The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to win their first AFC Championship Game ever, and it would be incredibly sweet for their owner, Clark Hunt.
For Clark Hunt, it’s personal.
Hunt is 53 years old. He’s a multi-millionaire. He’s married to Tavia Hunt, former Miss Kansas. He’s a father. He’s the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and a chairman on FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. Hell, he graduated first in his class at SMU back in 1987.
Clark Hunt has it all. All, except for the trophy bearing his late father’s name.
Hunt has owned the Chiefs since 2006. That’s when his father, Lamar, passed away. Lamar is the Chiefs’ founder along with the American Football League’s. You can’t tell the story of professional football — or American soccer, but that’s another column — without talking extensively about Lamar Hunt.
In this vein, the NFL named it’s AFC championship hardware the Lamar Hunt Trophy in 1984. Kansas City has played for it only once, in 1993. The Chiefs were crushed in Buffalo by the Bills, 30-13.
Now the stadium Lamar built, Arrowhead, will host the AFC Championship Game for the first time. His franchise, one that has never won the game, hosts the New England Patriots on Sunday night. A win, and the Chiefs go to the Super Bowl.
A win, and Clark finally gets to hold the trophy named after his father.
Clark is typically a reserved man. On Sunday, he’ll be anything but. Kansas City welcomes a famous face to beat their large, logo-emblazoned drum immediately prior to kickoff for one more crowd pump-up.
This week, for the first time since the tradition began earlier this decade, it will be Clark Hunt.
Under Lamar’s watch, the Chiefs reached a pair of Super Bowls, winning one. Since 1969, however, the team has been without the ultimate success, often struggling to overcome outsized playoff demons. Since Lamar’s passing, Clark has fielded teams ranging from horrible to solid. Between 2006-17 the Chiefs won three division titles but only a single playoff game, and none at home.
This year, everything has changed. Kansas City won another division title and gained their first No. 1 seed since 1997. In the Divisional round, the Chiefs dispatched the Indianapolis Colts, their long-time January rival. Furthermore, Patrick Mahomes is the NFL’s new face, and is about to deliver the franchise’s first MVP award. Mahomes is giving all of Kansas City hope for years to come. On Sunday, he can give Hunt the honor of accepting a trophy with words of incredible importance engraved on the side.
For any team, for any owner, winning a conference title game is special. It’s the culmination of a journey that only has one final step ahead.
For the Chiefs, it would be to bring home a long-lost heirloom.
For Hunt, it would be everything to the man who has everything. Well, almost everything.