KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid kicked off the practice week Wednesday with his standard remarks to the media before a game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“We look forward to playing the Pittsburgh Steelers," Reid said. “We know they’re a good football team and we’ll welcome them into Arrowhead here."
In this case, Reid needs to be careful what he wishes for. Arrowhead could be more hospitable to the road team on Sunday than the Chiefs.
Steelers fans traditionally travel en masse to road games. Pittsburgh fans had a particularly large presence at the Steelers’ last road game, a Monday Night Football game on Oct. 12 at San Diego.
The Steelers are used to that sort of thing.
“I definitely think it’s consistent that you see Steelers fans at away games all the time," Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell said. “There are Steelers fans all over the world and it definitely gets us amped when we come out for warm-ups knowing we’ve still got fans in the stands. It’s definitely a good deal for us.”
The fact that the Chiefs are 1-5 with five straight defeats could further tilt the crowd in favor of the Steelers.
The last home game at Arrowhead, two weeks ago against the Chicago Bears, featured a large number of fans rooting for the road team. Bears fans also traditionally travel well.
So the Chiefs know what the crowd might be like on Sunday.
“We know that there will be a lot of Steelers fans," president Mark Donovan said. “They travel well. They always do."
As for the Chiefs fans, Donovan said, “When you lose four, five in a row, you’re going to see something of a no-show factor."
The Chiefs are 0-2 at home this season, with each game ending in brutal fashion for the home fans. The Chiefs allowed a touchdown in the final minute against the Broncos and Bears to lose each game.
Still, Donovan said he expected plenty of Chiefs fans at the game on Sunday.
“Our fans are supporting us," he said. “They’re out there and they want us to win. We know – Andy knows this, [general manager] John [Dorsey] knows this, [chairman] Clark [Hunt] knows this – we’ve got to win games. The fans deserve better."
The Chiefs are expecting something close to a full house on Sunday. That the Steelers are the road team has a big role in that.
This game, along with those against the Bears and on Sept. 17 against the Denver Broncos, has the highest prices among the Chiefs’ seven regular-season home games, based on their variable pricing plan.
The Chiefs, Donovan said, set a franchise record for single-game ticket revenue for the Broncos game and tied it for the Bears game.
“Pittsburgh will be exactly where those two are," he said.