Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs

You know, the Kansas City Chiefs were once among the winningest Super Bowl teams of all-time and had appeared in more Super Bowls than the nearest competitor by a factor of at least two. The sad part of this story is that such mind-boggling statistics were only true in 1970 after one of the top 10 or so most important NFL games of all-time.

The Dallas Texans were among the eight inaugural franchises of the rogue American Football League in 1960. Coached by Hank Stram and quarterbacked by Len Dawson, the Texans through ’62 were, along with the Houston Oilers, the most representative of a league quicker and slicker than the NFL. In two of the AFL’s first three seasons, the Texans led all teams in point differential. And in ’62, the Texans bested the Oilers in double overtime to take the championship.

Owner Lamar Hunt apparently rather rapidly decided that moving the franchise to a market which didn’t include the Dallas Cowboys might be a good idea. Then-Kansas City mayor Harold Roe Bartle promised Hunt much attendance and related moolah, and thus the Chiefs were born for the 1963 AFL season.

The first three years of Chiefs football still featured a high-scoring offense – over the 42 regular-season games, Stram’s teams averaged over 27 per. And just in time for the first-ever Super Bowl (née the AFL/NFL Championship Game), the Chiefs put in a monster 11-2-1 season in which they averaged 32.0 points per game, though proved no match for *those* Green Bay Packers.

Closing out the 1960s – and the years of rival professional football leagues coexisting – was Super Bowl IV. With a convincing 23-7 win over the already-famed Purple People Eaters of the Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs proved to all but the staunchest skeptics that the newfangled AFC would be an equal to the NFC.

Call it the AFL curse: Since the merger of the two big football leagues (and Super Bowl IV), the Kansas City Chiefs have never quite been able to break through into greatness. An amazing run in the 1990s which saw five QBs (Steve DeBerg, Dave Kreig, ancient Joe Montana, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac) take the starter’s job in eight seasons nevertheless featured seven playoff runs – and yet oddsmakers even then rarely truly considered the Chiefs contenders.

In 2013, Andy Reid took the Kansas City head coaching job and at various points over the next several seasons, fans oddly believed on occasion that their team would go deep into the playoffs, that Reid’s clock management problems in the clutch were all about Philadelphia and that Alex Smith is an MVP-level QB.

Clearly, this team was never built for life beyond the American Football League...

For the official Kansas City Chiefs website, click here.

The Chiefs Super Bowl 54 Countdown to kickoff: click here