By: Kurtis Seaboldt
There are some iconic numbers in the 60-year history of the Kansas City Chiefs. Ten numbers have been retired by the team, seven of them for players who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But, what about the others? Who was the best #7? The best #48? The best #93? Well, I took it upon myself to find out. I applied only one condition. The players are judged only on how they played while wearing that number for the Chiefs (or Texans). Here they are:
Legend: PB (Pro Bowls), AP (All-Pro selections), CHOF (Chiefs Hall of Fame member), HOF (Pro Football Hall of Fame member)
50. Justin Houston, LB (2011-2018) PB-4. AP-1. Houston had 78.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Chiefs, including a franchise-record 22 in 2014. Other notable: Anthony Davis
51. Jim Lynch, LB (1967-77) PB-1. CHOF. Other notables: Greg Manusky, Frank Zombo
52. Thomas Howard, LB (1977-83) Started 83 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Tracy Rogers
53. Marvcus Patton, LB (1999-2002) Started 61 games for the Chiefs. Had Whitney Paul (one of my favorite names) not played three of his seven seasons in #64, he would have gotten the nod.
54. Brian Waters, G (2000-10) PB-6, AP-2. Waters will eventually be a Chiefs Hall of Famer. Other notables: Tracy Simien
55. E.J. Holub, C/LB (1961-70) PB-5, AP-2. CHOF. He earned his honors as a linebacker before moving to center. Started one Super Bowl at each spot. Other notable: Dee Ford
56. Derrick Johnson, LB (2005-17) PB-4, AP-1. Deadbolt lock for the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Other notables: Dino Hackett
57. Chris Martin, LB (1988-92) Started 59 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Jerry Blanton, Mike Maslowski
58. Derrick Thomas, LB (1989-99) PB-9, AP-2. CHOF. HOF. Number retired. Jack Rudnay also wore #58 to the Chiefs Hall of Fame but DT was one of a kind.
59. Gary Spani, LB (1978-86) CHOF. Chiefs’ career leader in tackles just beats out Donnie Edwards for the spot.
60. Matt Herkenhoff, T (1976-85) Started 122 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: George Daney
61. Tim Grunhard (1990-2000) PB-1. No one played in more postseason games for the Chiefs than Grunhard, the anchor of one of the best OLs in the NFL in the 1990s. Curley Culp is in the Chiefs Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame but most of his individual awards came after the disastrous 1975 trade that sent him to Houston for John Matuszak.
62. Casey Wiegmann, C (2001-07, 2010-11) Started 143 straight games for the Chiefs.
63. Willie Lanier, LB (1967-77) PB-8, AP-3. CHOF. HOF. Number retired. One of the best MLBs in NFL history. Other notables: Bill Maas
64. Curt Merz, DE/G (1962-68) Best of an average group. Played in 92 games for the Chiefs.
65. Tom Condon, G (1974-84) Started 131 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Ryan Lilja
66. Brad Budde, G (1980-86) Started 79 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Ricky Siglar
67. Art Still, DE (1978-87) PB-4. CHOF. Started 148 games for the Chiefs and logged 48.5 sacks.
68. Will Shields, G (1993-2006) PB-12, AP-2. CHOF. HOF. Arguably the best guard in NFL history. That it took him four years to get in the Hall was a joke.
69. Sherrill Headrick, LB (1960-67) PB-4, AP-2. CHOF. I know what you’re thinking. As a Chief, Headrick was better. Most of Jared Allen’s honors have come since he went to Minnesota.
70. Jim Nicholson, T (1974-79) Started 62 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Jim Rourke, Marcus Spears
71. Ed Budde, G (1963-76) PB-7, AP-2. CHOF. Replaces Johnny Robinson as the biggest Hall of Fame slight. Other notable: Mitchell Schwartz
72. Eric Fisher (2013-current) PB-1. Solid starter at the most important spot on the OL. His value was apparent during his eight-game absence in 2019. Other notable: David Lutz
73. Dave Hill, T (1963-74) CHOF. Played 150 games for the Chiefs and started in two Super Bowls. Other notables: Bob Simmons, Joe Valerio
74. Jerry Cornelison, T (1960-65) Started 70 games for the Texans/Chiefs.
75. Jerry Mays, DE (1961-70) PB-7, AP-2. CHOF. Started an AFL Championship Game for the Texans and two Super Bowls for the Chiefs. Other notables: Joe Phillips
76. John Alt, T, (1984-96) PB-2. CHOF. Started 149 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: Mo Moorman, Branden Albert
77. Jim Tyrer, T (1961-73) PB-9, AP-6. CHOF. I’d like to amend my earlier statement (see Ed Budde). THIS is the biggest Hall of Fame slight. The best of a very good group. Other notables: Charlie Getty, Rich Baldinger, Willie Roaf
78. Bobby Bell, LB (1963-74) PB-9, AP-6. CHOF. HOF. Number retired. Maybe the best OLB in history, undoubtedly the most athletic.
79. Dave Szott, G (1990-2000) PB-1. Started 136 games for the Chiefs.
80. Johnny Morton, WR (2002-04) Caught 134 passes for the Chiefs. Twenty-three different players wore #80; Morton was the best. Other notables: Fred Jones, Lake Dawson
81. Tommy Brooker, E/K (1962-66) Best of an average bunch. His overtime FG won the 1962 AFL Championship Game. Good enough for me. Other notables: Marvin Upshaw, Robb Thomas, Kevin Lockett
82. Dwayne Bowe, WR (2007-14) PB-1. Closest call of the bunch. Dante Hall had one more Pro Bowl and one more All-Pro nod but Bowe’s 15 TDs in 2010 and his overall production just edge Hall’s scintillating 2002-04 run.
83. Stephone Paige, WR (1983-91) Caught 377 passes and scored 49 TD’s for the Chiefs. His 307 yards against San Diego was the NFL record for a game. It’s still the record for a non-OT game. Other notables: Kendall Gammon
84. Fred Arbanas, TE (1961-70) PB-5, AP-3. CHOF. Caught 34 TD passes for the Chiefs. Other notables: Willie Davis
85. Jonathan Hayes, TE (1985-93) Played 184 games for the Chiefs, starting 114. Other notables: Chuck Hurston, Marc Boerigter
86. Buck Buchanan, DT (1963-75) PB-8, AP-4. CHOF. HOF. Number retired. Played 182 games for the Chiefs. Other notables: J.T. Smith
87. Travis Kelce, TE (2013-current) PB-5. AP-2. The only TE to have four straight 1,000-yard seasons. He’s bound for the Chiefs Hall of Fame and likely the Hall of Fame. Other notables: Eddie Kennison, Aaron Brown, Tamarick Vanover
88. Tony Gonzalez, TE (1997-2008) PB-10, AP-5. CHOF. HOF. Greatest TE in NFL history. Other notables: Chris Burford, Walter White, Carlos Carson
89. Otis Taylor, WR (1965-75) PB-3, AP-2. CHOF. Game-breaking wideout, his 46-yard score put Super Bowl IV on ice. Should get more Hall of Fame consideration. Other notables: Henry Marshall
90. Neil Smith, DE (1988-96) PB-5, AP-1. CHOF. Credited with 85.5 sacks in nine years as a Chief.
91. Tamba Hali, DE/LB (2006-17) PB-5. Credited with 73.5 sacks in eight years as a Chief.
92. Dontari Poe, DT (2012-16) PB-2. Faded after a promising start but he’s still easily the best of this lot.
93. John Browning, DE (1996-05) It’s hard to believe he played ten years for the Chiefs. Started 96 games.
94. Tyson Jackson, DE (2009-13) This group is so bad that Terrell Suggs is pushing Jackson just off winning a Super Bowl ring. Other notables: Keith Traylor
95. Chris Jones, DT (2016-current) PB-1. If he never plays another down for the Chiefs, he wins this one going away.
96. Jaye Howard, DT (2013-16) Look at the list. You find one better.
97. Dan Saleaumua, DT (1989-96) PB-1. Best ball-hawking DT ever. Played 125 games for the Chiefs and recovered 17 fumbles, just two fewer than Derrick Thomas.
98. Eric Hicks, DE (1998-2006) 44.5 sacks in nine seasons with the Chiefs. He had 14 sacks in 2000. Other notables: Leonard Griffin
99. Mike Bell, DE (1979-85, 87-91) Played 135 games for the Chiefs, logging 40 sacks. Other notables: Wilbur Young, Vaughn Booker