Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs Owner Passes At 74

AFL founder, Chiefs owner Hunt dead at 74 wire reports

DALLAS (Dec. 14, 2006) -- Lamar Hunt, the pro sports visionary who owned the Kansas City Chiefs and came up with the term "Super Bowl," died Dec. 13. He was 74.

Hunt, the son of a famous and wealthy Texas family, died at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas of complications from prostate cancer, Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said.

Lamar Hunt 1932-2006

Lamar Hunt founded the AFL and helped shape the modern NFL.

Hunt battled cancer for several years and was hospitalized the day before Thanksgiving with a partially collapsed lung. Doctors discovered that the cancer had spread, and Hunt had been under heavy sedation since last week.

"He was a founder. He was the energy, really, that put together half of the league, and then he was the key person in merging the two leagues together," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Hunt's neighbor. "You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody that's made a bigger contribution (to the NFL) than Lamar Hunt."

The son of Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, Lamar Hunt grew up in Dallas and attended a private boys' prep school in Pennsylvania, serving as captain of the football team in his senior year. His love of sports led to his nickname, "Games."

Hunt played football at SMU, but never rose above third string. His modest achievements on the field were dwarfed by his accomplishments as an owner and promoter of teams in professional football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and bowling.

Hunt's business dealings were also the stuff of headlines. Hunt didn't need to make money -- his father was an oil wildcatter who was often referred to as the richest man in the world. But he tried to build on his father's wealth.

Along with two brothers, Hunt tried to corner the silver market in 1979 and 1980. Their oil investments also soured in the 1980s. Some estimated the family's losses in the billions.

Hunt also suffered setbacks in the world of pro sports, but overcame them.

When NFL owners rebuffed Hunt's attempt to buy a franchise and move it to Dallas, Hunt -- ignoring his father's advice -- founded the AFL. He owned one of the AFL's eight original teams from the inaugural 1960 season, the Dallas Texans.

The Texans, however, struggled in head-to-head competition with the expansion Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Convinced that both franchises would suffer as long as Dallas remained a two-team city, Hunt moved the Texans to Kansas City in 1963.

"I looked around and figured Kansas City could be a success," he told The Associated Press. "By our fourth or fifth year, we started to succeed. The Cowboys, of course, did very well, too."

Hunt realized his dream of becoming an NFL owner after the two leagues reached a merger deal in 1966.

In 1967, the Chiefs lost the first AFL-NFL championship -- it was then called the World Championship Game. Three years later, the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings for the title.

By then, the championship game had been christened the Super Bowl. Hunt came up with the name while watching his children play with a SuperBall.

In 1972, Hunt became the first AFL figure to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and each year the Lamar Hunt Trophy goes to the winner of the NFL's American conference.

Hunt long campaigned to let teams other than Dallas and Detroit play at home on Thanksgiving Day. To honor his effort, the NFL scheduled a third game on the holiday this year -- in Kansas City. Hunt missed it, though, because he was in the hospital and couldn't get the game on TV.

For several years, Hunt also owned the minor-league baseball Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, but his 1964 effort to bring major league baseball to the Dallas area failed. After the 1971 season, the Washington franchise moved to suburban Arlington and became the Texas Rangers.

In 1967, Hunt was one of 10 original founding partners in the Chicago Bulls basketball franchise. He was the last remaining original owner.

Also in 1967, Hunt started the first organized effort at a pro tennis tour with World Championship Tennis, and in 1968 he helped bring pro soccer to the United States with his Dallas Tornado of the old North American Soccer League.

More recently, Hunt and his sons owned Hunt Sports Group, which manages Major League Soccer franchises in Dallas, Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio.

In 1969, Hunt tried to buy Alcatraz, the island in San Francisco Bay that once housed a federal prison, and develop it with a tourist park and shopping destination. The idea died amid local protest.

Hunt created Worlds of Fun, a $50 million amusement park, and Oceans of Fun, a $7 million water recreation park, in Kansas City. He opened a pro bowling arena in Dallas -- actress Jayne Mansfield was the opening-night draw.

Hunt was part of H.L. Hunt's "first family" -- the wildcatter had 15 children by three women. Despite huge losses in the silver and oil markets, family members kept much of their wealth protected by elaborate trusts, and their names have long dotted lists of the wealthiest Americans.

Counting pro football, Hunt has been inducted into eight halls of fame, including ones for soccer and tennis as well as the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the Kansas City Business Hall of Fame.

Hunt is survived by wife Norma, children Lamar Jr., Sharron Munson, Clark and Daniel; and 13 grandchildren.

The Associated Press News Service


NFL-PER-15 12/12/06

San Francisco 49ers
OUT T Adam Snyder (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE TE Eric Johnson (Knee); LB Derek Smith (Hamstring); CB Shawntae Spencer
(Ankle); LB Jeff Ulbrich (Foot)
PROBABLE DT Anthony Adams (Knee); T Jonas Jennings (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Adam Snyder; Eric Johnson; Derek Smith; Jonas Jennings
Seattle Seahawks
OUT C Robbie Tobeck (Hip); WR Darrell Jackson (Toe); TE Itula Mili (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE DT Rocky Bernard (Foot); G Floyd Womack (Groin); WR Bobby Engram (Illness)
PROBABLE DE Joe Tafoya (Calf)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Robbie Tobeck; Darrell Jackson; Itula Mili; Rocky Bernard; Floyd Womack

NY area Fans STILL Getting Squeezed By NFL network

NY area Fans STILL Getting Squeezed By NFL network-from today's NY times sports section.

Published: December 13, 2006
The NFL Network has offered Time Warner and Cablevision an opportunity for their New York-New Jersey subscribers to see Rutgers play Kansas State in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 if they accept the network’s weeklong free preview.

Yesterday, Time Warner and Cablevision — with about 4.5 million customers in the local market — did not show enthusiasm for the offer. Cablevision’s response showed that it did not want to give the channel much exposure.

Cablevision said it expected to carry only the pregame programming before the Texas Bowl, the game and any postgame coverage, not the full week from Dec. 24 to Dec. 30. It would be available to Cablevision’s Family Cable customers on Channel 14.

In doing so, Cablevision would eliminate the NFL Network’s hope of showing the breadth of its programming to customers who had not seen it and might demand it from Time Warner and Cablevision.

Maureen Huff, a Time Warner spokeswoman, said, “We just received the proposal and are looking at it.” She declined to say whether Time Warner was considering the same limited response as Cablevision.

League spokesmen refused to comment on whether Cablevision’s response violated the terms of the weeklong offer. “We will review their full response,” said Joe Browne, a spokesman.

Time Warner and Cablevision have refused to carry the NFL Network, at a monthly subscriber fee of 70 cents, on a broadly available tier like expanded basic.

The free preview, a common marketing tool in cable, especially for movie channels, was offered by Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, during a telephone conversation yesterday with Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey. The league has received several hundred phone calls from fans who want to see the Rutgers-Kansas State bowl game.

Lautenberg has been lobbying the league to broaden the coverage of the Texas Bowl ever since it appeared possible that Rutgers would play in it. “The bottom line is that people in New Jersey need to be able to watch Rutgers play, and now we have a way to do that,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

The league chose to provide the free preview rather than license the game to local broadcast stations in the New York-New Jersey or Manhattan, Kan., areas, or stream it to broadband Internet users on

And my Take: This is just another slap in the face by The NFL network to it's NY area fans. People who don't want to pay for the Poor service of Dish Network or to Give Verizon anymore money. Some of us really want this Coverage, but we are happy That CABLEvision and Time Warner are standing up for us customers. It would be nice to have the free Preview though.