[Kansas City.com] This one was for Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt.
Hunt fought to bring a Thanksgiving Day game to Kansas City for the last 37 years, but he was hospitalized in Dallas for a partially collapsed lung and unable to attend the Chiefs-Broncos game on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs, visibly touched by Hunt’s absence, awarded the game ball from their 19-10 win to Hunt’s son, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt.
Lamar Hunt had long lobbied his fellow NFL owners to rotate Thanksgiving Day games among other teams in the league in addition to Detroit and Dallas, which have had traditional Thanksgiving Day games. So when the NFL launched an eight-game, prime-time schedule for the NFL Network starting with Thanksgiving night, it awarded Kansas City the prime-time game as a tribute to Hunt.
“Tonight we played without our most important player, Lamar Hunt,” Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said. “No one deserved to be here more and wanted to be here more and put more into what transpired than him and more deserving of the game ball, specifically for this game.”
“There’s nothing better to get him well than this win.”
Hunt, 74, has been in and out of the hospital during the last 2 1/2 months for treatments in his battle with cancer. This is the third Chiefs game he has missed this season.
Clark Hunt said his father’s illness was not related to cancer or cancer treatments.
“His health is just fragile,” Clark Hunt said. “But he’s doing much better. I believe he’s going to get out of the hospital (today). He started feeling poorly a couple of days ago, and thankfully by today, he was feeling a lot better. Not good enough to make the game.”