You can probably guess two of the teams that will appear the most frequently on national NFL broadcasts (NFL Network’s Thursday night game, NBC’s Sunday night game, ESPN’s Monday night game): Dallas and New England. But get this: the Cowboys and the Patriots will each appear on national TV five times. Kansas City, of all teams, edges them out with six appearances.
Why? Well, according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the red-and-yellow-clad fans at Arrowhead Stadium can claim a large share of the credit. During a visit to Kansas City for the team’s annual fantasy camp, Goodell threw a bit of red meat to Chiefs fans hungry for validation after high expectations and early playoff exits; he noted that the Chiefs’ league-high number of national broadcasts is no accident.
“I personally think it’s a great tribute to the national attractiveness of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Goodell said. “I’ll tell you, every network talks about broadcasting a game from [Arrowhead Stadium] because it’s such a great atmosphere. I can’t emphasize to you enough the importance of how that passion of the fans comes through the television screen. We’re a game where that passion is felt through the broadcast and people are like, “Wow, that sea of red … it’s just a great setting.”
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) June 16, 2017
The gratitude to the Chiefs’ fans is obvious, but the message to the other 31 teams couldn’t be more obvious: show up in big numbers, and the NFL will broadcast you to the entire country. (Cynics will note that only three of the Chiefs’ six national-broadcast games are actually in Arrowhead.) Attendance will be one of the NFL’s greater challenges going forward; with the in-stadium experience paling before a traffic-free afternoon in front of your own HD television, getting people off their couches and into stadium seating gets more difficult every year.
Kansas City kicks off the NFL season with an opening-night matchup on the road against New England. Other national matchups include Washington, Houston, Oakland, Denver, and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.