The New Arrowhead … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

Since it opened back in April, the New Yankee Stadium has been a launching pad.

Through games of July 4th, the average game at the Yankees new field has 3.38 home runs. There were four more in Sunday’s game. That’s easily the most home friendly park in baseball this season. It’s not even close. Plus, the longest home run of the 2009 season was hit in the new stadium, on May 22 by Raul Ibanez of the Phillies. It went 477-feet.

As a comparison, the hardest park in the major leagues to hit a home run this season is Turner Field in Atlanta, with an average of 1.29 homers per game. At Kauffman Stadium there has been an average of 1.64 home runs per game.

The dynamics of the New Yankee Stadium got me wondering what will happen with the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium and more specifically the swirling winds that have been part of the building since it opened in 1972.

Punters and kickers have been studying the Arrowhead winds for years and they all agree that there are three levels of wind within the stadium:

  • Field Level – Generally the wind moves west to east.
  • Mid Level – A swirling wind that tends to blow southeast to northwest inside the bowl.
  • Upper Level – Generally moving west to east, but with some blow back when it hits the east stands and scoreboard.

If you’ve ever watched the flags at Arrowhead they often show the different directions of the wind. Sometimes the ribbons on the top of the goal posts will be blowing in opposite directions. At times they will blow towards the west, while the large American flag on the west side of the stadium will be blowing towards the east.

There are some reasons for the wacky winds. The biggest is where Arrowhead sits, a top a plateau with nothing to block the wind. Then there’s the stadium design, with the curved west and east ends that do not make it a bowl and make the interior more susceptible to wind. Combine that with openings on the ground level that funnel wind into the stadium as well.

“Late in December when you punt towards our tunnel (east), you have about a 50-50 chance of hitting a good ball,” said Dustin Colquitt. “It’s tough going that way. Going the other way (west), when it’s real late and real windy you have a 70 to 80 percent chance of getting off a long kick.”

But the renovations are changing the nature of the wind. First, there’s the super structure being built on the south side of the stadium that will hold a new press box and will create new viewing opportunities. It’s called the Horizon Level. That will block some of the wind when it comes from the south and could redirect some of the wind from the west.

Then there’s the new enclosed club level on the outside as well as new structures on the outside at the west and east end zones at the back of the Lower Level. That should shut off some of the wind that blew into the concourses and onto the field.

“It’s going to be different, there’s no doubt about that,” said Colquitt. “I was checking on it last year late in the season, but they didn’t have enough up yet. But you can see, just by looking that it’s going to change the way the wind comes down off our bench.

“A lot of those areas are going to be closed out. There’s going to become a lot more head wind instead of that swirling on the field. It’s going to kind of come swooping in. Hopefully, it will cut some of the middle stuff out.”

There have been various theories put forth on what happened with the New Yankee Stadium. One theory is that the old stadium had stacked tiers and a large upper deck, all of which acted like a solid wall, causing wind to swirl more and be less concentrated. The new stadium is less stacked and this enables the wind to blow across the field with less restrictions.

And there’s little doubt that the changes at Arrowhead are going to change the way the wind blows into the stadium. It will be just something else for the punters and kickers to worry about on a daily basis.

THE DEATH OF STEVE MCNAIR

If we are to believe the news coming out of Nashville, Steve McNair was in the very wrong place at the very wrong time. A married 36-year old man should not be in a condo with 20-year old woman he met at Dave & Buster’s.

And it’s sounding like McNair became a character in a “Fatal Attraction” like story. Based on police statements, it seems that the shootings that took McNair’s life and that 20-year old woman were a murder-suicide. The authorities have not declared it as such, but they also said they were not actively seeking any suspects.

This was a sad case of a guy listening to his little head, rather than his big head. Even more sadly, it happens a lot with pro athletes, current and retired. Now McNair’s mistake has turned tragic: there are four kids without a father.

Eventually, the stain will fade and McNair will be remembered for what he was as a player. He was one tough SOB when it came to playing quarterback. He was a big man, but he took some big hits and struggled at times with some big injuries. But he still threw for more than 31,000 yards and ran for 3,590 yards. Only two other quarterbacks in NFL history went over 30,000 passing and 3,000 rushing yards. He finished with 174 TD passes and 119 INTs.

Despite the time he spent with the Oilers, Titans and Ravens – all in the AFC – McNair only played against the Chiefs twice in his 13-year career. The first time was in September 2000, when he got knocked out of the game after going 11 of 18 for 93 yards and two interceptions. One of those picks was taken by LB Donnie Edwards 42 yards for a touchdown. It was an ugly 35.0 passer rating before he was replaced by Neil O’Donnell, who led the Titans to the victory.

His second appearance came with Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium in December 2006 and he was outstanding. McNair was 21 of 27 for 283 yards and an 87-yard TD pass in the third quarter to WR Mark Clayton. His passer rating that day was 122.7 as the Ravens beat the Chiefs.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on July 6, 1980 was LB Demorrio Williams. He joined the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent before the 2008 season, appearing in 16 games last season, with nine starts. Williams has five seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Falcons in Atlanta.

Born on July 6, 1957 in Chicago was RB Earl Gant. He was the Chiefs fifth-round choice in the 1979 NFL Draft out of Missouri and played two seasons with the team (1979-80), appearing in 20 games with three starts. Gant carried the ball 65 times for 228 yards and a touchdown, caught 24 passes for 169 yards and returned seven kickoffs for 119 yards.

Born on July 6, 1948 in Wichita was T Sid Smith. He was the Chiefs first-round choice I n the 1970 NFL Draft, going at the 26th pick out of Southern Cal. Smith spent three seasons with the Chiefs (1970-72), appearing in 42 games with one start.

Born on July 6, 1967 in Daingerfield, Texas was S David Whitmore. He joined the Chiefs in 1993 as part of the trade that brought Joe Montana to Kansas City. Whitmore spent two seasons playing for the Chiefs, appearing in 18 games, with 16 starts. He ended up playing six seasons in the league, always appearing with the Giants, Niners and Eagles.


24 Responses to “The New Arrowhead … Monday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • July 6, 2009  - JB in KC says:

    I was at the Chiefs/Ravens game in ’06. McNair was outstanding that day. I think this was the last game I went to at Arrowhead.
    It’s always a tragedy when someone dies so young, especially when there are children involved. The young woman is a tragic death, also. My daughters are older than she was. Barely out of childhood, and dead. Both their families must be devastated by this.


  • July 6, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Today’s topic: Death & reincarnation (if not in fact literal rebirth)
    _________________

    * Steve McNair… nothing to add to this tale of woe, only to say that some things never change.
    _________________________

    And then again, some things do…

    * More than just the first Chiefs draft choice of the post AFL 1970′s, Sid Smith will always bear the distinction of marking the beginning of the end of glory days for all intents and purposes, totally fair or not demarcation line.

    After consecutive Chief drafts that produced such 1st round talent as a OG Moorman & CB Marsalis as well 2nd round LBS Lanier & Lynch and HB Podolak, 1970 saw a 17 player haul could best be described by way the Peggy Lee song “is that all there is?”

    Answer: “it was”, as were the Chiefs, “done.”

    If ’71 was only a hiccup to 1970′s belch, ’72 was a patient slipping into a coma & ’73 life support beckoned; by 1974 twas too late…the patient was gone & so too Chief Surgeon Stram was relieved of his duties.

    And so the “team of the 70′s” (a short reign of some oh, one season if that) became the team of what once was, seemingly overnight. That latter day puppeteer Carl Peterson’s worst drafts were never any more agregious than Hank’s early 70′s.
    _________________________

    Today’s last look at death a knell performed at a cathedral that portends a brighter tomorrow… ‘search’ & ‘check’ aside, will be plenty of time to perform their autopsy several times this fall.

    * Seeing all the ‘exciting’? changes/renovations going on at Arrowhead Stadium reminds me that an old Municipal Stadium 22nd & Brooklyn was always preferable and always will be- stadiums as teams time capsules of unmatched reverence.

    :-)


  • July 6, 2009  - Mike in MO says:

    I disagree with Bob’s assessment that Steve McNair was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that someone who is a victim of a random event, i.e., Broncos’ cb Darrent Williams, could be considered to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Steve McNair was WHERE he wanted, WHEN he wanted, and with WHOM he wanted. Those were HIS choices, not something random. He paid the ultimate price for his irresponsibility. I grieve not for Steve McNair, but for his wife and children.


  • July 6, 2009  - SG says:

    “…just something else for the punters and kickers to worry about on a daily basis.”

    At least the punters and kickers might have a future career in meteorology when the kicking gig ends…


  • July 6, 2009  - findthedr says:

    completely agree with you Mike in MO!

    On a seperate note, I’ve felt it is a new Arrowhead ever since the firing of Herm/CP/Gunther…the 3 stooges.

    They really stunk up the joint.


  • July 6, 2009  - anonymous says:

    I would imagine that we’ve all been guilty of thinking with the wrong head at some point in our lives, so I sure ain’t gonna cast any stones. But I do feel really bad for his wife and kids, that’s just a F’ed up way to learn about something like this. Not sure there is a good way but…

    The Author makes a good point about the changes in Arrowheads design that could affect the winds and kicking game. I was thinking about that too not long ago. But my thoughts were on the acoustics, will it still hold sound the way the old design did? After all, that’s Arrowheads claim to fame, the noise. I think kickers/punters should be able to adjust to the winds, but if they have screwed up the acoustics, then they have ruined Arrowhead.

    Lets hope that the new design will be even louder.


  • July 6, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    IMO it shouldnt change the sound acoustics at all. Its the same shape in the stadium, just outside. If anything I think the new Horizon level on top will help keep some more of the sound waves inside the stadium.

    I just hope we can fill the damn thing and make ir roar!!


  • July 6, 2009  - MadJew says:

    “I just hope we can fill the damn thing and make ir roar!!”

    Just win and they will come…nothing else matters


  • July 6, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    A bad GM and a bad Coach = bad KC football in 2009


  • July 6, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Rin—– I think Dicken’s so stated—Fools names and fools faces, are often seen in Public Place’s.

    Sad but true, fate bind’s so much,but give’s so little.
    Rookies, head that sign above the door as you enter–(AT YOUR OWN RISK)


  • July 6, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Jim Lloyd+ said

    “Rin”

    - yes, what is it now?

    “- -”

    - . .

    “I think Dicken’s so stated””Fools names and fools faces, are often seen in Public Place’s.”

    - you think it, therefore you ‘are’ (unless you be not certain – in which case, e’en more so.)

    heh heh heh

    : )


  • July 6, 2009  - Harold C. says:

    “Just win and they will come…nothing else matters”

    Easier said than done huh? If the Chiefs can win even half of their games this year then maybe the stands will begin to be filled again. Maybe if they start out strong then then even the second half of this year will be filled. I hope so.

    I does sound like McNair was wrong in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid the highest penalty. If you take the risk you’d better be ready to face the consequences. And it always hurts the ones that love you.


  • July 6, 2009  - alex k says:

    Hey Bob, keep this in mind, the last 3 super bowl winning special teams coaches(all gansz taught) are attempting to make a new award, the Frank Gansz special teams coach of the year award.

    Not sure if you had heard from the NFL, as well as the Hall of Fame(they agreed)…but regardless, figured another media member who is positive can help make it happen.

    As for Steve, just unfortunate, regardless of his personal life, due to the kids.


  • July 6, 2009  - SG says:

    “A bad GM and a bad Coach = bad KC football in 2009″

    At least Rin has the courage to put his name next to such comments. I guess you couldn’t properly spell Raiduh in the blank where it said name.


  • July 6, 2009  - anonymous says:

    I want to make out with Rin.


  • July 6, 2009  - findthedr says:

    Dj’s new website sure reminds me of ‘Team Priest’ you know the site that materialized just before he got his megacontract, and disolved soon after.


  • July 6, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “I love you man!” – Rin repeating what the masses have affirmed for Him same.

    heh heh heh

    :-)


  • July 6, 2009  - ED says:

    Bob you being to harsh on McNair all men are guilty at some point in there life of think with the wrong head. So I don’t think its fare to judge this guy because none of us on here are without flaws or havent commited flaws that if things were different it probably could have cost us our lives. This was however a very tragic incident may McNair rest in peace. God bless the family member of both the girl and McNair and his family


  • July 6, 2009  - bigvess says:

    i like what i see so far of arrowhead. but my expectations of this team reaching 500 this year is very extremely low. i think the new arrowhead is going to make up a positive to what is going to be a 4-12,3-13,or a 5-11 season. so many holes and questions on this team . it’s the chargers division follow by take a pick for second. the nfc east is going to be a brutal divison to beat.i hope haley can make a surprise and prove me and some of the other realist naysayers wrong good luck chiefs !!! by the way i am a chiefs fan but i am also a realist.


  • July 6, 2009  - brainsmasher says:

    You’re only as faithful as your options. Don’t hate the playa. The mistake these athletes make is getting married.


  • July 7, 2009  - SG says:

    “Bob you being to harsh on McNair all men are guilty at some point…”

    Is Bob being harsh because he’s discussing a man who’s no longer with us and evaluating the decisions before all the facts are set in stone? Was Mr. McNair lured there? Was he drugged against his will and some sinister plot was executed against him? Those are uncertainties.

    However, if the facts are accurate, then is he being unfair/harsh in his evaluation, or is BobGretz simply pointing out that Mr. McNair made a decision to spend the rest of his life with one woman…that it appears his deliberate decision was to violate that prior lifetime commitment…that the consequences of that apparent decision are that there are four children that no longer have a daddy because of what appears to be the deliberate decision Mr. McNair made. The “we shouldn’t say what’s right because we all tend to go astray” argument does tend to go a bit on the lame side, doesn’t it?


  • July 7, 2009  - SG says:

    “Don’t hate the playa.”

    Just don’t advise your daughters to date him either.




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