The Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals played the inaugural game at Arrowhead Stadium on August 12, 1972. Although the facility lacks some of the modern accoutrements of recently-constructed stadia and discussions about potential renovations are underway, Arrowhead remains one of the nation’s top venues for fans to experience the excitement of collegiate or NFL football.
While other venues of a similar vintage have long since been termed obsolete, thanks to the foresight and vision of the leadership of Jackson County, the Chiefs staff led by Jack Steadman who helped develop the complex, and the taxpayers who made it a reality, Arrowhead has indeed, stood the test of time.
At the time of its dedication in ‘72, the legendary founder of the Chicago Bears, George Halas called Arrowhead, “the most revolutionary, futuristic, sports complex I have ever seen.” Hal Lebovitz, Sports Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer added, “It took courage to sell the citizens of Kansas City on the twin park plan. But they bought it because they want the best.”
In the late 1960’s, after design and seating capacity concerns caused plans for a single, multi-purpose domed stadium to be scrapped, Kansas City opted to construct two separate stadiums, one for football and one for baseball. Voters approved the Sports Complex bond issue in 1967, which including plans for a revolutionary concept – the world’s first rolling stadium roof. Construction cost overruns and project delays caused by a lengthy strike eventually forced the roof concept to be put on hold, but Arrowhead was completed in time for the 1972 season.
In 1984, the Jackson County Sports Authority again investigated the feasibility of a dome – this time made of fabric – but that concept too was shelved as being unnecessary and financially impractical.
A decade later in 1994, under Arrowhead’s continued open-air arrangement, a natural playing surface was installed in the facility for the first time, just one of numerous improvements which have been made under the seven-year direction of Chiefs President, General Manager, and CEO, Carl Peterson. In 1991, a state-of-the-art JumboTron screen was installed, and from 1994 96 other multi-million dollar projects have modernized and expanded the Arrowhead Club, the Chiefs team and office facilities, as well as the stadium’s concession areas.
Undoubtedly one of the finest facilities in the NFL, Arrowhead and the fans who consistently fill it (43 consecutive sell-outs) have helped produce a distinct home-field advantage for the Chiefs. Since 1992, no NFL team has a better regular season home winning percentage than Kansas City, which has an incredible 27-5 (.844) record. Nearly 30 years after the first plans were being devised for Kansas City’s unique two stadium set-up, other metropolitan areas including Cincinnati and Baltimore are, only now, in the process of attempting to construct similar facilities.
On the eve of the 1996 season, Chiefs Founder, Lamar Hunt, expressed the organization’s thanks to Colorado-based architect, Charles Deaton, who conceived the two stadium concept. Hunt praised the governmental bodies who took the initiative, and the workers who built Arrowhead, as well as the support of the Jackson County taxpayers who financed this future venture. Hunt pointed out that Kansas City’s franchise and its fans have now enjoyed America’s top football facility for 25 years and that the Silver Anniversary season is an opportunity for the Chiefs organization to collectively express a hearty salute to all who have unquestionably made Arrowhead Stadium – The Home of the CHIEFS!