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Kansas City Chiefs History

Who Founded the Kansas City Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs were founded by Lamar Hunt. You likely know that name from the Lamar Hunt Trophy, awarded each year to the AFC Champions.

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Lamar Hunt wanted to buy an NFL team in the late 1950s, but none were available. So, he worked to found his own team and the American Football League, which eventually became most of the AFC. But Hunt didn’t found his football team in Kansas City. The Kansas City Chiefs originated in Dallas and were originally named the Dallas Texans.

To counter Lamar Hunt and the new league, the NFL expanded to Dallas and formed the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams started play in 1960.

Who is Lamar Hunt?

Lamar Hunt was the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs. He also owned part of the Chicago Bulls NBA franchise. A huge sports fan, Lamar Hunt established the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in his home state.

Where did the Kansas City Chiefs First Play?

The Kansas City Chiefs played their first three seasons in Dallas as the Dallas Texans. Both the Dallas Texans and the Dallas Cowboys shared the same stadium for a while – the Cotton Bowl.

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Lamar Hunt was a Texan at heart, and had attended SMU. He was even on the football team. He didn’t get a chance to play because a guy named Raymond Berry was ahead of him on the depth chart. When Lamar Hunt was looking for a head coach for his new Dallas Texans, he remembered one of the SMU assistant coaches – a man named Hank Stram, who he hired as the Texans first head coach. To this day, Hank Stram is the winningest coach in franchise history.

The Texans first started former Baylor star Cotton Davidson at quarterback. Cotton Davidson led the team to a winning record in the franchise’s first season. He was also their quarterback in 1961 when a Patriots fan jumped out of the stands and knocked down what could have been a game-winning touchdown. Such was life in the crazy first years of the AFL. The biggest star of the team was running back Abner Haynes, who won the AFL’s MVP award in 1960.

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Coach Hank Stram had played college football at Purdue and later worked there as an assistant coach. At Purdue, he worked with a quarterback named Len Dawson. After Dawson wasn’t able to find playing time in the NFL, Stram encouraged him to come to Dallas. The rest is history. Dawson led the Dallas Texans to a double overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in the 1962 AFL Championship Game and the franchise’s first title.

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Chiefs Move to Kansas City in 1963

Despite winning the championship, the Texans found it hard to attract a fan base with the Dallas Cowboys in direct competition. Both teams struggled to gain traction. Lamar Hunt decided to move his team to Kansas City.

Why are they called the Kansas City Chiefs?

Because the mayor of Kansas City’s nickname was “Chief” when the team moved from Dallas to Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs Great Draft Picks

In 1963, the team drafted Buck Buchanan and Bobby Bell – two future Hall of Famers on defense.

In 1965, the team drafted receiver Otis Taylor from Prairie View A&M, an HBCU in Texas. The Chiefs drafted a lot of HBCU talent and many of those players became pillars of their early Super Bowl teams. Buchanan was from Grambling. Willie Lanier played college football at Morgan State. Emmitt Thomas was from Bishop College in Texas. Buchanan, Lanier, and Thomas are all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Chiefs retired their numbers.

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Although Len Dawson is one of the most famous of the Kansas City Chiefs, he was originally drafted by Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. He later sat on the Cleveland Browns bench before coming to the franchise that made him famous.

1966 Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City won the AFL championship in 1966. They defeated the Buffalo Bills, who were two-time defending AFL champions.

The win earned them the right to play in Super Bowl 1 against the heavily favored Green Bay Packers. Kansas City kept it close until halftime, but lost 35-10.

Super Bowl 1 was officially called the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.” Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt came up with the name “Super Bowl.” He said the toy rubber ball named the Super Ball inspired the name.

Although the Super Bowl has become the country’s biggest sporting event, the first Super Bowl was not well attended. Notice the many empty seats in these photos.

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Super Bowl IV Kansas City Chiefs

1969 remains one of the greatest seasons in Chiefs history. In the AFL Divisional Playoff against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Jets, a goal line stand late in the game preserved a gritty 13-6 win.

The next week, the Chiefs played at Oakland in the AFL Championship Game against their biggest rival. Kansas City came away with a 17-7 victory in a very physical battle.

The win lifted the Chiefs into a Super Bowl 4 matchup against the 1969 NFL Champion Minnesota Vikings. Again, Kansas City was a heavy underdog. This time, however, the Chiefs overpowered their opponent. The famous 65 Toss Power Trap play resulted in former Heisman winner Mike Garrett’s 5-yard touchdown run and a 16-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, Otis Taylor took a Len Dawson pass 46 yards for a score that put Kansas City up 23-7 and sealed the win. Taylor broke two tackles along the way. Dawson was named Super Bowl MVP. Owner Lamar Hunt would always proudly say that the AFL finished 2-2 against the NFL in Super Bowls.

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Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl

It would be a long time, however, before Kansas City made another Super Bowl. A full half-century to be exact. Kansas City has gone to the Super Bowl three times in the last four years, and has competed in five straight AFC Championships. With all due respect to the AFL Champions, this likely stands as the greatest run in franchise history.

How many Super Bowls have the Chiefs played in?

Super Bowl LVII marks the fifth time the Kansas City Chiefs have played in the Super Bowl.

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