NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk were raised around football, by influential fathers.
Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams founded the AFL together in 1959, and were members of the "Foolish Club.'' Even before the league's merger with the NFL, Hunt moved his Dallas Texans to Kansas City in 1963, and renamed them the Chiefs. Adams became owner of the Houston Oilers, who would later become the Tennessee Titans.
So Clark Hunt, who has been involved in the leadership of the Chiefs for more than a decade, knows the Adams family well. He said he's been impressed with Strunk's approach to running the franchise since taking over.
He's noticed a lot of changes in the past year.
"Having faced the Titans on the field this year and unfortunately coming out on the wrong side of that, I think she is doing a fantastic job with team,'' Hunt said of Strunk. "I think the team has a very bright future, and you really have to give her a lot of credit for that.
"She is somebody who has been around the business for a long time, and she understands the issues."
Hunt made his comments to Titans Online during an interview on the red carpet at the NFL Honors in Houston. Two days earlier, he was with Strunk at a Super Bowl gathering put on by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.
"She has been very, very committed,'' Hunt said of Strunk. "I know she is very, very involved and very passionate about the Titans."
Bud Adams passed away in October 2013. Strunk assumed the role of controlling owner of the Titans in March 2015 and also serves as the co-chairman of the franchise's Board of Directors.
Strunk has made some bold moves since, including changes at general manager and head coach. She hired Jon Robinson to replace Ruston Webster last January, and named Mike Mularkey head coach after parting ways with Ken Whisenhunt in the middle of the 2015 season. The Titans went 9-7 in 2016, a six-game win total improvement compared to the previous season.
So, does Hunt see some of Mr. Adams in his daughter?
"I think it would be unfair to suggest that anybody has the kind of spunk that Bud Adams had,'' Hunt said with a smile. "I heard the stories my dad shared with me about some of the early meetings of the American Football League, and they were a little bit different than the meetings we have now. Bud was unique, and he was certainly a very important figure in the success of the American Football League. I don't think we'd be standing here today without him.
"But it's easy to see how passionate (Amy) is about the Titans."
Hunt said the two have remained friendly, even after the Titans rallied to beat the Chiefs 19-17 in December.
Hunt's feelings about Ryan Succop's field goal to win it that cold day at Arrowhead Stadium differ from those shared by the Titans, and Strunk.
"That is one of the unique things about the business, is that on Sunday you are trying to beat your friends,'' Hunt said. "But the rest of the week you truly are friends and you go to meetings and deal with common problems and happily go to dinner together. So we're still friends, even after that game."
Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk, head coach Mike Mularkey, GM Jon Robinson, Titans players, alumni and cheerleaders were among those greeting season ticket members at Nashville's Music City Center. (Photos: Gary Glenn)