KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The expletives were flying as fans filed out of Arrowhead Stadium in the wake of yet another blowout defeat for the Chiefs.
Most of what the more vocal spectators spewed in the wake of Sunday’s 37-20 loss to the Chargers wasn’t fit for print, but suffice to say that the parking lot was awash in the frustration of another near-perfect autumn afternoon wasted.
“Today’s game is an embarrassment,” Valdurie Jenkins of Kansas City, Mo., said. “This whole season has been an embarrassment. I doubt I will come back again. I really do doubt I will come back this year — not when a ticket costs $45 and parking was $27.
“I didn’t get my money’s worth. I’d rather stay at home. It’s $7 for a pop, which is entirely too high, and then you watch them get blown out like that. It’s an embarrassment.”
Jenkins isn’t a season-ticket holder, but she has attended as many Chiefs home games as possible the last decade — an investment she now questions.
Even more troublesome, the franchise’s lifeblood — those who do hold season tickets — seemed just as distraught.
“We will not be back for the Baltimore game,” said Kim Cass, a season-ticket holder from Kansas City, Mo. “We’ll either give the tickets away or sell them.”
Once firmly ensconced among the NFL’s most feared venues, Arrowhead started to empty at halftime with the Chargers ahead by three touchdowns, a dire situation aided in no small measure by the Chiefs’ five first-half turnovers.
Sunday’s crowd was announced at 69,979, but there were likely no more than 60,000 who actually showed up. And up to half of those fans were gone by the end of the third quarter.
“The atmosphere has changed,” Terry Moore of Shawnee said. “For years, no matter what, the stadium stayed full. Now, after each score you see the crowd get less and less. By the end of the game, I hate to say it, but there’s always fewer and fewer fans. It’s up to the team to give people a reason to stay again.”
Through two games, including a season-opening 40-24 loss versus the Falcons, the Chiefs have failed in that regard.
Moore, who co-owns one of the many party buses parked on the Truman Sports Complex blacktop for every Chiefs home game, isn’t ready to give up entirely.
Still, even Moore, a 12-year season-ticket holder, admits that optimism is fading — and the ranks of the diehards with whom he tailgates year after year are thinning.
“We’d come back no matter what,” Moore said. “We’re fans and support the team, but it’s tough this year. I still feel pride pulling on the jersey, but it sure makes the drive home feel longer than it does when they’re doing well.
“We had some friends who had been season-ticket holders for 25-plus years, but they gave them up this year. There’s a good chance that will happen more and more if this keeps up, particularly if they do something with the cost of the tickets.”