KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To paraphrase that ancient philosopher Jim Croce, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t — do not — challenge a Kansas City Chiefs fan to an insane screaming contest.
"The Sea of Red will rise up and smash the current record by a huge number," Tim VanderPol says, releasing a little of his inner Churchill. "It will never be broken again."
What’s the old saying? If at first you succeed, try, try again. Only louder next time.
In the game of he-screamed-she-screamed, it’s Kansas City’s turn. A group of Chiefs fans — including VanderPol, one of the poobahs behind the old Facebook group "Terrorhead Returns" — announced this week that it has secured an audience with the Guinness Book of World Records in an attempt to reclaim the title for Arrowhead Stadium as the loudest outdoor sporting venue in the world.
The fans have a date (Sept. 29), a stage (Monday Night Football) and an opponent (New England).
They have a number, too.
140. As in decibels.
Or the sound of a jet engine going off, in your face, from 100 feet away. Welcome to Arrowhead, the largest freaking landlocked aircraft carrier in North America.
"We’re super excited," Chiefs fan Ty "X-Factor" Rowton tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com. "The Chiefs asked us if we had the strength, the drive, and all that to make another Herculean effort happen."
More important, do they have the lungs?
Last September, the Seattle Seahawks flew a Guinness adjudicator in for a Sunday night game with San Francisco, setting a new outdoor noise record of 136.7. The Chiefs then invited Guinness in for an Oct. 13 game against the Raiders that saw that record smashed with a mark of 137.5 dBs. So Seattle brought Guinness back for a Dec. 2, Monday-night game against the Saints, where the record was broken again, this time by an earlobe — 137.6 dBs.
And here we are: Round 4. Best bring some earplugs. At 150 dBs, eardrums start to rupture.
Speaking of gluttons for punishment, VanderPol notes that they’re even bringing in the same adjudicator who attended the Raiders game last fall — Brit Phillip Robertson, the guy in the funny jacket with the portable sound meter, the most popular foreigner to set foot in the Truman Sports Complex the last 10 months until Sung Woo Lee rolled up.
"Being right in the thick of that storm, it was given four months of my life. I did not have any desire to really do it again. I’ve got so many other big things going on in my life, in a lot of areas, (that) personally, I didn’t have the fire."
But when the Chiefs reached out and said they wanted to try again, that ol’ fire came back.
"It’s a team deal," Rowton says. "And they love the fans and they want to support the fans and so they want to help us be successful, and vice versa. So we want to help the organization be successful, and that’s (by) making Arrowhead the loudest and proudest (stadium) in the world."
Of course, big stakes — we’re talking world records here — sometimes come with some big attempts at subterfuge as well. VanderPol says he’s heard that groups of fans "from an unmentioned team" have started a campaign to try and buy tickets for the Chiefs-Pats game in order to leave those seats empty.
"(They) must be very afraid," he says. "But pretty lame just the same."
So say Arrowhead nabs the record back, and Seattle’s fans, as expected, counterpunch. Will there be a third attempt here? A fourth? A fifth? Will "Phillip Robertson Day" become an annual promotion on the Chiefs’ calendar?
"Honestly? I can’t answer that," Rowton says.
"This is it," VanderPol says. "We will set the bar high. No attempt again. Period."
Last year, VanderPol, Rowton and their buddies paid the "rush" fee of $700 to get Guinness brass in England to look at their application immediately and speed the process along. This time, Rowton noted, the Chiefs did all the legwork and footed the bill — plus, it didn’t hurt that Guinness knows the team, the city and the fan base already.
"It was a lot easier to set up when you have some experience with it," VanderPol says. "(This is) not our first rodeo."
From the sound of things, it might not be their last, either.