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Sixty Years in Kansas City: Holding on to Your Base

Looking back at Chiefs history

This season represents the 60th year for the Chiefs in Kansas City. Over this season, we'll highlight some of the history of the franchise since Lamar Hunt officially announced on February 8, 1963, that his team was coming to town. This is Part 8 of the series.

Interest comes and goes in cycles, and following Marty Schottenheimer's departure in 1998, Kansas City still managed to hold its own in the league-wide attendance figures, but for how long if more victories were not coming, club officials were right to ask.

Playoff appearances had been commonplace in the '90s, but when would the team be back in the Super Bowl, many of the younger fans who had bought in when Carl Peterson and Schottenheimer took control wanted to know?

That lasted through four more years of average play until Dick Vermeil — a known commodity whose reputation was on par with Schottenheimer's if not greater given his Super Bowl victory with St. Louis in 1999 — had things moving again, was evidence that the team's brand still held up to scrutiny, and that the fan base was engaged, although in need of a little nudge.


Following Vermeil's retirement and Peterson's departure, however, which came shortly after Lamar Hunt's illness had reached a point that he could no longer be involved the way he wished, the brand, as it was, began to struggle with losses in five of six seasons from 2007 to 2012 and made multiple changes at head coach. Peterson and Schottenheimer had ruled longer than any management team in NFL memory at that time, but even the opening of a newly renovated stadium, soon to be known as GEHA Field at Arrowhead, another local tax effort that Hunt was actively engaged in even with his illness, did not bring the sales numbers up to their mid-90s level.

The defeat at the ballot box of the rolling roof component of the stadium renovation cut Hunt to his heart. The public's indifference to a movable roof atop the stadium depressed him in a way that those closest to him had not seen before.

The NFL's ownership, along with commissioner Paul Tagliabue, had already guaranteed Kansas City a Super Bowl if the roof was built and for it not to be, considering what was at stake for the city, was unnerving for Hunt who seldom showed disappointment.

Conclusion: A Golden Era of Chiefs Football