The Kansas City Chiefs play the St. Louis Rams tonight in the Edward Jones Dome in a pretty much meaningless preseason football game.
Still, plenty of Chiefs fans will be watching the game, taking an interest in what’s happening in St. Louis, if only briefly.
That makes this a good time to point out that St. Louis — if you haven’t been paying attention — is in really bad shape in many ways right now.
And while Kansas City is far from perfect, take a look at this selective tale of the tape.
▪ First up, the Rams could be leaving St. Louis soon, and there’s no guarantee the city will have NFL football in the future. Gov. Jay Nixon and others are beating the drums to build a $1 billion new football palace in the downtown area, but it’s an uphill fight.
By comparison, the Chiefs’ lease at beautiful Arrowhead Stadium runs through 2031.
▪ Murders in St. Louis are up 60 percent to 136 killings in the first eight months of the year.
Kansas City had 54 homicides through August, up 20 percent over 2014.
Overall, the murder rate in St. Louis is more than three times that of Kansas City, given the fact that fewer people live in St. Louis.
▪ Which brings us to this: The population of St. Louis is continuing a long, long decline.
It was an estimated 317,419 people in mid-2014, down from 319,294 in the 2010 census.
But Kansas City is quickly gaining people, up to 470,800 in 2014 from 459,787 in 2010.
▪ The median value of housing in St. Louis is $119,200 and median annual household income is $34,582.
By comparison, Kansas City is better off. Its median housing value is $134,600 and the income level is $45,275 a year.
St. Louis residents often point out, correctly, that their city has plenty of charm and plenty of good reasons to live there.
They get irritated when negative facts like those posted above are pointed out.
Should Kansas Citians revel in the fact that our big-city competitor/ally in Missouri is steeped in huge problems right now?
I’d say no, especially when it comes to the high murder rates that, in reality, both cities have when compared to the national average.
But I’d also quickly add this: St. Louis and certainly Kansas City, too, will have a better chance of overcoming their problems only when they directly confront them.