It’s nothing new that crowds on the road make it difficult for a visiting team to win in the NFL. But when the Kansas City Chiefs head to Oakland on Sunday they will be dealing with a very different brand of fan. Todd Haley and Brian Waters told The Star about their experiences and how they are preparing the team for the Black Hole.
“It’s one of the unique places that you go in the NFL,” Haley said. “Some of these young guys that haven’t been in the league … I think you need to lay it out there a little bit that it’s a little different. In the parking lot, you’ll see some interesting things.
“This is always one of those games that you know what you are in for and you try to prepare the guys the best we can, especially some of these young guys that haven’t experienced going out there to Oakland, and that starts from the minute you drive into the parking lot. You see some things that you don’t see anywhere else.”
Guard Brian Waters told the story on his first trip to Oakland of the Chiefs bus being pelted by batteries thrown by Raiders fans.
“At least the parking lot atmosphere has been consistent over 11 years, and I expect it to be the same on Sunday,” Waters said. “If you’ve been there enough, you know to stay out of the end zone during warmup if you don’t want your mother talked about in a vulgar manner.”
“Some of these guys went to big colleges, and they understand what it takes to go on the road in some really hostile atmospheres. I just don’t think they’ve seen anything similar to this. But I will say that our rookies, this game is definitely not too big for them. They’ve shown from the beginning they’re a group that’s not scared of the big stage.”
(Un)foruntately I’ve never experienced a game at the Coliseum, but all you have to do is watch any Chiefs-Raiders game and you get a pretty good feeling about just how different the Oakland fans are. Lately they haven’t been drawing the numbers of years past, but that hasn’t stopped the Black Hole from looking awfully intimidating.
Add in stories about being pelted by batteries and it’s a good thing that this rookie class is warned about just what they will be walking into Sunday afternoon. So far this batch of rookies has answered every bell, so I don’t expect them to be fazed by the environment though it will be interesting to watch early on especially if the Raiders finally get close to a sellout crowd.