News

Print
RSS

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt Talks Mexico, Brett Veach, QBs and More

Posted Feb 2, 2018

Hunt checked in from radio row in Minnesota and hit a variety of topics

The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t that far removed from the end of their 2017 season, which came at the hands of the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

And for Chiefs’ Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, like many fans, it’s still a little too recent and not that easy to talk back through the season from a bigger picture point of view.

But Hunt tried as he checked in with Chiefs.com from radio row as he was making the rounds up in Minnesota, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday night between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Hunt spoke on a variety of things, including the Chiefs’ international game in Mexico, the decision to put Tony Gonzalez into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame next year, an assessment of the season at quarterback, and the job Brett Veach has done so far as general manager.

Here’s a look at what he had to say:

On how the game in Mexico City next season against the Los Angeles Rams came about:

“Going back to 2015 when we played in London and gave up a home game to do it, I mentioned to the league that we loved being able to be a part of an international series, and we wanted to do it again as quickly as the league would take us. But we were going to have to be the visiting team for the next game, and then when the league started playing games in Mexico a couple of years ago, I became very focused on that.

“I’m Chairman of the international committee, which gave me a chance to have a little input to the people making the decision. So, I’m thrilled that the Chiefs have been selected to play the Rams there next year. I think it’s a great opportunity for us.”

His thoughts on the 2017 season:

“Well, I think once I get far enough away from the season it will be easy to look back at it as a success because we made the playoffs, we won the division, and for the first time in the history of the Chiefs, we won two division titles in a row. And any time you make it to the playoffs, you have a chance to get to the Super Bowl.

“Certainly, it was a very strange season with the way we started out very strong, really struggled in the middle of the season and then finished the season strong. Then, of course, the disappointment of losing the playoff game to Tennessee, which in a lot of ways was a microcosm of the season.

“At this point, I probably have mixed emotions because that loss to Tennessee is still too close in the review mirror, but as we get down the road, I think I’ll view the season as a success.”

On his message to Coach Reid when the season ended:

“Well Coach Reid, like all of us, was incredibly disappointed and frustrated with the way the Tennessee game played out. I don’t know that he needed a pat on the back, but I think it galvanized his desire to get focused on 2018, so that we can not only make it back to the playoffs but that we can be successful in the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl and win a world championship.

“So, he was disappointed like we all were, but I think he’s ready to go, very eager to move on to 2018 and, of course, officially start the 2018 season on Monday once we get past Super Bowl LII.”

On thoughts of quarterback room progressing throughout the season:

“Andy [Reid], Matt [Nagy], and that entire staff year in and year out do a great job with that quarterback room. I think you could look at Andy’s entire career, not only as an NFL head coach, but as an assistant coach, and the quality of play his quarterbacks have given him and if you look at the 2017 season, clearly the year that Alex Smith had was tremendous. He was in the MVP discussion for most of the season, finished with the highest quarterback rating, was a big part of the success we had this year and a big part of the reason we made it to the playoffs.

“Probably a very interesting year for the Chiefs in that it’s the first time in many, many years that we had an established veteran quarterback as talented as Alex, and also an exciting rookie prospect like Patrick Mahomes. I think Patrick took advantage of the opportunity, learned a lot, really had Alex serve as a mentor for him. And whenever Patrick gets a chance to play, I think the experience he had - not only with the other quarterbacks on the team but with the coaching staff - is going to help him be ready for that opportunity.”

On Brett Veach’s job as the general manager so far:

“I’m thrilled with what he’s been able to accomplish in really six or seven months at this point. At the time I hired him, I thought he was joining the team at a point where it would be very hard for him to have much of an impact on the 2017 season, and I would say he exceeded my expectations with some moves that he made. The (Kevin) Pierre-Louis trade, the Reggie Ragland trade, poaching (Harrison) Butker off the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad, trading for Cam Erving - all of those moves had a big impact on the success that we had in 2017, so I think he’s off to a great start.

“Obviously, this offseason once we get the free agency and the draft, he’ll really have a chance to mold the Kansas City Chiefs more into the image of what he believes a winning football team looks like. I’m very excited about him, and I look forward to seeing how he builds the Chiefs here over the next four to five months.”

On the decision to put Tony Gonzalez into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame:

“Well, rarely is it an easy decision as to who the next Chiefs’ Hall of Famer should be, but in this case with Tony becoming eligible, it was a no-brainer for the committee to select him. I can’t speak highly enough of the player he was for the Kansas City Chiefs, of the leader that he was, the things that he did in the community and we were thrilled to be able to honor him as a Chiefs Hall of Famer by putting his name up in the Ring of Honor.

“It’s going to be something that we get to celebrate throughout the 2018 season, starting with the 101 (Awards) banquet in February, and then his official induction later this fall on Alumni weekend.”

On how Tony remains a good representation of the Chiefs’ organization:

“Well, Tony is an extremely talented individual, and not only on the field but now he’s had a very successful career in broadcasting. He’s stayed close to the game of football, and when you talk about high-character guys, you have to talk about Tony Gonzalez. He’s one of the better individuals from a character standpoint that we’ve had play for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s really the entire package, and as I said, we’re excited about the opportunity to celebrate his career and induct him into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame.”

On his favorite memory of being at a Super Bowl:

“Being here in Minnesota has reminded me about Super Bowl XXVI, which was also in Minnesota and was the first Super Bowl that my wife and I attended together. We weren’t married at the time, but we had a wonderful time despite it being a very cold day here as well. It was the first year that the NFL had the NFL Experience and we enjoyed taking part in all the fun things you get to do at the experience, and then the owners’ party that year was at a house on a lake.

“So, my bride-to-be and I jumped on a snowmobile, and she didn’t want to put a helmet on because it was going to mess up her hair. So, I took off on the lake and we started doing some donuts. At one point I looked back and her hair was completely frozen from the snow. Fortunately, we were dating at the time where she could have been really unhappy, but I’ll never forget that Super Bowl, and it’s fun to be back here in Minnesota 26 years later.”

^ TOP ^


FAN COMMENTS