The Top 50 Kansas City Chiefs of All Time
Over the years, there have been many great players that have put on the Kansas City Chiefs uniform going all the way back to the early 1960s.
Each and every one of these players has their own story and their own talents. From NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas to little known Johnny Robinson, every man on this list has a spot in Chiefs history and fame.
For this list, I have complied my version of the Top 50 Kansas City Chiefs, since the team set up shop just 47 years ago, in 1963.
50. Ed Podolak
A solid running back for the Chiefs who also doubled as a potent receiving threat as well.
For his career, Podolak racked up over 4,400 yards on the ground, and he also has over 2,400 career receiving yards. Podolak scored 40 touchdowns in his KC career, and he was part of the Super Bowl Championship team from 1969 in his rookie season with the team.
49. Joe Montana
Although many of the great Montana's good years were with the 49ers, he still deserves a spot on this list for how he guided the Chiefs' offense in the final two years of his illustrious career.
The Hall of Fame QB threw for 29 touchdowns, and was named to the Pro Bowl team in 1993. Many have considered him the best NFL quarterback to ever don a Chiefs uniform.
48. Dan Saleaumua
Someone could make the argument that "Big Dan" was a main building block for the Chiefs' defensive front throughout the decade of the 1990s.
Saleaumua had a ridiculous 28.5 sacks in just eight seasons in Kansas City from his defensive tackle position. He also made a Pro Bowl appearance in 1995, and gave opposing offenses fights because of his size, power, and determination to get through the line.
47. John Tait
Tait was an excellent offensive tackle and was usually a forgotten piece of a dominating offensive line unit that included Willie Roaf and Will Shields among others.
He was known for his physical style of play and how he could dominate defensive lineman at the point of attack. He went to the 2001 Pro Bowl and started in 75 games in his five year Chiefs career.
46. Joe Delaney
Delaney was a very talented running back from Northwestern State who was extremely quick and gifted with the football in his hands.
In 1981, Delaney was named the AFC rookie of the year, and he was also a Pro Bowl selection after rushed for over 1,100 yards on just 234 carries.
Unfortunately, Delaney's life came to a sudden and tragic end in the summer of 1983, when he drowned after trying to save three children at a pond close to where he lived. Even though he only played two years with the organization, the Chiefs put him in their Hall of Fame because of his elite talent and his high level of selflessness both on and off the football field.
45. Curtis McClinton
McClinton was the first starting halfback in Chiefs history. He became known for his versatility at his position, similar to many other offensive players on this list.
During his time as a Chief, he rushed for over 3,000 yards, gained nearly 2,000 receiving yards, scored 32 combined touchdowns, and was selected to three Pro Bowls for his play.
44. Tim Grunhard
A very reliable and durable center who manned the middle of the Chiefs offensive line for the better part of eleven years, Grunhard is easily one of the best at his position in team history due to his blocking ability and his excellent snapping skills, as he rarely had a bad snap from the line.
"Grunny" as many called him, was a 1999 Pro Bowl selection and is still a fixture around Kansas City, often talking about the current Chiefs.
43. Gary Spani
Spani was a physical, hard-nosed inside linebacker who played for the Chiefs for nine grueling seasons from 1978 to 1986. His best season was in 1980, when he had four fumble recoveries(including one that he brought back for a touchdown) and one interception while starting in all 16 games.
He ended his career in the Red and Gold as one of the toughest players at his position that this franchise has produced.
42. John Alt
One of the tallest offensive lineman to ever play for the Chiefs, standing at 6'8", Alt, like many on this list, played his entire career as a Chief.
He held up the left side of the KC offensive line for thirteen years, picked up two Pro Bowl appearances along the way in 1992 and 1993, and later became a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame later down the road.
41. Larry Johnson
The man who had the self-proclaimed nicknamed of "LJ" got off to a fast start in Kansas City in 2003 after he was drafted in the first round earlier that year.
His two best seasons were in 2005 and 2006, when he rushed for over 1,700 yards in each season, while scoring a combined 40 touchdowns. He also set a Chiefs record by recording 416 rushing attempts in 2006.
40. Henry Marshall
Like most of the other wide receivers in Kansas City Chiefs history, Marshall never had much publicity and his stats might not have garnered enough attention to make other teams' all-time lists.
However, in a franchise that has been very weak at the wide receiver position, Marshall stands out as one of the best to ever play his spot on the field. As for his stats, he had over 6,500 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns in 12 years as a Chief.
39. Stephone Paige
Stephone Paige was very close in comparison to his teammate and fellow receiver Henry Marshall, as he was about the same size, but he moved a little quicker.
He had about the same amount of production, along with 16 additional touchdowns, in three fewer years than Marshall. Neither of these guys had Hall of Fame talent, but they got they job done, and they were, and still are, two of the most consistent receivers in Chiefs history.
38. Curley Culp
Culp was arguably the third best defensive tackle behind NFL Hall of Famer Buck Buchanan and Bill Maas.
He only played six seasons with the Chiefs, but made his presence known as he was selected to two Pro Bowls during that short time, and was known for aiding other players around him with his ferocious play at left defensive tackle. Along with Buchanan, many offensive lines had no chance against this duo as they made their living carving up NFL offenses.
37. Gary Barbaro
One of the biggest and most efficient safeties in Chiefs history made his living picking off pass after pass against rival offenses.
He intercepted five passes or more in a season four different times in his career, including an incredible 10 interceptions in 1980, which also helped him earn one of his three different Pro Bowl berths. He finished his career with 39 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in seven seasons, all with the Chiefs.
36. Jerrel Wilson
He is known by many as the best punter in the history of the team, and also the most consistent as well.
He averaged just under 43 yards a punt for his Chief career, which is an impressive stat on any level of football. In his 15 years, he also had over 44,000 yards in punts, which is easily first in team history, and three Pro Bowl selection to add to his resume.
35. Bill Maas
Maas was a gritty, hard-nosed defensive lineman who often used his size to create major mismatches with other offensive lineman and personnel that were lined up against him.
He played for the Chiefs for nine years, where he picked up 40 sacks and made two Pro Bowl teams while frustrating many offensive players, coaches, and coordinators along the way.
34. Kimble Anders
Anders was a rare NFL back who will always be remember more as a receiver out of the backfield, than a running threat. Overall, his stats would never jump out at you to make it look like he was a great player, but he did do all the little things on the field that him great in a different way.
He was selected to three Pro Bowls, and had one of the strongest work ethics for anyone who has ever played for the organization.
33. Marcus Allen
Allen was picked up late in his career, after a very successful stint with the hated Oakland Raiders. He only played in Kansas City for five seasons, but had arguably the most productive five season stint to end a career for an NFL running back.
He rushed for over 3,600 yards, scored 44 rushing touchdowns and was selected to a Pro Bowl in 1993.
32. Christian Okoye
Dubbed as "The Nigerian Nightmare", Okoye did just that as he gave NFL defenses nightmares carving them up for big yardage during his six year career with the Chiefs.
1989 was his banner year, as he rushed for 1,480 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground while going to the Pro Bowl after the season was over. He was known for his physical running style, and at 6'1" and 253 lbs, he was a tough back to bring down at all times.
31. James Hasty
Hasty only played for the men in red for six seasons, but by the end of his career as a Chief, he made his mark forever as one of the best cornerbacks to ever play on the team.
He picked off 21 passes in his six years, and became widely known as a shut-down corner at his position, as many quarterbacks chose not to throw at him after a while. He also went to two Pro Bowls—in 1997 and 1999.
30. Kevin Ross
Another excellent cornerback that made his living knocking away passes that should have been completions, and harassing receiver after receiver on his way to Chiefs stardom.
His solid career in Kansas City included 30 career interceptions, over 90 tackles in a season on two different occasions, and two Pro Bowl appearances.
29. Dante Hall
One of the most prolific return men in the game of football, Hall did anything and everything to beat you on special teams with his wild and somewhat unorthodox ways of returning punts and kickoffs.
At one time, in 2003, Hall had returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown in four consecutive games, which is an NFL record. He was also a member of the 2000s all-decade team because of his special teams dominance.
28. Dale Carter
Other than Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas, Carter could possibly be the second best shut-down corner to ever play for the KC Chiefs. Carter was a very aggressive safety and he played with Chiefs great James Hasty, and together they helped form one of the most potent secondary units in the AFC during 1990s.
Dale's success helped him make four different Pro Bowl teams from 1994 to 1997.
27. Trent Green
The former St. Louis Rams castoff was picked up by KC in 2001, and quickly became one of the best quarterbacks in club history.
Green threw for over 4,000 yards in three different seasons, threw 20+ touchdown passes three times in his career, and was selected to two Pro Bowls, in 2003 and 2005.
26. Tony Richardson
Richardson is arguable the best fullback in club history and was a major part of an offense led by then head coach Dick Vermeil that dominated defenses in the early to mid 2000s.
Tony's excellent blocking skills, along with his solid pass-catching abilities out of the backfield earned him two trips to the Pro Bowl as a Chief and the reputation as the best at his position during his time.
25. Otis Taylor
Taylor was Len Dawson's go-to guy during the early years of the Chiefs. He was mainly responsible for getting the offense rolling with his excellent blocking or his pass catching skills out of the field.
His stats won't jump out at you, but if you watched the guy play, you could see why he is a Chiefs all-time great. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and had a huge game against the Vikings in Super Bowl IV to help propel the Chiefs to their only NFL Championship in franchise history.
24. E. J. Holub
Holub was a workhorse, and it showed as he started for years on offense and defense for the Kansas City Chiefs. He started at linebacker and center for KC, but his better position was center, which helped him gain three Pro Bowl selections.
He was and is still the only player to ever start two Super Bowls and two different positions.
23. Jan Stenerud
He was one of the first of many great kickers to play in the NFL. Stenerud holds the longest tenure for a kicker to play with the Chiefs, at 13 years.
By the time his career had ended he had scored 1,699 points and made 17 field goals from 50+ yards away. He was selected to six total Pro Bowls and is easily one of the best NFL players to ever come from Norway.
22. Fred Arbanas
Fred Arbanas is definitely the second best tight end in Chiefs history behind almost certain future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.
He went to four Pro Bowls, and had over 3,000 receiving yards in his KC career, and also 34 receiving touchdowns. He was used more as a blocker, so this could be why his stats weren't more inflated than they ended up being for his career.
21. Jack Rudnay
EJ Holub's predecessor, Jack Rudnay, made a solid transition to the center position and made it an elite spot for the Kansas City Chiefs for years to come.
He held down his position for 13 years and was selected to four Pro Bowls during those years. Holub will always be the more well known of the two because of his versatility and Super Bowl ring, but Rudnay might have been the better center overall.
20. Art Still
Still was one of the best defensive ends in the AFC during his playing days, and his 72.5 career sacks as a Chief still ranks him third all-time in club history.
His four Pro Bowl selections puts him second all-time in team history for a defensive end, behind fellow Chief great Neil Smith. Still was a very tall defensive end, standing at 6'7, which made him a mismatch for many offensive lineman trying to block him throughout his career.
19. Sherrill Headrick
Headrick was a solid, hard-working linebacker that played for the organization all the way up until 1968, or the year before they won the NFL Championship against the Vikings. His name often gets lost behind other great linebackers in team history such as Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, and Derrick Thomas.
He was a two-time AFL All-Star with the team and started nearly every game that the Chiefs played in his five seasons from 1963 to 1967.
18. Brian Waters
Waters was a nobody from the University of North Texas who came to the Chiefs in 2000 as an undrafted free agent. He has since made the most of his opportunity with the team, as he has been a mainstay on the left side of the Chiefs offensive line and has gone to four Pro Bowls.
He is also the only Chief on this list that still plays on the team today.
17. Willie Roaf
"Nasty" Willie Roaf came to the Chiefs in 2002, after an injury had ended a successful stint with the New Orleans Saints. Roaf displayed his talent in a big way as he was selected to four Pro Bowls in just four seasons in the Red and Gold.
He will go down as one of the most productive and efficient offensive linemen in team history as he was selected to a Pro Bowl in every year he played with the team. Roaf and Will Shields made up arguably the best offensive lineman duo in NFL history, garnering 23 Pro Bowl selections between the two of them.
16. Nick Lowery
He earned a reputation as one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL during his era, hitting 80 percent of his field goals during his entire career.
He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection with the club and nailed many clutch kicks for the team during his tenure. He was also the most reliable source of offense at a time when the team couldn't put up many points on the board.
15. Priest Holmes
An excellent running back who had elite speed and talent, Holmes was signed by the Chiefs in 2001.
He rushed for over 1,000 yards on three different occasions for KC, scored 83 total touchdowns for the Chiefs, and went to three Pro Bowls. He is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best free agent signing in team history.
14. Albert Lewis
Lewis was an excellent cover cornerback whose cover skills gained him recognition all around the league and he could shut down an opponents' passing attacks with just a series of plays.
He also played in four Pro Bowls from 1987 to 1990. Many have said that Lewis and Kevin Ross are the best cornerback tandem to ever play for the Chiefs at one time.
12. Neil Smith
Great defensive end and good friend of fellow teammate Derrick Thomas, who with the help of Thomas, formed one of the best defensive units that the team had ever seen since the days of Bell and Buchanan.
If Thomas couldn't get to the quarterback, Neil Smith would get there instead and vice versa. Smith had over 100 career sacks and went to six Pro Bowls, both team records for a defensive end.
13. Deron Cherry
A six-time Pro Bowler and ball-hawking free safety, Cherry played his entire career in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform.
He collected 50 career interceptions as a Chief and also like many others on this list, had a partner in crime in cornerback Kevin Ross, who really complemented Cherry well because of their playing styles.
11. Ed Budde
Budde was one of the better guards in Chiefs history as he went to seven Pro Bowls in his 14 years in Kansas City.
He was pretty tall for a guard at 6'5", and used his height and technique to stiff opposing defensive lineman and got many pancakes over the course of his career due to his solid blocking skills.
10. Jim Tyrer
Jim Tyrer has to go down as one of the most underrated players in Chiefs history.
The man was selected to eight Pro Bowls while with the team, and only missed two games in 12 seasons in Kansas City. For some reason he has been greatly overlooked, but some have made the case that he should be in the NFL Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.
9. Johnny Robinson
A very pesky safety who played for the team from 1963 to 1971 and was selected to a Pro Bowl in every season but two, equaling a total of seven Pro Bowl appearances for the man that you might as well call Johnny on the spot.
He picked off 53 passes in his Chief career, and had an interception and a key fumble recovery in Super Bowl IV against the Vikings, helping to secure a Championship for Kansas City.
8. Will Shields
One of the most durable players not only in Chiefs history, but also in NFL history, Shields never once missed a game in his 14-year career with the team that spanned from 1993-2006.
He was selected to 12 Pro Bowls, only missing out on two different seasons. He is not in the Hall of Fame yet, but he will be in a few years when he is eligible. Many believe that Shields will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and there is no reason to think otherwise.
7. Len Dawson
The first real leader of the offense for the Chiefs franchise was Len Dawson. He, along with Otis Taylor and others, helped guide the Chiefs offense to two Super Bowl appearances in 1966 and 1969, with the win in '69.
He was a five-time Pro Bowler with the Chiefs and was named the Super Bowl MVP for the team's only Championship in 1969.
6. Emmitt Thomas
Thomas was a five-time Pro Bowler in Kansas City and was yet another great defensive player from the team's early days in the 1960s.
He set a team record in 1974, as he picked off an astonishing 12 passes for the year. In 2008, Thomas was finally rewarded for his efforts as he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
5. Willie Lanier
An excellent linebacker who played much bigger than his 6'1" and 245 lbs size. Like teammate Bobbe Bell, he picked off a lot of passes during his career, 27 to be exact.
He went to eight consecutive Pro Bowls from 1968 to 1975 and terrorized NFL offenses with the help of fellow linebacker and teammate Bobby Bell.
4. Buck Buchanan
Big Buck was a monster DT at 6'7", and he was extremely difficult for opposing offenses to block as opponents often used double teams to stop Buchanan each game.
Unfortunately, this tactic did not work very well as Buchanan was able to fight them off to the tune of eight Pro Bowl selections and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
3. Bobby Bell
A physical, athletic, smart, and fast linebacker, Bell is one of the few on this list that played with with the team since its arrival in Kansas City in 1963.
He had a nose for the ball, as he picked off 26 career passes and will forever been known as one of the most durable linebackers to play for the Chiefs, as he never missed a game in 12 years. Bell, along with former teammates Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, and Emmitt Thomas is enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
2. Tony Gonzalez
Tony G did it all at tight end for the Chiefs. He was one of the best blockers at his position, best receivers at his position, and also one of the hardest workers at his position. Many Chiefs fans will remember his diving touchdowns in the end zone, and his dunk through the uprights touchdown celebration, but it was his ability to make everything look so easy that set him apart from everyone else.
He also played in ten Pro Bowls, and gained nearly 10,000 yards and scored 76 touchdowns for the organization.
1. Derrick Thomas
DT simply was, and is, the greatest Kansas City Chief ever. It wasn't just his 126.5 career sacks, or even his NFL record seven sacks in one game, it was just how he played the game and how he dominated nearly everyone he played against while doing it.
He had such grace, speed, and style in his game that he almost didn't even need the extra swagger that he played with to give him more confidence while pummeling the opposing quarterback or any offensive player in his sights. He took control of the Chiefs' defense for years, and turned the franchise from laughing stock to division title contender with just his presence alone.