Kansas City Chiefs: Top Defenders Not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Kansas City Chiefs: Top Defenders Not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

In 1960, Lamar Hunt joined men like Ralph Wilson, Bud Adams and Barron Hilton to start a new football league to compete with the NFL. The American Football League was the name of their league, the fourth league with that name to compete against the NFL.

Despite a rough start, this AFL would become, and still is, the one league that competed with the mighty NFL with success.

Hunt initially started his franchise in Texas, calling them the Dallas Texans. He tried to hire Tom Landry as his head coach, but the future Hall of Famer decided to take the same job title with the expansion Dallas Cowboys of the NFL.

He then tried to hire College Hall of Fame coach Bud Wilkinson, but Wilkinson decided to remain in the college ranks for three more years. He eventually did coach the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons in 1978.

Then Hunt took a gamble on an assistant coach in the college ranks few knew of. Hank Stram would stay with Hunt until 1974, and the Hall of Famer is still the most successful coach in the history of the Chiefs franchise.

The Texans and Cowboys shared the Cotton Bowl, and the Texans were the AFL's top drawing team. After a rough start, Stram made a move that would turn things around by getting a Hall of Fame quarterback to lead his team.

The Texans had been signing several excellent players out of the grasp of the NFL, thanks to smart and aggressive leadership from Hunt. He recruited heavily in the black colleges of that era, something the NFL did not do.

Stram had been an assistant coach at Purdue University until 1955. While there, he got to work with a youngster named Len Dawson. Dawson was a first-round pick by the NFL in 1957, but was considered a flop by many up until that point.

Stram knew better, plus his team needed a quarterback. He coaxed Dawson to leave the Cleveland Browns and join his Texans in 1962.

The move paid off in spades, because the Texans ended up winning the title that year. Despite their success, Hunt was disappointed with the attendance figures and moved his team to Kansas City before the 1963 season. He renamed them the Chiefs.

The Chiefs remained a strong team, but Hunt knew the AFL needed to merge with the NFL for his team to survive. He and the other AFL owners challenged the NFL to a game between each leagues champions, because the NFL had been calling the AFL inferior.

Not too long later, while watching his kids play with a toy called a "Super Ball," Hunt came up with the idea of calling the championship game the Super Bowl.

The AFL and Chiefs lost the first game, but the leagues agreed to merge. The date set was before the 1970 season.

Yet, before the merger was official, the Chiefs sent the AFL out with a bang by winning Super Bowl V. It was the second time the AFL had won a Super Bowl, and it is still the only one the Chiefs have won. It was also, so far, the last one they have appeared in.

Yet the success of the Chiefs in the 1960s is a big reason why the AFC exists today. The Chiefs have put together many good teams since 1969, yet their 1993 squad has been the only one to reach the AFC Championship game.

The Chiefs have nine players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame so far, though certainly more belong.

Here are the best defensive players in the history of the Chiefs not yet inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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