In 1959, a 26-year-old Texan, frustrated by his unsuccessful attempts to gain a pro football franchise in the National Football League, embarked on an alternate course that was to drastically change the face of pro football forever. The young man was Lamar Hunt, who founded the American Football League that season and served as the league's first president when its eight new teams began play in 1960.
Hunt's own team, the Dallas Texans, was located in his hometown where he would face direct competition from the NFL's newest expansion team, the Dallas Cowboys. In spite of this opposition from the established NFL, the Texans quickly made their mark as one of the new league's strongest teams. In their third season in 1962, they won the AFL championship with a 20-17 win over the Houston Oilers in a 77-minute, 54-second, two-overtime game, the longest pro football game ever played up to that time.
Although the Texans fared well in Dallas, Hunt decided that, for the good of the league, it would be best to move his franchise to Kansas City in 1963. There the team was renamed the Chiefs and it continued to enjoy the success the team had experienced in Dallas. The Chiefs won a second AFL title in 1966 and was the first team to represent the AFL in Super Bowl competition.
Kansas City won another title in 1969 and became the only team in AFL history to win three championships. Although the Minnesota Vikings were heavily favored in Super Bowl IV, Kansas City upset the NFL champions 23-7 to complete the AFL vs. NFL portion of the Super Bowl series tied at two wins each. It was the last game ever played by an AFL team.
The Texans-Chiefs' 10-season AFL record of 92-50-5 was the best of any AFL team. Head coach Hank Stram became the only man to serve as a head coach throughout the AFL's history.
Thanks to Hunt's wise player-procurement policies, his teams were loaded with potential superstars, including five -- quarterback Len Dawson, defensive end Buck Buchanan, linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier and kicker Jan Stenerud -- who have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hunt himself was the first Chief elected for his role in forming a new league that caused pro football to grow from 12 teams to 26 teams in the 1960s.
When they first moved to Kansas City, the Chiefs played in 49,002-seat Municipal Stadium. But in 1972, they moved into their current home, 78,097-seat Arrowhead Stadium, considered to be one of the world's finest.
The Chiefs won the AFC Western Division title in 1971, but their Christmas Day double-overtime playoff loss to Miami that year marked their last playoff appearance until the 1986 Chiefs captured a wild-card playoff berth. The Chiefs were perennial playoff contenders under coach Marty Schottenheimer from 1989-1998. The Chiefs are now in the capable hands of head coach Andy Reid, who earned a playoff spot in his first season with the team.