The "Arrowhead Advantage," as it were, would be something talked about in NFL circles throughout the decade of the '90s.
In the opening years of the decade, it was all so new and exciting. For fans to be able to play a part — and the team's management, coaches and players played this fact up in all their messages in front of the media and in public gatherings — drove the crowds to a frenzy every time an opponent set foot on the Arrowhead Stadium field.
Kansas City's front office pioneered the idea that each game was a special event, not just a game in a season full of them. It mobilized the crowd to think of itself as important as any player acting on the field, that it mattered in the outcome.
What the Chiefs were creating was perhaps as impressive as anything that was happening on the field and to the team. From the tailgate experience that mirrored anything found on a university campus on a football Saturday, to the energy level and offerings inside Arrowhead, NFL football game day in Kansas City soon became the envy of every franchise. Routinely, other NFL front offices began to send staff to observe the Chiefs' game day operations.
But while the team built a well-known home field advantage in the regular season, it experienced a disappointing one in the post-season, going 1-4 from 1993 to 2010. Losses to Indianapolis and Denver when the team held home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs were especially disheartening, and the idea of any advantage of playing at Arrowhead began to be dismissed.
All this changed, however, upon Andy Reid's arrival in Kansas City in 2013. In short time, Reid's Chiefs would host playoff games at Arrowhead following the 2016 season through 2021 and fashion a 7-4 record. What Marty Schottenheimer and company had built in the '90s, Reid and his coaches and players would take to another level.
The reasoning went well beyond the environment inside Arrowhead and had much to do with Reid and his players, who they were and who would be quarterback.
Quarterback occupies center stage in the grand drama that has become America's preeminent sport. The nature of quarterback play, however, is a mystery, a fascinating compound of talent and mystique that makes a team a success in the post-season.
Patrick Mahomes worked brilliantly to achieve individual and team success and propelled his Chiefs' teams in the post-season to a Super Bowl championship and two AFC titles. When his chance to start came, he showed an almost perfect instinct for command of Andy Reid's offense, the ability to create magic out of chaos, and most of all by his physical skill.
But as we have learned down through the years, the past is always with us and not in ways we would hope. Long-suffering Chiefs fans can sometimes forget the recent success following a disappointing loss. But feelings aside, there is only one way to another title and that is to be a regular participant in the NFL playoffs each year, which Reid's Chiefs have been as the late Marty Schottenheimer's were.
All said, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium has the distinction of hosting four consecutive AFC championships - an NFL record - and now a deserved reputation as one of the NFL's foremost playoff locations.