Best Kansas City Chiefs Players Tournament, Round 1: 70's and 80's Era Region

Farzin Vousoughian@farzin21Contributor IIIMarch 14, 2012

30 Sep 1990: Running back Christian Okoye of the Kansas City Chiefs (left) moves the ball during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won the game, 34-0.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We are one-fourth of the way through round one to determine who the best player in Kansas City Chiefs history is.

On Monday, the fans voted #1 QB Len Dawson over #8 K Jan Stenerud, #2 LB Bobby Bell over #7 G Ed Budde, #3 CB Emmitt Thomas over #5 WR Otis Taylor and #4 LB Willie Lanier over #5 DT Buck Buchanan.

The matchups for the Super Bowl Era region will resume next Wednesday. For now, we will move on to the next region, the 70's and 80's Era.

Later this week, we will have the top eight players from the Marty Era and next Monday, you will have a chance to vote for the top eight players from the 2000's Era, after which round one will conclude. Round two will kickoff next Wednesday when the round of 16 gets underway.

At 11:59 p.m. CST, the votes will be counted and the winners will advance, regardless of the results of the polls after 11:59 p.m.

#1 RB Christian Okoye vs #8 C Jack Rudnay

Christian Okoye: Coming out of Enugu, Nigeria, Christian Okoye earned the nickname “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Okoye is not your typical running back. Okoye bulldozed his way through defenders, and was as tough a back as has ever carried the pigskin to take down.

Okoye amassed 1,246 carries, 4,897 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns in his six-year career, all with Kansas City. Okoye was the Chiefs all-time rushing leader when he retired.

Okoye’s best season came in 1989 when he had career highs in a single season for carries with 370, rushing yards with 1,480 and rushing touchdowns with 12. Okoye had only two 1,000-yard seasons and earned a Pro Bowl invitation in 1989 and 1991 for his performances.

He retired early from football because his body was not able to keep up with the intensity of the work.

Jack Rudnay: Jack Rudnay was one of Kansas City’s more dominant players to play the center position and was considered as one of the elite centers during the 1970s.

Rudnay snapped footballs to and protected Len Dawson, Mike Livingston, Steve Fuller and Bill Kenney. Rudnay found a lot of success working with those quarterbacks while spending all 13 seasons in Kansas City. He played in 178 games with the Chiefs.

He earned four Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, all in 1973-’75 and ‘79.


#4 WR Stephone Paige vs #5 WR Carlos Carson

Stephone Paige: Stephone Paige spent 10 seasons with the Chiefs and became one of team's more dynamic players during some down years.

Paige caught 352 passes for 6360 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career. Paige’s best season came in 1990 where he snagged 65 catches for 1,021 yards, both career highs in a single-season. He also had five touchdown receptions that season.

From 1985 through 1991, Paige had at least one catch for 83 consecutive games, which was a record at the time. The record was eventually broken by Tony Gonzalez.

Carlos Carson: Carlos Carson spent all but one year with the Chiefs during his 10 years in the NFL. His playing time in Kansas City gave fans something to look forward to during their time in the competitive wilderness.

Carson caught 352 passes for 6,360 yards and 33 touchdowns as a Chief. Carson had three 1,000-yard seasons with the Chiefs with his best season coming in 1983, when he caught 80 passes for 1,351 yards and pulled in seven touchdowns. All three of those stats were career highs in a single-season.

Carson has the third most receiving yards all-time among all wide receivers in franchise history while sharing the field with Paige, who is his opponent in this round.


#3 RB Joe Delaney vs #6 CB Albert Lewis

Joe Delaney: What would have Joe Delaney’s career been like if he spent 10 years in the league? Delaney caught the eye of every NFL fan in 1981.

During his rookie season, he rushed for 1,121 yards and scored three touchdowns. Delaney also caught 22 passes for 246 yards to help contribute to Kansas City’s offense. Despite finishing 10th in rushing in 1981, Delaney’s yard per carry average was higher than a couple of the players in the top 10 including the rushing leader that season, George Rogers of the Saints.

Delaney spent two seasons with the Chiefs including the shortened 1982 season, and he earned a Pro Bowl invitation for his outstanding rookie season.

Behind Jamaal Charles, Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, Delaney has one of the best single-season rushing performances in franchise history. Had he been able to play longer, he could have owned many franchise rushing records.

Delaney’s career was cut short by a tragic accident when he attempted to save a couple of young boys. Despite not knowing how to swim, Delaney dove in to a pool to help three children. Delaney helped one kid get out of the water, but he sank and died with another. Delaney today is considered one of the most heroic players in Chiefs history with good reason.

Albert Lewis: Albert Lewis was one of the best corners to play for the Chiefs and was one of the bright spots on the defense.

Lewis retired with 38 interceptions for 329 returned yards and no touchdowns. Despite playing cornerback, Lewis was able to take down the quarterback a few times. He recorded 4.5 sacks with the Chiefs and had 12.5 in his career after spending a couple of years in Oakland.

A member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, Lewis was also voted to four consecutive Pro Bowls all while playing for Kansas City. His interception total as a Chief puts him fifth all-time in franchise history


#2 S Deron Cherry vs #7 K Nick Lowery

Deron Cherry: Deron Cherry is considered one of the more dangerous safeties to play the game during the 80’s.

Having spent all 11 seasons in Kansas City, Cherry pulled down 50 interceptions in 141 games. He returned those picks for 688 yards off and took one back for a touchdown.

His best season came in 1986 when Cherry picked off nine passes, good for second in the league that year, one short of Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers.

Cherry was voted to six Pro Bowls and has earned five All-Pro recognitions. He was also named part of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team for his performance in Kansas City.

Nick Lowery: Lowery came close to a number of Jan Stenerud's records, and has a few franchise marks of his own.

Lowery owns the franchise record for most field goals made in a single-season with 34 in 1990, as he missed only three that year.

Having played more games than Stenerud, Lowery also owns the record for most field goals made in a career as a Chief with 329. He is the only player to have over 300 made field goals as a Chief.

Lowery was clutch in 15 games, including two postseason games, where he came through with the game-winning field goal to help his team win. Lowery was sent to three Pro Bowls while playing for the Chiefs, and he also added seven All-Pro honors.



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