Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt met with reporters before Wednesday’s annual Chiefs kickoff luncheon and addressed several subjects. Here are some highlights:
On his expectations for the 2014 season:
“My expectations are we build on what we did last year. We obviously set the bar very high for ourselves, not only with the undefeated start (through nine games), but the 11 wins and making the playoffs. I expect Andy and John to build on that. It won’t always show up week to week in wins and losses, but clearly we want to get back to the playoffs and hopefully go further than we did last year.”
On how the team’s success last year has carried over to the business side:
“The fan base has really responded to the success the team had last year. Having Andy Reid as our head coach, John Dorsey as our general manager, ticket sales are up substantially. Our corporate partnerships are up substantially. There is a lot of interest in the Kansas City Chiefs right now, and one of the exciting things about this season is we’re going to get to highlight it on national television in prime time (on a “Monday Night Football” game on Sept. 29 against New England).”
On his involvement in the contract negotiations between general manager John Dorsey and with quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston:
“Contracts are part of John’s responsibility. He does a great job with it. We do talk about it on a frequent basis. I’m very up-to-date on it. Just like the head football coach … I want the football people making decisions without me interfering.”
On talk about bringing a Super Bowl to Kansas City:
“Certainly the door was open this past year with the Super Bowl in New York … it went really well the first time to have a Super Bowl in a cold-weather market without a dome. It opened the league’s eyes. I’d like to believe in the future the league will take the Super Bowl to an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather market. I would love for it to be in Kansas City at Arrowhead.
“The league is aware we’re interested in it. The first decision the league has to make is when they plan on doing it again. I don’t think it will be something that happens very quickly, but when it does, we’ll be ready. The stadium is our greatest asset in terms of bringing a Super Bowl here. When we did the renovation five years ago, a lot of thought went into making sure it was suited to host big games, whether that’s an AFC Championship Game, a Super Bowl, a major college bowl game, we have the space from a media standpoint to do it.”
On the suspensions of two starting players, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for one week for violating the NFL’s substance policy and offensive tackle Donald Stephenson for four weeks for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs:
“I’m probably like every fan, you’re disappointed when somebody can’t be part of the team and can’t participate. In this case, we’re disappointed that both of them ended up in the situation they’re in. It happens in the National Football League, just like injuries happen. You have to have depth, you have to have the next man ready to step up. Andy has taught the team that, and I think they’ll be ready to go.”
On the Chiefs’ being part of what could be Playoff City, if the Royals make the playoffs, joining MLS champion Sporting KC and FC Kansas City women’s soccer teams as post-season participants.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Sporting and also the Kansas City Royals, both having tremendous seasons. It’s going to be exciting to see how it unfolds for both of them. It’s great for the fan base here, it doesn’t matter what sport you’re a fan of, the teams are having a lot of success. At the end of the day, as a fan, that’s what you want. We hope the Chiefs can build on what we did last year.”
On the health of the Chiefs franchise, which is valued at $1.1 billion by Forbes magazine:
“For us, it’s really about the football team, and with Andy Reid and John Dorsey leading the football team, we always feel very healthy. We’re looking forward to getting the second season with the two of them leading the team underway.”