1932 ~ 2006
The Patriots, Bills, Jets,
Titans, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders,
Dolphins and Bengals would not have
existed if it hadn’t been for Lamar
Hunt. What’s more, the NFL’s
created specifically to drive the
AFL out of Dallas, would not have
existed. Neither would the Vikings,
an NFL franchise that was given to
Max Winter to
pull out of the original eight-team
American Football League; nor would
which the NFL gave to Rankin
Smith to deter
him from the AFL’s Miami
franchise. And neither would the
Saints, whose franchise was granted
by the NFL after certain Louisiana
congressmen pushed the AFL-NFL
merger to completion.
Fourteen professional football teams
that would not have existed in
fourteen cities today, if Lamar Hunt
had not had the vision and the
courage to “fight the
Knowing what a humble, unassuming
gentleman he was, he would probably
not want to take the credit for
making pro football what it is
today; but make no mistake:
Hunt INVENTED today’s pro football.
The Super Bowl trophy
should be re-named THE LAMAR HUNT TROPHY.
I met Hunt face to face in the mid-nineties
when I was refereeing a High
School football game in
Pottstown, PA. It was at The Hill School, the prep
school which Mr. Hunt had attended. He
was the honorary captain who
flipped the coin. He
stayed and watched his alma mater,
sitting on the aluminum bleachers like all the others.
I had a chance to speak
with him briefly at halftime and we spoke of the AFL
and my experience watching the
Dolphins in the early 70’s as a kid. He
was a true gentleman and despite his wealth and stature
seemed very comfortable with himself. A
very gracious and warm fella. It was a great experience.
~ Jim Sharp
In the mid 1990's, I was a 24 or 25 year-old
small college coach/car salesman and aspiring writer.
Essentially a nobody, I sought out to write a
book on the AFL.
I contacted some
heavyweights like Lamar Hunt and laughed at the notion
that I'd get a call back. Surprisingly
enough, Lamar Hunt did call me, and supported my
efforts. Told me stories
about "playing" at SMU and how he financed the Chicago
Bulls, which many don't know
even today. The book was
a poorly-edited amateur piece,
but Mr. Hunt bought a number of copies and told me how
much he enjoyed reading it. Probably
not true, but he made my day. Hell,
he made my year. He sent
me some Chiefs gear and a handwritten note about the AFL
which I had framed and hangs in my law office today.
Lamar Hunt was as down
to earth a gentleman as any man with his
worth/accomplishments could hope to be.
He'll be missed by the
football world, and sporting world at large, but God
rest his soul, I know he's in heaven.
~ Jim Acho
Lamar Hunt changed the face of American
football, as much as George Halas, and anyone else.
More than that, he
comported himself with dignity and humility.
Old Joe Kennedy, father of President Jack
Kennedy, said "all big businessmen are big "s.o.b.'s"..
Old Joe has been proven
wrong by Lamar, who also exemplified this:
"There is genius in Initiative"...
Lamar 's reaction to rejection was
"Alright, I'll create a whole new league"...,
and he did, and its success still inspires us..
Long Live the "Legend of Lamar", as
much for his humanity as for his other qualities.
~ jack barry
Lamar Hunt by long distance in the late
1960’s. I would write him passionate,
heated letters berating the American
Football League’s owners for “giving in”
and merging with the hated NFL, and he would
respond with a calm, reasoned “Thank you
for your interest”. I’d send him a
missive telling him I thought he was failing
his fans, he’d send me a Christmas card.
I’d figuratively “stomp my feet”,
he’d send me an autographed copy of “The
clearly had patience, but not always. In
1958, he tried to join the pro football
fraternity by attempting to obtain an NFL
franchise in his home town of Dallas, but
was rebuffed by the league that once thought
low-cut shoes were revolutionary. The
league might have let him buy a share in the
Cardinals, but then cringed at the idea that
he wanted to move the franchise to Dallas.
“A pro football team in Texas?
finally caught on to the NFL’s conservatism,
and decided to start a league of his own.
The result was the American Football League,
one of the most successful American
professional sports leagues of all time, and
the true genesis of modern professional
football. National network television of
all league games? Revenue sharing of home
receipts and television income? Moving
cameras instead of static fifty-yard-line
shots? Miked-up players? Recruiting small
black colleges? Two-point touchdown
conversions? Names on players’ jerseys? A
clock on the scoreboard, so that fans knew
the time remaining? Flashy offenses
instead of three yards and a cloud of dust?
A Thanksgiving Day game in a different city
every year? All those innovations were made
by Hunt’s brainchild, the AFL.
character was made evident early in the
league’s existence. When the NFL realized
he wasn’t just going away, they offered him
an NFL franchise in Dallas after all, if he
would dump the AFL owners and their plans.
Lamar Hunt said he had made a commitment to
the other AFL founders, and he couldn’t,
with honor, pull out. The result of Hunt’s
efforts are incalculable.
Lamar Hunt is an inspiration to
anyone who sees the world in a creative
sense and all the possibilities for progress
and change. In
this, we can also call him a great American
who understood that challenging an existing
system could only make that system better.
Would you have liked to have been a
sandlot kid playing football with "Games"
Hunt and a young tailor's son from Gary,
Indiana - Hank Stram? Is
there any greater
monument to the game of football than their
creative energies and genius?
Lamar Hunt was not only a visionary
but an entirely modest and grounded human
being who got things done. May he rest in
peace and may we all remember him with
gratitude for transforming the game we love.
AM 1220 WQUN
Lamar Hunt successfully blazed a trail that
few others have. He forced the NFL's hand to accept
all of the AFL teams at one time, refusing to sell
off his fellow AFL owners when offered an
opportunity to just take his team with him. While I
never had the pleasure to have met Lamar, that
speaks volumes about him. Even in his final years,
he was looking out for others, helping to spearhead
a successful campaign to see his Super Bowl Champion
Coach Hank Stram voted into the Pro Football Hall of
Fame, before Hank's passing away.
Like you, I hope the NFL agrees to find a
fitting way to honor Lamar Hunt.
~ Dave Mann
Every person in Kansas City
should send their
thoughts. Kansas City is a big league
city because of this man. He brought
pro football to a small market town that
to this day cannot compete in baseball,
but was in 2 of the first 4 Super
Bowls. I know for a fact, he was a
perfect gentleman to everyone he met.
Most people do not know he started
"Worlds of Fun" and "Oceans of Fun",
here in Kansas City. Two amusement
parks that bring thousands of people a
year to Kansas City. 75,000 people on
game day at Arrowhead Stadium. Only one
man did that for us here. Thank you
Lamar and Norma for all you have done
for our city.
Kansas City, MO
is something I have been working
on for some time,
as promised to Lamar at the reunion of the
'62 group of Champions. This finalizes the
at the Baptist Hospital banquet back in
2001, the year he dedicated the courtyard at
the Stadium at the top of the hill above the
stadium (we did
not view it, since
the weather was awful for the event and
held inside a
field house building).
This was sent to Lamar but
I'm not sure if it
arrived in time for him to view before
passing on this week.
I would like to say that Lamar was
special like his wife, loved by all and
hated by none, a friend to all, very
pleasant and easy to be with and lo and
behold showed up here at the University of
Alabama stadium more than once to view a
game or two. He will be missed and "quoted"
forever like my mentor Coach Paul W. Bryant
Tommy Brooker, (Tight end and
Kicker) Texans and Chiefs
Triangle (click it to enlarge
it) refers to the 1962 AFL
Championship Game, at that time
the longest pro football game
ever played. The Texan's
intercepted a George Blanda pass
to end the first overtime period
with the Texans at the Oilers'
48. In the second
overtime, Jack Spikes
picked up ten yards on a pass
reception and nineteen yards on
a rushing play. After the
Texans ran a couple of plays to
position the ball, rookie
Tommy Brooker came in on
fourth down and kicked a
twenty-five-yard field goal for
the victory over the two-time
defending AFL Champions.
My name is Kelly
& I live
CA & I'd like to offer a few
thoughts on the passing of Lamar
of the KC Chiefs &
American Football League.
As a fan of the
was a child,
I came into the world in
AFL's 2nd year of operations.
AFL was created
different from the NFL &
put names on the backs of
as the official timekeeper & My
Needless to say
happy as hell when
the NFL adopted it in
that he sent
him to help organize an AFL 50th
& I hope
sons will carry this worthy idea
We should see if Bud
Adams & Ralph Wilson
help bring this dream into
It would be an
Chiefs & the
Also get the
& John Hadl.
50th Anniversary Celebration
not only for those of us
who grew up with the league but
also to tell a new generation
the AFL story.
condolences to the Hunt Family
on the loss of Lamar,
Chiefs for the loss of the owner
of the team
AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE!!!
Bless the Hunt
Chiefs & the AFL!!
fully the idea
50th Anniversary AFL
Celebration of the Life of
1932 ~ December 13, 2006
"As the founder of the AFL,
he helped pave the way for much of the modern
growth of pro football."
Links to articles about Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt facilitated racial progress
in pro football
Hunt gave NFL peace in our time
When Lamar Went Up Against The NFL
Hunt's passing brings back memories
Visionary owner changed face of
Pro Football Visionary Lamar Hunt Dies
Sports has lost a great friend in
Lamar Hunt was ahead of his time
Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt dead
The Passing of a Giant
Hunt Said 'Go Chiefs' Before He Passed
Halas and Hunt to Thank for Super Bowl Weekend
Thomas Flynn is an
unlikely Chiefs fan from "Jets country". He
wrote the following letter to Mr. Hunt before his
passing, but it expresses thoughts that many Chiefs
and AFL fans fully concur with.
|Dear Mr. Hunt
I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to start this
letter by telling you how I became a Chiefs fan in
1973 — even though I’ve lived in New York my entire
When I was seven years old, my father came home from
work one evening with a bright red football helmet
for me. It was a model that a lineman would wear.
Gray facemask. It was beautiful. When I asked him
what team wore those colors, he replied “the Kansas
City Chiefs.” The next day, before dinner, he handed
me a Chiefs logo sticker that he bought during his
lunch break. As you could imagine, that would not
have been an easy item to find on Long Island in
1973. After we ate, he helped me carefully apply the
sticker to my new helmet. At that moment something
clicked and I have been hooked ever since. I
probably didn’t even know what state Kansas City was
in. I certainly didn’t know anything about the AFL,
the Dallas Texans, or the merger. In fact, my father
was a Jets fan and had already taken me to a few
games at Shea Stadium. However, something about the
Chiefs took hold and refused to let go. But enough
With the recent passing of Wellington Mara, the New
York airwaves have been filled with tales about his
early days in the National Football League and the
role he played in the league’s amazing growth
throughout the ’60s and ’70s. Giants fans have been
calling sports talk shows with memories about Mr.
Mara personally answering letters, helping them get
tickets to a special game or just taking the time to
talk with them. It sounds like Mr. Mara was a
wonderful husband, father, and man. He lived a life
few could hope to imagine.
Most of these warm stories concluded with the
thought of “the NFL wouldn’t be what it is today
without Wellington Mara.” While that seems to be
true, I think that the one person who has had the
most impact on shaping the modern NFL rarely gets
the credit that he justly deserves. That person is
you Mr. Hunt.
To me, the actions that spurred the NFL’s growth
were a direct response to your creation of the
American Football League. Obviously you had help
from your partners in The Foolish Club, but you were
the founding father and driving force of the new
league. The NFL, after years of refusing to do so,
expanded in 1960 in an attempt to undercut the AFL.
Because of the AFL, the NFL began to understand the
power of broadcast TV. And then, there’s the world’s
most popular sporting event, The Super Bowl. You
rallied for a championship match between the leagues
from day one. And you came up with the name. Take
away the AFL, or better yet, take away Lamar Hunt,
and would the NFL be what it is today? The answer is
a resounding “no.”
But it’s what I’ve read about your integrity,
honesty, and sense of fair play that impresses me
the most. When an NFL franchise was offered to you
if you abandoned your upstart league, you refused,
knowing that AFL owners like Billy Sullivan, Jr. had
everything they owned invested in their teams. I’ve
also heard that you personally wrote game checks for
the New York Jets when Harry Wismer was unable to
I could go on about your importance to professional
football, but honestly, I really want to let you
know about the impact you have had on my life — and
my family. My enthusiasm rubbed off on my younger
brother Tim, because he too is a longtime Chiefs
fan. In 1991, we drove from New York to Kansas City
for the Monday Night game against Buffalo. Our
first, absolutely electrifying Arrowhead experience
is something both of us will never forget. In 1995,
we started a Flynn Family Tradition by attending
Chiefs games with our father, the one who started it
all for us. My dad is a true New Yorker and now
roots for the Bills since, according to him at
least, the Jets and the Giants play in New Jersey!
On November 13th, we’ll all be at Ralph Wilson
Stadium, Section 107, Row 4, Seats 19-17. My older
sister Susan has even gotten involved in our
travels. Along with her husband Denis, a Jets fan
from the AFL days, she attended this year’s opening
game in Arrowhead with us. I treasure the time I
spend with my family and you have helped me do just
that on many priceless occasions. So, for over 30
years, Mr. Lamar Hunt and the Kansas City Chiefs
have been a big part of keeping the Flynn family
I hope I have not wasted your time or made you feel
uncomfortable in any way. I am not usually a letter
writer, but I just felt the need to take some time
to offer respect to someone I admire. Win or lose,
I’ll always bleed Chiefs red. I have you to thank
Good health and good luck to you and your family,
In 2007, the Kansas City Chiefs
will be honoring their founder Lamar Hunt,
and the league that he formed, which would
become the genesis of modern Professional
Football: the American Football League.
The 2007 Media Guide, whose
cover and sample page are pictured here, is
full of images, logos and anecdotes about
the league and each of its original teams.
Prominently featured in the
Guide and in the Chiefs 2007 Yearbook
is a special AFL patch. The
Yearbook's description of the patch is
courtesy of Pete Moris and the
Kansas City Chiefs.
Professional Football and the American
sports community lost a true treasure on
December 13, 2006 when Chiefs Founder Lamar
Hunt passed away. Hunt served as the
guiding force behind the formation of both
the American Football League and the Kansas
City Chiefs franchise. Few individuals
helped change the face of America's favorite
game for the better than this quiet Texan.
Hunt played a key role in the AFL-NFL merger
talks in the '60s and actually coined the
term "Super Bowl". As part of a
year-long tribute to Hunt in 2007, the
Chiefs will wear a commemorative patch that
prominently features the American Football
League logo to serve as a reminder of Hunt's
formation of the AFL and the lasting impact
the American Football League has made on the
game of Professional Football.
True to Hunt's humble
style, the letters "LH" are subtly displayed
on the football of the AFL logo, symbolizing
the fact that the Chiefs Founder always put
the interests of the league ahead of his
own. The patch will be affixed to the
left chest of both Kansas City's home and
away jerseys, meaning this piece of woven
symbolism will be worn over the heart of
every Chiefs player.
THE PATCH IS NOW PERMANENT!