Lamar Hunt, America’s super duper Sixties’ serial sports franchiser and league founder, used his daddy’s oil fortune to launch the American Football League, World Championship Tennis, the North American Soccer League, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Bulls, while naming football’s do-or-die World Series after his kids’ incredibly-bouncy Superball.
In winning their record-breaking tenth American Football Conference Championship Game this January, the New England Patriots won yet another Lamar Hunt Trophy. Sadly, few remember Hunt – or hail him for America’s football obsession, and for the estimated 4.9 billion potato chips, 1.3 billion chicken wings, and 1.2 billion beer bottles we will consume on Super Bowl Sunday.
Born in 1932, Lamar was the tenth child of Haroldson Lafayette Hunt (1889-1974), the Illinois-born Arkansas gambler who used his poker winnings to buy the East Texas Oil Fields, and become a super-rich, cartoonish Texas tycoon. Living in a super-sized Mount Vernon knockoff, H.L. Hunt fathered fifteen children with three overlapping wives. His roguish hypocrisy fed rumors that he inspired the J.R. Ewing character on TV’s Dallas¸ while his kooky conservatism fed darker whisperings that he bankrolled President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.