CHESTERFIELD, MO. - Harpo's sports bar in Chesterfield is well known for its Mizzou pride. Big crowds in black and gold show up on Saturdays in the fall to cheer on the Tigers. But on Sundays in the fall, now that the Rams are gone, Harpo's owner, John Rieker, has a new strategy.
"I need a team to root for, a team we can put up on the big screen on Sundays," Rieker explains. "So we decided to be a (Tennessee) Titans bar. That's what we decided and we're going for it."
Rieker did more than just that; he reached out to the Titans about his idea and the Nashville-based NFL franchise showered Harpo's with a framed Titans jersey, an oversized 'Titan Up' flag banner, bumper stickers, and fan prize packs.
"We kind of became fan free agents and we're a free agent bar, after the Rams left town," Rieker added.
The NFL raked in $13 billion in 2015, so a devoted fan base, wherever they happen to be, is something every team is happy to help create.
Rieker and his staff considered four teams: the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and the Titans.
Kansas City and Chicago were eliminated due to an already baked in regional rivalry that, Rieker believes, would too much for a St. Louisan to swallow.
A key tiebreaker between Indianapolis and Nashville (the Titans home) is that Rieker feels a road trip to Nashville would be more fun than a trip to Indy.
But adopting a new franchise could be a tough sell in St. Louis.
"I am done with NFL," says Sean Stone. "I even quit fantasy football."
Stone, a passionate Mizzou fan, will become a 100% 'Saturday guy', devoted his watching to the Tigers and NCAA football.
"I understand that sentiment," Rieker says. "It's kind of like getting burned by a girlfriend that leaves you. But that doesn't mean you stop dating."