Kansas City Chiefs season-ticket holder Eric Granell remembers his first NFL game.
It was Dec. 27, 1992, and Granell and his father were among the 76,240 crammed into Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs’ 42-20 victory over Denver that clinched a playoff berth.
After the game, Granell’s father took him to the players’ exit, where Christian Okoye autographed a rookie card for the boy.
“That game solidified it for me,” said Granell, 32. “I’ve been a loyal, die-hard ever since.”
Granell’s passion for the Chiefs runs so deep that, as this season spiraled out of control, he joined forces with another lifelong Chiefs fan, Marty McDonald, and created an organization called Save Our Chiefs, which is demanding the dismissal of general manager Scott Pioli.
And it could get a little ugly today at Arrowhead Stadium when the Chiefs (1-8) face the Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) in the first game of a three-game homestand that could mirror fans’ frustrations with the downward direction of the franchise under Pioli.
For the third consecutive home game, Save Our Chiefs has hired an aircraft to fly a banner over Arrowhead hat will read “Restore Hope — Fire Pioli — Save Our Chiefs.com.” The grass-roots group also has organized what it is calling a “blackout” and is encouraging fans to wear black instead of traditional red.
“We chose black specifically, because it’s the color of mourning,” Granell said. “That’s how we feel about the team right now. It’s not what it was, and if you go to Arrowhead, it feels like a graveyard — thousands of empty seats and no life in the stands because there’s not a whole lot to cheer about.”
The Chiefs declined comment. The Chiefs are 22-35 under Pioli, a winning percentage of .386.
San Francisco QB Alex Smith practiced again Saturday, but his availability is still uncertain for Monday’s game against the Chicago Bears. He still hasn’t been cleared to play by doctors. … Linebacker D.J. Williams is set to make his season debut today against San Diego after Denver put him on the 53-man roster. Williams returned to practice this week after serving two NFL-mandated suspensions that cost him nine games.