Planes, Twitter, blackouts and airplane banners: wondering about the reach of Save Our Chiefs
The Kansas City Star
If you are a Chiefs fan, you undoubtedly know about the grassroots fan movement that calls itself Save Our Chiefs. I’ve written about them a few times, players have been asked about them, and it’s been all over the internets.
But what we know about their reach is still fairly vague.
As I type this, their Twitter account has 68,811 followers but nobody can really be sure what that means. The number used to be well over 100,000 but the people who run it self-reported a bunch of spambots. There’s also the thought that whatever the number of real-life human beings are following on Twitter, the number who passionately support the message is smaller. In other words, there are Chiefs fans who don’t wish Scott Pioli to be fired who follow Save Our Chiefs on Twitter just to keep up with things.
The other way that Save Our Chiefs has created waves is in paying for banners to be flown over Arrowhead Stadium before games. They have another one scheduled for rush hour traffic tomorrow morning. But all it takes is one person with about $600 to get a banner flown, so again, it’s hard to know how many people are behind the message.
The point of all this is that we’re about to have our best indication yet of how many people are on Save Our Chiefs’ side.
That’s because the message is going from Twitter and message boards to something more tangible for Sunday’s game, for which the group is pushing a “blackout” — you know, everybody wear black like it’s a funeral.
So far, people inside the team’s offices can diminish Save Our Chiefs’ reach as a small but vocal minority, and there’s really nothing tangible that people could point to in response.
It’s true that if you have ANY fans angry enough to fly critical banners over games or start a movement like this that attracts more than a tiny handful of supporters you’ve got a problem, but it’s also true that none of us — not me, not you, not the people who run Save Our Chiefs — can have a real strong feeling of how many people are with this.
That changes, in large part, on Sunday. Because thousands of the Chiefs’ most passionate fans will be there in person, and many more than that will be watching on TV and there will be nowhere to hide.
If Clark Hunt looks out at his stadium and sees the same mix of red jerseys as usual, he can more confidently feel like the angry letters he receives come from a vocal minority.
If he sees a big number of people actually wearing black and treating the stadium as a church funeral, then that will be the most powerful message yet about fan disapproval.
We’ll find out in three days.