An Inside Look At The Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs, by almost any standard, are an organization of high quality. Their run for championships has proven that. But there is a deeper level to this organization. A foundation that is solid, hardworking, and shrewd. Yet, they seem to focus on upholding integrity.
For the first time ever, I actually watched the NFL draft, probably because I live in Kansas City where it was held this year. I found the most interesting aspect of the draft to be the interviews with the players who were being drafted. They have some awesome stories!
The pundits were having their fun trying to do mock drafts, most of the names many of us have never heard of and certainly can’t put a face to a name yet. As speculation grew and the names came off the board one by one, I thought of the enormous task scouts and management have as they weigh the balance of character and talent.
Great teams are no different than anything else in this universe. Without a conscious effort to improve each and every year, entropy will occur. It’s just a fact of nature. If you do nothing, disorder, decay, and chaos will naturally happen. For instance, if I leave the house for a month to go out of town, I come home to a dusty, dirty house at no fault of my own.
The same is true for relationships and teams. There is constant work to be done to make them great. Many is the fool who gets into a long-term relationship and thinks there is no longer a need to work at it.
That’s one of the things I appreciate most about the Chiefs…the obvious work they put into the organization. Not just in the choice of players, but in the actual development of the person. From the top down, they strive to do things right. And it begins at the top.
Clark Hunt, the owner of the Chiefs, has expressed, “My identity is my faith in Christ.” Clark grew up in a faith-based family and became a Christian at the age of 10. He has continued his father, Lamar Hunt’s legacy, by striving to build a culture around faith. In fact, he makes it a top priority.
The Chiefs’ organization is all about changing lives. That’s the vision of Clark Hunt. What many of you may not know is that since 2014, through a partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Chiefs host a nondenominational pregame chapel service for fans before every home Sunday noon game and for Christmas Eve games. Because the people going to Arrowhead may miss their normal Sunday worship time by attending the early games, a service is held in the pavilion at the stadium at 10 a.m. where fans can worship and hear a message of faith. Hunt and his family regularly attend.
The ripple effects of such leadership can’t help but be noticed. From coaches to staff to players, the culture is clear. Be a person of integrity.
Former offensive lineman, Stefen Wisniewski, who played on the 2020 Chiefs Super Bowl team talked freely about the role faith plays in the Chiefs’ organization. “There’s definitely a lot of Christians in that organization, and it starts at the top; that’s pretty powerful, with the owner…and he kind of sets the tone from there.” Stefen even changed his Twitter bio to begin with the words, “Disciple of Jesus Christ” rather than “NFL player.”
Likewise, from that same Super Bowl team, cornerback Antonio Hamilton placed these words on his Twitter bio to explain who he is. 1. God. 2. Father and husband. 3. Family. 4. Football player.
And that is the mindset the Chiefs teach. Many players can be seen praying on the field before or after games. Defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnola, has expressed his open gratitude that he “always has Jesus to fall back on.” Kicker, Harrison Butker, is a fierce competitor, but he will “always pray God’s will to be done.” Even the mascot, Dan Meers, is an ambassador for Christ doing mission trips in the off season. (If you haven’t read the blog on Dan, check it out on my website.) https://www.annehopebooks.com/post/what-no-one-tells-you-about-the-kc-chiefs-mascot
Linebacker Nick Bolton and quarterback Patrick Mahomes have each expressed how much they have grown in their faith during their time with the Chiefs. Patrick often speaks openly about his faith saying, “It plays a role in everything I do. It guides you why you’re playing the game. You’re playing for something bigger than yourself…trying to represent something much bigger than yourself....It just kind of relieves the pressure of playing a football game because I know that I’m on that football field to glorify Him before everything. So it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about going out there and being the best that I can in His name.”
Mahomes was recently affected so much by a passage in Acts 20: 7-12 that he added a tattoo as a visual reminder of the impact the story has had on him. It is the account of a young man called Eutychus who was on the third story of a house listening to Paul preach. Eutychus was sitting in an open window, half in and half out, when he dozed off and fell to his death.
According to Mahomes, the tattoo is to constantly remind him of his relationship with God. “You can’t be half in and half out...that told me I needed to be fully in." He expressed how much his faith has grown over the last couple of years in particular, realizing that he must stay totally engaged in his relationship with Christ…which brings us back to the concept of entropy. It takes a conscious effort!
What many don’t understand is that Christianity is not a set of rules. It’s a relationship. And it will deteriorate if you don’t put time and effort into it. And that’s something the Chiefs promote. The Chiefs have proven over and over again that they believe in second chances. They believe in helping men be the best they can be, both on and off the field. They believe in being God’s skin to people both in and outside of their organization. And sometimes that’s just what a person needs…a little skin!
The Chiefs understand that people make mistakes; no one is perfect. But they are there to bring the prodigal son back into the fold if his heart is willing. It is obvious the Chiefs put the work into their relationships within the organization.
The management is shrewd. They realize these young men are being sent out among the wolves of luxury and fame. They know it is a dangerous world. They know how fickle the crowds can be and how short-lived popularity can be. While trying to prepare these men for games, the organization is also seeking to prepare their players to navigate the dangers of the limelight.
The Chiefs realize (as should we) that most people are banged up. Banged up families. Insecurities. Betrayal. Failure. Depression. Addictions. Wrong choices. Health concerns. And even self-destruction. They offer hope to the banged up. They offer a safe place to grow. They offer a brotherhood and a locker room of friendship to counteract the poverty of loneliness as these young men enter an uncharted phase of their lives.
I leave you with one thought…should we not be doing the same with those in our circle of life?
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