guy makes a play in the backfield and you hear that crowd get even louder."
Former Giant, Chief and two-time Super Bowl Champ Lawrence Tynes had words for Burrow in 2022 when the Bengals quarterback fired up the fandom by saying SEC environments were louder than any NFL stadiums.
"To be fair, Joe has never played at Arrowhead. Having said that, he is in for a rude awakening. There is no place louder in sports and it's not up for debate," Tynes said.
Former Super Bowl Champion Colts center Jeff Saturday painted a vivid picture of just how insane the sound at Arrowhead can be. When asked if there is anywhere louder than Arrowhead he responded emphatically...
"No. I played there many times, but I played the playoff game and literally with my face mask touching my guard's face mask, we were screaming at each other and we can not understand what each other are saying. But I'm telling you, like for two and three days after you leave your ears are ringing. It is that loud and it is that intense."
Happy Golden Anniversary, Arrowhead Stadium
So happy 5-0, ole gal. You're still kickin' and as loud as ever. And in case no one's told you, you make 50 look fabulous. NFL fans can't wait to see what excitement you have in store for us this season. I'm sure we've got more hoarse voices, ringing ears, frustrated opposing offenses and decibel breaking records ahead of us.
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