Does anyone else feel like Clark Hunt should be getting more time in the media spotlight for all his accomplishments? The old argument about winning games and championships is definitely valid but it should not overshadow some of the amazing things that Clark Hunt has "quarterbacked" during his time chairman of the board of the Chiefs. After the jump we will look at Mr. Hunts history and what we can expect as we move forward.
When Lamar Hunt passed away the world lost, as Jerry Jones from the Cowboys said, "a founder of the NFL as we know it today". This tragedy set into motion the passing of the torch to Clark Hunt. The new chairman of the KC Chiefs was handed the enormous responsibility of operating the family business. The Chiefs at the time were under the reign of "King Carl" Peterson. Clark was teamed up with King Carl and coach Herm Edwards for what would be his rookie season as an owner.
The first full year 2007
Things began before the season even started. The HBO series Hard Knocks was going to be following the Chiefs through the 2007 training camp. This national exposure on a major television network had the Chiefs players being beamed into the living rooms of people across the nation (assuming they subscribed to HBO). The national exposure could have served as a distraction for a team that ended the season with a 4-12 record. Lamar Hunt was honored by a special logo attached to the players uniforms. The final plans for the new arrowhead stadium were also completed.
The breaking point 2008
A record season but not the way anyone would have hoped. The 2-14 season was the worst that the franchise had ever seen. After posting back to back losing seasons things were going to have to change. This time it wasn't going to affect only the team. Things needed fixed in a major way and so begins the story of Clark Hunt and his transformation of the Kansas City Chiefs. Clark announced the resignation of Carl Peterson effective as of the end of the 2008 season. The removal of king Carl might have been a shock to the public but Mr. Hunt had already been shopping for a new general manager. Clark had finally reached his breaking point and the fans felt the same way.
The new era 2009
January 13, 2009 was the official end of Clark Hunt's search for a general manager. It was announced that Scott Pioli would be leaving the New England Patriots and taking the job of general manager for the Kansas City Chiefs. Pioli was part of the 3 Patriot Super Bowl titles and understands what it takes to win championships. Clark Hunt hiring Scott Pioli was one of if not the best move during his ownership of the Chiefs. Pioli fired Herm and quickly hired Todd Haley who had been the coordinator of an offense which made it to the Super Bowl. Haley pulled double duty for the season after firing his offensive coordinator and calling the plays himself. These type of personnel decisions were encountered throughout the season which ended with a disappointing 4-12 record once again. This season was another "rebuilding year" however this time changes were actually getting implemented. Clark Hunt / Scott Pioli / Todd Haley ( the 3 wise men ) had finally started cutting away at the locker room cancer and Larry Johnson was let go. Once Lazy Johnson was out of the way stars like Haleys Comet were given the opportunity to shine and show us what we as fans have been missing. Players who strive for greatness on and off the field. The final game of the season was the ultimate high note to carry the team and the fans through the offseason. Clark Hunt made a difficult but great general manager choice and the organization is turning around.
2010 and beyond
When Eric Berry's phone rang on draft night Clark Hunt was one of the people who spoke to the #5 overall draft pick. You might think to yourself, big deal he made a phone call, but there is much more to the story than just a phone call. Clark Hunt seems to "Speak softly and carry a big stick". He seems to exist in the shadows behind "The Godfather" but he quietly continues to move the KC Chiefs in the right direction without attracting much attention. Clark requested not only a home game but a nationally televised home game to start the season. The request was granted and this year the Chiefs will be starting the season at arrowhead in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.
The MNF home opener won't be the first game played at the new arrowhead stadium. The Hunt family are quite the soccer fans evidently and they will most likely be at the new arrowhead stadium when the most valuable sports team in the world faces off against the KC Wizards this Sunday Jul 25th 2010. I cannot help but think somewhere quietly behind the scenes Clark Hunt was helping to get this soccer match turned into a reality.
There is a new found confidence and hope surrounding this years KC Chiefs team. Media coverage of the team typically showcases the players and coaches. The players and coaches are the face of the entire Chiefs organization and are directly responsible for the outcome of the games. The general manager also receives some of the credit for the direction the team is headed and that is definitely justified. The thing that typically gets overlooked is the quiet influences from the team owner Clark Hunt.
After loosing his father and stepping up to run the Chiefs Clark Hunt has done an amazing job without getting much credit. The first year in a new job is always difficult and for the new chairman of the board it was no different. Although the second year of his tenure was extremely disappointing it helped the franchise finally reach the breaking point which spawned the chain of events we are enjoying today. Mr. Hunt has been instrumental in changing the culture at arrowhead with a focus on winning a championship. The team has shed the dead weight and collected champion coaches and draft picks. The right 53 is starting to materialize and greatness is the new goal to strive for. The Chiefs will be in Kansas City for a long time. We as fans should be thankful that we have an owner who is willing to do whatever it takes to make all aspects of the Chiefs improve. The draft scouts, the coaches, the players, the facilities, national exposure, and other things that we will probably never hear about have been orchestrated behind the scenes by our owner Clark Hunt.
Pioli deserves a lot of the credit when it comes to the personnel we have in place this year but I would guess that Clark was part of the decision making process. I think the coaches, team, and management of the organization are all on the same page finally. This has been long overdue in Kansas City and it will lead to games being won instead of lost which reinforces the choices that have been made by the top brass. The thoughts that losing is okay and being good enough to get by are far removed from the present day attitudes of the players and coaches. Whatever it takes is not just a saying anymore in KC it is a way of life.
The direction of the team now combined with the stadium improvements and national coverage would definitely make Lamar proud. The fans are looking forward to the day that the Lamar Hunt trophy is hoisted into the air and brought back to arrowhead stadium. Clark Hunt will continue to do whatever he can in order to move our team forward until we achieve the ultimate reward. This is a great time to be a Chiefs fan.