The Baltimore Ravens will be in for a surprise when they visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. They're probably expecting the same Arrowhead Stadium that greeted them in the playoffs nearly two years ago, the filled-to-capacity crowd that made life difficult on them.
That game is why you see quotes this week like this one from Ravens center Matt Birk (via the AP)
''I remember in the playoffs, one play we were down on the goal line. Obviously, I'm pretty close to Joe before the snap and I could hardly hear him. You just feel the vibration of his voice, that's how loud it is.''
And this one from John Harbaugh:
"The times we've played there, it's been really loud. It's one of the great venues in the NFL. It's a beautiful setting, it's traditional and it's really, really red. Our guys will have to be ready for that.''
But last week's game against the San Diego Chargers really shined a spotlight on what's happened to Arrowhead recently. It is no longer the loudest stadium in the NFL. In a game in which the Chiefs could've secured a share of first place, the stadium was not packed. The Chiefs have made it so in recent years that it's acceptable to leave the game before it's over, usually because they're getting trounced.
Don't get me wrong -- those who were there made it loud. If Sunday's game is close, you will hear the crowd. It's still a hell of a gameday experience, if you ask me. It's worth the trip for the tailgating alone. But the Arrowhead advantage -- the idea that the Chiefs play better at home -- is gone and has been for some time. You've seen the stats floating around this week -- the Chiefs are 14-28 at Arrowhead since 2007. The same record on the road in that same time.
Guess you gotta combine winning in there someplace to revive the Arrowhead advantage.