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Lunch » Tags » Athletes » Reviews » Kansas City Chiefs » User review

Barbeque Football

  • Mar 9, 2012
Rating:
+1
In 1958, one of the 45 million people watching the all-important NFL Championship between the Colts and Giants was a very, very rich man named Lamar Hunt, who was still fairly young and wanted to find a new venture which excited him. He had narrowed his selections down to ownership of a baseball team or ownership of a football team, but was having trouble making the final cut. When the Baltimore Colts captivated those millions of people by beating the New York Giants in an overtime thriller, Hunt also had his Eureka! moment. Football it was. And so Hunt immediately set out to attain his goal of getting a professional football team into his home in Dallas. He applied for an NFL expansion team but was turned down. Then he tried to buy the NFL's Chicago Cardinals - who had by then been badly overshadowed by the more successful and popular Bears - with the intent to move them to Dallas, but was again turned down.

Hunt was not the kind of guy who easily accepted the word "no" when he really wanted something. So he did something about it: He picked up the phone and started calling some of his rich buddies who also wanted to put NFL teams in their cities but were turned down, including his fellow Texan and oil man Bud Adams. Soon he had a group of eight rich people who were angry about not getting their share of the football pie. This group was referred to as the Foolish Club, because they were taking an outrageous chance. And the outrageous chance they were taking was starting up their own professional football league: The American Football League, which became a force that brought the established and hopelessly shortsighted NFL to its knees.

Hunt got that team in Dallas. The Dallas Texans were one of the greatest successes of the original AFL. To coach the team, Hunt originally had his heart set on University of Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkenson or New York Giants defensive coordinator Tom Landry. They both said no, so Hunt settled on an unknown assistant coach from the University of Miami, Hank Stram. Hunt hired Stram just because Stram really wanted the job. It was a smart move on his part, as Stram went on to win 124 games for the team from 1960 to 1974. He's still the winningest coach in the team's history.

Unfortunately, the appearance of the AFL had also tossed the NFL into a complete panic, and the senior league was faced with a choice: Expand or die. League leaders went with the former option, and when news of an AFL team in Dallas got to them, they decided it was time to place that NFL team in Dallas after all. By 1963, Dallas's AFL team was still relatively unknown because the league was also unknown. Although they managed to compile a 25-17 record during their time in Dallas - winning the AFL Championship in 1962, even - while the Cotton Bowl-sharing Cowboys went 9-28-3 in that same time, the Cowboys were better-monied and therefore more popular. So Hunt began looking for a new horizon, flipping through Miami, Seattle, and Atlanta before settling on New Orleans because he wanted a place he could get to from Dallas fairly easily. New Orleans was okay with it, but Tulane University wasn't because it didn't want its popular college football team competing with the pros. So Roe Bartle, the Mayor of Kansas City, persuaded him to move to the midwest, where the Dallas Texans transformed into the Kansas City Chiefs. He actually wanted to keep the Texans nickname as a tribute to his team's lineage, pointing out that the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers kept their nickname when they went west. But naturally that logic wasn't going to fly in this case.

Like many AFL teams, a lot of great prospects ditched the Chiefs to play in the NFL. The Chiefs drafted running back Gale Sayers, who went running into the Hall of Fame as a Chicago Bear instead. Despite this, the Chiefs were able to build a great team, and in 1966 they won the AFL Championship again, beating Buffalo. With the merger on the horizon, the season didn't end there. Instead, it propelled Kansas City into the first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game, which we know today as the Super Bowl. The Chiefs were clobbered by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, but they returned to the Super Bowl in 1969 to face the Minnesota Vikings. It was the fourth Super Bowl ever played, and at this point people were still looking down their noses at the AFL, claiming it inferior, and the NFL had a 2-1 advantage in the previous Super Bowls. Yes, Super Bowl III was fresh on everyone's minds, with Joe Namath's guarantee and his New York Jets subsequently beating the Baltimore Colts, but for all the hype about that game putting the AFL on the NFL's level, Michael McCambridge writes a very different story in America's Game, his most excellent tale of the history of the NFL. He writes - and his sources confirm - that people were still making fun of the AFL. Namath and the Jets the previous year were seen as a big-time fluke, a once-in-a-lifetime upset resulting from the senior league getting a little too cocky with all their talent. It was almost completely written off, and when preseason exhibitions between the AFL and NFL started going full-time the following season, the results gave the AFL's few boosters little to go on. Those early interleague preseason games didn't count in the standings, but to the teams, there was pride on the line, and the NFL spent the preseason that year kicking the AFL's asses all over the gridiron. And Kansas City's Super Bowl opponents that year, the Minnesota Vikings, were hailed as one of the best teams the NFL had ever seen, just like the previous year. The Vikes went in heavily favored and, with the pride of their league now on the line, were expected to totally mop the floor with the Chiefs. But when it was the Chiefs who did all the mopping in a 23-7 victory, the NFL had now dropped to 2-2 in these big-time title games against the junior, inferior league, and it was now forced to admit the juniors could compete at their level after all.

The Chiefs couldn't build that success into a long-term dynasty, though. To date, that 1969 Super Bowl title is that last Kansas City has won, and it's in fact the last Super Bowl they even appeared in. The Chiefs won 87 games, more than any team in the AFL. In 1971, the team fielded a squad with 11 Pro Bowlers, and both Hunt and Stram considered them the best team they ever had. By 1974, though, the Chiefs had fallen, and Stram was fired in 1974 after going 5-9. A year later, Len Dawson, Kansas City's stable rock and fearless leader at quarterback, retired and the Chiefs suffered a fall to the dregs of the NFL as five coaches compiled an overall record of 81-121-1 from 1975 to 1988. The list of failed Chiefs coaches during the time included Marv Levy from 1978 to 1982, a notable hire since Levy would later prove to be a Hall of Fame coach. Just not in Kansas City. The 1983 draft is noted for the number of great quarterbacks who showed up in the league. Kansas City picked a quarterback: Todd Blackledge! If you've never heard of him, it might have something to do with the fact that Blackledge was out of football by 1989, having a TD/INT ratio of 29-38, a 60.2 career quarterback rating, and 5286 total passing yards. The other quarterbacks taken in 1983 include John Elway (Hall of Famer who, to be fair, was taken first and therefore off the table by the time Kansas City was up with the seventh pick), Jim Kelly (Hall of Fame), Ken O'Brien (went to the Pro Bowl), Dan Marino (Hall of Fame), and Tony Eason (no major accolades, but dependable enough in the games he started, putting up respectable numbers and taking the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl).

In 1989 Marty Schottenheimer was hired as coach. They went 8-7-1, their first winning season since the 70's, save for a fluke year in 1986 when they made the playoffs. In 1990 they went 11-5, their best since the 16-game season was started. The Chiefs actually did extremely well in the 90's - during the course of the decade, they were one of only three teams to win over 100 games, and only the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills won more games than Kansas City. Although they traded for Joe Montana early in the 90's, the Chiefs constantly lost games they needed to win, and they spent the decade choking in the playoffs. They never got to the Super Bowl, and they went to the AFC Championship only once, in 1993, where they were decisively beat by Buffalo. Schottenheimer left in 1999 and was replaced by Gunther Cunningham, the defensive coach. Their star linebacker and defensive end Derrick Thomas also was killed in a tragedy, and the defense simply collapsed after that. The team's next two seasons were respectable, but not great.

In 2001, the Chiefs brought Dick Vermeil out of retirement. Vermeil was supposed to have the team ready for the Super Bowl in three years, and he would coach for five. Quarterback Elvis Grbac voided his contract, so Vermeil replaced him with a player he really liked from his days coaching the St. Louis Rams: Trent Green, who would go to the Pro Bowl. Priest Holmes was installed as the primary running back, and the offensive line proved to be one of the best in the league. Kansas City's offense emerged as a tidal wave of points. In 2003, Kansas City was favored to return to the Super Bowl after going 13-3. Then they made Yours Truly look like a genius. They happened to swamp bad opponents with a lot of points that year, but no one noticed they were giving up a ton of points to the league's most hapless offenses too, and so I said they would lose to Indianapolis in the Divisionals. If by some chance they managed to beat the Colts, they would surely get stomped by 14-2 New England and their devastating defense, before the Patriots won the Super Bowl. That's exactly what happened. The Chiefs did bad the following year before rebounding and going 10-6 in 2005. Despite losing Holmes, the Chiefs went 10-6, but the Chiefs missed the playoffs, and Vermeil left.

In 2007, the Chiefs started 4-3 but lost every other game during the season under new coach Herman Edwards. The next season they did even worse, and had to IMPROVE to another 4-12 season after that. After winning their division with a 10-6 record the next year, they fell back to 7-9 in 2011.

The Chiefs have one of the loudest and most loyal fanbases in the NFL. Their stadium, Arrowhead Stadium (awesome name, by the way), sells out regularly, and the Chiefs draw better on average than any other NFL team except the Washington Redskins. The fans are among the most vocal, and they employ some of the most unique and distinctive chants in the league. They use The War Chant and the Tomahawk Chop during games and have a unique cover of "Rock and Roll Part 2." From 1963 to 2008, the Chiefs also had a live band among their fans, but due to stadium renovations in 2009, they didn't return. Instead, they use a drumline in their parking lot now, and Arrowhead is ranked among Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Ralph Wilson in Buffalo as one of the league's best stadiums to tailgate.

The Chiefs have had 14 Hall of Famers, including ownership and coaches. Based significantly on their contributions with Kansas City, the Chiefs' Canton players include Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas, Len Dawson, and Derrick Thomas. Based on contributions primarily to other teams, Hall of Fame Chiefs also include Marcus Allen (running back for the Raiders), Warren Moon (quarterback for the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans)), and Joe Montana (quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers). Montana is particularly notable, because he's widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, and he was never expected to play anywhere outside of San Francisco. The Chiefs have an odd list of coaches because most of these coaches are headed into Canton, if they're not in it already, but few of them will be there as Chiefs. Hank Stram is the only Hall of Fame coach in Canton based on his work in Kansas City. Marty Schottenheimer spent his longest coaching tenure in Kansas City, but beyond him is Marv Levy, who got into Canton based on his work in Buffalo; Dick Vermeil, who is considered great based on his resume with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Chiefs' rivalry with the Oakland Raiders is considered one of the premier rivalries in the AFC. They hate the Raiders even more than the rest of the league, and they also have very strong divisional rivalries with the Chargers and Broncos. Their signature games include their Super Bowls, Joe Montana's game against the Niners, Montana's final game against John Elway's Broncos, and a game in 2003 which the Chiefs actually lost. It was against the Cincinnati Bengals, coming off years of futility and finally coming out as relevant again. The Chiefs were 9-0 at the time, and the Bengals were 4-5, and Bengals receiver Chad Johnson guaranteed a victory which Cincy made good on. It was big because it announced to the league that the Bengals were, win or lose, finished being the NFL's doormats and wouldn't take any more of anyone else's shit. The Chiefs were seen as unbeatable at the time and saw Johnson's guarantee as another mindless Namath wannabe boast. Johnson later personally apologized to the Chiefs in private, explaining he was just trying to get the Bengals fired up. The Chiefs understood.

Making a journey out to Arrowhead Stadium requires that you drop into one of Kansas City's famous barbeque joints to see how they do barbeque in the famously barbeque-obsessed city. All fans who pick the Kansas City Chiefs would be wise to remember that.

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review by . September 03, 2010
I was at the chiefs game tonight.  My brother and I took a wrong turn and ran into a Barney 5 dude in a suit.  this guy treated us like crap  just because we were only about 20 feet from the inzone.  we were only looking around.  He asked us a bunch of questions, but we just punked him as he escorted us out of the stadium.  the tickets were given to me, but the face value was 255 bucks!!!!!! who would pay that much for chiefs tickets and get hassled by some goofy security …
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The Kansas City Chiefs participate in the National Football League (NFL) and are based in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City plays its games in the West of the AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs, founded in 1960, play home games at Arrowhead Stadium and have won three NFL Titles (1962, 1966, 1969).
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