TAMPA, Fla. — After 50 years without a Super Bowl title, the Kansas City Chiefs finally broke through during the 2019 season and won Super Bowl LIV. This year, they are poised to become the eighth team to win back-to-back Super Bowl crowns.
The Chiefs have had a storied history in pro football: They were a charter member of the American Football League, played in the first Super Bowl in January 1967, and lost the longest game in NFL history on Christmas Day 1971.
The emergence of Patrick Mahomes as quarterback and Andy Reid as coach has brought the Chiefs a pair of trophies named for its owner and founder. The AFC Championship trophy is named for Lamar Hunt, and Kansas City is hoping to earn its second straight Vince Lombardi Trophy -- and third overall -- when the Chiefs meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Here are 10 things to know about the Chiefs franchise, past and present:
BEGINNINGS: The team now known as the Chiefs was founded Aug. 14, 1959, as the Dallas Texans. Their first season was 1960, and the franchise moved to Kansas City and changed its name to the Chiefs in 1963. The franchise won AFL titles in 1962, 1966 and 1969.
SMOKIN’: The Chiefs played in the first Super Bowl, then called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The Chiefs only trailed 14-10 at the half, but the Green Bay Packers showed some muscle in the second half and rolled to a 35-10 victory at the Los Angeles Coliseum. At halftime, cameras caught quarterback Len Dawson smoking a cigarette and drinking a Fresca.
STEPPING UP TO THE MIC: During the Chiefs’ 23-7 victory in Super Bowl IV, NFL Films put a microphone on Kansas City coach Hank Stram, which turned out to be a brilliant move. Pacing, strutting and cajoling on the sidelines, Stram was the perfect narrator as the Chiefs scored a big upset against the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings. His call of “65 Toss Power Trap,” which resulted in a 5-yard touchdown run, is still an NFL Films classic. The play was a fake toss sweep, which was given to running back Mike Garrett, who burst into the end zone to give the Chiefs a 16-0 lead.
FAMOUS PLAYERS: The Chiefs have retired 10 uniform numbers: Jan Stenerud (3), Len Dawson (16), Emmitt Thomas (18), Abner Haynes (28), Stone Johnson (33), Mack Lee Hill (36), Derrick Thomas (58), Willie Lanier (63), Bobby Bell (78) and Buck Buchanan (86). Bell, Buchanan, Dawson, Lanier, Stenerud and Stram are all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So is the team’s owner, Hunt, who was the first member of the Chiefs organization to be inducted in 1972.
CHRISTMAS CLASSIC: The Chiefs played the longest game in NFL history, hosting the Miami Dolphins in an AFC playoff game on Dec. 25, 1971. It took 82 minutes, 40 seconds to complete, but Miami’s Garo Yepremian kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal to give the Dolphins a 27-24 victory after 7:40 of the second overtime period. It was the final game played at Municipal Stadium. The loss overshadowed the performance of Kansas City’s Ed Podolak, who scored two touchdowns, rushed for 85 yards, caught eight passes for 110 yards and had 155 return yards on special teams. The two teams met the following season to christen Arrowhead Stadium, and Miami won 20-10.
BASEBALL ROOTS: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was drafted in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2014. He was a pitcher like his father, Pat Mahomes, who played for six teams in the majors from 1992 to 2003. The elder Mahomes had a 42-39 lifetime mark. Patrick Mahomes also starred in the Junior League Baseball World Series in 2010, when he played for the Tyler, Texas, squad that represented the Southwest United States. The team reached the title game before losing 9-1 to a team from Taipei, Taiwan.
STELLAR SEASON: Mahomes finished the 2020 regular season with 4,740 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and six interceptions. Mahomes ranked first in passing yards per game (316), fourth in touchdowns and third in passer rating (108.2).
HOMECOMING: Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle will enjoy a homecoming of sorts. Pringle was born in Tampa on Nov. 17, 1993, and played high school football locally at T.R. Robinson High School in the South Tampa neighborhood of the city. Pro wrestling fans will recognize the high school as the alma mater of Terry Bollea -- known professionally as Hulk Hogan. In 2020, Pringle played in 13 games and started three of them. He caught 13 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. But he made his mark on special teams, returning a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown on Oct. 25 against the Denver Broncos. For the season, Pringle returned 10 kicks for 324 yards.
CRAZY EIGHTS? The Chiefs are trying to become the eighth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. If Kansas City prevails in Super Bowl LV, the franchise will join an elite group: Green Bay Packers, 1966-67 seasons; Miami Dolphins, 1972-73; Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974-75 and 1978-79; San Francisco 49ers, 1988-89; Dallas Cowboys, 1992-93; Denver Broncos, 1997-98; and New England Patriots, 2003-04.
AGAINST THE BUCS: The Chiefs and their Super Bowl LV opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have never met in the postseason. However, they have played 13 times, with Tampa Bay owning a 7-6 series advantage. Earlier this season, the Chiefs defeated the Bucs 27-24 on Nov. 29. in Tampa. Mahomes led the Chiefs to an early 17-0 advantage and held off a late rally by Tampa Bay to win. Mahomes threw for 462 yards, with wide receiver Tyreek Hill catching 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Hill had 203 receiving yards in the first quarter, The Washington Post reported.
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