Kansas City Chiefs: Best Offense of All Time

Taylor GreenContributor IApril 10, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Trent Green #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs calls a play in the huddle against the New York Jets on September 11, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Chiefs won 27-7.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Quarterback: Len Dawson

When it comes to the greatest Kansas City Chiefs of all time, Len Dawson’s name has to come up in the argument. As far as impacting the team and the community of Kansas City, maybe only Derrick Thomas has done more than Dawson.

Dawson played 14 seasons for the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs. In that time he compiled 28,500 yards passing, 237 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 83.2. 

During his first season for the Texans, in 1962, Dawson led the league in touchdowns, yards per attempt and was named the AFL MVP.  Dawson threw more touchdown passes from 1962 through 1969 than any other quarterback.

Dawson led the Chiefs to AFL titles in 1966 and 1969, which led to the Chiefs playing in Super Bowl I and IV. After winning Super Bowl IV, the only Super Bowl in team history, Dawson was named the game’s MVP. 


Halfback: Priest Holmes

In 2001, Priest Holmes left the Baltimore Ravens and joined the Kansas City Chiefs in an effort to gain more playing time. That season Priest’s speed, running ability and strength made him the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,555 yards and 10 touchdowns.

From 2001 through 2003, Priest had more touchdowns than any other player in the NFL.  In 2003, Priest scored 27 touchdowns, which broke Marshall Faulk’s NFL record for individual touchdowns in a season.

Priest was selected to the 2001, 2002 and 2003 Pro Bowl roster. Priest was also awarded NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2002. 

When Priest retired in November of 2007, he held Chiefs records for career rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns. Priest is also the NFL’s all-time rushing leader among undrafted players.


Fullback: Tony Richardson

Leading Priest and several other great Kansas City running backs was Tony Richardson.  The 17-year veteran is known as one of the best, if not the best, lead blockers of his time. 

From 1995, when Richardson was blocking for Marcus Allen, through 2005, when he was blocking for Holmes, Richardson was a staple in the Kansas City backfield. Known for his great work ethic, durability and smarts, he was a key component for the Chiefs for a decade. During his time as a Chief, Richardson was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2003, 2004 and 2005. 

Not only was he a great athlete on the field, Richardson was a man amongst boys in the community. Richardson has sponsored The Dictionary Project in Kansas City since 2002, donating $170,000 and providing more than 113,000 dictionaries to students in Missouri and Kansas. Richardson is also a board member for the Greater Kansas City Boys & Girls Clubs and People to People International.


Wide Receiver: Otis Taylor

Taylor made some of the greatest catches in Chiefs history, including the clincher in Super Bowl IV, when he took a quick out from Len Dawson and turned it into a 46-yard touchdown. Taylor was the team's leading receiver in that win over Minnesota, with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. 

Taylor was known for his sure hands.  Until 2008, no other pass catcher in Chiefs team history had more receiving yards than Taylor's 7,306. Since then, all of his team records have been surpassed, except for his unbelievable yards per catch figure of 17.8. 


Tight End: Tony Gonzalez

One of the most popular Chiefs of all-time, Tony Gonzalez, has been labeled by many as the greatest tight end to ever play the game. Gonzalez went to 10 Pro Bowls in his 12 years in Kansas City and caught 76 touchdown passes.  Gonzalez will not only go down as the best Chiefs tight end ever, but is in the argument for best receiver, along with Dawson.

Gonzalez is the NFL's all-time leader in receptions, yardage and touchdowns for a tight end. Gonzalez currently has 1,069 receptions, 12,463 receiving yards and 88 touchdowns.

Gonzalez will be a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer. Sadly, it appears that Gonzalez will conclude his career in Atlanta as a Falcon, with the only thing missing from his resume being a Super Bowl ring.  


Tackle: John Alt

John Alt played 13 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, after being selected with the 21st pick, the same pick we have this year, in the 1984 draft. Alt can be put in the discussion with Derrick Thomas, Tony Gonzalez, Dale Carter and Neil Smith as the best first-round selection in team history.

Alt started at left tackle for 149 games from 1987 through 1996. Alt was a key component to the 1993 team that went to the AFC Championship game.

Throughout his career, Alt only made two Pro Bowls, but if it was not for Cincinnati’s Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, he would have made many more. Alt was named to the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2002.


Guard: Will Shields

A third-round pick out of Nebraska in 1993, Will Shields is arguably the best offensive lineman ever to play for the Chiefs. Shields started 223 consecutive games, was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and a for-sure lock to get into the Hall of Fame.

Shields led a Chiefs offensive line that blocked Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. Shields blocked for a 1,000 yard rushers, and for 4,000 yard passers, five different times during his career.

Shields was the personification of class on the field, but his work off the field with his “Will To Succeed Foundation has helped thousands of children. Shields won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for off-field charitable work in 2003.


Center: Tim Grunhard

This was a tough selection between Jack Rudnay and Tim Grunhard, but I went with Grunhard because of his durability. Grunhard had a starting-streak of 164 straight games while he was in Kansas City, which ranks third in franchise history.

Grunhard was the anchor of a very good offensive line. Grunhard played his best football against the best competition. Grunhard made his only appearance in the Pro Bowl following the 1999 season.

Grunhard was one of the most popular players to ever wear a Chiefs uniform. A true blue-collar attitude made him an overwhelming fan favorite and he became the offensive face of the team during the Marty-ball years.


Honorable Mention

Trent Green

While playing in Dick Vermeil's pass-happy offense, Trent Green flourished. During Green’s five seasons playing in Kansas City he averaged 4,023 yards and 22 touchdowns.   

Green struggled in his first year in Kansas City, but went on to lead an incredibly explosive offense. Green was a two-time pro bowler with the Chiefs, had three consecutive 4,000 yard passing seasons and led the team to two 13-win regular seasons.  


Larry Johnson

While many Chiefs fans will get on me for saying Larry Johnson is one of the best of all time, the numbers do not lie. Johnson was only 75 yards from passing Priest Holmes as the Chiefs all-time leading rusher, until several thousand fans signed a petition demanding that the Chiefs deactivate, release or waive him.

Johnson was drafted in the first round with the 27th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. At the end of the 2004 season, Johnson got an opportunity to start and became the first player to begin his career rushing for 150 yards each of his first three starts.

Johnson began the 2006 season as Kansas City's featured back. That year Johnson went on to rush for 1,789 yards on, an NFL record, 416 carries.


Marcus Allen

Considered to be one of the game’s best goal line and short-yardage runners, Marcus began his career with the hated Oakland Raiders. The greatness of Al Davis traded Allen to the Chiefs, where he went on to become one of the greatest running backs the Chiefs have ever had.

In 1995, while a member of the Chiefs, Allen made NFL history when he became the first player in league history to rush for over 10,000 yards and catch passes for 5,000 yards.

At the time of his retirement following the 1997 season, he held the single-season record for most rushing and receiving yards combined (2,314), second in consecutive 100-yard games and was third in career-combined yardage



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