KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt’s faith in his team never wavered even during a 1-5 start to the season.
But more importantly, he always stood behind coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, both of whom were hired in January 2013.
“It really goes back to the job they’ve done over the last two and half years since they’ve been here, almost three now,” Hunt said. “Their body of work in the three seasons with us has been fantastic. Although we were disappointed in the five-game losing streak at the beginning of the season, I sensed they had a chance to turnaround and sure enough they have.”
The Chiefs reeled off nine straight wins entering Sunday’s season finale against the Oakland Raiders and became the first team in NFL history to have an eight-game winning streak after at least a five-game skid.
The winning streak extended to a franchise-record 10 straight games after defeating the Raiders 23-17, and the Chiefs will enter the playoffs at 11-5 as the fifth seed.
Kansas City is the second team in NFL history – joining the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals – to secure a playoff berth after a 1-5 start.
Hunt’s belief in Reid and Dorsey was forged during weekly conversations.
The Chiefs haven’t lost since falling 16-10 to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, and Hunt received reassurance from Reid, who holds a 31-17 regular-season record since becoming the Chiefs head coach.
“Andy said the key was we got to keep focused on our next opponent and that’s what he did,” Hunt said. “We got that first victory, which I think really lifted the team’s spirit. Went to London, I think the team had a great experience over there. Obviously, won the game and it just took off from there.”
A large part of Reid’s leadership surrounded keeping the team together, and his ability to not lose the players during the losing streak held the Chiefs together.
“In this locker room, we all looked at each other and we knew we had this,” running back Charcandrick West said. “We stuck together and you see the outcome.”
Hunt gave Reid and Dorsey a public vote of confidence in Week 8 during a media session in London, and he reinforced Sunday what he previously stated about not making changes during the losing streak.
“I’m a big believer in continuity and I’m a big believer in Andy Reid and John Dorsey,” Hunt said. “Although I was very disappointed, I wasn’t thinking at all about making changes.”
Hunt also admits he wasn’t contemplating the postseason during the 1-5 start.
Instead, the focus was on snapping the slide and jump start the season to where the Chiefs are now.
“Once we started stringing some victories together,” Hunt said, “I became optimistic that we could maybe carry it all the way to the end of the season and make the playoffs, and that’s the way it’s played out.”
The Chiefs will travel to Houston to face the Texans in the first round of the playoffs.