On Tuesday, Kansas City Chiefs chairman & CEO Clark Hunt spoke with me regarding a variety of topics from the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
Here's a transcript of that interview:
On what a typical day and week is like at the NFL Annual Meeting:
"Meetings go on for most of three days starting with Sunday night. The league usually has a keynote speaker who comes in Sunday night. Then Monday, the league splits the group into two subgroups. One, coaches and GMs and they focus on football-related issues and then the owners and some of the other club executives spend the day talking about business issues.
"There's always a function on Monday night, a social function where you get to interact with the other clubs and the leadership from the league. Tuesday and Wednesday morning are focused on competition committee items, so in other words, playing rule proposals that have either been proposed from the competition committee or from specific teams. They get discussed on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday morning and each year, there are a number of things that get voted in that are changes to the rules."
On what memory stands out above all else in the league meetings he's been to:
"Probably the one thing that really stands out and this goes back a number of years back to the late 80s when the league was in the middle of some labor unrest, there was a lawsuit and there had been a strike and the league was in the transition with Pete Rozelle resigning.
"I remember vividly being with my dad. It was one of the first league meetings that I attended and Paul Tagliabue ended up getting elected. That really stands out in my mind because it was a very difficult process for the ownership to agree on who would be the next commissioner."
On Paul Tagliabue recently being at the 101 Awards:
"(Tagliabue) and I had a chance to talk about that while he was in for the awards and it was fun hearing him recount some of the war stories from his career in sports, which really extended back much further than the way they used because he had served as council to the NFL and at times, the North American Soccer League and World Championship Tennis, which my father was also involved with."
On whether he's in favor of playoff expansion:
"I'm personally in favor of it. It's been a topic that's been discussed the last couple of years. I think it's probably going to end up getting tabled at this meeting but I would expect the league to address it and continue discussions on it in the next year or two. I'm personally in favor of it because I think every year there's a team or teams who are left out of the playoffs who you could argue are very deserving.
"Now there are also years where there would be a team with perhaps a 7-9 or an 8-8 record that would get in, but that happens far less frequently than a 9-7 team or a 10-6 team ending up missing the playoffs, so I just think it would be a very smart thing for the NFL to do—having 14 teams out of 32 making the playoffs in my mind does not dilute the value of the playoffs."
Photos of Clark Hunt, John Dorsey and Andy Reid.
On what he's most excited about with the London game:
"I think it's a great opportunity for not only the Chiefs, but the city of Kansas City to showcase everything that's great about our wonderful city. I'm excited for our players, our coaches, the fans that will be attending the game in London. They have a chance to see the Chiefs play on the stage, but I think it's just a great opportunity all the way around for Kansas City."
On how he thinks Lamar (Hunt) would feel about the game in London:
"Well, I think he would be very excited about the Chiefs playing in London. For many years, he was on the International Committee of the NFL, which was charged with really growing the brand.
"The fact that we're playing in London this year is probably a byproduct a lot of his efforts in regards to the NFL Europe league and the fact that it created a base of fans in Europe and the United Kingdom who now really appreciate and love NFL football.
"Now, we're going to get a chance to go over and play in front of them."
On whether the NFL would be better served by having a franchise in Los Angeles:
"I do think it's very good for the league to have a team back in the LA market. Of course, it's the second-largest TV market in the United States. The league has worked for 20 years with very little success to get a team back to LA and I think there's now currently enough momentum to get the stadium built and to have at least one or perhaps two teams playing in the LA in the very near future."
On John Dorsey and Andy Reid's progress in their first two years in Kansas City:
"I'm very excited to have them as our leadership. I'm probably first and foremost a fan and obviously, the great 9-0 start they got off to two years ago was very exciting. Getting back to the playoffs was fantastic. 2014 was a good season. It didn't end the way that we wanted to. I honestly felt that we were good enough to be competing in the playoffs and of course, the fact that the Patriots and Seattle ended up in the Super Bowl—I think showed really the talent that the team had (Chiefs beat both teams in 2014).
"I love what they've done this offseason so far in terms of bringing some players in through free agency and trade.
"Of course, we've got the draft coming up in a little bit over a month. We have four compensatory picks (and a total of 10), so it's going to be a big draft for John (Dorsey) and his team. I know they're up for the task and I really think 2015 is going to be a very exciting season for the Chiefs."
On whether it's difficult to separate the fan and CEO in him on game days:
"I get completely caught up like every fan in the game and a nervous wreck during the games. Just like any fan, it means so much to me, so I think on game day, I'm much more of a fan than I am a Chairman and CEO."
Best photos of Kansas City Chiefs fans from this season