Clark Hunt, KC Chiefs React to Another AFC West Title and Playoff Berth

andy reid and hunt


The 2023-24 season hasn’t always been particularly kind to the Kansas City Chiefs. The reigning Super Bowl champs have looked like anything but title contenders for the past few months, although they maintained opportunities to do damage and extend their season anyway. Week 17 presented another one, which the franchise took advantage of en route to another division crown.

With a 25-17 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City secured its eighth AFC West championship in a row. All of those have arrived under head coach Andy Reid’s watch. Clinching the division 16 games into the year is a bit later than the Chiefs are used to, although they ended up sealing the deal in time to get locked into the AFC’s three-seed for the postseason.

Speaking to the media following the game, Reid discussed his team’s Sunday accomplishment.  “All in all, it was a good game to get,” Reid said. “It was great to have the guys have a championship with the AFC West. That’s a positive thing. I know how they are — they’re not going to rest on that — but it is exciting for them to get a taste, especially the new guys that haven’t had that experience. Again, proud of the whole situation there.”

Dating back to 2016, the worst the Chiefs have done is go 10-6 in the regular season, win the AFC West and get bounced in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. With quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm, their worst season was a 12-win effort and a narrow AFC Championship Game loss. While this year will end in either 10 or 11 victories in a 17-game season and a to-be-determined playoff outcome, this is something the team wants to celebrate. Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, who’s been around for the Reid era and much more, gives the head coach all the credit.

“I think it’s a testament to Coach Reid and his staff,” Hunt said. “He’s going to go down as one of the greatest head coaches in the National Football League. We now have won the West 16 times, which is tops among the AFC teams, and those are the four teams that go all the way back to 1960. So [it’s] great that we’re No. 1 in that category. Again, I’d give Andy all the credit for that.”

That 16-title mark Hunt mentioned is impressive all on its own, but especially considering the turnaround Kansas City has undergone with Reid. Before the streak started, every other team in the division was tied with 15 titles each. That left the Chiefs far, far behind with just eight. Less than a decade later, the landscape and history have both been transformed by a single squad.

Along the way, a couple of championships have accumulated. Hunt, Reid and other pillars of the organization are no strangers to witnessing more thrilling triumphs than an AFC West clinch. They, along with Mahomes, have helped construct a pair of championship-winning clubs and even more conference winners in the process. Mahomes, like his head coach and the team owner, is happy to win the West but wants more.

“It’s definitely special,” Mahomes said. “It always is, though. It really always is. It’s cool to win the AFC West but obviously, dealing with some adverse situations over these last few weeks. For guys to respond against a good football team and find a way to win, even when the game wasn’t going our way at the beginning of it, it was special. I told the guys to celebrate it, enjoy it. But our goal is obviously to continue to win, so we have to continue to build off this momentum and get ready for the playoffs.”

Before each season, the Chiefs tend to outline some of their goals for the upcoming campaign. Under Reid and Mahomes, the biggest item to check off the list is a Super Bowl victory. While that’s unrealistic in terms of the probability of happening every year, it’s totally fair to expect given the culture Kansas City has. Securing the one-seed in the AFC and notching a first-round bye likely ranks second on the list, which the Chiefs failed to do. They did, however, complete task No. 3: win the division.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones doesn’t underestimate the importance of that, even if he will soon pivot to reaching greater heights in 2024.  “I think it’s tough,” Jones said. “I think we make these goals every year [at] the beginning of the year, and I think the most important goal is to win the AFC West. Then you can build off of that into the year. I think this is a huge milestone for the organization. We’re going to continue to build off of this. As Pat said, we’re going to try to stay consistent with this.”

Hunt is in agreement.   “While we’re excited about it, it’s only the first of our goals,” Hunt said. “We’ve got a lot in front of us from here.”


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