KANSAS CITY — As the confetti rained around her, Norma Hunt gently kissed the trophy bearing her late husband’s name.
For the 54th time, she is going to the Super Bowl — the only woman to have attended them all. And now, for the first time in 50 years, her team will join her, as the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to Super Bowl LIV after defeating the Tennessee Titans to win the AFC title.
This is the Chiefs’ first trip to the Super Bowl since winning Super Bowl IV in 1970.
As has been custom since 1985, the AFC champions are awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy. It’s named after the Chiefs founder, who died in 2006. The presentation of the trophy was a delight to Chiefs faithful as well as the Hunt family, getting to raise the trophy for the first time.
“This would be just a dream for Lamar,” Norma Hunt said. “He loved the fans more than any person that I’ve ever known.”
In 2016, ahead of Super Bowl 50, Norma Hunt was recognized as one of 16 who had been to the first 50 Super Bowls. Around that time, her son and Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said on Sunday, he recalled her telling him, “Clark, it sure would be nice if we could play in this game once while I’m still able to go.”
“We’ve got that checked off,” Clark Hunt said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve still got a big goal to accomplish.”
Known as the “First Lady of Football,” Norma Hunt played a small role in how the iconic event got its name. It started at a toy store in Dallas.
Hunt was shopping for some gifts for her children, and when she was checking out, she noticed a display on the counter for “Super Balls.” The cardboard depiction showed kids bouncing the balls really high, as if “it could bounce over a small house,” Hunt said back in 2016 in San Francisco.
“I thought, ‘Oh, our kids will love these,'” she recalled at the time. She bought three of them for Clark, Sharron and Lamar Jr.; her fourth child, Daniel, had not been born yet.
In a league meeting, Lamar Hunt remembered the toy, and an idea popped into his head.
He hated the moniker “AFL-NFL World Championship,” which is what the league used as the name for the championship for the first two years. His idea: Call it the “Super Bowl” instead. And thus, the name was born. It was used starting with the third annual championship game, and the first two championships were renamed Super Bowls I and II retroactively.
“I can’t even begin to guess how many games I’ve been to, but when it comes to the Super Bowl, I know the exact number: every one of them,” Norma Hunt said in the NFL Films’ documentary “A Lifetime of Sundays.”
“I consider it a great privilege and have enjoyed every one of them so much. Lamar predicted that the Super Bowl would become the greatest sporting event in America.”
And after a long wait, the Chiefs are heading back with the Hunt family.
“It’s a tremendous day for our family,” Clark Hunt said Sunday. “I should mention how happy I am for my mother. For her to have the chance to hold and kiss this trophy, really means a lot. I think that’s true of our entire family, you can see my sister Sharron sitting in the back. It’s very special for all of us.
“But my mom alluded to it on the stage that my dad always felt like the team really belonged to the fans. So, what we are most excited about today is winning this trophy for our fans.”