A Decade's Best: Kansas City's Derrick Thomas Joins NFL's Elite

James AdkinsCorrespondent IIAugust 7, 2009

27 Oct 1996:  Quarterback John Elway of the Denver Broncos runs away from Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the Broncos v Chiefs game at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Jed Ja

Football fans across Kansas City, where tailgating and barbecue are king, have already planned the menus and sent out the invites to watch parties for this Saturday's ESPN broadcast of the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony.

Chief fans, who for the past 20 years have developed a love/hate relationship with former general manger Carl Peterson, will have their eyes and ears glued to the television as Peterson delivers the most anticipated speech of his life.

Peterson's single greatest accomplishment in his professional career was his decision to select a linebacker from the University of Alabama in the first round of the 1989 draft.

He will be coming full circle with that decision on Saturday, as he serves as the presenter in Canton, Ohio, at the enshrinement of Kansas City's greatest pass rusher, Derrick Thomas.

Peterson, who was a father figure of sorts to Thomas, has his hands full. The masterpiece that was Thomas's 11-year career will be on full display Saturday night, and it's up to Peterson to remind us how great he was. 

On Saturday, Chiefs fans won't care that the Chiefs were 2-14 last year. They won't be preoccupied with how Matt Cassel and this year's team are faring at training camp in River Falls, Wis. They won't care that Scott Pioli just signed Amani Toomer to shore up the team's troubled receiving corps.

All anyone in Kansas City will care about on Saturday is celebrating No. 58. Saturday night is all about DT.

Here are just a few reasons why Thomas is a Hall of Famer, and why he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players in Chiefs history:


116.5 sacks in the 1990s

Thomas had more sacks than any other player during the decade of the 90s. 

His 11-year sack total of 126.5 is 11th all-time and is only six behind the man he's compared to the most, Lawrence Taylor.


Seven sacks in one game

On Nov. 11, 1990, Thomas broke the single-game sack record against Dave Krieg and the Seattle Seahawks, a record that still stands to this day. 

Of course, Thomas always cared more about the sack that got away, when with four seconds left in the game, Krieg was able to slip out of Thomas's grasp and beat the Chiefs with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Paul Skansi.


Sack and strip

Thomas's patented speed rush and "tomahawk chop" on the passer's throwing arm when sacking the quarterback was his trademark move. 

In his career, Thomas forced 45 fumbles and did his part in encouraging 78,000 Chiefs fans to chant and chop themselves into a frenzy at each home game.

Thomas and his teammates made Arrowhead Stadium one of the most difficult places to play in decade of the 1990s.


Veteran's Day flyovers at Arrowhead

When military jets flew over Arrowhead Stadium on game day, you knew Thomas was going to have a big game.

The memory of Thomas's father, a pilot who was shot down and killed in Vietnam, always seemed to bring out the best in him.

His best single-game performance, his seven sacks against the Seahawks, occurred on Veteran's Day.