Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Arrowhead has lost its fear factor

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC Updated: September 29, 2011 - 8:20 AM

For years -- decades, actually -- Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City has been considered one of the toughest places to play for an opponent. In 2005, Sports Illustrated dubbed it No. 1 among the toughest places to play.

Long before that, noise levels on game day were calculated by local experts in that field and found to be as high as 116 decibels. That's louder than a jet engine taking off (106 decibels), or at least that's what the Chiefs made sure to tell the rest of the league about its home venue.

A year ago, after some down seasons, the Chiefs started 7-0 at home. The Arrowhead magic was back in Todd Haley's second season as coach. Or so it was thought.

Then came a 31-10 loss to Oakland, a 30-7 loss to Baltimore in a wild-card playoff game and a 41-7 loss to the Bills in this year's home opener. It was the worst season-opening loss in Chiefs history. And it came against a team the Chiefs beat at home 13-10 in overtime a year ago.

"I think it's only intimidating if you're playing good football," Haley told Minnesota reporters yesterday.

The Chiefs take that three-game home slump (and the 102-24 margin of defeat) into Sunday's game against the Vikings. It's not exactly a marquee matchup, but Haley talked about how much is on the line for two 0-3 teams.

"A lot," he said. "What do they say about wounded animals backed in a corner."

Although Arrowhead has been tame of late, it's still going to be a challenge for the Vikings, especially for a dysfunctional offense that's still taking baby steps. Haley, however, isn't counting on the power of Arrowhead helping his Chiefs.

"We had very good success last year at Arrowhead for the most part," Haley said. "We really truly developed a home-field advantage. ... But when you're not a very good football team, that intimidation factor [at home] disappears pretty quick." 


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