Arrowhead Stadium gets recognition

Winning breeds respect.

After a surprising AFC West division championship, the Kansas City Chiefs are being noticed.

In our latest installment of Power Rankings, Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium was ranked as the fourth-toughest venue to play in the NFL. I totally agree. I had Arrowhead Stadium ranked fourth on my ballot.

The criteria I used were winning percentage at the venue, attendance, noise, atmosphere and any other relevant advantages. In its first year after a renovation, Arrowhead Stadium was a huge advantage for the Chiefs. Known for being a sea of red and for ear-pounding noise, the Arrowhead crowd helped the Chiefs to a 7-1 home record in 2010.

It’s a terrific place to see a game, and I think it’s worthy of being high on the list.

The Oakland Coliseum was in 10th place. Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver was 12th. I didn’t give either venue a top-10 vote. I considered both venues, but I went with other venues for my top-10 votes.

Oakland has a great game-day atmosphere, but the Raiders haven’t been special at home in recent years and the fact that there were seven blackouts in Oakland in 2010 caused me to keep the venue off my list. I know the thin air in Denver is supposed to help the Broncos win. In the old days, Denver likely would have been at the top of this list. But winning in Denver hasn’t been overly difficult in recent years for the road team, so I didn’t feel compelled to give Denver any votes this year.

Again, it all begins with winning. The tougher the home team is on the field, the tougher it is to beat that team.