On farmsteads across the Midwest, Kansas City Chiefs flags fly, Chiefs decorations line the yards, and countless Sunday dinners have been shared with the Chiefs game on. Many farmers have the radios in their tractors and combines set to the stations that air games, relaying the events at thunderous Arrowhead Stadium to farms and fields across the Heartland.
So in February, when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, the gratitude was immense, including for coach Andy Reid, affectionately known as “Big Red.”
In west central Missouri, Rob Stouffer found a unique way to show that appreciation, tilling a massive image of Reid into a field, along with the words “THANKS COACH!”
Stouffer’s business, Precision Mazes, makes corn mazes and crop art across North America, and he says it was an ambitious but fun project.
“It’s a tip of my hat to Coach Reid, to express appreciation,” Stouffer says.
The image covers 27 acres in a field that grew soybeans this year, south of Orrick.
Stouffer says he also wanted to show his business has the ability to produce crop art in all seasons.
He says Reid felt like a natural subject, a figure with broad support in a year of COVID and election squabbles.
“Andy Reid seemed like a good choice,” Stouffer says. “He’s a likable character. He is a good man who helps his players become men in the truest sense of the word. And he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.”
Reid has seen a photo of the field, and he joked with reporters it was “better than what the aliens do,” and it looked good.
“That’s quite a deal,” Reid said in early December. “I wish he had a little more to work with but that’s all right. He did a great job with it. And made me look good.”
Stouffer has a team of designers, and he says the plans for the project got bigger and bigger as they went along, eventually tilling the soil with a Bobcat and 5-foot tiller to produce the image. The actual field work took about a week to produce the likeness of the coach.
Before designing sprawling mazes and crop art in fields, Stouffer grew up with agriculture.
“I grew up on a family farm in west central Missouri,” he says. “It was the epitome of a family farm. Everybody was involved and lending a hand.”
His family still farms, and Stouffer jokes about the contrast of what he now does.
“My father has spent his entire life trying to grow things, and now he has a son who runs around the country and knocks down people’s perfectly good crops,” he says with a laugh.