Chiefs Football Live: The Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football team based in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Chiefs compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) West division.
The team was founded in 1960 as the Dallas Texans by businessman Lamar Hunt and was a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) (they are not associated with an earlier Dallas Texans NFL team that only played for one season in 1952).
In 1963, the team relocated to Kansas City and assumed their current name.The Chiefs joined the NFL as a result of the merger in 1970. The team is valued at over $2 billion. Hunt’s son, Clark, serves as chairman and CEO. While Hunt’s ownership stakes passed collectively to his widow and children after his death in 2006, Clark represents the Chiefs at all league meetings and has ultimate authority on personnel changes.
The Chiefs have won three AFL championships, in 1962, 1966, and 1969 and became the second AFL team (after the New York Jets) to defeat an NFL team in an AFL–NFL World Championship Game, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
The team’s victory on January 11, 1970, remains the club’s last championship game victory and appearance to date, and occurred in the final such competition prior to the leagues’ merger coming into full effect. The Chiefs were also the second team, after the Green Bay Packers, to appear in more than one Super Bowl (and the first AFL team to do so) and the first to appear in the championship game in two different decades.
In 1959, Lamar Hunt began discussions with other businessmen to establish a professional football league that would rival the National Football League. Hunt’s desire to secure a football team was heightened after watching the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts.
After unsuccessful attempts to purchase and relocate the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals to his hometown of Dallas, Texas, Hunt went to the NFL and asked to create an expansion franchise in Dallas.
The NFL turned him down, so Hunt then established the American Football League and started his own team, the Dallas Texans, to begin play in 1960. Hunt hired a little-known assistant coach from the University of Miami football team, Hank Stram, to be the team’s head coach after the job offer was declined by Bud Wilkinson and Tom Landry.
After Stram was hired, Don Klosterman was hired as head scout, credited by many for bringing a wealth of talent to the Texans after luring it away from the NFL, often hiding players and using creative means to land them.
The Texans shared the Cotton Bowl with the NFL’s cross-town competition Dallas Cowboys for three seasons. The Texans were to have exclusive access to the stadium until the NFL put an expansion team, the Dallas Cowboys, there.
While the team averaged a league-best 24,500 at the Cotton Bowl, the Texans gained less attention due to the AFL’s relatively lower profile compared to the NFL. In the franchise’s first two seasons, the team managed only a 8–6 and 6–8 record, respectively.
In their third season, the Texans strolled to an 11–3 record and a berth in the team’s first American Football League Championship Game, against the Houston Oilers.
The game was broadcast nationally on ABC and the Texans defeated the Oilers 20–17 in double overtime. The game lasted 77 minutes and 54 seconds, which still stands as the longest championship game in professional football history.
It turned out to be the last game the team would play as the Dallas Texans. Despite competing against a Cowboys team that managed only a 9–28–3 record in their first three seasons, Hunt decided that the Dallas–Fort Worth media market could not sustain two professional football franchises.
He considered moving the Texans to either Atlanta or Miami for the 1963 season. However, he was ultimately swayed by an offer from Kansas City Mayor Harold Roe Bartle.
Bartle promised to triple the franchise’s season ticket sales and expand the seating capacity of Municipal Stadium to accommodate the team.
Hunt agreed to relocate the franchise to Kansas City on May 22, 1963, and on May 26 the team was renamed the Kansas City Chiefs. Hunt and head coach Hank Stram initially planned to retain the Texans name, but a fan contest determined the new “Chiefs” name in honor of Mayor Bartle’s nickname that he acquired in his professional role as Scout Executive of the St. Joseph and Kansas City Boy Scout Councils and founder of the Scouting Society, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.
A total of 4,866 entries were received with 1,020 different names being suggested, including a total of 42 entrants who selected “Chiefs.” The two names that received the most popular votes were “Mules” and “Royals” (which, 6 years later, would be the name of the city’s Major League Baseball expansion franchise in 1969, after the Athletics left Kansas City for Oakland following the 1967 season).
The franchise became one of the strongest teams in the now thriving American Football League, with the most playoff appearances for an AFL team (tied with the Oakland Raiders), and the most AFL Championships (3).
The team’s dominance helped Lamar Hunt become a central figure in negotiations with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to agree on an AFL–NFL merger.[
In the meetings between the two leagues, a merged league championship game was agreed to be played in January 1967 following the conclusion of the leagues’ respective 1966 seasons.
Hunt insisted on calling the game the “Super Bowl” after seeing his children playing with a popular toy at the time, a Super Ball. While the first few games were designated the “AFL–NFL World Championship Game”, the Super Bowl name became its officially licensed title in years to come.
The Chiefs cruised to an 11–2–1 record in 1966, and defeated the defending AFL Champion Buffalo Bills in the AFL Championship Game. The Chiefs were invited to play the NFL’s league champion Green Bay Packers in the first AFL–NFL World Championship Game. Kansas City and Green Bay played a close game for the first half, but Green Bay took control in the final two quarters, winning the game by a score of 35–10.
The Chiefs lost the game but gained the respect of several Packers opponents following the game. The Chiefs’ interleague match-up with the Packers was not the last time that they would face an NFL opponent, especially on the championship stage. The following August, Kansas City hosted the NFL’s Chicago Bears in the 1967 preseason and won the game 66–24.
Despite losing to the division rival Oakland Raiders twice in the regular season in 1969, the two teams met for a third time in the AFL Championship Game where Kansas City won 17–7.
Backup quarterback Mike Livingston led the team in a six-game winning streak after Len Dawson suffered a leg injury which kept him out of most of the season’s games.
While getting plenty of help from the club’s defense, Dawson returned from the injury and led the Chiefs to Super Bowl IV. Against the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings, who were favored by 12½, the Chiefs dominated the game 23–7 to claim the team’s first Super Bowl championship.
Dawson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after completing 12-of-17 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, with 1 interception.
The following season, the Chiefs and the rest of the American Football League merged with the National Football League after the AFL–NFL merger became official. The Chiefs were placed in the American Football Conference’s West Division.
From 1960 to 1969, the Chiefs/Texans won 87 games, which is the most in the 10-year history of the AFL.