Kansas City Chiefs History and Trivia

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Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs: A History of Triumph and Turmoil

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the most successful and popular franchises in the National Football League (NFL). They have a rich history that spans more than six decades, from their origins in Dallas, Texas, to their glory days in the 1960s and 2010s, to their recent struggles and hopes for a brighter future. Along the way, they have produced some of the greatest players, coaches, and moments in NFL history, as well as some of the most loyal and passionate fans.

The Dallas Texans (1960-1962)

The Chiefs franchise was originally based in Dallas and were originally named the Dallas Texans. They were founded in 1959 by Lamar Hunt, a young and wealthy businessman who had a vision of creating a rival league to the NFL. Hunt was the founder and leader of the American Football League (AFL), which began play in 1960 with eight teams, including the Texans. Hunt was also the owner of the Texans, and hired Hank Stram as the head coach. Stram was an innovative and charismatic coach who introduced many new concepts and strategies to the game, such as the moving pocket, the stack defense, and the two-point conversion.

The Texans were one of the best and most popular teams in the AFL, as they had a talented and exciting roster of players, such as Len Dawson, Abner Haynes, Johnny Robinson, and Chris Burford. They also had a fierce rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL team that was established in 1960 to compete with the Texans for the Dallas market. The Texans won their first and only AFL championship in 1962, when they defeated the Houston Oilers 20-17 in a double-overtime thriller that is still the longest championship game in professional football history.

However, despite their success and popularity, the Texans faced financial difficulties and challenges in Dallas, as they had to share the Cotton Bowl stadium with the Cowboys and the college teams, and had to compete with the established NFL for fans and media attention. Hunt decided to relocate the team to a more favorable and lucrative market, and chose Kansas City, Missouri, as the new home for his franchise.

The Kansas City Chiefs (1963-Present)

The team was renamed the Chiefs in 1963, after a fan contest and a suggestion from Kansas City mayor H. Roe Bartle, who was nicknamed “The Chief” for his role in bringing the team to the city. The Chiefs played their first game in Kansas City on September 8, 1963, and beat the Denver Broncos 59-7 in front of a sellout crowd of 35,463 fans at Municipal Stadium3. The Chiefs quickly became one of the most dominant and respected teams in the AFL, as they won three AFL championships in the 1960s (1962, 1966, and 1969), and appeared in two of the first four Super Bowls. In 1966, the Chiefs won their second AFL title and faced the NFL champion Green Bay Packers in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later known as Super Bowl I. The Chiefs lost 35-10, but represented the AFL well and proved that they could compete with the NFL. In 1969, the Chiefs won their third and final AFL title and faced the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. The Chiefs won 23-7, and became the second AFL team to win a Super Bowl, after the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. The Chiefs were led by their Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, who famously wore a microphone during the game and uttered memorable phrases such as “65 toss power trap” and "matriculate the ball down the field". The Chiefs also had a Hall of Fame quarterback in Len Dawson, who was the MVP of the game, and a Hall of Fame defense, nicknamed the “Chiefs Kingdom”, that featured players such as Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas, and Curley Culp. The Chiefs were the most successful franchise in the AFL, with a record of 92-50-5 from 1960 to 1969.

The Chiefs became part of the NFL in 1970, after the merger of the two leagues. They continued to be a competitive and respected team in the 1970s, as they made the playoffs three times (1971, 1974, and 1976), and had some of the best players in the league, such as Jan Stenerud, Otis Taylor, Ed Podolak, and Willie Lanier. However, they also faced some challenges and tragedies, such as the retirement of Hank Stram in 1974, the death of Joe Delaney in 1983, and the drug scandal of 1983, which resulted in the suspensions of several players, including star running back Billy Sims. The Chiefs also had a long playoff drought, as they did not make the postseason from 1977 to 1985.

The Chiefs returned to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the leadership of general manager Carl Peterson and head coach Marty Schottenheimer. They acquired some of the best players in the league, such as Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Christian Okoye, and Nick Lowery. They also had one of the loudest and most passionate fan bases in the league, as they regularly sold out Arrowhead Stadium and set noise records. The Chiefs made the playoffs seven times from 1986 to 1995, and won three division titles (1993, 1995, and 1997). However, they also had some heartbreaking losses and disappointments, as they never reached the Super Bowl, and lost four home playoff games, including three in a row from 1995 to 1997.

The Chiefs had a mixed record in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as they had some winning seasons and playoff appearances, but also some losing seasons and coaching changes. They had some of the best offensive players in the league, such as Trent Green, Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, and Willie Roaf, but also had some defensive problems and injuries. The Chiefs had their best season in 2003, when they started 9-0 and finished 13-3, but lost to the Indianapolis Colts 38-31 in the divisional round. The Chiefs also had their worst season in 2008, when they finished 2-14, the worst record in franchise history.

The Chiefs began a new era in 2009, when they hired Scott Pioli as the general manager and Todd Haley as the head coach. They also drafted some of the best players in the league, such as Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Justin Houston, and Travis Kelce. The Chiefs won their division in 2010, with a 10-6 record, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens 30-7 in the wild card round. The Chiefs also had their first playoff win since 1993, when they beat the Houston Texans 30-0 in the wild card round in 2015, but lost to the New England Patriots 27-20 in the divisional round.

The Chiefs reached new heights in the late 2010s and early 2020s, under the leadership of head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Reid was hired in 2013, and quickly turned the Chiefs into a consistent and successful team, with a record of 91-37 from 2013 to 2020. Mahomes was drafted in 2017, and became the starter in 2018, and quickly became one of the best and most exciting players in the league, with his arm strength, accuracy, mobility, and creativity. He won the MVP award in 2018, when he threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, and led the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the New England Patriots 37-31 in overtime. He also won the Super Bowl MVP award in 2020, when he led the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl title, and their first in 50 years, by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV. He also led the Chiefs to their third consecutive AFC Championship Game in 2021, where they beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24, and their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 in Super Bowl LV. Mahomes signed a 10-year contract extension with the Chiefs in 2020, worth up to $503 million, the largest contract in sports history at the time.

The Chiefs are one of the most popular and successful franchises in the NFL, with a loyal and passionate fan base, a rich and storied history, and a bright and promising future. They have won four AFL championships, three Super Bowls, and 12 division titles. They have also produced 24 Hall of Famers, 47 Pro Bowlers, and 15 All-Pros. They have also set many records and milestones, such as the longest championship game, the most consecutive playoff appearances, the most consecutive road wins, and the most points scored in a quarter. They have also had some of the most memorable games and moments in NFL history, such as the 1962 AFL Championship Game, Super Bowl IV, the Monday Night Miracle, the 2018 AFC Championship Game, and Super Bowl LIV.

Trivia and Fun Facts

The Chiefs are one of the original eight teams of the AFL, and

  • The only team to win a Super Bowl in two different leagues, the AFL and the NFL
  • The only team to have a 5,000-yard passer (Patrick Mahomes), a 2,000-yard rusher (Jamaal Charles), and a 1,500-yard receiver (Tyreek Hill) in their history.
  • The only team to score at least 50 points in three consecutive games, in 2018.
  • The only team to overcome three double-digit deficits in a single postseason, in 2019.
  • The only team to have a tight end (Travis Kelce) lead the league in receiving yards, in 2020.
The Chiefs have a live mascot, a horse named Warpaint, who runs around the field after every Chiefs touchdown. They also have a costumed mascot, a wolf named K.C. Wolf, who entertains the fans at home games and events and a cheerleading squad, the Chiefs Cheerleaders, who perform at home games and support various community and charitable causes.

The Chiefs have a fight song, called “The Chiefs Are On The Warpath”, which was written in 1963 by Tony DiPardo, a local musician and fan. The song is played after every Chiefs touchdown and victory, and is sung by the fans and players. The song has the following lyrics:
Oh, the Chiefs are on the warpath Go Chiefs go! Oh, the Chiefs are on the warpath Go Chiefs go! Fight, you Kansas City Chiefs Score, you Kansas City Chiefs And put that ball across the line So fight, fight, fight for Kansas City And win this game Oh, the Chiefs are on the warpath Go Chiefs go! Oh, the Chiefs are on the warpath Go Chiefs go!