Before the Kansas City Chiefs boarded a plane for their final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams to be played Thursday night, there was one final agenda item to take care of Wednesday afternoon.
Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, president Mark Donovan, head coach Andy Reid and the entire Chiefs team joined members of the business community at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce for the annual Kickoff Luncheon.
"What the Kickoff Luncheon does for us is it helps with the tradition of bringing this community together," Donovan said. "This was so important to a lot of us. We are part of the community and we support and we give back."
As numerous individuals at the event described, the Kickoff Luncheon was one of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt's favorite events.
"It's our way of saying thank you and our way of saying, 'Let's go,'" Donovan further explained. "Here we go with another season, and the excitement has never been higher in my 10 years here with the Chiefs."
The luncheon began with the "Voice of the Chiefs," Mitch Holthus, taking the stage and welcoming the crowd. Holthus served as host for the entire event.
The first order of business for Holthus was to introduce Clark Hunt, who addressed and welcomed those in attendance.
Something Hunt noted prior to his speech was the sense of electricity he feels entering the upcoming season.
"I really do," he explained, "and I think going all the way back to training camp and seeing the turnout that we had in training camp with fans coming up from Kansas City. I had the chance to visit with some of our season ticket holders there and everybody is just really excited to get this season underway. There's a lot of anticipation."
After Hunt left the stage, Holthus introduced the cheerleaders, the coaches and the players. Chiefs safety Eric Berry received a standing ovation during his introduction.
Once each player had walked across the stage, he sat at a table with members of the Kansas City community.
Holthus then brought Reid and general manager John Dorsey to the stage for a question-and-answer session.
During the session, Reid thanked the crowd for the home-field advantage the team enjoys at Arrowhead Stadium every Sunday.
"We appreciate all the support," he said. "There's nothing like Arrowhead on game day. When you guys crank it up, it's a beautiful thing."
After Reid and Dorsey, Holthus welcomed linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, punter Dustin Colquitt, running back Jamaal Charles and quarterback Alex Smith to the stage.
Hali, who has been with the team since being drafted by Kansas City in 2006, expressed the appreciation he has for what Reid has been able to bring to the organization.
"Coach Reid came in and created a winning atmosphere," he said. "That just started with the staff and included everything from how we do business from the locker room to the training staff, staying after practice and working on our fundamentals and understanding we're a team. We're not individuals."
Smith shared his outlook for the 2015 season.
"We're all chasing something and for us, it's to get there, to get to that championship," he said. "We haven't gotten it yet and it's all those little things that we're hoping make the difference."
To play for a championship, the Chiefs hope to carry their success from the preseason into the regular season.
Thus far, the Chiefs have won all three of their exhibition games, and if they can win Thursday night's game against the Rams, they will go undefeated in the preseason.
As Hunt noted in his speech at the event, the last time the Chiefs accomplished such a feat was 1969, the same year the team raised the Lombardi Trophy.
"I had to do everything in my power from telling Andy [Thursday] is a must-win," Hunt joked to the crowd.
Photos from the Chiefs 2015 Kickoff Luncheon.