Clark Hunt has walked through the Chiefs’ locker room after games countless times since he was named chairman of the Chiefs in 2005.
But he never found himself in this position, speaking after a Chiefs divisional-round victory that carried with it the prospect of winning the trophy named for his father.
The Lamar Hunt Trophy goes to the AFC champion. By virtue of their 31-13 triumph over the Indianapolis Colts on a snowy Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will appear in the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1993 — a game that will be played at Arrowhead for the first time in history.
The opponent will be the winner of Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers in Foxborough, Mass.
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“Very special obviously for our family,” Hunt said. “It’s one of the goals I put out for the players at the beginning of the year. The first thing I want to do is win that Lamar Hunt Trophy, then I want to go to the Super Bowl and win the Lombardi Trophy.
“I’m so excited to be able to do it here at Arrowhead, to play for the championship in front of our fans.”
The Chiefs have met all of their goals thus far. They won the AFC West, finished with the best record in the AFC to gain homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and won their first postseason game.
Until Saturday, the Chiefs had lost six straight home playoff games, dating to the 1995 season. They’ve now won three home postseason games in their history.
The team had been hearing about that all week.
“You can’t help but hear about it,” said Chiefs defensive lineman Xavier Williams, a Kansas City native. “It was getting built up a lot but everybody just stayed calm. But we let people say what they wanted to say. We’re the No. 1 seed in the AFC. We want our respect too. That’s all it came down to.”
Still, even Hunt said the Chiefs were a bit overdue for some postseason success.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hunt said. “It’s something I think as an organization it’s something we should have accomplished in recent history. Since Andy (Reid) has come here we’ve had a lot of shots, but finally we get a chance of winning that AFC championship.”
Hunt said he didn’t feel nervous heading into the game but there seemed to be a sense of relief afterward.
“I’m like the team,” Hunt said. “I don’t associate our playoff history with the opportunity we had today. Every year is a new year. So many of the players turn over, you have new coaches. The opportunity was completely unique.
“It is great to get that talking point behind us though. There was lot of noise about it. The fans has a lot of anxiety of about it. That’s all now in the rear-view mirror.”
Ahead lies the chance to win the trophy named for Lamar Hunt, who founded the franchise and was its owner until his death in 2006.