Long has been an unsubstantiated rumor that everything is better when the Kansas City Chiefs win.
Food, drink, the air, all is good when the hometown NFL team chalks up a victory.
While former Chiefs player and Lee’s Summit resident Danan Hughes can’t officially claim the rumor as true, he does offer insight into the long-held belief.
“It’s been refreshing,” Hughes said Oct. 17, a day before another Red Friday that figuratively paints red the metro area the weekend of a Chiefs’ home game. The undefeated Chiefs will try to extend their season-opening winning streak to seven Oct. 20 against visiting Houston. “It’s been re-energizing. It’s been great to be a part of and it’s been great to witness.”
The “great” start to the season has also changed Tim Huber’s view on the Chiefs. The owner of The Sports Scene in downtown Lee’s Summit for the last six years, Huber said the demand for Chiefs memorabilia has not been such that he carried Chiefs’ gear. Thanks to a newfound fervor among Chiefs fans in town, Huber has stocked a few Chiefs items in his store and has another shipment pending arrival.
“I’ve been here six years and there has not been much demand,” Huber said. “This year, trying to place orders, there is nothing in stock. People have brought it all up. It’s the 6-0 start. It’s amazing. We’re looking like it may be a good season next year, too, so we are pre-booking and we’ll get our stuff in August next year.”
Hughes, who played wide receiver for the Chiefs from 1993 to 1998, serves as a football analyst for cable TV’s Metro Sports and part of his duties include covering Chiefs home games. Nearly a week after fans at the Arrowhead Stadium set a world record for loudest outdoor stadium, the former Iowa Hawkeye said the electrifying atmosphere missing from One Arrowhead Drive the last few seasons is back.
“The energy in Arrowhead is back, so it’s been outstanding,” Hughes said. “I tell people that you kind of took it for granted when I was playing because it was automatic. It didn’t matter whether it was a Sunday night game or a Monday night game or just a normal 12 o’clock afternoon game, we were already up 7-0 before the kickoff. We felt that 12th man was going to get us a touchdown.
“When we went though the lull years – especially the last four when things weren’t so good and the stadium wasn’t packed – you get a chance to reflect on it and look back and say ‘wow, that was special.’ Now, we’re getting to see maybe steps towards getting that same type of energy back. It’s been awesome.”
The keys to the Chiefs 6-0 start have been a mixture of factors, Hughes said, but the common ingredients have been talent, leadership and experience.
“I think one year of growth,” he said of the difference between last season’s 2-14 disaster and the beginning of this year’s slate. “Leadership, No. 1. (Chiefs head coach) Andy Reid and (General Manager) John Dorsey have done an outstanding job in treating these guys like men, and allowing their personalities to shine on and off the field. They look like they are having fun.
“You have to have some kind of energy, you have to have some kind of joy and you have to have good continuity and leadership. I think with the way (quarterback) Alex Smith is playing and the leadership above him that’s what has brought everything together.”
And the decades-long claim that life is all the better after the Chiefs win still can’t be denied.
“Everything tastes better, everything smells better, and everything feels better,” Hughes said with a laugh. “It’s amazing how that happens.”