Chiefs

Five gambles that paid off for the Chiefs

1. The Foolish Club

Lamar Hunt and seven others who called themselves The Foolish Club founded the American Football League, which included Hunt’s Dallas Texans, in 1959 and would start play in 1960. Each owner paid $25,000 for his franchise. The Chiefs are now valued at about $1 billion by Forbes magazine.

2. The Mentor

Hunt hired Hank Stram, a relatively unknown assistant coach from the University of Miami who had no head-coaching experience, as his first head coach. Stram, known as The Mentor, led the Texans/Chiefs to three AFL championships, two Super Bowls and a Super Bowl title and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

3. Goin’ to Kansas City

Despite the Texans winning the 1962 AFL championship, it became apparent Dallas wasn’t going to support both the AFL team and the NFL’s Cowboys. So Hunt decided to move his franchise. His first choice was New Orleans, but he was unable to get a lease at Tulane Stadium. So he moved the club to Kansas City in May 1963 and re-christened them the Chiefs. They are celebrating their 50th season in Kansas City this year.

4. Nick the Kick

In his third season as head coach, Marv Levy made a bold move by releasing Jan Stenerud, one of the game’s all-time great kickers, in favor of Nick Lowery, who had been in and out of several NFL camps. Stenerud went on to kick for the Packers and Vikings and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. Lowery didn’t do so badly himself, spending 14 years with the Chiefs, and is the club’s all-time leader in points (1,466), field goals (329) and longest field goal (58 yards, twice).

5. Joe Montana comes to town

The Chiefs decided to install the West Coast offense in 1993 and sent a first-round draft pick to San Francisco for Joe Montana, the greatest quarterback to ever run that system. Montana, then 37, had lost his starting job to Steve Young, but he still had enough in the tank to lead the Chiefs to playoff wins over Pittsburgh and Houston — their last postseason victories — before losing in the 1993 AFC championship game at Buffalo.

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