By Julian Draper
Conference title gives Chiefs spot on football’s biggest stage
The Kansas City Chiefs are about to do something they have not done since January 1970: play in a Super Bowl.
With their 35-24 win over Tennessee Sunday afternoon (Jan. 19) at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs (14-4) won the AFC title to advance to face San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV, slated for Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium. The 49ers defeated Green Bay 37-20 Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.
By defeating the Titans, the Chiefs not only reached the Super Bowl for the first time in a half-century; they also won the Lamar Hunt Trophy for the first time. Hunt, who died in 2006, founded the Chiefs (first called the Dallas Texans) and the American Football League (AFL) – the league the Chiefs played in when they won Super Bowl IV in January 1970. He also helped organize the merger of the AFL into the NFL.
Following the merger in 1970, the NFL established the AFC and the NFC, with the winner of each conference title game to meet in the Super Bowl, the league championship. As multiple sources have reported, the trophy for the AFC champion became known in 1984 as the Lamar Hunt Trophy – the same season the trophy for the NFC champion was dubbed the George S. Halas Trophy.
During his postgame press conference, Chiefs coach Andy Reid commented on winning the AFC trophy for Hunt’s family, which still owns the team.
“Bringing that trophy back here, wow!” Reid said. “How great is that?”
The victory gave Reid his first AFC title and his second title overall as a head coach. He won the NFC title in January 2005 while coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’ve fond memories of that…. I’m glad Sal (ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio) could come join us. He was at both of them, so he knows (what the first one was like),” Reid said. “But there’s something special about this trophy with the Hunt family.”
Clark Hunt, Chiefs chairman and CEO and one of Hunt’s four children, appreciated Reid’s comments.
“He’s going to get to go to his second Super Bowl (as a head coach) – and hopefully, this time, get a victory,” Clark Hunt said. “And as a family, we’re as excited about him getting that opportunity as he is in bringing this trophy to us.”
A win in Super Bowl LIV would give the Hunts another trophy: the Lombardi Trophy. The trophy is named after the late coach Vince Lombardi, who won five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls with Green Bay. One of those Super Bowl victories was against Kansas City.