The Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (IDJC) has been awarded a $250,000 research grant from Neo4j and use of the company’s graph database technology as part of an initiative to identify misinformation trends in the U.S. presidential election and…
Living the Dream: Harold Kuntz G’08 on Covering the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl, the National Football League’s (NFL) culminating game to decide who will emerge as league champion following a grueling regular season and playoffs, offers reporters countless compelling stories to tell.
This year’s big game, Super Bowl LVII, marks the first time two Black starting quarterbacks will square off in the Super Bowl, with Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles facing Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Andy Reid, the current Chiefs coach, led the Eagles from 1999-2012 before taking over in Kansas City, while Reid’s star tight end, Travis Kelce, is going up against his brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce.
Harold Kuntz G’08, who covers the Chiefs for WDAF-TV in Kansas City, will be on the sidelines for the big game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Kuntz grew up a passionate Eagles fan, but he’s in his fourth year as a Chiefs reporter in Kansas City.
As a neutral observer, Kuntz’s focus in the days leading up to the Super Bowl has been on telling those compelling stories to his viewers. But he admits it’s pretty cool to be covering the Super Bowl in person for the first time with a marquee matchup pitting his childhood team against the team he covers professionally.
“It’s kind of a dream come true. This is something I probably dreamed about as a kid. To get to cover the Super Bowl is a pretty amazing experience. This is the first NFL team I’ve covered on a daily basis. I was an Eagles fan growing up, so to have my first time at the Super Bowl involve the Eagles, it’s a full-circle moment for me. I’ve tried to hide the fact that I’m an Eagles fan around here (Kansas City),” says Kuntz, who earned a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from the Newhouse School.
I Still Don’t Know How I Got Here
Before he ever worked a day for WDAF, Kuntz almost had a chance to cover the Chiefs in another Super Bowl, back in 2019. A successful sports reporter and anchor with KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kuntz’s contract ran out. He heard about the opening in Kansas City from a friend, and applied for and was offered the position.
At the time, the Chiefs were playing the New England Patriots in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game. If the Chiefs had prevailed, Kuntz’s first assignment would have been heading to Atlanta, Georgia, to report on the Chiefs playing in Super Bowl LIII. Alas, Kansas City fell in overtime, and Kuntz’s Super Bowl dreams were put on hold.
But not for long.
When Kansas City advanced to the Super Bowl in 2021, Kuntz covered the team, but strict COVID-19 restrictions meant interviews were conducted through Zoom and Kuntz didn’t travel to Tampa, Florida.
This time, for his first in-person Super Bowl, Kuntz is taking everything in from the biggest spectacle in sports. The Chiefs, who have established themselves as the standard bearers in the AFC, expect perfection every time they step on the field. That standard of excellence also motivates Kuntz to dig deeper with his reporting on a team that consistently expects to win championships.
“You’re gathering as much content as you can, and you’re researching the storylines that you think people will care about. You’re trying to find different angles. This is a team that really expects perfection, so you have to be knowledgeable as a reporter. This team is loaded with future Hall of Famers, so there’s a standard of excellence, and from a journalistic standpoint, there’s also a standard of excellence. These guys are not fools. You have to be at the top of your game with your reporting skills,” Kuntz says.
Lessons From Syracuse University
Before coming to Syracuse, Kuntz was honing his craft as a broadcast journalist undergraduate student at Loyola University New Orleans. He was happy and was mastering the ins and outs of being a reporter when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area in August of 2005.
Facing severe budget cuts, New Orleans eliminated its broadcast journalism program. Kuntz completed an undergraduate degree before applying to Newhouse for a master’s degree in broadcast journalism.
Once on campus, Kuntz says Syracuse helped him cultivate and refine his skills as a reporter and as a broadcaster. He’s especially grateful for the strict writing standards his professors held him to, as it forced him to develop into a better writer and storyteller.
“I was blessed enough to meet some really good people at Syracuse and I’m so proud of my classmates. We all still talk to this day, which I think is really cool. Those were some good times and there were good memories. I experienced a real newsroom environment where we learned all aspects from producing, reporting, anchoring and the technical side. When I got my first job, within two days I felt ready to go because Syracuse had prepared me,” Kuntz says.