The best players/coaches on the worst Chiefs teams of all time.
Welcome to our fifth and final installment of the Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time cellar dweller team!
Along the way, we have picked the best 11 Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Now, we add special teams and coaches into the mix— selected entirely from those who served on the worst Kansas City teams.
Spoiler alert: When it comes to selecting a coaching staff from bad teams, the pickings are slim. But from the pile of 32nd-ranked passing offenses, we have done our best to piece together a staff that given the same talent on their actual teams as we have on this cellar dweller team, they would have contended for a title.
As always, here are the ground rules we will be using:
- A player had to have at least 10 starts in a bad season.
- The Chiefs had to have five or fewer wins in that season.
- Just one player at each position, using a standard pro set offensive formation and a 4-3 defensive set.
Let’s finish this baby off!
Kicker – Nick Lowery, 1988
I know some people are going to roast me for not going with Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud here. Heck, I might roast myself if I was on the other side of the keyboard. I mean they don’t just give out gold jackets for being a nice guy — but when their eligible years are measured side-by-side, the man who wore the single-bar helmet long after it was fashionable beats the Norwegian pretty handily.
While it was not quite as good as his All-Pro year in 1990, Lowery’s 1988 season was still pretty darn good, making 27 of 32 field goals (including going three-for-three from 50 yards or more) and making 100% of his point-after attempts. These days, Chiefs fans would trade quite a bit for the peace of mind that Lowery provided when it came to being automatic at making PAT’s.
That’s not to say that they were always good times. After leaving the Chiefs and signing with the New York Jets, he notoriously slapped a 20-year-old New England Patriots ball boy for not “rubbing up” his footballs in the cold.
In a statement the Patriots issued after the game, the team quoted the ball boy, David Foscaldo, of Foxboro, as saying that Lowery “struck him with an open hand in the face” during the third quarter after he told Lowery he would not provide the rubbed-up footballs for him because it wasn’t his job. Ball boys at times will rub up footballs as a courtesy to kickers in cold weather. Lowery missed his only field goal of the game — a 33-yarder in the first quarter.
Honorable Mention: Jan Stenerud
Punter– Dustin Colquitt, 2007
For me, Dustin Colquitt was an easy selection here. At the time of his initial departure from the Chiefs, Colquitt was the longest-tenured player on the team.
His left foot gave 14 years of stellar service to this team — and he was a very active member in the community, volunteering with local non-profits Kids TLC and Team Smile.
In the end, Colquitt was able to hang around long enough to be rewarded with a well-deserved Super Bowl ring.
In 2007, Colquitt was in his prime — which was a good thing, because the Chiefs offense ranked 31st in the league. Colquitt punted 95 times that year, which (surprisingly) was not a career-high; he kicked 96 punts two years later in 2009. He holds the franchise record for the longest punt at 81 yards — but those of us who watched him know that he was so much more than a booming leg. The unique spin his left foot put on the ball was a legitimate issue for return men — and caused many a muffed punt. It’s not often that a punter is considered a weapon, but Colquitt was just that: a sniper who was an expert at pinning the ball inside the 20-yard line.
Honorable Mention: Zenon Andrusyshyn
Offensive Coordinator – Brian Daboll, 2012
As I mentioned at the top of this article, it’s slim pickings when it comes to selecting a coaching staff from the worst teams in Chiefs history. As it turns out, it’s just like having a good quarterback: when you have a good coaching staff, you win a lot of games.
In 2012, the Chiefs had arguably the worst passing offense in the NFL — but on the back of Jamaal Charles, they still managed to grind out the fifth-ranked rushing attack. There isn’t much else to say about Daboll’s lone year as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. But since then, he has gone on to find immense success as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator — where he has Josh Allen, who is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game.
Honorable Mention: Chan Gailey
Defensive Coordinator – Gunther Cunningham, 2007
Born in 1946 in Munich, Germany — just a year after World War II — Gunther Cunningham was a hard-nosed coach who lived to teach the game he loved.
“He was intense,” former Chiefs public-relations director Bob Moore once said of Cunningham. “Here’s a guy who gets up at four o’clock in the morning and would drive to work. He would be there at four o’clock in the morning, coaching with everything — chewing tobacco, drinking coffee — and at about nine o’clock, he was cranked and reaching his apex already.”
There were not many things that Gunther Cunningham loved more than Chiefs red and gold. He spit fire on the sidelines and called his defensive scheme the same way. Gunther never met a blitz package he didn’t like — nor was he afraid to bring the heat on opposing quarterbacks. “If you have a gun with six bullets,” he once said, “you shoot all of them.”
Honorable Mention: Romeo Crennel
Head Coach – Hank Stram, 1963
The list of head coaches who have won Super Bowls for the Chiefs is exactly two names long — and Stram’s name is at the top. Like current head coach Andy Reid, Stram was known as an offensive innovator.
He was the Chiefs’ first head coach — and one of only two former Chiefs coaches who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Stram’s mic’d-up footage from Super Bowl IV is some of the best and most entertaining football footage you will ever see.
He had a big personality — with the goods to back it up. He was also a man of a million quotes. Here is just a sampling of them:
“There are few secrets in football. So execute.”
“Yesterday is a canceled check. Today is cash on the line. Tomorrow is a promissory note.”
“My philosophy? Simplicity plus variety.”
“You can’t be fat and fast, too; so lift, run, diet and work.”
“We have what we call a dictator offense. We dictate to defenses by making them do what we want them to do.”
“You can’t win unless you have good people with a great attitude. They are the ones who won the games. I didn’t win any games. You never saw a coach make a tackle anywhere. My philosophy was to get the best players and then try to do something new with them.”
Reading these, one might be forgiven for mistaking Hank Stram for Ted Lasso.
Honorable Mention: Marv Levy
Here is where we have landed with our final 24 man roster and coaching staff:
- WR1 — Carlos Carson, 1987
- LT — Jim Tyrer, 1963
- LG — Brian Waters, 2009
- C — Jack Rudnay, 1975
- RG — Tom Condon, 1978
- RT — Jim Nicholson, 1976
- TE — Tony Gonzalez, 2008
- WR2 — Dwayne Bowe, 2008
- QB — Len Dawson, 1963
- RB1 — Jamaal Charles, 2012
- RB2 — Tony Reed, 1978
- SS — Bobby Hunt, 1963
- FS — Deron Cherry, 1988
- RCB — Emmitt Thomas, 1974
- LCB — Brandon Flowers, 2009
- MLB — Willie Lanier, 1975
- SLB — Tamba Hali, 2012
- WLB — Derrick Johnson, 2007
- RDE — Jared Allen, 2007
- LDE — Art Still, 1978
- DT — Buck Buchanan, 1963
- DT — Jerry Mays, 1963
- Kicker — Nick Lowery, 1988
- Punter — Dustin Colquitt, 2007
- Offensive Coordinator — Brian Daboll, 2012
- Defensive Coordinator — Gunther Cunningham, 2007
- Head Coach — Hank Stram, 1963
And… that’s a wrap!
Thanks for playing along. I hope this has been a fun stroll down memory lane — one that helped you remember that even in the worst times, there are still a heck of a lot of good times to be had.