R.I.P. George Blanda

If you are of a certain age where you grew up watching football in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were certain players that will forever live in your memory banks no matter what zip code your television was in.

There was Joe Namath and those white shoes. There was the little receiver they called Bambi, as Lance Alworth caught passes in those baby blues of the Chargers. There was Butkus and Nitschke who patrolled the middle of the defenses and were always picking turf out of their facemasks.

George Blanda was one of those memorable guys. Wearing the silver and black of the Raiders, pulling that helmet down as he trotted on the field, it was always an amazing sight to see this guy who seemed so old, on the field deciding games with his arm and-or his foot. He didn’t so much run as he waddled out to the huddle. He would take those short choppy steps when he dropped back to throw, and there was never any question that he would take off running (in his last nine years he ran three times.) He was a statue, staring down the pass rush of men half his age.

George Blanda passed away on Tuesday. He had just turned 83 years old, celebrating his birthday some 10 days before he died. Details of his death have not been released by the Raiders or the family. Considering how many games he played (340) and how many years he was in pro football (from 1949 through 1975, missing only 1959), the fact he lived as long as he did was testimony to the constitution of a coal miner’s son from western Pennsylvania.   …Read More!

Remembering Opening Day: 1998

In the days leading up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we have been recalling some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand. Here’s another one of my favorites.

September 6, 1998, @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

There was a time in Chiefs history when they played defense quite well. It was a stifling, aggressive, attacking style that forced turnovers, dropped quarterbacks and helped the team rack up more victories than defeats. It also had Arrowhead Stadium rocking every Sunday, or Monday night, or Thursday evening.

There were few times during the 1990s where the Chiefs Nation made more noise than they did for the season opener in 1998. An old foe was in town, the Oakland Raiders. They had a new head coach, a young bratty looking guy by the name of John Gruden. They had a problem at quarterback, where they were led by Jeff George.

And Gruden found out that he had a major problem on his offensive line. Derrick Thomas and his defensive mates, with some help from the screaming Arrowhead faithful  – numbering 78,945 on this night - made that very plain.

Oakland fumbled the ball five times in the first half and the Chiefs offense led by QB Elvis Grbac turned those takeaways into 20 points with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of Pete Stoyanovich field goals. RB Donnell Bennett scored on a one-yard run and Grbac and WR Andre Rison combined on a 30-yard TD play.

D.T. went crazy in this game.

The Chiefs had 10 sacks and Thomas ended up sacking George six times, one short of the NFL record he set eight years earlier. The Raiders had all off-season to prepare for this game, but they had no answers in stopping Thomas.

He put the cherry on his sacking Sunday with a safety on his sixth sack, with just under two minutes to play in the game. The best part of the play was that Thomas called his shot before the snap, making the signal for a safety as the teams were lining up for the play. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault: ’98 Opener

 Our man Enrique reached deep into his vault and found some highlights from the Chiefs-Raiders game at Arrowhead Stadium that opened the 1998 season.


Remembering Opening Day: 1993

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 5, 1993 @ Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Fl., Denver, Co.

On a hot, muggy day at the old stadium in Tampa, three players made their regular-season debuts as members of the Chiefs.

By the time they were done, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Will Shields would establish themselves of Hall of Fame caliber players. Montana and Allen are already enshrined in Canton, and Shields should get his ticket punched soon after he becomes eligible (in 2012).

Montana came to the Chiefs in a trade with the 49ers. Allen signed with the club as an unrestricted free agent, leaving the hated Raiders. Shields was the team’s first pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, going in the third round after an All-America career at Nebraska.

On this day, everything clicked for the Chiefs. Montana had made a smooth transition to the west coast offense as it was being put together and called by offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Allen was very quickly a team leader and showed that despite having been in Al Davis’ doghouse for four years he still had gas in his tank.

It was a different story with Shields. He was a backup in this first game, but right guard Danny Villa went down with an injury. That forced Shields to jump in and play, a position he never left until his retirement after the 2006 season. The last thing he heard when he went on the field that Sunday in Tampa were the words of offensive line coach Alex Gibbs: “Don’t get Montana killed.” …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – ’93 Opener

Our man Enrique reached deep into his vault and found some highlights from the Chiefs-Buccaneers game in Tampa that opened the 1993 season for the Chiefs.


Remembering Opening Day: 1989

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 10, 1989 @ Mile High Stadium, Denver, Co.

There was so much anticipation and hope in the air. No Chiefs fan was sure what to expect in the first game of the new era led by GM Carl Peterson and head coach Marty Schottenheimer. So much wrong had gone down in the previous 15 years, what few Chiefs fans were left took a wait and see attitude.

The wait to see the first game of that 1989 season looked like many that had come before for the Chiefs. They fell behind early, trailing 3-0 on a David Treadwell 41-yard field goal on the Broncos first possession. When the Chiefs got the ball for the first time, QB Steve DeBerg’s pass was intercepted by S Tyrone Braxton who returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Denver was up 10-0.

After the kickoff, on the next offensive play, DeBerg fumbled the snap, the Broncos recovered at the Chiefs eight-yard line and it took only four plays before Sammy Winder scored on a two-yard run. Denver was now leading 17-0 and there was still 6:30 to play in the first quarter.

The look on the faces of Peterson and other front-office staff in the Mile High Press Box was a combination of shock and bewilderment. VP Tim Connolly, who made a habit of keeping a giant bottle of ant-acids in his briefcase was throwing down Tums by the handful.

The Chiefs got themselves back in the game, scoring the next 13 points, to trail 17-13 about halfway through the third quarter. RB Kenny Gamble scored on a one-yard run, and K Nick Lowery kicked 41 and 23-yard field goals.

Later, DeBerg threw a touchdown pass for the Chiefs, as he connected on a five-yard pass with WR Carlos Carson. But not long after hitting that score, DeBerg threw another interception that was returned for a touchdown by S Randy Robbins. …Read More!

Remembering Opening Day: 1984

Over the next few days as a lead up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we are going to remember some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand over the past three decades. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 2, 1984 @ Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.

This was the second year of the John Mackovic Era and his passing offense had elevated Bill Kenney to a 4,000-yard plus passer in the 1983 season. But in the final pre-season game of ’84 against the New England Patriots, Kenney suffered a broken right thumb when it hit a helmet during a pass. He would end up spending five weeks on the injured-reserve list.

Into the starting role came second-year man Todd Blackledge (left). Selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Blackledge was part of what would go down as one of the most remarkable first-round QB drafts in history. In the end, Blackledge would be the least successful of those six quarterbacks. Three of those guys are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

The Chiefs went to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for opening day. This was not the dynasty Steelers of the 1970s. There were a few guys with four Super Bowl rings left, topped by WR John Stallworth. In fact Stallworth and fellow receiver rookie Louis Lipps were the stars of the game, combining for 14 catches for 350 yards and three touchdowns.

The guy that Stallworth, Lipps and QB David Woodley picked on that day was a rookie cornerback named Kevin Ross. Playing in his first NFL game, Ross was beaten time and time again, especially by Lipps who finished with 183 yards.

…Read More!

He Almost Kept the Chiefs Out of K.C.

David F. Dixon died on Sunday in New Orleans. He was 87 years old.

Dixon was an art & antiques dealer, who owned a store and gallery in the French Quarter. He was a city leader in the Big Easy and was known for his philanthropy, in big ways and small.

His passing did not cause even the slightest ripple on the Kansas City sports scene. But some 47 years ago had Dixon been successful the Kansas City Chiefs as we know them would not exist. In a closet in Dixon’s office you will find a box with various mementoes from his remarkable life. In that box is another smaller box with some 50 pencils. Stenciled into the side of each pencil are the worlds:

New Orleans Saints 1963.

If it had been up to Dave Dixon, the Texans team that left Dallas after the 1962 American Football League season would have landed in New Orleans. Instead, it found a home in Kansas City, became the Chiefs and the rest is pro football history for middle-America. …Read More!

Players Of The Decade

The Chiefs did not have many games of importance during the last decade.

But they did have some important players. Voting by our readers focused on a handful of players and two were at the top when it came to being considered the best Chiefs player of the decade:

  • TE Tony Gonzalez
  • G Will Shields

Overall, five players received recognition from readers as the best player in a Chiefs uniform during the 2000s: Gonzalez, Shields, RB Priest Holmes, QB Trent Green and WR Dante Hall.

And among all the voters, some of whom listed out their top 10 selections and even more, some 19 different p layers from the past decade were nominated.

But Gonzalez and Shields led the way, just as they led the way on the field with their performances in the Chiefs offense during the decade. Gonzalez played nine seasons, missing only this past year after he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Shields played seven seasons, retiring before the start of the ’07 season.

And, both were Chiefs draft choices: Shields in the third round of the ’93 NFL Draft and Gonzalez in the first-round of the ’97 selection meeting.

Their qualifications are impeccable: …Read More!

Games Of The Decade

There was no across the board agreement by the readers and posters of bobgretz.com on the Chiefs best game of the 2000s.

But there was agreement on whittling down the 162 games that counted to a handful and two games came out on top:

  • November 23, 2006: Thanksgiving night victory over Denver 19-10.
  • October 5, 2003: Victory over Denver 24-23 on Dante Hall’s 93-yard punt return.

Coming in a close third was the Chiefs victory on October 12, 2003 over the Green Bay Packers in overtime 40-34 at Lambeau Field.

Rounding out the top five was the 56-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on October 24, 2004 when the Chiefs scored an NFL record eight rushing touchdowns, and the 2002 regular season opener at Cleveland, when the Chiefs beat the Browns 40-39 thanks to that bizarre end of game moment where LB Dwayne Rudd thought his team won the game and ripped off his helmet and threw it across the field. That drew a penalty that allowed for a game winning FG by Morten Anderson.

Unfortunately, there were no Super Bowls, AFC Championship Games or even victories in the playoffs to consider as the game of decade. That left a historic holiday night game and a big victory over a division rival during the team’s best season of the 2000s.

Here are some of the comments from posters about all five games: …Read More!

The Historic Season of Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles had a remarkable run over the last half of the 2009 season. His race to 1,120 yards is all the more remarkable given the fact that nobody with fewer than his 190 carries has ever topped 1,100 yards.

Simply put, nobody in football history gained more yards on less carries than Charles. 

The fewest carries for a 1,000-yard season was done in 1934, as Beattie Feathers of the Chicago Bears ran for 1,004 yards on just 119 carries in 11 games. That was a remarkable performance from the early days of the league, an average of 8.4 yards per carry and 91.3 yards per game.

Seven other runners reached the 1,000-yard mark with fewer than the 190 carries that Charles had during the ’09 season. But none ran for more than 1,071 yards.

That’s what makes Charles performance all the more noteworthy. Before Charles season, the fewest carries any running back had in reaching 1,100 yards or more was the 1966 performance of Leroy Kelly with the Cleveland Browns. In 14 games, Kelly ran 209 times for 1,141, at 5.5 yards per carry.

Back  Team  Year     Games    Carries Yards   Avg.
Beattie Feathers Chicago Bears 1934





Michael Vick Atlanta 2006





Joe Perry San Francisco 1954





Paul Lowe San Diego 1963





Derrick Ward N.Y. Giants 2008





John David Crow St. Louis 1960





Stump Mitchell St. Louis 1985





Franco Harris Pittsburgh 1972





Mercury Morris Miami 1972










  …Read More!

Super Anniversary No. 40

It was on January 11, 1970 that the Kansas City Chiefs won the championship of professional football. In beating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, the Chiefs won the fourth and final game between the champions of the American Football League and the National Football League.

Super Bowl IV MVP Len Dawson will be part of the trophy presentation at the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium in south Florida on February 7th. The game program will also feature a story I wrote about the Chiefs victory.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of that story as we celebrate the 40th birthday of the Super Chiefs.


In pro football history, the Chiefs 23-7 victory over the Vikings on January 11, 1970 is the forgotten upset.

“Joe and the Jets were first so they got the attention and the headlines,” said Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, who was the MVP of Super Bowl IV. “I think we proved beyond a doubt that what happened with the Jets wasn’t a fluke, that we were the equal of the NFL. We weren’t the so-called other league anymore.”

Actually, there is certain symmetry to the story of Super Bowl IV. It was a beginning to many stories, and the end to others.

It was the final game played by the AFL, a league considered second class when it began in 1960. But six years later came a merger that brought the entire 10-team AFL group under the NFL umbrella. No longer fighting each other, the leagues combined their resources and energy and in a short period of time pro football replaced baseball as America’s favorite spectator sport. …Read More!

Texans Finish First Season With Victory

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

The first season of American Football League ended on Sunday, December 18, 1960 for the Dallas Texans. They beat the Buffalo Bills 24-7 at the Cotton Bowl to finish the inaugural campaign 8-6 and in seconds place in the AFL Western Division behind the Los Angeles Chargers, who finished 10-4.

“I’m very encouraged about our first season and about the future,” Texans owner and AFL founder Lamar Hunt told the Dallas Morning News. “We didn’t win the title and we have a goal to reach there but I believe we’re on our way.”

After starting slowly with a 2-4 record, the Texans won six of their last eight, including their last three games against Houston, Boston and Buffalo by a combined score of 82-7.

“Our strong finish should help season ticket sales,” said Hunt. “If this game doesn’t sell them, I don’t know what will.”

The finale had been dubbed Lamar Hunt Appreciation Day and approximately 18,000 people were in the stands to watch the Texans final game and to thank Hunt from bringing professional football to Dallas, not only the Texans but their competitors the Dallas Cowboys. Half-time ceremonies included the presentation of eight AFL footballs to Hunt, one from each of the original league teams. …Read More!

Texans Defense Keys Another Victory

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

In a league that would become famous for its offense and scoring, in game No. 13 of the 1960 season the Dallas Texans defense was overpowering on a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon at the Cotton Bowl. They pitched a shutout for the second straight week, beating the Boston Patriots 34-0 before a crowd of 12,000.

The Texans allowed the Patriots just 151 yards in total offense, and only 18 rushing yards. They forced five turnovers and never allowed Boston to get past the Dallas 42-yard line. The defense also added a touchdown, as CB Duane Wood (left) returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown.

“I was playing the short outside zone,” Wood told reporters after the game. “We knew they would have to pass and he threw it right to me.” Wood grabbed another interception later in the game.

Dallas also got a touchdown out of the kicking game, as Johnny Robinson returned a punt 62 yards for a score in the third quarter.

“Before the punt I told Sherrill (Headrick) to call (the return) to the wide side,” Robinson said. “The ground was so slick that I knew we could have more time to set it up. Nobody touched me, well the last man grazed me a little but he was really out of the play.”
…Read More!

Defense Stymies Oilers, Texans win 24-0

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

It’s a record that still sits there in the franchise record book, unlikely to be broken any time soon. It hasn’t been close for the last 49 seasons.

On a rainy Sunday in Dallas on December 4, 1960, the Dallas Texans held the Houston Oilers to minus-27 rushing yards in grabbing a soggy 24-0 victory.

In the 12th game in franchise history the Texans established a record that has not been broken. The closest a defense came to the number was the n ext season, when they allowed the San Diego Chargers just three yards rushing.

Mother Nature provided the Texans defense with help, as steady rains had turned the Cotton Bowl playing field into a mud pit. What also apparently helped was a threat from Hank Stram. After some sloppy play the week before, the Texans head coach threatened $500 fines to any player who did not show he was mentally and physically into the game. There were also words from GM Jack Steadman, who said that performance in the game against Houston would affect how the Texans went about selected players in the 1961 AFL Draft, scheduled for the next day.

Said Steadman, as quoted by the Dallas Times-Herald: “Our players have been together long enough and are experienced enough to give a great show. If they don’t … well, you guess.”

Did the threat of fines work? …Read More!

Texans Fall On Thanksgiving To Titans

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

The Dallas Texans won the fourth quarter of their contest with the New York Titans, 22-13.

Only problem was the Titans won the first three quarters and thus won the game 41-35. It was the highest scoring game in the first season of the American Football League and was one of those games that earned the league the reputation of being wide-open and built on passing. A small crowd of 14,344 sat in the Polo Grounds (right) and watched the game on Thanksgiving. The game was also broadcast on national television, which helped create the aura of the wild, high scoring AFL.

The teams combined for 76 points, nine touchdowns, 814 yards in total offense, 527 net passing yards, as the quarterbacks were a combined 35 of 70.

Dallas entered the fourth quarter down 28-13, and New York scored the first touchdown of the period. But the Titans missed the extra point, so it was 34-13 with 11 minutes to play. That’s when the Texans got back in the game, as they scored three touchdowns and a two-pointer after one of those scores in the final period.

It wasn’t enough, as the Texans record fell to 5-6 on the season. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Titans.

After the game, Hank Stram said his team needed rest and a return home to Dallas more than anything. The Texans had played six days earlier in Boston, and then spent the week practicing at a resort in the Catskill Mountains, before showing up for the holiday game in New York.

“We’ve played our two worst games the last two weeks, when we needed to play our best,” Stram said of the losses to the Patriots and Titans. “The entire squad has let down. The tackling is poor. New York ran 45 yards for a touchdown on a play that should have gained maybe 15 yards. …Read More!

Texans Get Smoked By Patriots, 42-14

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

In their first season of play, the Dallas Texans darkest hours came in a Thursday night game in Boston. On November 18, 1960, Hank Stram’s team got smoked by the Boston Patriots 42-14 in front of a crowd announced as 14,721 at Boston University Field.

Those 42 points were the most the Texans allowed in their first season. The 14 points they scored was their second lowest total of the season and the 28-point differential was their worst loss of the season.

“This was not a good effort for our team,” Hank Stram said afterwards to the media. “On offense, defense, we did not get the job done.”

It was a big victory for the Patriots on the one-year anniversary of their entry into the AFL

Boston native, Boston College product and Patriots QB Butch Songin (right) led the Boston offense, throwing for three touchdown passes, as he hit 25 of 35 passes for 220 yards.

Songin was one of the typical veteran players who revived their football careers in the first season of the AFL. He played football and hockey at Boston College, and was part of BC’s NCAA hockey champions in 1949. He was captain of the hockey team in 1950 his last year at Chestnut Hill. …Read More!

Texans Overcome Slow Start For Fifth Victory

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

In the first quarter, Denver QB Frank Tripucka led his offense on a 46-yard touchdown drive that gave the Broncos the first points on the scoreboard.

But on a balmy afternoon at the Cotton Bowl, the Dallas Texans defense shut the door, and running backs Abner Haynes and Johnny Robinson took over on the offensive side and Hank Stram’s team had a 34-7 victory. The decision pushed the Texans over the .500 mark on the season, as they came out of the game with a 5-4 record.

The Dallas defense tied the score in the second quarter. LB Smoky Stover hit Denver RB Don Allen in the left flat as he was catching a pass. The ball bounced in the air and CB David Webster grabbed the ball and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. It was one of four interceptions in the game for the Texans defense.

“Even though it only gave us a chance to tie the score at 7-7, it blew it open for us,” Stram said of Webster interception, one of six the former Prairie View quarterback grabbed during that inaugural season. He returned two for touchdowns. The other interceptions that day went to LB Bob Hudson LB Ted Greene and DB Jimmy Harris.

“We were too tight both ways it took that interception to loosen us up. After that we looked like a real good football team.” …Read More!

Defense Leads Texans To .500 Mark

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

It was a remarkable day in Buffalo on November 6, 1960 for Walt Corey.

Little did he know that many years later, he would enjoy many wonderful Sunday afternoon’s in western New York as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills from 1987 through 1994 with four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl.

But in the first season of the American Football League, Corey (right) led a tough Dallas Texans defense in a 45-28 pasting of the Bills on a Sunday with cold temperatures and a biting wind from the north.

Corey had two interceptions, recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal. He was a little hazy on that second interception, because he took a blow to the head that ended up knocking him out of the game.

“I remember everything except the last interception and nothing after that,” Corey said afterwards.

He did remember the blocked FG that helped set up one of the six Texans touchdowns.

“I will always remember this game as long as I live for one thing,” Corey said. “I red-dogged when the Bills lined up on the 45 for that field goal. Next thing I knew the ball came off Bill Atkins foot, right into my belly. I kept running and the ball was still there. I never saw that happen in football, or ever heard of it happening, a linebacker intercepting a field goal.” …Read More!

Texans End Losing Streak Behind Abner

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

The Texans stopped their three-game losing streak by going on the road and beat the Denver Broncos 17-14 on Sunday, October 30, 1960. A crowd of 13,102 turned out at Bears Stadium in Denver to watch the contest.

It was also the breakout game for one of their best players in that first season: rookie RB Abner Haynes out of North Texas State. From this game on, Haynes became the focal point of the Texans offensive attack and combined with his duties as a punt and kick returner, the Dallas native established a legacy in the franchise’s very first season.

Dallas never trailed in this game, scoring first and leading throughout. But the outcome was not decided until 29 seconds remained to be played in the game. That’s when Broncos K Gene Mingo missed a 29-yard FG that would have tied the game. Remember, at that time there was no overtime in the regular season.

Playing under clear skies and cool conditions, this game turned into a defensive struggle. Twice the Texans put together long drives, going 61 and 78 yards, but came away from both without a point. Denver turned the ball over five times. That topped Dallas, as the Texans had four turnovers.

“The defense played well today,” coach Hank Stram said after the game. “Offensively, other than Abner it was disappointing.”

Haynes had a big game as he started a push that would eventually lead him to the AFL’s rookie of the year and player of the year honors for the inaugural season. Haynes had 177 yards in total offense against Denver, including a three-yard TD run in the second quarter. …Read More!

Montana-Elway, 15 Years Ago Today

It was a chilly evening in Denver 15 years ago on the evening of October 17, 1994.

But the action on the field at Mile High Stadium was hot. And epic, and unforgettable.

The Chiefs against the Broncos. Joe Montana versus John Elway. Monday night football.

Several years ago, ABC conducted a poll to determine the greatest games in the history of Monday Night Football. The ’94 victory by the Chiefs over the Broncos ranked among the five most memorable games in what is now a nearly 40 years for the historic national TV broadcast.

“Those kinds of battles you get in are the fun games for a quarterback,” Montana said several years ago. “You’re going against the guy that can, you know if you let him back on the field, he’ll do the same thing back to you.” …Read More!

Texans Losing Streak Reaches 3 With Loss To Oilers

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League and its first season of play.

“Dallas is a real fine team. I don’t see how they’ve lost four times.”

Those were the words of Houston Oilers Lou Rymkus on October 16, 1960 after his team beat the Dallas Texans 20-10 at Jeppesen Stadium (right).

It was a bad day for the Texans offense with eight turnovers and the loss left Hank Stram’s team at 2-4 on the season. Many people in the American Football League that first season were amazed that Dallas was not the frontrunner from week one of the season. Because of the Texans success at signing young players like Chris Burford and Abner Haynes, and the deep pockets of Lamar Hunt, everyone in the league expected Dallas to lead the parade.

So 2-4 had Hank Stram frustrated.

“We just made too many offensive mistakes,” Stram said after the game. “Our defense did a good job, but on third down we’d lose the ball on an interception and we wouldn’t even get to kick the field goal.

“We were in a position of needing points, but we couldn’t keep the ball.”

…Read More!

The Battle For Dallas

It was the most unique situation in the history of American professional sports: two start-up football teams going head-to-head in the same city at the same time.

In the history of pro football, basketball and hockey and major league baseball it’s never happened before or since. The Dallas Texans and Cowboys were teams born in the same football nursery, some six months apart. They had different fathers who shared many of the same characteristics – sons of oil millionaires with quirky personalities who loved sports and liked to stay in the background.

The Texans and Cowboys competed for the hearts and minds of football fans in Dallas for three years. They shared a playground known as the Cotton Bowl and hustled about the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex trying to sell tickets and attraction attention with special promotions and half-time extravaganzas that featured everything from Roy Rogers to bathing beauties. The Texans were a football success, a championship team in that time, while the Cowboys struggled to win games at the start. Neither team was able to establish a solid financial foothold as the head-to-head competition split the ticket buying public in half.

Eventually something had to give and in the early days of 1963, Lamar Hunt decided to move his franchise out of his hometown. It was a painful moment for Hunt, but the move to Kansas City where the Texans became the Chiefs strengthened the American Football League. Three years later, the AFL and NFL reached a merger agreement that created what would become the strongest professional sports business in history.

Unhappily, the Texans left Big D for KC. Big parts of the roster at the time were natives of Texas, players like E.J. Holub, Jerry Mays, Jerry Cornelison, Jon Gilliam, Sherrill Headrick and Abner Haynes. They left behind a Cowboys franchise that would ultimately become called “America’s Team.” …Read More!

Texans Fall To Raiders & Jetstream Smith

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League.

His name was James D. Smith.

It was a perfectly plain and simple name that Jim Smith carried with him from his birth in Los Angeles.

But when he reached the American Football League in 1960 with the Oakland Raiders, nobody called him Jim Smith. He was known by one of the greatest nicknames in pro football history, one he picked up while playing at Compton Junior College.

Jetstream Smith.

A 6-0, 215-pounds running back for the Raiders he set the Dallas Texans on their rears on the afternoon of October 9, 1960 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Jetstream went 98 yards with a kickoff return for a touchdown. It started a scoring splurge that allowed the Raiders to beat the Texans 20-19.

Some 21,000 fans watched a quiet first half, where the only score of the game was an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by Texans S David Webster. About four minutes before half-time, Webster grabbed the pass of Oakland QB Tom Flores that bounced off receiver Billy Lott and ran untouched for the score.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, that’s when Jetstream made his big splash. …Read More!

Throwback Look Coming Sunday

The Chiefs will be wearing the uniform and helmets of the Dallas Texans this weekend when the Dallas Cowboys come to Arrowhead Stadium.

There’s not much difference between the Texans uniform and the Chiefs, with the exception of the helmet. Players will not have to change helmets like some teams must for their throwbacks. Their KC arrowhead logo will simply be replaced by a logo of the state of Texas, with a star on the location of Dallas.

The other noticeable difference in the uniforms will come with the helmet facemasks. The Texans had gray facemasks and as you can see from the picture (right), their grills have already been switched from the normal white.

Texans Now 2-2 After Losing To Titans

The football was on the ground, laying there at the New York nine-yard line. A crowd of 37,500 in the Cotton Bowl held its collective breath. The Dallas Texans were down by two points and the clock was about to run out.

The Titans offense merely had to run out the remaining time. But stuff happens in football. With the ball at their 32-yard line, QB Al Dorow handed off to RB Dewey Bohling. Just seconds after the ball changed hands, Texans DE Mel Branch came flying through and punched the ball out of Bohling’s hands. It rolled backwards towards the end zone. Branch kept running and tried to scoop up the ball. Instead, Branch fumbled it and the Titans recovered.

Thus, was the ending of the fourth game of the Texans inaugural season, as they fell 37-35 to the visiting Titans of New York on October 2, 1960.

“I like to died,” said Titans head coach and football legend Sammy Baugh (right).

A strong first-half performance allowed the Titans to survive the late Texans comeback and near fumble return. Dorow threw four touchdown passes in the first half and overall threw for 281 yards. The Dallas defense sacked him once and grabbed just a single interception.

“We tried to rush him a time or two early,” said Hank Stram. “But they were sending only three receivers down and protecting him with two blockers. We couldn’t get through to him. We changed to a zone defense and tried to cover their receivers and we didn’t do a very good job of it.” …Read More!

Texans Win First Home Game

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in Dallas on September 25, 1960 when the Texans played their first home game in franchise history.

An estimated crowd of 42,000 fans turned out for the event, at that time the largest crowd to see a game in the American Football League.

Although wet from the rain, the Texans sent the fans home happy with a defensive-minded 17-0 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Texans had had lost their opening game to the Chargers in the L.A. Coliseum. Three weeks later, they evened the score with L.A. and quarterback Jack Kemp, allowing just 211 yards in total offense. They picked off four of Kemp’s passes, two by LB Walt Corey, and recovered a pair of fumbles.

Hank Stram was pleased with the victory, but not the performance of his now 2-1 team. …Read More!

Texans Get First Franchise Victory

On Friday evening, September 16, 1960, the franchise that was the Dallas Texans and became the Kansas City Chiefs won its first game.

It came on a cold, chilly night in Golden Gate State Park, as the Texans beat the Oakland Raiders 34-16 at Kezar Stadium.

To say that the Bay Area was underwhelmed by the matchup and the outcome would be an understatement. Just 8,021 fans braved the cold wind blowing off the Pacific Ocean and into the concrete bowl of the stadium.

San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter Bruce Lee had the game story and his lead summarized quite well what happened:

“The Oakland Raiders tried to live by a pass attack and instead died by it last night at Kezar Stadium. The Dallas Texans intercepted five Raiders passes, turned two of those interceptions into touchdowns and with the other four effectively quelled promising drives to take a 34 to 16 victory before 8,021 fans.

“The Oaklanders had little or nothing beyond their passing. Their running attack, except for spasmodic jerks, got nowhere against a strong Dallas line and the Raiders defense leaked badly, especially in the fourth quarter. As was expected the Raiders were hopelessly outmanned in the late going and the Dallas running backs, Jack Spikes, Johnny Robinson, Abner Haynes and Jim Swink were cutting the Oakland line as easily as through butter.”

…Read More!

The AFL Meets For a Third Time

This is another chapter in the story of the birth and growth of the American Football League.

Dubbed the third organizational meeting of the American Football League, six club owners got together on Saturday, September 12, 1959 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

All six teams were represented by ownership and their lawyers and there was much to discuss on the agenda, including culling a list of potential Commissioners for the league down to three men. That trio of choices was an interesting collection of personalities. More on them later.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the first subject of business was Lamar Hunt reporting that a group trying to get an AFL team in Seattle had been unable to get the consent of the University of Washington to play at their stadium so they were out. As the owners talked about adding two more franchises, they focused on a team out west and a team near New York, to help create rivalries. Barron Hilton, owner of the Los Angeles Chargers said he knew people in San Francisco that were interested in a team. There was discussion of Buffalo in the east.

Hunt told the room that the new league did not want a war with the NFL. As written in the official minutes: “He reiterated his belief that the representatives in the American Football League were primarily interested in bringing professional football to their respective cities and that if any one representing any of the six charger members had as his primary motive making a great deal of money out of football, o r spending exorbitant sums in the establishment of its teams, such thinking was contrary to the express beliefs of t he majority of the representatives. He further stated that he felt there should be a limitation on salaries and that in his opinion the secret of a successful league would be to equalize all of the teams as much as possible so that competition would be keen.”

The next time somebody tries to say that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was the architect of the revenue sharing model that made pro football such a success, remember that in September 1959 Lamar Hunt was well ahead of Rozelle and the NFL on the subject. …Read More!

Texans Drop Opening Game To Chargers

The Texans-Chiefs franchise is celebrating its 50th season of play in 2009. This is another look at the founding team of the American Football League.

As he made his way through the stands at the Los Angeles Coliseum just before half-time, Lamar Hunt was thinking about the second half of this opening game for his Dallas Texans.

They were playing the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday evening, September 10, 1960. The Texans held a 20-7 lead at the intermission.

“I was walking to the press box to do a radio interview at half-time,” Hunt remembered several years ago. “I was thinking about how well we played in the first half and I was hoping we didn’t make the Chargers look bad in the second half. I was worried that if we beat them badly it would hurt the growth of the Chargers in the Los Angeles area.

“Well the Chargers come back and beat us 21-20. And I was feeling sorry for them? It was game one and lesson learned. I never felt sorry for an opponent again.” …Read More!

NFL Tried To Buy Off Lamar And Kill AFL

This is another chapter in the story of the birth and growth of the American Football League.

The phone call came after the AFL held its first league meeting and the NFL announced they were expanding into Dallas and Houston in 1961. It was early September of 1959 and the phone call was made to Lamar Hunt.

In those primitive days there were no cell phones and portable phones were something that spacemen used in movies and cartoons. Hunt was a busy man, moving around the country getting his new football league up and running. It took him a few days to return the call.

The voice at the other end of the line was the owner of an NFL team; Hunt never publicly identified the man, although he said it was not Bears owner George Halas, who is in the picture at left with Hunt and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

The voice had a simple proposal.

“He called to offer myself in Dallas and Bud Adams in Houston the opportunity to have an NFL franchise,” Hunt said several years before he passed away. “It was not something I considered, but I heard him out on the offer.”

The idea was obvious from the NFL point of view: give the founding AFL fathers teams in the NFL and the new league would die in the womb. …Read More!

Texans Go Unbeaten In Pre-Season

The lead paragraph of the Associated Press dispatch on what happened on Friday, September 2, 1960 captured the important facts of that evening:

“The Dallas Texans stamped themselves as National Football League contenders as well as the powerhouse of the American League Friday night. They beat Houston 24-3 to wind up their exhibition campaign with an unblemished 6-0 record, tops in the AFL.

“However, the Texans most important accomplishment was the drawing 51,000 fans into the Cotton Bowl to witness the charity game. The brand new Texans in a brand new league weren’t expected to pull in more than the 40,000 who turned out to see the Dallas Cowboys play the Baltimore Colts last month in their Dallas debut.”

It was the first chance the football fans of Dallas had to see the Texans. Lamar Hunt and Hank Stram took their team on quite a road show in that pre-season, playing games in Oakland, Tulsa, Boston, Abilene and Little Rock. Even down to the last week they were traveling as they pitched their camp in Fort Worth for the first part of the week.

Dallas welcomed them home on game day with a parade through downtown Dallas. The game against the Oilers was dubbed the Blood Research Bowl, with proceeds going to the Wadley Research Institute for its fight against blood diseases. A crowd of 40,000 was expected.

When far more than that showed, despite a thunderstorm that hit 15 minutes before kickoff and continued through the first quarter, it provided Hunt with a shot of encouragement. …Read More!

AFL 50-Year Memories: The NFL Strikes Back

It was National Football League Commissioner Bert Bell who first let the sports world know that another league was forming on the American football landscape.

At the time, Bell told a Senate sub-committee that the established NFL welcomed the new league, which later became known as the American Football League.

That proved to be wishful thinking on Bell’s part, because it didn’t take long for the NFL to answer back against the new league and kickoff a football war that was probably inevitable.

The date was August 29, 1959 and the cannon shot came in Houston, Texas. That’s where the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers were playing a pre-season game. Speaking with reporters, Bears owner and the most powerful man in the NFL at the time George Halas and Steelers owners Art Rooney announced that the league would expand to Dallas and Houston in 1961.

Halas was the head of the NFL’s expansion committee, and just a few months before he’d told Lamar Hunt that the NFL was not going to expand at any time soon. NFL types had told Bud Adams the same thing when the Houston oilman was interested in having an NFL team.

(That’s Halas on the left, Rooney on the right, with Dick Gallagher, of the Hall of Fame between them.)

Then, less than a month after the official announcement of the AFL and its first six teams, the NFL was announcing an expansion.

Hunt was less than pleased, telling the Dallas Morning News that the move was “sabotage.” …Read More!

Texans Memories: Pre-Season Game No. 5

The Dallas Texans trip around America continued in the fifth weekend of pre-season games in the first year of the American Football League.

After playing in Oakland, Tulsa, Boston and Abilene, the Texans landed in Little Rock, Arkansas. They practiced there for a week and then on Saturday evening, August 27, 1960, they beat the Denver Broncos 48-0 in front of an announced crowd of 5,500 at War Memorial Stadium (below.)

The Texans rolled up 501 yards in offense, compared to 301 yards for the Broncos and Dallas led 20-0 at half-time. That allowed Hank Stram to clear his bench and give everybody plenty of playing time.

“We were able to look at some boys who haven’t played much and some of them really impressed us,” Stram said after the game, speaking specifically of David Webster, Clem Daniels, Hunter Enis and Bo Dickinson.

“When we opened training we knew we could count on players like Johnny Robinson, Jim Swink, Jack Spikes, Abner Haynes and Cotton Davidson, but we weren’t sure what to expect from a lot of others. Some of these fellows really have been pleasant surprises.”

Webster was a quarterback at Prairie View who was moved to safety. Daniel, also from Prairie View, was a fullback moved to the secondary. Both would go on to play several years in the AFL. …Read More!

AFL Memories: First League Meeting

In the early days of the American Football League, the new league just couldn’t get away from the older National Football League.

It was on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23, 1959 in the Statler Hilton Hotel in Dallas (pictured below) that the AFL held its first league meeting. And it just so happened that also in Dallas that same weekend were the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants for an NFL pre-season exhibition game at the Cotton Bowl.

In fact, Lamar Hunt met with Giants co-owner Wellington Mara and Don Kellett the executive vice-president of the Colts. The guys from the older league actually requested the meeting; they wanted to eyeball this new guy from the new league.

“Hunt has got the money,” Mara told the Dallas Morning News, “and he is going into this for the thrill of achievement. If he sees it isn’t going to go, he’ll drop it. So it all depends on who they get to run it.”

Said Kellett: “It is tough to build one club. We know about that because we started out with the old Dallas Texans, which had a few top football players, but wasn’t really a team. Try to build six clubs and the problem is six times as tough. If we can give you (Hunt) any advice or help you, don’t hesitate to call on us.”

Hunt called the first meeting to order at 10 o’clock that Saturday morning. Along with him in that meeting room were K.S. Bud Adams of Houston, Harry Wismer of New York, Barron Hilton of Los Angeles and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul franchise were Max Winter, Bill Boyer, H.P. Skoglund and Sydney Goff. …Read More!

Texans Memories: Pre-Season Game No. 4

The Texans finally got a chance to play in Texas on Friday night, August 20, 1960.

But the game did not go down in Dallas.

Instead, the first-year Texans faced the New York Titans in Abilene, playing at the Public Schools Stadium (below) before a crowd of 8,000. Before the game it was predicted that 12,000 fans would show up.

Unfazed by the small turnout, the Texans continued their perfect pre-season no matter what state they played in, grabbing a 38-14 victory and moving their record to 4-0.

The star of this game was QB Cotton Davidson. In the first three pre-season games, Davidson had been a scattershot in the pocket. The veteran passer completed half of his 68 passes going into game No. 4, but he had missed several wide open receivers, especially down the field.

“I think we’ve got that corrected,” Texans head coach Hank Stram said before the game. “Cotton was making up his mind who he was going to throw to before he looked at what was going on. He would look one way, fake and throw too quickly in another direction. We saw it in the game films. I think we’ve got him aware of it now.”

Davidson was part of three touchdowns in the game, running for two and throwing for another one. That scoring toss was a 42-yard strike to RB Johnny Robinson in the third quarter that gave the Texans a 17-7 lead. In the game, Davidson hit 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards. Overall, the Texans had 478 yards on offense. …Read More!

Texans Memories: Pre-Season Game No. 3

The Dallas Texans got out of their Roswell, New Mexico training camp for a week and practiced in the Boston area before pre-season game No. 3 against the Patriots.

It must have been helpful because the Texans won 24-14 pushing their exhibition record to an AFL best 3-0. It was also Sherrill Headrick’s coming out party as a huge defensive force in the American Football League.

Boston Herald sportswriter Arthur Sampson called it “an enthusiastic crowd of 11,050 at Harvard Stadium” that watched the game. It was the Patriots first-ever home game.

Dallas scored on its first offensive play, set up with possession on one of six interceptions by the Texans defense.

“Dallas has a very strong team,” Boston coach Lou Saban said after the game. “It is big and fast and well-balanced. You can’t make many mistakes and beat such a team. We made the mistakes and they won but I am certainly looking forward to playing them again in the championship season.” …Read More!

AFL Memories: The Official Annoucement

The eyes of the football world were on Chicago the evening of Friday, August 14, 1959.

At Soldier Field, they were playing the annual Chicago Charities College All-Star Game, pitting the defending NFL champion against a team of college all-stars. The Baltimore Colts led by Johnny Unitas won the 26th edition of the game 29-0. Playing for the all-stars that night and wearing No. 22 was a halfback from the University of Pittsburgh named Dick Haley.

But there was another football story in town that night, one that would prove to be much bigger than the Colts victory.

The dateline was from Chicago, Illinois. The date was Friday, August 14th. Here was the report from United Press International:

“A second professional football league to be called the American Football League was formed tonight and franchises were announced for six cities. Lamar Hunt of Dallas said teams would be formed in Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, New York and Los Angeles. Hunt said Barron Hilton, a son of the hotel owner Conrad N. Hilton would head the Los Angeles franchise. Hunt the founder of the league said it planned to begin play in 1960. Hunt said the league might expand to eight teams, with the other two coming from Seattle, Buffalo, San Francisco, Miami or Kansas City. It was also reported that New Orleans was a possibility.”

Thus, the world was introduced to the AFL. …Read More!

Texans Memories: Pre-season Game No. 2

The Kansas City Chiefs franchise is celebrating 50 seasons of football this year. Much of the early history of the club is unknown to Chiefs fans because the team was the Dallas Texans at the time. As this 50th season rolls on, we will open the door to the history of Lamar Hunt’s football baby.

On Saturday evening, August 6, 1960, the Dallas Texans won their second pre-season game of that inaugural year, beating the Houston Oilers 27 in front of 12,000 fans at Skelly Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It was an interesting evening before the game even started, when somebody broke into the Oilers locker room before the game and stole 11 game jerseys. Those players had to wear red practice tops loaned to them by the Texans. The Skelly Stadium PA system did not work until the second quarter.

The Texans were coming off a victory in their first exhibition game, when they topped the Oakland Raiders in San Francisco. Going into the game, the Oilers were getting a lot of the national publicity because they had George Blanda playing quarterback and signed the most recent Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon. It was Houston’s first game. …Read More!

DT And His Alabama Workout

This story will appear in the program for the Pro Football hall of Fame game and induction ceremonies this weekend in Canton, Ohio. It was my pleasure to write this piece and reminiscence with three key figures in Derrick Thomas life about that moment when they understood they had found someone special. The photos are all from Kansas City’s best, Hank Young.

It was a cloudy, muggy day, pretty much standard issue when it comes to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the month of March.

At the football complex on the campus of the University of Alabama, a handful of men gathered on the artificial turf practice field. Some wore shorts and t-shirts, prepared for physical activity and football drills. Others wore slacks and polo shirts, there to watch the workout.

They had come together at this time and place because of one man: Derrick Thomas.

By the time his career ended with his death in February 2000, Thomas left a lengthy highlight tape of sacks, tackles, turnovers, touchdowns and safeties. There was his rookie season when he had 10 sacks and his second year when he doubled that number, including a still-league record seven sacks in one game against the Seahawks. There were his six sacks against the Raiders in his 10th season. There were the remarkable 45 fumbles he forced and 65 total takeaways.

All those accomplishments led to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the class of 2009.

Unfortunately, there is no film or tape of that Tuscaloosa day in March 1989. But what went down that day was a Derrick Thomas highlight that Carl Peterson, Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher will never forget.

Peterson was just months into what would be 20-year tenure as President/General Manager of the Chiefs. Schottenheimer had come on board two months before as the seventh head coach in team history, a job he would hold for a decade. Cowher was not yet 32 years old and preparing for his first season as a defensive coordinator. Within three years he would be head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The trio had come together in Kansas City where they inherited a 4-11-1 football team and a franchise that had made the playoffs just once in the previous 17 seasons. It was going to be one of the most extensive rebuilding projects in NFL history and the 1989 Draft was a big part of the plan. …Read More!

AFL Memories: The Houston Oilers

This year, pro football is celebrating the creation of the American Football League some 50 seasons ago. Over the rest of the year, we will bring you some moments from the AFL’s history book

On August 3, 1959, Lamar Hunt announced he had a playmate for his new football league.

In Houston, Hunt was joined by K.S. “Bud” Adams for a Monday night announcement of the second franchise in the American Football League. The event was held in the board room of Adam’s Ada Oil Company.

In fact, it was at this announcement that the league was called the American Football League for the first time.

Adams was 36 years old but he was easily the oldest owner in the new league, since Hunt had just turned 27 the day before the Houston announcement. …Read More!

AFL Memories: The Texans First Game

This year, pro football is celebrating the creation of the American Football League some 50 seasons ago. Over the rest of the year, we will bring you some moments from the AFL’s history book

It was Mark Twain who once said that the coldest day he ever spent was a summer afternoon in San Francisco.

The Dallas Texans found that out on July 31, 1960 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

On a brisk 50-degree Sunday afternoon the Texans beat the Oakland Raiders 20-13 in front of a crowd estimated between 13,000 and 18,000 fans that were bundled up against the fog rolling in off the Pacific Ocean.

It was the first game in the history of Lamar Hunt’s franchise.

“There were a lot of ups and downs, but I’m just tickled to death to win,” head coach Hank Stram told reporters after the game. “I thought our guys showed a lot of poise after that terrible first quarter.”

The Texans had flown west out of their training camp in Roswell, New Mexico, where they had been practicing for several weeks. There was great excitement in their ranks as they crossed the Rocky Mountains and headed for the Bay Area; for most of the 49 players on that plane, it was their first professional football game.

The excitement certainly didn’t translate with the football fans of Oakland-San Francisco. There was no place available for the Raiders to play on the east side of San Francisco Bay, so they were forced to head to Kezar (above left), which at that time was 34 years old and already in some disrepair. The stadium was also the home of the 49ers and they had the advantage on playing dates. …Read More!

AFL Memories: The Day Lamar’s Baby Was Introduced

This year, pro football is celebrating the creation of the American Football League some 50 seasons ago. Over the rest of the year, we will bring you some moments from the AFL’s history book.

It was a Congressional hearing of the kind that goes on hundreds of times each year in our nation’s Capital.

There was nothing on the hearing’s agenda that day indicating anything substantial was going to happen.

But on July 28, 1959 during testimony in front of a Senate judiciary anti-trust and monopoly sub-committee the existence of what would become the American Football League became public for the first time.

The sub-committee was meeting to discuss different bills that had been introduced by Senators C. Estes Kefauver (D-TN), Kenneth B. Keating (R-NY), Everett M. Dirksen (R-IL) and Thomas C. Hennings (D-MO). The bills were designed to provide certain exemptions for professional sports teams to anti-trust laws.

Giving testimony on this Tuesday morning was NFL Commissioner Bert Bell (left). Here’s how it was reported the next day by the New York Times:

“Bert Bell, the Commissioner of the National Football League announced today the imminent formation of a new professional football League. He said the sponsors of the new league planned to field teams in six cities, probably including New York, in the 1960-61 season. He said that the owners of the new circuit intended to expand to at least eight and possibly twelve teams in subsequent years. The league, at least initially will operate independently of the existing twelve-team National Football League, but definitely not as an “outlaw” to organized football according to Bell.” …Read More!

From the Pages of Chiefs History: January 11, 1970

It was 39 years ago Sunday that the Kansas City Chiefs reached the pinnacle of pro football.

Led by quarterback Len Dawson and a defense that smothered the Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV 23-7 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

The franchise had won an American Football League championship in 1962 and had played in the first championship game between the leagues in January of 1967 against the Green Bay Packers.

But the victory over the Vikings made them the third football team that could call itself a Super Bowl champion, after Green Bay and the New York Jets. Since then 13 other teams share that distinction as well.

Chiefs fans complain that they’ve waited too long for another Super Bowl title, that it has been too many years since scenes like the one below with Hank Stram being carried off the field with a championship game victory. But they’ll have to stand in line for that designation and their position won’t be anywhere close to the head of the line.

There are 15 teams in the NFL right now that have never won a Super Bowl. Seven of those clubs have been around as long, or longer than the Chiefs: Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns (old and new), Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

Throw in the New York Jets who have been waiting 40 years now, and at best the Chiefs are ninth on the list when it comes to longevity. Lined up after them would be the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and younger teams like the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.

That’s what makes that January day 39 years ago bigger and bigger. The day dawned cool, cloudy and windy in New Orleans. In fact, the area was under a tornado watch through most of the morning. It had been a strange week for weather as the fountain outside the Chiefs hotel froze. It was a strange week for the Chiefs as well as the relative calm of the pre-game week was disturbed by a national television report that associated Dawson with a known Detroit gambler with the same last name. They were not related, but Len did know him and had received a sympathic phone call from the gambler after the death of Len’s father. Dawson was one of five players who reportedly were going to be called to testify before a grand jury. However, he was the only man still playing that week, so all the attention fell on him.

Even in the days before the 24-hour news cycle it caused a great deal of coverage and commotion. The TV report came out on Tuesday evening and dominated the discussion for the rest of the week. It certainly dominated Dawson’s life, causing distress for his wife and children. “It’s tough enough getting ready for a good defense like Minnesota had,” Dawson said several years ago. “It did not make the week very enjoyable.”

But it didn’t slow the Chiefs down. His teammates rallied to Dawson and despite being heavy underdogs, the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. …Read More!

Remembering D.T.’s Record Day

Could it possibly be 18 years ago?

It just doesn’t seem like it could be that many Chiefs seasons since Derrick Thomas chiseled his name into the NFL record books.

On November 11, 1990 at Arrowhead Stadium, Thomas set a new league record with seven sacks of Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg.

The performance broke the previous record of six sacks set by San Francisco’s Fred Dean 25 years ago (November 13, 1983) against New Orleans.

It’s a record that has not been broken since. Last year, New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora had six sacks against Philadelphia. Thomas himself had six sacks in 1998 against Oakland, also at Arrowhead.

There have been a lot of passes thrown since that Veteran’s Day almost two decades ago. There have been a lot of pass rushers that have come through the pro football pipeline. The fact that none has been able to duplicate Thomas’ record is testimony to how remarkable an afternoon that day was for the second-year outside linebacker out of Alabama.

The Chiefs were 5-3 at that point in the ’90 season. The week before the Chiefs had beaten the Los Angeles Raiders 9-7 at Arrowhead.

It was a clear Indian summer afternoon, with temperatures at kickoff hitting 63 degrees. A crowd o f 71,285 fans were in the house for this battle between AFC West rivals. Just three weeks earlier the Chiefs were beaten by the Seahawks in Seattle, so they were seeking redemption.

Thomas’ record setting day began midway through the first quarter. Here’s how the sacks came:

- No. 1: Midway through the first quarter, on a third and 20 from the Seattle 28-yard line, Krieg was sacked for a five-yard loss.

- No. 2: Late in the first quarter, on a third and 10 play from the Seattle 15-yard line, Thomas took down Krieg for a 14-yard loss.

- No. 3: Late in the third quarter, on a third and 17 situation from the Seattle eight-yard line, Thomas sacked Krieg, knocking the ball loose. It was recovered in the end zone by DT Dan Saleaumua for a Chiefs touchdown.

- No. 4: Early in the fourth quarter, on a second and 10 play from the Kansas City 38-yard line, Thomas took Krieg down for a loss of 10 yards.

- No. 5: With 3:49 to play in the fourth quarter, on a first and 10 from the Seattle 35-yard line, Krieg was taken down by Thomas for a seven-yard loss.

- No. 6: Three plays later, on a first and 10 from the Chiefs 43-yard line, Thomas got Krieg again for minus-10 yards.

- No. 7: The record setter came on the next play, a second and 20 situation with Thomas dragging Krieg to the ground for the seventh time. On this play it was a six-yard loss.

In what should have been one of the most memorable moments of his life, D.T.’s afternoon was spoiled about 90 seconds after that record sack. Taking over at the Seattle 34-yard line with 48 seconds to play, Krieg completed passes of 16 and 25 yards. That set up the Seahawks with a first and 10 at the Chiefs 25-yard line. After an incompletion on first down, Krieg dropped back to pass again with the clock ticking off the game’s final seconds. Thomas came flying in from Krieg’s left side and grabbed at his waist as he threw the ball towards the end zone. That’s where WR Paul Skanski jumped up and pulled down the ball as the clock showed 0:00. Skanski’s touchdown and Norm Johnson’s PAT kick gave Seattle a 17-16 victory.

The outcome of that game tore at Thomas’ heart. Eight years later, when he had six sacks in a victory against the Raiders, Thomas still felt the pain. “At least we won this time,” D.T. said then. “I still can’t believe we didn’t win that game (in ’90).”

The First Game

It was the first game in franchise history.

Saturday evening, September 10, 1960, the Los Angeles Coliseum

The Dallas Texans traveled to Los Angeles to play the Chargers in the first weekend of play in what was the infant American Football League.

Outcome: Chargers 21, Texans 20.

Here was the lead paragraph from a story about the game the next day in the Dallas Times-Herald:

Los Angeles: The Dallas Texans who had mutilated six exhibition opponents with some marvelous pass thievery, paid a dear price here Saturday night. The Los Angeles Chargers overcame a devastating first half whipping, fired for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and edged Dallas 21-20 in the first American Football League game for both teams.

Actually, Ben Agajanian’s extra point was the margin. Jack Spikes missed the first of three tries for Dallas. But the real tale rested in some spectacular passing by Jack Kemp, a refugee from National League wars and some ironic pass interference penalties against the Texans who had intercepted 18 tosses before they flew west.

…Read More!

Psycho Is Gone

Some think he may have been the toughest football player who ever put on the pads.

The men who played with him wouldn’t argue.

“Oh, he was something,” Len Dawson said of his former teammate on the Texans-Chiefs LB Sherrill Headrick. “There were so many times you thought there was no way he was going to be able to overcome an injury, but there he was, the next play, back on the field.”

After a long fight with cancer, Headrick passed away on Wednesday at the age of 71.

As a linebacker over eight years with the Texans-Chiefs and a single season with the expansion Cincinnati Bengals, nothing seemed to be able to stop Headrick. He played with a broken neck, infected gums, hemorrhoids, and a fractured thumb. Sprains and strains were nothing to the Texas native. The only way he came off the field is if there was a bone sticking out.

That happened several times. Once, he had trainer Wayne Rudy tape the finger to a tongue depressor and he missed only a play. Another time, he popped the bone back into place and went back on the field.

That’s how he earned the nickname “Psycho.”

But for those that didn’t see him play, don’t think he was all craziness. He played in 108 games for the Texans-Chiefs and had 14 interceptions and three career TDs. He earned multiple berths in the AFL All-Star Game. San Diego coach Sid Gillman once called him “the best middle linebacker in football.”

…Read More!

The Story of Stone Johnson

It was 45 years ago on this day that the brand new Kansas City Chiefs suffered the first tragedy of its very young existence.

While blocking on a first-quarter kickoff return in a Chiefs pre-season game against the Houston Oilers in Wichita, wide receiver Stone Johnson injured his neck. Unable to move anyof his limbs, Johnson was carried off the field on a stretcher.  Taken by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita it was determined that he suffered a compression fracture of his fifth cervical vertebrae. He underwent surgery that night.  His condition seemed to stabilize.

Eight days after the surgery, Stone Johnson passed away, his parents at his bedside in Wichita. He was just 23 years old.

How Stone Johnson went from the 1960 Summer Olympics to becoming part of the Chiefs that summer long ago is a story that is part of the history of the American Football League. The new league was constantly searching for athletic talent and one place where the AFL dipped their bucket many times was among the black colleges of the South. In that era the NFL was integrated but there were unspoken quotas with most teams on how many black players could be on a team’s roster. Many players from small black colleges in the South never even received tryouts with the established league. …Read More!

First Game In Chiefs History

It all got started for the Chiefs franchise on this day, 48 years ago.

The date was July 31, 1960.  The place was Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. The Dallas Texans opponent that day was the Oakland Raiders.

The Texans won that first game in franchise history, 20-13. …Read More!


2011 Senior Bowl
Chiefs Players
College football
Combine 2010
Combine 2011
Cup O'Chiefs
Draft 2010
Draft Profiles 2010
Game Coverage
Hall of Fame
Mouth Of Todd
Other News
Practice Update





         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.