For us old time Kansas City Chiefs fans, the passing of Jack Steadman, the right hand man to the empire that, Lamar Hunt, built decades ago, has significant meaning. Though Mr. Steadman had been far removed from any active duties with the Chiefs for some time now, he was a towering, polarizing figure that demanded respect, and in some circles, was a feared boardroom executive.
Today, Chairman of the Board, Clark Hunt, has become the man responsible for delivering the city of Kansas City another Super Bowl victory. Both his father and Mr. Steadman, began grooming Clark at an early age to do just that. Though he didn’t know it at the time, they both felt he could guide the Chiefs in the decades that would follow.
I’ve always found Clark Hunt to be a dynamic, highly principled and approachable human being that carried himself with class, despite the weight of carrying the franchise on his young shoulders.
As the Chiefs approach another season, this franchise has failed on many fronts to build a consistent winner. The decades of inconsistency that have plagued this franchise since the 70’s can be attributed to many things that have been well documented.
So when the franchise hit an all time low at the end of the 2012 season, Clark Hunt cleaned house, administrated a new era of Chiefs football and demanded excellence from his entire organization. In other words he made everyone accountable including himself.
With the additions of Mark Donovan, John Dorsey and Andy Reid, the organization is in hands of men, who share one singular vision, making the Chiefs winners again.
Sure the NFL is a business and the Chiefs are a money making machine. Yet for the fans, that buy tickets, merchandise and bleed Chiefs red, they are demanding a winner.
Hunt shares that view.
Years ago at the induction of Derrick Thomas into the NFL Hall of Fame, he told me his singular drive was to deliver a world championship to the fans of Kansas City, just like his father had done decades earlier.
What struck me in that moment was the young owner felt the obligation to carry on that legacy to cement his place in the history of the organization. I always felt that was a harsh sentiment that Clark Hunt placed on himself.
However when you look at it logically, the spoils of owning a franchise at the NFL level are a double-edged sword. Winning a championship is difficult, maintaining a profitable sound organization, is something altogether different. Trying to do both, without sacrificing the direction of the franchise, can be a tricky slope.
Let’s be honest winning a Super Bowl boils down to luck. Running a successful NFL franchise from top to bottom has more to do with the people in the organization buying into the direction from the man atop the franchise.
Luckily Hunt has that now, and what happens in the coming years in regards to winning division titles and hopefully a Super Bowl, depends on that luck factor and believing it can be done with the current regime.
Whatever success falls in that time frame, probably will have something to do with the words of wisdom, guidance and tough love, both Jack Steadman and Lamar Hunt gave to their young protégée.