KANSAS CITY — Unlike their in-state NFL counterpart, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs said there should be no uncertainty about where his team will play in the future.
Clark Hunt, general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were among several Chiefs officials at a news conference Tuesday at Union Station in Kansas City, announcing team initiatives to mark the Chiefs' 50-year anniversary in the city.
Hunt, son of team founder Lamar Hunt, said his father wanted the team to stay in Kansas City so badly that he took part in a marathon bargaining session to secure renovations at Arrowhead Stadium — even though he was suffering through the final year of a 10-year battle with prostate cancer.
"One of the things I remember about that time period, he was very, very sick and pulled an all-nighter with us on one of the negotiations on the lease," Clark Hunt said. "He did it because it was so important to him for the Chiefs to stay here another 50 years."
Lamar Hunt's negotiations helped give the Chiefs stability at a time when some NFL teams seemingly have the itch to move. Upon moving from Los Angeles prior to the 1995 season, the St. Louis Rams signed a 30-year lease that requires that the Edward Jones Dome remain among the top eight of the 31 NFL stadiums. If not, the team can break the lease at certain junctures — the next being after the 2014 season. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has been noncommittal about the team's future in St. Louis.
Hunt said Tuesday that winning a Super Bowl remains one of his top goals — not so much for him or the team, but for the people of Kansas City.
"It's been a long time since Kansas City has enjoyed the celebration that goes along with winning a Super Bowl," he said. "I desperately want to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy first, then go on and win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which my dad also named."
Former Pro Bowl quarterback Trent Green was on hand Tuesday, as were 10 people who have had season tickets for all 50 years the team has been in Kansas City.
Fans have expected big things out of the Chiefs, especially after the team's oft-criticized quarterback Matt Cassel took the Chiefs to the playoffs two years ago. Crennel says he still has faith in Cassel, despite last year's abysmal season and late-season injury.
"Once a guy shows you that he can do the job, you know that it's in him," Crennel said. "We've just got to get it out of him."
Neither Hunt nor Crennel offered much when asked about Pro Bowl receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was given the team's franchise tag in March and stands to make about $9.5 million next season.
Bowe, who has said he wants a long-term deal, has neither signed the franchise tender nor shown up for organized team activities.
"We're waiting for Dwayne to come in, that's what we're doing," Crennel said. "Dwayne would like a long-term contract and we've been talking about that with him. We'll just let the process play out."
"We look forward to having him back. That's all I'll say," Hunt said.