Dallas, Texas mayor weighs in on Kansas City Chiefs stadium vote

Mayor Eric Johnson isn’t letting go of the idea of a second NFL team in North Texas, even if in jest.

DALLAS — Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson isn’t letting go of the idea of a second NFL team in North Texas.

Johnson on Tuesday night posted a link to a story about Missouri voters rejecting the Kansas City Chiefs’ proposed stadium renovations. Officials for the Chiefs, who are owned by the prominent Hunt family of Dallas, have suggested the team could explore moving from the Kansas City area, if the deal fell through. It’s not clear if that’s the case, or if another stadium renovation deal could be proposed.

But Johnson entered the chat.

“Welcome home, Dallas Texans!” Johnson posted on X, followed by a smiling emoji and “#CottonBowl.”

Johnson then re-posted radio commentator Mark Davis (not to be confused with the Las Vegas Raiders owner of the same name). Davis, in response to Johnson’s original post, had said the mayor “told me some months ago that a second NFL team was on his list of goals.”

In a statement to WFAA later Wednesday, Johnson said Dallas could support another NFL team. 

“Dallas was named the top sports city in the United States because we play to win,” Johnson said. “As I have said previously, our market is big enough, growing enough, and loves football more than enough to support a second NFL team — especially a franchise (and an owner) with deep roots here.”

Two years ago, Johnson said he had talked with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about a second NFL team coming to North Texas.

“We need an AFC team that plays in southern Dallas,” Johnson said at the time.

Jones gave a roundabout response to those discussions, without offering support for Johnson’s idea.

“[Johnson] is one of my real friends. He didn’t get in Harvard and get that Harvard degree by not being smart,” Jones said. “He knows how much the Cowboys can impact positively what we’re about in Dallas and knows the worldwide interest. He’s got all of that down and that’s why that I’m sure looking for votes that he opens everything up with Dallas Cowboys.”

While there’s been no reported interest in a Chiefs move to Dallas, it would be a reunion. The Chiefs were originally formed as the Dallas Texans, debuting in 1960, the same year as the Cowboys. The Texans played in the American Football League, and the Cowboys played in the National Football League.

The competing franchises shared the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but the Texans, owned by Lamar Hunt, ultimately decided to move to Kansas City. Hunt had decided Dallas was a one-team town, and the Cowboys were better positioned to have success because of the NFL’s new television contract with CBS.

So the Texans became the Chiefs, the Cowboys became the Cowboys, and the rest is history.

But the Cowboys haven’t played in the City of Dallas since 1971, leaving the Cotton Bowl for Irving’s Texas Stadium and later moving to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Johnson’s focus in recent years has been on Dallas teams actually playing in the city. Aside from his “discussions” with Jones over a second NFL team in 2022, Johnson also announced he was creating a city council committee that would be focused on attracting and retaining professional sports franchises in the city. 

The Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars play in the city, while the Cowboys and Texas Rangers play in Arlington and FC Dallas plays in Frisco. The PGA Tour’s CJ Cup Byron Nelson tournament is held at TPC Craig Ranch in Frisco, after moving from Dallas’ Trinity Forest Golf Club. And the Dallas Open pro tennis tournament, which has been held at SMU’s tennis complex, is moving to The Star in Frisco in 2025.

The more recent Dallas sports storyline has been the future of the Mavericks, who were purchased by the Las Vegas-based Adelson and Dumont family last year. The Mavs’ new owners reportedly want to build a casino resort and arena in North Texas, though it hasn’t been clear if that would be in the City of Dallas.

Asked specifically whether the team will stay “here in the city,” Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall in January responded, “[We’ll be] right here — well, in this region… I assume it’s the city. I don’t know. The plans aren’t there yet. We have a lot to do legislative-wise, all that. But the [initial] vision is you’re going to see a lot of enhancements in this very arena [the American Airlines Center] — in fact, I’m getting ready to go and do a walkthrough with some people right now. So you’ll see a lot of money put into this arena. And then we will build something that will truly be a destination spot for Dallas, and I can’t wait.”

Asked later for clarification on whether the organization could assure fans that any new Mavericks arena would be built within Dallas city limits, a spokesperson for the team told WFAA, “Nothing is final. Mavs will still play at AAC for a few more years.”

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