The Kansas City Chiefs may be one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, but Chiefs owner/CEO Clark Hunt has other goals in mind beyond athletic success.
>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<
Hunt, who became a Christian at 10 years old, has built a culture around his Christian faith, saying he makes it a top priority for his staff.
“We want our employees to develop spiritually,” Hunt said in October at the CityFest East Texas Men’s Luncheon, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “In the National Football League, Christ is really glorified. My identity is my faith in Christ.”
In the same speech, Hunt also praised star QB Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP who has led the Chiefs to the AFC championship game in each of his first two seasons as a starter. Hunt said the Chiefs were in search of a young quarterback to take the team to the next level, and Mahomes has turned out to be that guy.
“Watching Patrick last year was an unbelievable revelation,” Hunt said. “You would have thought he was a 10-year veteran.”
Mahomes has also talked publicly about the role his faith plays in his life.
Man this is crazy! God is amazing! Thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped me get here! #ChiefsKindgom thank you for your passion but this is just the beginning!
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) February 3, 2019
Since 2014, through a partnership with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, local churches and Hunt’s direct support, the Chiefs have offered their fans a nondenominational pregame chapel service, the first such recurring onsite faith event in the NFL. Church of the Resurrection was the 2019 host of the event, which takes place every week there is a noon home game. Because fans at Arrowhead Stadium may miss their normal Sunday worship opportunities by attending Chiefs games, a service is held in a pavilion at the stadium and features a message and worship starting at 10 a.m.
Hunt and his family regularly attend.
“It’s neat that he makes the effort for him and his family to come,” Kris Thomas, an FCA area representative in Kansas, said in 2017. “I guarantee on Christmas Eve they have a lot people out there who would like their time. And yet they make this a priority. I haven’t been here where they haven’t been here.”
“You’re establishing a new culture,” FCA’s Kansas City Director Alex Campbell said in 2017. “You get to see this thing come to a fruition where lives can be changed. Now people are actually saying, ‘If this happens, then I’ll get season tickets (for next year).’ The service has that much of an impact, and the season-ticket holders are saying, ‘We need this.’ It’s got to be fulfillment for the Hunt family for even having the vision.”
As Hunt has instilled his Christian faith in the Chiefs organization off the field, their on-the-field performance has accelerated, accumulating a regular-season record of 57-23 over the past five years, along with five playoff appearances and four divisional titles.
Of the four remaining teams this season, the Chiefs have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl, led by a resurgent Mahomes, who threw for 321 yards and five touchdowns on Sunday against Houston, while also leading the Chiefs in rushing with 53 yards. Kansas City hosts the Tennessee Titans in the AFC championship game this Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET.
— Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says ‘God is amazing’ after earning NFL MVP award
— 49ers RB Tevin Coleman says he’s ‘blessed by God to be here’ after premature birth
— NFL’s 2020 Super Bowl Breakfast to feature faith and football, honor Giants QB Eli Manning
— LB Wesley Woodyard strives to walk with God as Titans make unexpected playoff run
— Titans QB Ryan Tannehill clings to faith as he prepares for playoff matchup at Baltimore