Lamar Hunt must have been smiling down this past Sunday as his family and a beloved sports franchise, the Kansas City Chiefs, raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LIV.
It was an impressive 31-20 win from a franchise that has been on the rise the last six years after 50 years of championship drought.
Now, can Clark and Dan Hunt do in Frisco, what they did in Kansas City? Hopefully.
Clark Hunt took over the reins from his father Lamar in 2006, becoming the CEO of both the Chiefs and FC Dallas in the process. Dan Hunt became the vice president of the Hunt Sports Group and president of FC Dallas. After Clark took over for his father, the Chiefs only won one AFC West division title in 2010.
After going 2-14 in 2012, Clark Hunt wrote a letter to the Chiefs’ season ticket holders. His uncle Ray Hunt, who is also a Chiefs’ season ticket holder, remembered getting a letter from Clark in the offseason. Ray Hunt told the Dallas Morning News Clark Hunt wrote, “I want you to know that this city deserves better than what we provided. We can do better. And I promise you, we will do better.”
In 2013, Clark Hunt fired the Chief’s head coach Romeo Crennel totally reorganized the front office. He hired Andy Reid and a completely new staff that reported directly to Clark Hunt. He kept his promise. The Chiefs won their division the last four years and this year, of course, won the Super Bowl.
What was the difference? Clark Hunt told the Dallas Morning News that he held the staff accountable, but let them do their jobs.
Now, how does that relate to FC Dallas and winning championships?
It seems that the two flagship programs of the Hunts $3 billion sports empire are on similar paths. A year after Reid was hired in Kansas City, Hunt hired Oscar Pareja to lead FC Dallas. The Hunt family also made a commitment to making the FC Dallas academy the best in the MLS, opening a pipeline of young talent for the senior team.
While Pareja never was able to secure a MLS championship, in 2015, FC Dallas won the Supporter’s Shield (the MLS team with the most wins in the regular season). Now, the Hunts have turned over coaching duties to Luchi Gonzalez and promoted Marco Ferruzzi to the general manager post. Last season, the team made the playoffs and took the eventual MLS Champions, Seattle Sounders, to overtime in the first round of the playoffs.
Will the Hunts step back and allow Gonzalez and Ferruzzi and the rest of the front office to do what they do best? It seems like it so far.
But will that be all FC Dallas needs to bring home a championship? There might be one more piece.
The Chiefs also went out and found a playmaker, a guy who can make a difference not only in one or two games but across a season. That player was quarterback Patrick Mahomes. After sitting on the bench his rookie season, Mahomes has gone on to prove that he can play at this level. In just his second season in the league, Mahomes earned the MVP award. This year he followed that up by throwing for 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns with only five interceptions. Along the way he also picked up a Super Bowl victory, was named the Super Bowl MVP and went to Disney World. Not a bad season.
Does FC Dallas have their playmaker this year? It remains to be seen, but Franco Jara could be that guy. In January, the team reportedly gave Jara the largest contract in team history. Jara scored 16 goals last season for Pachuca in the Liga MX. He is a definite playmaker.
While it will be several months before we get to see Jara wearing the FC Dallas crest, he could be a difference-maker on an already talented team. And with young talent like Reggie Cannon, Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, and others mixed in, this team could allow the Hunt family to lift another championship trophy in November.
It all starts on Feb. 29, when FC Dallas opens the season at home against Philadelphia.
What do you think? Can FC Dallas repeat the success of the Kansas Chiefs and win it all?
Featured Image: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports