You’ve probably seen a lot of Kansas City Chiefs hats — and other gear — in the last week or so. We have.
Not that we don’t always see a lot of Kansas City paraphernalia here, but the coverage per available square inch of scalp has gone way up. And Chiefs pennants and banners are flying in yards and from businesses across this city and others in both Kansas and Missouri. And rightly so.
The Chiefs’ Jan. 19 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC was thrilling. It secured a once-in-a-half-century slot in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday in Miami.
Yes, this game will be the first time in 50 years that the Chiefs have competed in football’s biggest contest. The last trip was in Super Bowl 4 in 1970. The team topped the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in that outing. Len Dawson was quarterback back then. This time, the Chiefs’ potent offense will line up with the record-setting Patrick Mahomes II at quarterback when the team takes the field against the San Francisco 49ers.
Things are very different for football fans today than they were in 1970. Tickets to the Super Bowl 4 were $15 on average. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $98 in 2020 dollars. Tickets this year are starting at around $4,000 from the NFL but range much higher from secondary ticket outlets such as StubHub and SeatGeek, averaging $9,000 and going up. All of that is a lot higher than the $100 price that inflation would justify.
The pricing of stadium seating overall in football stadiums is shameful, especially in an era where the cities and states that are home to the teams fund the building of stadiums and underwrite their operation through incentives and tax breaks. Ticket prices have made games in general costly for the average fan to attend, but playoff games and the Super Bowl have become the domain of the wealthy or those willing to take out a second mortgage to attend. Change is needed, but that is an editorial for another day.
Most of us will watch the game on television anyway. By 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Joplin will largely be glued to the TV screen to watch the kickoff of the big game. KC won in a big way in the AFC Championship. We are rooting for a decisive and exciting victory against the 49ers.
After all, fans have waited a long time for this one.