Mar 28, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; FC Dallas owner Clark Hunt puts a scarf on the Lamar Hunt statue prior to the game between FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders FC at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas tied Seattle 0-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Compare Clark Hunt’s situation to that of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. In 2010, Kroenke bought out the remaining interest in the Rams and is their sole owner. Does Stan have to go and square any of his moves with the family before he makes a move? Or even before or after a season? No. Clark’s responsibility is to the Hunt organization and although he is CEO he is still an employee of his own family’s corporate enterprise.
The Chiefs don’t belong to Clark and Clark alone. Why does that matter? Because there may be problems with that arrangement and it may be causing the problems, however indirectly, that we’re seeing now on the Arrowhead field.
To some of you, going down this road may be akin to football royalty blaspheme. But the issues with the Hunt family may go even deeper.
One of the questions I’ve had from the inception of the Chiefs organization is that they were once a team named the Dallas Texans who were forced to change their name because they were relocated. It’s like they were the ugly stepchild (in Dallas) who was disowned and were forced to change their name so that no one would know they were from parents who’d disowned them (it’s closer to the truth to say that the Texans, who were playing in the Cotton Bowl as were the Cowboys at that time, were actually drawing more fans than their Dallas counterparts but Lamar was tired of sharing a stadium and the allegiance of a city with them… so he moved the team to K.C.).
In the meantime — and we’re talking about 40 plus years of this — Lamar Hunt wasn’t so much the father figure as he was the absentee step-father who wasn’t around everyday because of his diversified family and business interests in Texas… as many of the Hunt family interests are to this very day.
Hold that thought and now consider accountability. What does it take to hold an employee accountable? You can set up all the goals and checklists in the world, of what you are expecting, and even meet on a regular basis. However, if you are not around to watch over your facility each day… do the chances go up or down that your employees are taking advantage of you? They go up.
From a Sam Mellinger piece for the K.C. Star this past January called “As Clark Hunt nears his 50th Birthday, credit him for identifying his shortcomings” he says,
"“Hunt talks with Reid ‘a couple times a week,’ mostly to understand the thought process so that he can later judge the decision. Hunt’s job right now as it relates to football (as opposed to business) is like that — involved but mostly in the background.”"
To a greater or lesser degree, a boss who operates, “mostly in the background” is hardly a boss at all.
There are other, more successful, owners in the league who don’t do business that way. Not being a full time owner has me believing that this is the core reason the Kansas City Chiefs franchise… not just the team on the field of play… has lost it’s way.
Clark Hunt… and the Hunt family… have been given endless blind clemency by a forever forgiving K.C. public when it comes to the failures of this team on the field. Since his father Lamar died in 2006 and he and his sister and two brothers took over ownership of the Chiefs, the results can only be typified as unsuccessful..
From the 2007 season until now, the Chiefs record is 50-83. A .376 winning percentage. More recently? The Chiefs are 10-15 in their last 25 games. A .400 winning percentage.
If you’re taking an accounting of the changeover to Andy Reid as the head coach, following the team’s nine game winning streak at the beginning of the 2013 season, all games against lesser competition, the Chiefs winning percentage is barely better than it was in the previous five years… which is also the first five years of Clark Hunt’s tenure. If you’re interested in giving Clark a grace period as a new owner. My belief is that the grace period ended with the Andy Reid and John Dorsey hires.
Clark Hunt’s poor winning percentage raises questions as to whether or not he is an owner with an NFL football acumen capable of ever delivering a championship level team. So far, all he’s done is offer quasi-mission statements and fool’s gold for goals.
So, what is Clark Hunt buying into by agreeing to continue to employ Andy Reid?
Firstly, there’s this year’s record (.200 winning %). Secondly, and more disturbing, are Reid’s inconsistencies… as well as his consistencies… as a coach.
His inconsistencies include, game management, play calling, and player development just to name three major issues he’s had, not only here, but in Philadelphia as well.
His consistencies that are disturbing include his apparent inability to change with the times and more than that, his robotic mantra following losses that we’ve all heard so many times now that even the more laissez-faire fans are taking to twitter to voice their disapproval.
Next: Is Clark’s Way the Right Way?