Thursday Tribute

Thursday Tribute: Lamar Hunt

The founder of the Chiefs impact on the NFL and Chiefs Kingdom live on today.

The Kansas City Chiefs are not here without the work of their founder Lamar Hunt. His importance to not only the Chiefs organization but the National Football League entirely has put him in a rare class.

Despite his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 1972, his relationship with the NFL began on bad terms. Hunt was a driving force behind the American Football League’s foundation in 1959. The NFL saw this new league as a potential threat to their own.

Then Hunt founded the Dallas Texans in 1960, and the reaction by the NFL would change the Chiefs organization forever. Hunt recruited Hank Stram to be the head coach of his new franchise.

After that announcement, the NFL announced that the Dallas Cowboys would be a new franchise for them. Instead of having the whole city to market to, Hunt had to compete with another football team.

Since the AFL had just begun, the league had no recognition. Compare that to the NFL, which had already been in the public eye of 40 years. After three seasons in Dallas, Hunt decided to move the franchise to Kansas City in 1963, according to the Chiefs.

Once arriving in Kansas City, the franchise got off to a lackluster start. In their first three seasons, the Chiefs never won their division or finished better than .500.

In their fourth season, they won the divisional title with an 11-3 record. The Chiefs would win the AFL Championship 17-7, against the Oakland Raiders.

But their season didn’t end on this championship. They would have to play the Vince Lombardi led Green Bay Packers of the NFL. This game is now famously known as the Super Bowl, with this game being Super Bowl I.

The Packers defeated the overmatched AFL opponent 35-10. After their Super Bowl loss, the Chiefs continued to be competitive over the course of the next couple of seasons.

In the last season of the AFL, the Chiefs won the championship again. This placed them back in the Super Bowl game, this time against the Minnesota Vikings.

Despite being huge underdogs, The Chiefs would dominate the Vikings, 23-7, to secure their first major sports championship for Kansas City. Quarterback Len Dawson won Super Bowl MVP, and you can read Dawson’s tribute here.

After this season, the AFL and NFL had a merger that would include regular season matchups.

Despite never winning another title in his lifetime, Hunt was the primary cause of creating one of the most passionate fanbases in sports. From helping start the AFL, which caused the NFL to establish a team close to Hunt’s Texans, leading to its move to Kansas City.

With the move, it led to Chiefs Kingdom becoming one of the most passionate fanbases, not only in the NFL but around the world. Look no further than when the Chiefs matched up with the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

The Chiefs would break the crowd noise record with 142.2 dB recorded, according to the Guinness World Records. Without the dream of Hunt, neither this team nor fanbase would exist or be where it is today without his leadership with the Chiefs and the AFL.

With his accomplishments and involvement, we see Hunt’s legacy continue to be displayed. The AFC championship winner is awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy, which the Chiefs finally captured for the first time 50 years after their last Super Bowl appearance.

The Hunt name continues to be the face of ownership for the Chiefs, as his son Clark Hunt is the chairman of the franchise.

Lamar Hunt’s impact reaches much farther than football. His work done as the founder of the Chiefs has not gone unnoticed by the NFL, with his induction into the Hall of Fame and the honor of the AFC trophy title.

The legacy of Hunt has remained an important element for the NFL to showcase. From his work with the AFL and eventually the Chiefs, Hunt played a major role in the expansion of the NFL and football as a whole.

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