Chiefs President Mark Donovan Quotes
September 13, 2022
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, good afternoon. Thanks for coming in, guys. We’ve done this I think six, seven years now, so it’s kind of an annual event. We wanted to keep tradition going and right before our first home game of the season to be able to tell you just how excited we are to have the first home game of the season. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is going to be special on Thursday night. And it’s been special every year, but this year especially with the first ever Amazon Prime game, something that I’ve mentioned we’re really proud of (being) able to be the venue that was chosen by Amazon to host their very first event and it’s a tribute to our fans. It’s a tribute to what they have created in this venue, so we’re excited to get to this and excited to get started. A couple of clarification points, obviously Amazon Prime, that’s where you’ll watch the game. If you’re in Kansas City, our partners at Channel 41 – KSHB – will be hosting that game so anybody can watch it over the air here in Kansas City (on a) simulcast. So, with our first game – with it being a Thursday night – traffic’s going to be traffic. We always put these photos up here so you guys can see it and I always point to that one (laughter) which is the entrance to the stadium. That’s a Thursday night. That is not game night. So, that’s an important point, right? So, rush hour traffic on a Thursday you’re going to see that. So, two big points there, one, for those of you not coming to the game, I would avoid the area. Hopefully make it a little easier for not only folks coming to the game, but also for you to get home. For those that are coming to the game, just be prepared. We’re going to open up the gates early – 2:30 parking gates, 4:30 club seats and the 5:00 for general admission. Lots of activities in the parking lot area for folks to tailgate and celebrate what makes GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium so special. I went through a long laundry list of things with you all prior to the Kickoff Luncheon, so I’m not going to waste your time on that again. I’ll open it up to questions and I can follow up with whatever came up then.”
Q: What time do the parking lots open?
Q: So, they open the normal five hours?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, we actually stretch the NFL rules a little bit there. The NFL actually doesn’t want you to open that early, but given the tradition here, we’ve always opened a little beyond that time.”
Q: How has it been for your crew to manage people not parking between the lines all the time?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge. I think our fans have done a better job of it over the years. I think everyone appreciates that conforming with the rules makes it easier for everyone. And a lot of that is ease of entrance for our fans. A lot of it is safety related too. We need to have open aisles so if we need to get an ambulance or something into or out of a parking lot, we can do that. It’s always a challenge the first game. There’s always new folks coming in, they haven’t done it before, always testing the limits of ‘how far can we go?’ So, our staff is working extra hard in the opening couple of weeks to just remind everybody of ‘here’s why we do it and here’s how it works.’ It’s gotten better every year. We track, as you guys know, everything. We look at metrics you wouldn’t believe the detail. And one of the metrics we look at is from what time are we done at the parking gates. People are going to line up here first thing in the morning even though it’s a night game. We look at, ‘When are they empty?’ Or ‘When are people free flowing through them?’ And it’s typically half hour before the game. So, they’re in, now how quickly can we get them into spots. And one of the things that does happen as more and more people come to park, there are spots that are not used, and we’ve got to get people to those spots because we don’t have that many spaces. We have a lot of spaces. But we have more cars than spaces, typically. And we will Thursday night.”
Q: What special things are the Chiefs doing to highlight Kansas City and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on a national platform this Thursday?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, so our game production crew will light up GEHA Field like they always do. I think if you’ve never heard Generald Wilson sing the national anthem at our stadium, be at your seats for the national anthem. He’s amazing and he’ll be there on Thursday night. I won’t tease a lot of what’s going on, but there’ll be a lot of special things this game as we kick off the season. And with Amazon Prime, they’re going to have a ton more, so you’ll have things in the parking lots that fans can interact with, you’ll see a lot more stages on sets on field – both pregame and halftime.”
Q: On tailgating safety.
DONOVAN: “That’s happened here before too (referring to grills not being put out fully before going into the stadium). Someone just figures the grill is out and the slid it underneath the car. That’s a bad idea. And if you saw the video from Miami, there’s proof of that. Our fans a pretty well educated now. Our team does a good job of sweeping post-kick, so we can sort of highlight some of that, identify some of that and get rid of it. Everybody’s learning something every single year, so it’s definitely something we’ll focus on. Our team, again, does a pretty good job at making sure that we’re aware of what could go wrong, so we’re looking for those sorts of things.”
Q: How have the employment numbers been in terms of the contracted employees the Chiefs hire for events?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, the last few years, from a staffing perspective, have been a challenge across all industries. We’ve had the good fortune of being really successful during that time and that really helps us with our numbers – people want to be here; they want to be a part of this team. We go through extensive training with these folks who really work for us one day a week, but as far as our fans are concerned, they’re the Kansas City Chiefs. We appreciate them. We’ve had really good numbers for all the events so far, including concerts this summer. The numbers look good right now as of our production meeting yesterday. There’s always a little bit of a challenge with the night games, we’ll have a late arriving crowd, so we have to stage that, we plan for it. Folks are working full-time and then they come here to work additionally, so they hit the same traffic. So, they’re going to come a little bit later, but we plan for that, so we know where to stage them and where we need to be.”
Q: How special is it to open at home during prime time and while celebrating the 50th anniversary of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, like I said before, it’s a pride point for us as an organization. It’s a pride point for us as a football team, it’s a pride point for us from the business side. We take a lot of pride in what the stadium is and that experience for fans. It’s a bucket list item internationally now. We know that. We get the feedback from people who traveled, they have to experience GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. So, we’re really excited about that. I think that, again, it’s a proof point of that, that Amazon chose us. They want to see that too. To see it Thursday night, it’s a great opportunity for this entire region. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to be highlighted on national TV. It’s got us all excited.”
Q: Can you shed light on the organization’s process on how it looked into the events that proceeded the accident former assistant coach Britt Reid was involved in?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, the only comment I’ll make, because it’s still an ongoing proceeding, is in November, we were part of a team who put together a care plan for Ariel (Young) and we really haven’t been involved since then. The criminal investigation has all been separate, other than full cooperation with all the authorities.”
Q: Have you changed any protocols within the facility or organization?
Q: Are you willing to give the fans a note to get off of work early for the Thursday night game?
DONOVAN: “We’ve done that in the past. That’s usually (Head Coach) Andy (Reid). We’ll have to check if Andy’s going to write that letter again. There’s not the much more to say. We said it so many times, it’s an opportunity for our fans to be on a national showcase and we know they will because they always show up. They impact the game, they definitely do. For those of you who were in Arizona, it was amazing, as it typically is. That national anthem seems to get louder and louder every single week, so we heard it in Arizona, and we’ll hear it again Thursday night.”
Q: Any trepidation as a league in stepping into the full streaming space base where there’s not another option to watch a game?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, I’ll have to compliment the team from Amazon. They have been in our building, in our meetings, on Zoom calls, every level of our organization, so they are really, really excited to do this. They’re really aware of the challenges they’re going to face. It’s going to be a learning curve, I think. They’ve had some experience in this, but we’re going to learn something Thursday night that’ll make them better for the following week. We are locked a loaded with them. I don’t think we’ve done as many pregame production meetings as we have with these guys. But for the same reason, we want it to be as good as it can be too. So, excited more than concerned.”
Q: Is there a date were something will be resolved with who will own the rights to Sunday Ticket next year?
DONOVAN: “I think that’s a league question. (NFL Chief Media and Business Officer) Brian Rolapp and his team there have been working on all the options there. Their track record is pretty good. They’ve put together some really good deals for us.”
Q: As you guys do the study on whether to keep the stadium the way it is or renovate it or look at new site, how much does stage of Thursday night’s game and the World Cup play into that decision?
DONOVAN: “It’s a really good observation. I think it’s very true that the iconic nature of this building is something you have to factor into those discussions and those decisions. We are in the middle of all that and we have a long way to go here, but that’s definitely part of the discussion that – Lambeau (Field) is what it is, Arrowhead and GEHA Field are what they are, and that’s going to be part of the process is what makes the most sense. The other side of that is what we’ve talked about. It’s also a building that was actually constructed in 1970, opened in ‘72, so you have to factor that into it too. When we think about the next 50 years and making the right decision for our fans for the next 50 years, the structure itself is a big part of it too.”
Q: Do you think you can recreate the positive aspects of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in a new building?
DONOVAN: “It’ll be part of the plan. You would sure hope so. I think if you look at what we did with the renovation in ’08, ’09 and ’10, we added a lot of new things to an older building. And one of our mantras that came from the Hunt family was ‘New Body, Same Soul.’ So that would be part of any sort of discussion going forward because even if we end up with a renovation, we’re going to have to have a lot of new elements to it. If you look at the competition around the NFL and around sports venues in general, we’re going to have to compete with that, so GEHA Field at Arrowhead is going to have to change a little bit and that’ll be part of it.”
Q: Is there a stadium or stadiums that you can point to?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, so I would take that a different direction, which is there isn’t one (stadium). We’re looking at L.A. (SoFi Stadium), we’re looking at Vegas (Allegiant Stadium), we’re looking at Lambeau, we’re looking at Pittsburgh (Acrisure Stadium), we’re looking at New England (Gillette Stadium), we’re looking at Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), we’re looking at the buildings that are going up. And we’re in discussions with Buffalo, we’re in discussions with Nashville, we’re in discussions with the teams that are a little bit ahead of us, we’re talking to Chicago – they’re in a similar situation. So, we think all that due diligence is really, really important. And I know I’ve said this before, but it’s as authentic as I can say it, but the people in that room know that we have to get this right. And if you take that attitude, you’re going to do as much due diligence as you can.”
Q: Last time we spoke to Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, he indicated that the team wanted to stay at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium? Is that still the plan?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, I don’t want to put anything out there that’s going to create more rumors. I would say that that’s a fair statement, a fair observation if you’re a member of the Hunt family. This is part of the discussion about factoring it all in – their father built this, and it’s been part of their legacy and his legacy, so that’ll factor into it. Which goes back to ‘we’ve got to get it right.’ So, when you think about all those factors: How old is the building? How long does concrete last? Does rebar rust? What can we do to compete? What can we do to be the most competitive? All those factor into that, so it’s going to take some time. We’re going to take our time and we’re going to do it right. And we’re going to make the best decision we possibly can.”
Q: On thinking about GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for the next 50 years at its 50th anniversary?
DONOVAN: “One definitely informs it. I don’t believe it gets in the way of it at all. As part of our 50th celebration of GEHA Field at Arrowhead, we’ve done a lot of research and review of all the things that have made it special over the years. You think about Lamar’s (Hunt) mindset was very much ‘big, big, big,’ everything had to be big, bold, colorful and exciting. We’re doing a giveaway for our fans to get here for this game to make it part of a uniting sort of element – and I think it’s already been announced – it’s rally towels. We were talking about the rally towels the other day in a staff meeting and I made the point to someone that if Lamar was still here and still in charge, we’d probably have six different giveaways because that’s the way he thought of it. ‘What more can we do? What else can we do?’ So, I think it more informs and it’s going to be something that – to relate those two questions back – informs whatever we do with renovation. Can we do that and continue to do that? It informs whatever we do with a new build. Can we incorporate that into what we do?”
Q: You’re doing the rally towels this Thursday?
DONOVAN: “Yes. Prior to the game as you enter, you’ll be able to pick up a rally towel.”
Q: Has anything that the Kansas City Royals have been planning expedited the decision in what the Chiefs are trying to do?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, I think that’s an accurate read. I would say this, we have been in a lot of different discussions with leadership from the Royals and we are doing everything in our power to keep each other informed and to partner where we can to make it make sense. As I’ve said many times, I think this city is really, really fortunate to have an owner like (Royals Chairman and CEO) John Sherman. I think this city is really, really fortunate to have an owner like the Hunt family. They share a lot of the same values and one of those is a commitment to doing what’s right for our fans in this region. I would just say this, we’re in a lot more discussion than you know about that are keeping each other informed because we are partners, and we have lease that runs through ‘31. If there are ways to change that date, we both have to be involved in that and that has to impact us both positively. They’ve been great partners and we continue to expect that going forward.”
Q: Do you know what Founder Lamar Hunt chose this location to begin with?
DONOVAN: “That’s a good question. I don’t know. I know the story of the back-and-forth; he was deciding between New Orleans and here. And H. Roe Bartle and (Chiefs Hall of Fame Executive) Jack Steadman were a big part of the decision to come here, and H. Roe more than anything else. But I don’t know, I wasn’t in the room (laughter).”
Q: On the legacy of the location, the highways and the access of having two stadiums like no one else had ever had before.
DONOVAN: “I think that’s a very fair observation, very accurate. Just what I know from listening to the family and doing the reading that I’ve done on the history – his history – he would definitely be informed in all that, that would all factor into it, and he was very proud of the multi-use complex and being part of the Truman Sports Complex. We were just talking about this the other day with someone, but the day that the rolling roof didn’t pass was a tough day for Lamar. A really tough day for him. That just goes to show you what this complex meant (to him). The day that we opened Arrowhead Stadium in 1972 was a really, really good day for Lamar. And every year, at the end of every season – Clark (Hunt) shared this with me – at the end of every season, Lamar would walk every single row of the stadium and his goal was to find one more seat. Where could we put one more seat? And Clark tells the story better than I do, but he was really happy when he could come in after that walk and say, ‘I found one!’ He did the same thing in the parking lots. He’d walk the parking lots. Some of you who may remember he used to walk around the parking lots. But he would specifically do one walk where he was looking for more parking spaces. Where could we put another parking space? And that’s just his mindset and it drives us even today.”
Q: Do you have an update on the cost of renovations for the World Cup?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, so we’re still in the middle of all that. I would say that I’m much more involved in the discussions about how we do this and when we do this and how does it impact us in ’24, ’25, ’26. There’s a chance that we’ll do some of the construction in ‘24. (It) won’t impact us in ‘25. And then ’25, we’ll do some and ‘26, obviously, we’ll do some. There’s a lot to go through in that. And we’re very confident in the plan, but we’re actually looking at other alternatives that may actually make it easier for us. So, we’re in good shape there. We’ll be good when it comes to ‘26, but it’s going to take a lot to get there.”
Q: Did you work out where the money to make those renovations will come from?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, so (President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and VisitKC) Kathy Nelson, the Sports Commission, the local organizing committee, they’re really in charge of that. We support them obviously, but I have not been in those discussions.”
Q: Do you anticipate any permanent changes to the stadium with the World Cup renovations?
DONOVAN: “Yeah, so when you think about the timing, lease is ‘31, World Cup is ‘26. Going into it, we’ve always operated under the plan that we’re going to do what we need to do to make it compliant with World Cup and FIFA rules, and we’re going to put it back the way it was. If in that process – and that’s one of the things we’re looking at – if in that process you realize some efficiencies, we’ll take advantage of those. To date, we haven’t seen that because of the time frame, so it’s still part of the multiple levels of conversations.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
September 13, 2022
CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “Okay I’ll just preface this again, if there are questions about Britt (Reid), I’m going to stay away from those questions. I appreciate that. So, injury wise Harrison Butker has an ankle sprain and we’re just going to see. He’s got a little swelling in there, so we’ll just see how that goes day to day. And then (Trent) McDuffie, Trent has a hamstring and you know again we’re treating him. We’re going to see where that goes but he’s going to struggle to make it to the game. Other than that, everybody is up and rolling. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Chargers. We know they’re a heck of a football team and we always have great battles against them and so again we love bringing them here to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. We know it’ll be loud and an exciting atmosphere. So, we’re preparing ourselves as we speak here to get ready for that Thursday night game. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: Will there be no practice today for either Harrison Butker or Trent McDuffie?
REID: “Yeah, those two will not practice today.”
Q: As far as Butker is concerned how much of this is going to come down to how much pain he can tolerate in order to make the call if he kicks on Thursday night?
REID: “Yeah, I think if it was just a pain thing, I think he would bear through that but he’s got some swelling in there, so I think it’s a matter of him being functional enough to do it. I mean he’s a tough kid, so we’ll just see how that works out.”
Q: Are you comfortable with the Plan B as far as Justin Reid is concerned if you have to go that way?
REID: “Yeah, we’ve got the Plan B and we’re working on it.”
Q: Assuming you have to go with a backup kicker on Thursday, how long before the three of those guys get comfortable with each other?
REID: “Yeah, we’ll see if that’s where we go with it. So, we’re kind of in that process right now of looking at guys and just to make sure we have things covered. We’ll see where all that goes.”
Q: If you have to use that guy on Thursday night, how long until they get comfortable?
REID: “Well, we went through this last year and it worked out pretty good on relatively short notice. I think we’ll be okay. I’ll probably speak out both sides of my mouth here because I’ve said before I think that time that they have together is important, but we did have success with it last year, so we’ll just see where all this goes.”
Q: You mentioned preparation. How much did you look ahead knowing that it would be a short week to prepare for the Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Chargers?
REID: “Well, we had that extra week and so we were able to take a glance at them (Los Angeles Chargers). I mean not quite as intense as what you do when you’re getting ready for this game here now, but we did yeah. We had a pretty good idea to where we could put a game plan down and go.”
Q: Is it correct that you spend time in OTAs preparing for AFC West teams? How far back does the preparation go during OTAs?
REID: “I started that when I was at Philadelphia doing that during the OTAs. It kind of breaks it up and gives the guys something to look at plus it’s good feel for you. (It) makes coaches think, it makes the players think about who they’re playing. Yeah, we did that this year too. We utilize that and then we utilized the week that we had this bye, this preseason bye week thing, we used that.”
Q: The concept is just deep study? How would you phrase that preparation during OTAs for other AFC West teams?
REID: “No, you don’t have as many plays that you’re putting in that you’re going to go in and study like you’re playing them. You’re going to detail that up and then you’ll have a few select plays that you work with.”
Q: On Chargers OLB Joey Bosa and OLB Khalil Mack combination. What jumped out to you in that first look at them?
REID: “Yeah, no pun intended – they do jump out at you. They’re two good players. They’re both healthy and moving – and moving fast. They did a nice job against the Raiders. We’re aware of them. We know that they’re good. We respect that. So, we’re working on a plan to do the best we can against them.”
Q: How eager are you to see Orlando Brown? In the offseason he said he wanted to be one of the best offensive tackles in the league and this is one of his first opportunities to show that progress he’s made over the offseason.
REID: “Sure, that’s a great challenge. He loves that though. He’s very energetic when it comes to challenges. He wants to be the best and so this gives him – these are the things the merit badges that you get of you take care of business there. So that’s a big challenge you know for our tackles but again that’s why we’re in this business.”
Q: On Chargers QB Justin Herbert from last season to this season.
REID: “Yeah so, every year he seems to get better. He’s very smart. He understands where to go with the ball, so you know he’s got (a) real good grasp of that, of the offense. And he’s accurate. He does a nice job and that’s not getting any worse as he goes, he’ll just keep polishing that moving ahead. The experience is everything now.”
Q: Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy mentioned yesterday how important is it that you guys want to be able to prove that you can run the football. How critical is that against the Chargers?
REID: “I think it’s important that you move the football. Running is part of it and then throwing is part of it. I think a mix becomes big, but when you need to run the ball or want to run the ball you should be able to do that. That’s the challenge. So, when we call, when we dial them up, let’s go. There’s a certain attitude that goes with that. That’s where the emphasis has been. Our guys – the linemen like doing it. If you told a lineman he could pass block or run block, he’s going to tell you run block you know that right? He’s going to go run block. They enjoy that.”
Q: In the context of McDuffie likely being out it seems like you may rely on Jaylen Watson. What have you seen from Watson confidence level wise from someone who was picked in the last round of the draft, but could go in for significant snaps potentially?
REID: “Yeah, I thought he did a nice job. (That) pick doesn’t matter now, right? It’s a matter of how he continues to up his game with the things that he’s seeing there. That’s the important part and focusing in on the gameplan and being able to execute that absolutely (the) best he can. There’s a lot to do when you start getting ready for these things, especially a Thursday night, you don’t have the whole training camp to get ready for it.”
Q: A follow up on Patrick Mahomes’ left wrist injury. Do you anticipate any issues with that or is he a full go?
REID: “No. He’s full go, yeah.”
Q: How long did it take as a group to feel comfortable as the head coach dealing with things like end of game calls, short weeks and all that? Is that an advantage for the staff to have experience throughout the year, especially in situations like a short week?
REID: “You guys see it because we do training camp up there at Missouri Western State University, so it’s open and you see how much we work on those things (end of game situations). We also do that in the walkthroughs in the afternoon practice. So, we spend a tremendous amount of time on it and you hope that your players grasp it and want to grasp that part. And then the coaches that are responsible for their certain spots are experts at it, right? Inevitably the head coach has to make the final decision. That’s how we do it. I’ve got a ton of trust in my guys. The new ones and the old ones. They spend time in it and we expect to be able to have answers at that time, but the players buy in. We invite them to ask questions on it if we’re not covering it, stimulate it with thoughts and then we’ll find that answer for you.”
Q: How long did it take you to feel comfortable as a head coach? Are you comfortable?
REID: “That’s a bad question because right when you say you’re comfortable with it, it slaps you. So, you just keep working at it. There’s always something in this crazy business that pops up and you go, ‘Doggone. Where’d that one come from?’”
Q: Mahomes is off to another fast start this season. Are there things you can point to from the offseason or his camp or whatever it might be that allows him to just pick up right where he left off?
REID: “Yeah, I’d just tell you, his preparation. The way he approaches – I mean football is important. I think if you asked him, family and football are right at the top of the list there of things that he does and so he’s always going to put that – whether he’s doing a commercial or something – he’s going to put that in the front and it’s not going to disrupt what he’s doing. So, I think it’s his approach to it. As you know he’s extremely smart. His recall is exceptional. Retention goes along with that. You tell him something once, he’s got it and he wants to be great.”
Q: You talk about him making football a priority. How common or uncommon do you feel like that is in your experience?
REID: “Listen, I’ve been spoiled. I’ve had some quarterbacks that love football and I mean we had Alex Smith before and he loved it. I go back to Philly (Philadelphia Eagles), all the quarterbacks I had loved football. (I had to) kick them out of the building (laughter). When I was at Green Bay, I had Brett Favre. (I) played with Jim McMahon and Marc Wilson and all these guys, they love football, when I was in college. So, I don’t really know any other way that those guys operate. I haven’t had one of those that didn’t just jump in and go.”
Q: Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo inferred yesterday that McDuffie’s injury is because of the turf at State Farm Stadium. What was the frustration level with that?
REID: “Well, they resod it and that’s a good thing because they practice in there. It was a little bit loose. That’s what happens you know sometimes when you resod it, it’s loose. I mean listen it was part of the Butker injury and McDuffie injury. Unfortunately, that was part of it, just the turf picked up and so I would tell you that did have something to do with it. If it didn’t, I’d tell you that too so it’s not an excuse by any means. I mean you all can see it when you watch the tape.”
Q: On Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Vance Josephs’ defense against Mahomes.
REID: “Well, I mentioned (Cardinals Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph), he’s aggressive. It’s how he’s been against us. He mixes and matches and (it’s) very hard to get settled with all that. You’ve got to really stay on your toes, but he’s been doing that a long time. That’s his style. And all the guys kind of have their own deal. Maybe they (Los Angeles Chargers) don’t do as much as what we saw at Arizona, maybe they do. To answer your question, that’s what he does so we’ll see.”