The End of a Decade … New Year’s Eve Cup O’Chiefs

While the official end of the decade for the Chiefs will not come until Sunday and the conclusion of the game against the Broncos, the calendar runs out Thursday evening at midnight. It seems an appropriate time to take a look at the team and the last 10 years.

And what are we to say about the fifth decade of Chiefs football?

As we look backward with the advantage of hindsight, one thing becomes crystal clear: it’s not a pretty picture. The last 10 years were not very successful and years from now Chiefs fans will have only a hazy recall of most of the decade’s 162 games.

The bookends of the decade were the team’s only appearances in the playoffs. At the end of the 2003 season, when the Chiefs won 13 games and decade’s only division title, they had no defense and were beaten by the Indianapolis Colts 38-31. Three season later, they made the playoffs in the most improbably manner, some three hours after their game was over, and played the Colts again. This time they didn’t have any offense and lost to Indianapolis 23-8.

It was a decade where the franchise did not field a complete team in any of the 10 seasons. Sometimes the Chiefs offense was among the league’s best. In fact the Flying Circus of Dick Vermeil rewrote the club’s record book for production of yards and points. Through the first six seasons of the 2000s, the Kansas City offense was never ranked lower than eighth in offensive yards.

But the defense struggled; only twice did the unit finish in the top half of the league in fewest yards allowed, the highest finish being 13th in 2007.

With one game to play, their winning percentage of .429 is the worst of the five decades in the history of the franchise.

The 1970s had a winning percentage of .431 and the 1980s ended up with a winning percentage of .438. That it is the worst decade for winning in club history is due entirely to the last three seasons when the team has won a total of nine games. A victory against Denver on Sunday would give the Chiefs a .432 winning percentage, so there is something to play for at Invesco Field.

Here are some of the numbers for the five decades of Texans/Chiefs football:









AFC West


Seasons In




Pro Bowl/All-Star










































    *-AFL only had nine all-star games, 1961-69.

Despite the losses, there were memorable men, games, situations and changes during the 2000s. Here are my top 10 picks for memories of the decade:

  1. Lamar Hunt dies, December 13, 2006 at the age of 74. An argument can be made that the franchise hasn’t yet recovered from Lamar’s death. From the day he passed after his long battle with cancer, the team’s record on the field is 11-40.
  2. Emmitt & Derrick Thomas are selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was very ironic that in consecutive years (2008-09), one of the best players from the early Chiefs was finally recognized, as was the best player the franchise has seen in 20 years.
  3. Jackson County voters approve sales tax for Arrowhead Stadium renovation in April 2006. The vote funded $325 million in funds to renovate the now 37-year old stadium. The timing on this was especially good for Kansas City football fans, especially with the passing later that year of Lamar Hunt. There’s little chance Lamar would have ever approved a move of the team from Kansas City. Had they been stymied on new revenue avenues with the redone Arrowhead, I’m not sure his children would feel the same way.
  4. Chiefs/Colts game in the 2003 playoffs goes without a single punt. Indianapolis’ 38-31 victory was one of the classic post-season shootouts of the decade. There were 69 points scored with nine touchdowns, 842 yards of offense and only one sack and one turnover. Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, while Priest Holmes had 208 yards in total offense with two TDs.
  5. The Carl Peterson Era ends after 20 seasons. There were not enough victories in the last 10 seasons and the NFL is a what-have-you-done for me lately kind of business. But it was Peterson and the moves and changes he made to the franchise when he came aboard in 1989 that made the Chiefs relevant again.
  6. Priest Holmes sets NFL record for touchdowns and rushing touchdowns with 27 in 2003. Holmes turned in one of the greatest individual seasons in Chiefs history in ‘03 when he broke the league record for scores. He did not hold that record for very long, as San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson now holds the honor, but it was one of the remarkable moments in the decade.
  7. Tony Gonzalez goes to 9 Pro Bowls. Too bad for Gonzalez that the voters in the NFC obviously did not have the same respect for him that the folks in the AFC had for the decade. Gonzalez could have had a sweep of the decade and still might if there are changes to the NFC team. But his nine trips to Hawaii for the Chiefs (2000-08) matched the nine consecutive by Derrick Thomas, but trails the 12 straight y Will Shields.
  8. Dante Hall has return TDs in four straight games. It happened in games two through five of the ‘03 season, when he returned a kickoff 100 yards against Pittsburgh, a punt 73 yards vs. Houston, a kickoff 97 yards at Baltimore and then 93 yards on a kickoff return against Denver.
  9. Chiefs/Giants game on September 23, 2001. A remarkable emotion ran through Arrowhead Stadium that Sunday afternoon just 12 days after the terrorist attacks that claimed thousands of lives in New York, Washington and Shanksville, PA. With the Giants in town, it ratcheted up the emotion even more. A fireman’s boot was passed around the stadium, and Chiefs fans donated enough money that with a match by the Hunt family and the Chiefs, more than $451,000 was raised for relief efforts in New York.
  10. Chiefs make the ‘06 playoffs in the most unusual manner. The Chiefs knew going into that final Sunday they had to beat Jacksonville and then they needed a lot of help to gain the final spot in the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 35-30. While they were winning, both Cincinnati and Tennessee were losing and that left only one more outcome: 49ers and the Broncos from Denver. A field goal by San Francisco’s Joe Nedney in overtime gave the Niners a 26-23 victory and the Chiefs made the NFL tournament.


  • AFC – named Patriots QB Tom Brady offensive player of the week, Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley defensive player of the week and Jets returner Brad Smith special teams player of the week.
  • NFC – named Bears QB Jay Cutler offensive player of the week, Panthers LB Jon Beason defensive player of the week and Bucs returner Michael Spurlock special teams player of the week.
  • BEARS – placed CB Charles Tillman (ribs) and DT Israel Idonije (foot) on the injured-reserve list; promoted QB Brett Basanez and CB Woodny Turenne from the practice squad.
  • BENGALS – placed LB Rey Maualuga on the injured-reserve list (ankle); promoted TE Darius Hill from the practice squad.
  • BRONCOS – promoted P Britton Colquitt from the practice squad.
  • CHARGERS – players voted QB Philip Rivers the team’s MVP for the ‘09 season.
  • COLTS – released QB Drew Willy; promoted WR Sam Giguere from the practice squad.
  • DOLPHINS – placed LB Channing Crowder (foot) on the injured-reserve list.
  • PACKERS – placed LB Jeremy Thompson on the injured-reserve list (neck); promoted DT Anthony Toribio from the practice squad.
  • RAIDERS – placed WR Nick Miller (tibia) and LB Slade Norris (hamstring) on the injured-reserve list.
  • REDSKINS – placed OT Mike Williams (toe) and S Reed Doughty (ankle) on the injured-reserve list.; signed CB Marcus McCauley; promoted RB P.J. Hill from the practice squad.
  • SAINTS – signed DT Rodney Leisle.
  • SEAHAWKS – placed WR Mike Hass (shoulder) on the injured-reserve list; promoted G Trevor Canfield from the practice squad.
  • TITANS – placed LB Keith Bulluck (knee) and CB Nick Harper (forearm) on the injured-reserve list.


On December 31, 1994, the Chiefs lost to the Miami Dolphins 27-17 in an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Joe Robbie Stadium. This game was tied 17-17 as Joe Montana for the Chiefs and Dan Marino for the Dolphins tried to recreate the battle they had during Super Bowl XIX when San Francisco beat Miami. The Chiefs got on the board first with a one-yard pass from Montana to TE Derrick Walker. The Dolphins tied the score with a one-yard TD run by RB Bernie Parmalee. But then Montana threw another TD pass, this one 57 yards to FB Kimble Anders. Before the end of the half, Marino found TE Ronnie Williams with a one-yard TD pass and both teams had FGs. The Dolphins got the only points of the second half, as Marino connected on a seven-yard TD pass to WR Irving Fryar. Pete Stoyanovich added a 40-yard FG. The Chiefs turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, as Montana threw an interceptions and Marcus Allen fumbled. It was the final game of Montana’s storied NFL career.


Born on December 31, 1959 in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was OL Rich Baldinger. He joined the Chiefs in 1983 after being selected by the Giants in the 1982 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest. Baldinger played 10 seasons with the Chiefs (1983-92). He appeared in 133 games with 103 starts, most of those coming at left guard and right tackle. He finished his career playing one season with the Patriots.

Born on December 31, 1961 in Youngstown, Ohio was CB Garcia Lane. He joined the Chiefs in 1985, after playing two seasons in the United States Football League with the Philadelphia Stars. Lane was selected by the Chiefs in the 1984 USFL Supplemental Draft, taken with the 61st selection in that one-time only three-round draft. He played in 17 games, with one start in the 1985 and 1987 seasons. He returned 43 punts for an average of 8.9 yards a return and took back 15 kickoffs for a 20.4-yard average. It was Lane’s only NFL action.

Born on December 31, 1981 in Los Angeles was CB Michael Bragg. He joined the Chiefs as a free agent in 2006 and played four games that year for the team. Most of his playing time was on special teams. It’s the only regular-season NFL action Bragg has seen since coming out of Texas A&M-Kingsville.

12 Responses to “The End of a Decade … New Year’s Eve Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 31, 2009  - ED says:

    This decade was one of the worst. Even when we were good it was painful to watch. Because either in 2003 we had explosive offense but when the defense stepped on the field they made you want to put your hair out. In 2006 the defense was solid but the offense had no creativity. Either way its over just like this season is about to be. Peterson story reminds of my favorite college football team Florida State. Like Bowden he turned around a franchise. And also like Bowden he destroyed all the good done in the 90s by staying too long in the 2000s. Right now I do think the Haley/Pioli regime will get this turned around going into 2010 and beyond. Both guys were successfull everywhere they went these guys are use to winning. They’ll get this thing turned around and we’ll be back to winning hopefully in regular and post season this time.

  • December 31, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    If we go into an uncapped year, teams will be able to extend their 4 year guys to 6 years and effectively dry up the free agent market. There are some special rules governing the top teams but the bottom line is it will be tough if not highly unlikely to improve the roster through free agency with quality talent.

    I start there because the premium focus has to shift toward scouting and astute evaluation of the collegiate players both from a drafting standpoint and also from those undrafted. Far MORE so than ever, obviously.

    Based on Pioli’s draft class of 2009, stumbling out of the gate as they have, where does this leave the Chiefs for future improvement? Perhaps this latest draft class has yet to be known until they have 3 seasons under their belt? Fair enough.

    I’ve always been a BPA draft guy but now, reality tells me the Chiefs have to go with Best IMPACT players available, regardless of position because short of that, this team will be tough to watch, tough to sell to ticket buyers and tough to swallow for Chiefs fans everywhere.

    I see 2010 as either another 3-4 win season or a .500 type team if the tumblers all fall into place during the off-season. Hopefully the latter, because Bob’s stats tell me what I’ve been feeling of late and that is, this last decade has been brutal.

  • December 31, 2009  - el cid says:

    If the CBA is gone after seasons end, I do not understand it all anyway, a lot of free agents will be locked to their current teams (?????) NFL Channel had a segment on it but I could get a grip on what it all meant to KC. Help, anyone??

  • December 31, 2009  - Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/31 « wire2 says:

    [...] The End of a Decade … New Year’s Eve Cup O’Chiefs from Bob Gretz [...]

  • December 31, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    el cid,

    Here are a couple of links to explore. The first is kind of an overview…and the second deals more specifically with what it will mean to the Chiefs. Hope they help.

  • December 31, 2009  - el cid says:

    Thanks Mad Chief, how this plays out will have more impact on the developement of the Pioli Chiefs than the draft. I fear Pioli’s view is long, long term in regard to who to draft and free agency will be what if anything turns around the team in 2010.

  • December 31, 2009  - craig says:

    Does anyone worry that the support for the chiefs will dwindle to the point where the franchise will move to a larger more supportive market?

  • December 31, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    Yes, its finally the END…I wonder if Pioli and his team of “great scouts” are down in Atl 2 see my boy Berry play 2nite? I predict 8 tackles,int,ff,sck and with the third pick the Kansas City Chiefs select: Eric Berry Tenn.

  • December 31, 2009  - el cid says:

    craig, nothing is impossible but it would cost the Hunts a small fortune to move, say LA. If nothing else, they watch how their money is spent. I believe LA is the last huge market location in the contin. US. I also believe the Hunts know it is not a easy market to capture. There is to many other things vieing for control of the money. It is a case of being the big fish in a puddle OR being a middle size fish in an ocean. Frankly the Hunts can and have survived with little of their own money being used. A LA move would require a winning team and a lot of self sufficiency, neither of which do Clark have any experience in. Now overseas? might be an option. Hunts have an unusual liking for soccer so a match where there was a soccer team and NFL team sharing a 100,000 seat stadium, they might go. But doubt the NFL can afford the costs of an overseas team, maybe Mexico City?

  • December 31, 2009  - The Morning Fix | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] New Years Eve Cup O Chiefs-Bob To Charles, 1,000 yards is still the magic number that separates the great backs from the good ones. It puts a back in a different class and gets others looking at him differently. [...]

  • December 31, 2009  - el cid says:

    Alex, Suh is my favorite but Berry is second. But there is another consideration on the first pick (#3 overall). MONEY. Whoever they pick will get paid a LOT of BUCKS. With all the holes on this team, can they afford to keep salting cash into the defense. It tips the balance to the defense, remember what Vermeil did with everthing spent on offense and a defense who could not stop the little sisters of the poor. I am not smart enought to guess who they will pick but do not be surprised if it is someone you never thought of.

  • December 31, 2009  - Bakjon says:

    It would be nice to get Suh or Berry but the Chiefs need help on the offensive line. Look at the Oklahoma St game with Okong at tackle. Also, how the Chiefs draft plays out depends on the needs of the Rams, Lions, and Bucs. The Chiefs need to get out their first four picks an offensive lineman, a playmaking wide receiver, a linebacker, and a pash rusher. If the CBA can be settled upon before the draft hopefully the Chiefs can look to upgrade their needs. I hope Pioli makes a play for talented performers instead of no names from the Patriots, Cardinals, and Dolphins rosters.

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