Super Bowl XLIV: Hunt Legacy Continues As Brian Waters Named Man Of The Year

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Super Bowl XLIV: Hunt Legacy Continues As Brian  Waters Named Man Of The Year
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sports mogul. Entrepreneurial visionary. Founder.

These are just a handful of the words to describe the Kansas City Chiefs's founder, the late Lamar Hunt.  His impact on Dallas, Kansas City, and professional sports as a whole is as far-reaching as it is remarkable.

However, here are a pair of words to go along with those: Inspirational. Philanthropist.

Chiefs offensive guard Brian Waters was named the recipient of this year's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.  Named after the legendary Chicago Bears running back, the recipient is chosen by their peers as the player who best exemplifies on-field excellence and community service - hallmarks of Payton's life and career.

This is not a story about Brian Waters, though he is certainly deserving of the respect and recognition that comes with this prestigious award.

Nor is it about the award's namesake, though few people have embodied the merit of this award like Payton, who was the heart, soul and face of the Bears for more than a decade.

This story is about a soft-spoken, gentle man who tilted at windmills and gave the Kansas City Chiefs a purpose greater than the pursuit of rings and trophies.

I remember my first live Chiefs game.  It was 1997, a Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It was a tight game, the Chiefs coming out on top 10-7.  Kansas City's only touchdown came on a halfback pass from Marcus Allen.

But as memorable as that play was, what really stuck with me were the banners on the walls. It seemed every team had their own foundation or humanitarian organization.

It gave me a greater sense of pride in my team, realizing the efforts Chiefs players and their management were making to improve their communities. These men not only did great things on Sunday, but made a difference in our city every other day, as well.

Lamar Hunt gave to the Kansas City community as much as anyone and far more than most. He brought us professional football and soccer. He brought Worlds and Oceans of Fun. 

But most importantly, he brought his commitment to community and players who feel the same to our great city. Willie Lanier, Len Dawson, Derrick Thomas, Will Shields and Brian Waters have done great things for Kansas City, as have many of their peers.

But Lamar Hunt brought these great men to our city, and his son and his team continue the great works he started.

As a Kansas Citian and a Chiefs fan, thank you Lamar Hunt.

And thank you, Brian Waters. Today's recognition is the least of what you deserve.

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