Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt had been asking for this day for 37 years. Before, during, and after every NFL season, Hunt would beg the league to allow a Thanksgiving Day game to come to Kansas City. Every year, he was denied. That was until last night when Arrowhead Stadium played host to its first-ever Thanksgiving Day game. The Chiefs won 19-10, but it was a bittersweet victory.
Hunt was not able to see the game in person. Instead, the 74-year-old owner was admitted to a Dallas-area hospital Wednesday with a partially collapsed lung. He was relegated to listening to the game through his hospital telephone. The game was only televised on the NFL Network, in Kansas City, and in Denver. It was part of a trial experiment by the NFL to feature games on its network. Hunt’s hospital room was not hooked up to satellite cable. Hunt’s daughter, who was watching the game from her home, held the phone up to her television so he could hear it.
Hunt has been in and out of the hospital over the last 2 ½ months battling cancer. For an owner that has only missed a handful of games in his tenure, this was the third game he had missed this year alone.
On the surface, the game appeared to be a success. Plenty of people took time away from stuffing their faces full of Thanksgiving trimmings. There was a standing-room-only crowd of 80,866 in attendance, the largest crowd since 1972.