Clark Hunt expects playoffs again for Chiefs


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A sluggish preseason from the Kansas City Chiefs hasn't dulled the optimism from their chairman, Clark Hunt. He said on Wednesday he expects another postseason appearance from the Chiefs, who haven't made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 1994 and 1995.

"My expectation is that we build on what we did last year,'' Hunt said before the Chiefs' annual kickoff luncheon. "We obviously set the bar very high for ourselves, not only with the undefeated start but the 11 wins and making the playoffs.

"I expect John [Dorsey] and Andy [Reid] to build on that. It won't always show up week to week in wins and losses but clearly we want to get back to the playoffs and hopefully go further than we did last year.''

Regardless of how the Chiefs do this season, in a sense it's already a success. Interest in the Chiefs in Kansas City has rebounded after a horrible stretch of seasons dating from the late 2000s to the early 2010s.

The Chiefs once sold out Arrowhead Stadium on a seasonal basis except for a few hundred tickets they purposely held back for single-game buyers. By the late 2000s, they were begging their fans to come to games and had their first local TV blackout in more than 15 years in 2009.

The rebound started last year with the hiring of Reid as head coach. But it took an 11-win season and a return to the playoffs before the interest was truly rekindled.

Season-ticket sales swelled from about 50,000 to over 60,000, according to Chiefs president Mark Donovan, who also said TV ratings for the first three preseason games have increased more than 10 percent.

"The fan base really responded to the success the team had last year,'' Hunt said. "There's a lot of interest in the Kansas City Chiefs right now.''