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55 things you need to know about the Chiefs entering the Super Bowl

From their start as the Dallas Texans, to Patrick Mahomes’ record deal and Travis Kelce’s star turn.
 
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce during the second half of the AFC championship Game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce during the second half of the AFC championship Game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP ]
Published Feb. 2, 2021

The Bucs you should know pretty well. With this being Super Bowl 55, here are 55 things, with help from the team’s media guide and website, to know about the Chiefs:

• The trophy teams get for winning the AFC Championship Game is named after Lamar Hunt, the founder of the Chiefs as well as the AFL, and a key force in the merger with the NFL.

• The Chiefs started as an AFL franchise called the Dallas Texans, then moved to Kansas City in 1963 and were re-named in honor of then-mayor Harold Roe Bartle, who was known as “The Chief” because of his large size and his work creating a Boy Scouts tribe.

• Though the Chiefs have won only two Super Bowl titles in 50 years in the NFL, they dominated the AFL, winning three titles in 10 years before the 1970 merger.

• While many teams refer to their fan bases as nations, the Chiefs, who draw from several midwest states, opt for Chiefs Kingdom.

• The Chiefs are 6-7 overall against the Bucs in regular-season play, including 1-3 at Raymond James Stadium (2-1 at Tampa Stadium), and had lost the last five meetings until their 27-24 win on Nov. 29.

• While playing at Brigham Young from 1979-81 then serving as a grad assistant, head coach Andy Reid earned two degrees (bachelor’s in PE, Master’s in professional leadership in PE and athletics) and was a columnist for the Provo Daily Herald.

• The AFC Championship Game was Reid’s 17th career postseason win, tying him with Joe Gibbs for the fourth-most in NFL history, trailing only Bill Belichick (31), Tom Landry (20) and Don Shula (19).

Chiefs players dump a box of confetti on head coach Andy Reid after the AFC Championship Game victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Chiefs players dump a box of confetti on head coach Andy Reid after the AFC Championship Game victory over the Buffalo Bills. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP ]

• Reid is one of six coaches to beat all 32 NFL teams. The other five: Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, John Fox, Bill Parcells and Mike Shanahan.

• The list of past Kansas City coaches is impressive, with those who came before Reid including Hall of Famers Hank Stram and Marv Levy, plus Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil. (They also had an assistant coach from 1989-92 named Bruce Arians.)

• Quarterback Patrick Mahomes in July signed the biggest contract deal in American pro sports history, a 10-year extension guaranteeing him $450 million and, with incentives, worth up to $503 million. Among his purchases, a $200,000 Lamborghini for his fiancee and a plot of land on which he’ll build a house that will include a 50-yard football field, a basketball court and some putting greens.

• Mahomes has an athletic pedigree. His dad, Pat, pitched parts of 11 seasons in the majors starting in 1992 with the Twins, then went to the Red Sox and — after two years in Japan — the Mets, Rangers, Cubs and finally Pirates in 2003. He bounced around the minors and independent leagues until 2009.

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• Mahomes had enough baseball skill to be drafted by the Tigers in the 37th round of the 2014 draft but stuck with his plan to attend Texas Tech, where he played both sports for a couple of years before making the obviously wise move to stick with football. (Bucs quarterback Tom Brady was also a baseball draftee, the left-handed-hitting catcher taken in the 18th round of the 1995 draft by the Montreal Expos.)

• The Chiefs took Mahomes 10th overall in the 2017 draft, moving up by sending three picks — the 27th overall, a third-rounder and their 2018 first-rounder — to Buffalo. Those taken ahead of Mahomes were Myles Garrett (Browns), Mitchell Trubisky (Bears), Solomon Thomas (49ers), current Buc Leonard Fournette (Jaguars), Corey Davis (Titans), Jamal Adams (Jets), Mike Williams (Chargers), Christian McCaffrey (Panthers) and John Ross (Bengals).

• Star safety Tyrann Mathieu had been known since his LSU days as the “Honey Badger,” a reference to his small size (5-feet-9, 190 pounds) and aggressive play. But he prefers a different nickname, “Landlord,” reflecting his ability to take charge on the field, and his place in the Chiefs’ Kingdom.

Chiefs  safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) tackle Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary during the first half of the AFC title game.
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) tackle Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary during the first half of the AFC title game. [ REED HOFFMANN | AP ]

• The Super Bowl is a homecoming for wide receiver Byron Pringle, a Tampa native who played at Robinson High. He attended Butler Community College and Kansas State before signing with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. During his prep days, he played in the Blue-Gray National High School Classic at Raymond James Stadium.

• Offensive lineman Austin Reiter is another local, playing at Lakewood Ranch High near Bradenton and then USF. Reiter was drafted by the Redskins in 2015, signed off their practice squad by the Browns in September 2016 and claimed off waivers by the Chiefs in 2018.

• Offensive lineman Mike Remmers, defensive end Demone Harris and linebacker Emmanuel Smith are among Chiefs who spent time on the Bucs’ practice squad.

• Defensive end Alex Okafor should have a good sense of what the Chiefs are up against, having played for Bucs coach Bruce Arians in Arizona from 2013-16.

• Injured tackle Mitchell Schwartz had an impressive ironman thing going until he was sidelined with a back injury in October. He had started 141 straight regular-season and postseason NFL games and had a streak of playing 7,894 consecutive snaps over 7-1/2 years until missing a couple plays in a November 2019 game.

• Rookie punter Tommy Townsend is a former Gator, setting several Florida records after transferring from Tennessee, following a stellar prep career at Orlando’s Boone High. Kicking runs in his family, as his brother, Johnny, also punted at Florida and has played in the NFL with the Raiders and Ravens.

• Receiver Sammy Watkins was a star at South Fort Myers High School, earning first-team all-state honors as a junior and senior and setting Lee County all-time records with 133 catches for 2,997 yards and 36 touchdowns. He did all right at Clemson, too, before going fourth overall to the Bills in the 2014 draft.

• Running back Darrel Williams not only played with Bucs linebacker Devin White at LSU, they shared the Most Valuable Player award in 2017.

Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (31) breaks a tackle by Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer (21) during a 6-yard touchdown run in the AFC Championship Game.
Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (31) breaks a tackle by Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer (21) during a 6-yard touchdown run in the AFC Championship Game. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP ]

• Chiefs general manager Brett Veach can relate to what’s happening on the field, having earned Pennsylvania 1996 state player of the year honors as a running back at Mt. Carmel High, then playing four years at Delaware as a wide receiver and kick returner.

• Defensive quality control coach Terry Bradden spent the 2015 season as the head football coach and athletic director at his alma mater, Inlet Grove High in Riviera Beach, the youngest to do so in the state at age 24.

• After concluding his playing career at Drake, running game coordinator/defensive line coach Brendan Daly started what has now been a 24-year coaching career in 1997 at Ridgewood High.

• Quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka spent the 2014 season with the Bucs, bouncing between the practice squad and active roster, though he didn’t see any game action.

• Receivers coach Greg Lewis had a hand in one of the most dramatic plays in Vikings history in 2009, catching a Brett Favre pass at the back of the end zone with two seconds left to beat the 49ers. He and Favre won the Best Play ESPY.

• Tight ends coach Tom Melvin is cousins with Bob Melvin, the former big-league catcher and current A’s manager.

• Cornerback BoPete Keyes was a basketball standout who didn’t start playing football until his junior year at Laurel (Miss.) High School, then led the team to a state title and a semifinal finish. His real name is Thakarius. His grandmother gave him the nickname.

• Tight end Travis Kelce is considered by some to be Junior Gronk, modeling himself after the former Patriots and current Bucs standout, Rob Gronkowski. Kelce may be getting there, between his dazzling numbers, demonstrative actions and the celebrity lifestyle he has embraced. That includes his own The Bachelor-like E! network TV show, Catching Kelce, an appearance in the Showtime comedy Moonbase 8, and an on-and-off relationship with internet celebrity Kayla Nicole.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce runs the ball during the first half of the AFC Championship Game.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce runs the ball during the first half of the AFC Championship Game. [ CHARLIE RIEDEL | AP ]

• In 11 postseason games, Kelce’s nine receiving touchdowns are second-most by a tight end in NFL history, behind only Gronkowski’s 13.

• On the way to graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering, kicker Harrison Butker scored 337 points in 52 games, converting 208 of 210 extra points, including his last 102 straight.

• Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was of enough interest to the Chiefs coming out of Florida State in 2018 they traded up to get him with the 75th pick, sending the Nos. 86 and 122 selections to the Ravens.

• Guard Nick Allegretti kept busy while playing at Illinois, earning a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s in recreation, sport and tourism.

• Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the first freshman to make the varsity team at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, La., during the 29 seasons under legendary coach Dale Weiner.

• Before going on to set school records at Michigan a few years after Tom Brady left, quarterback Chad Henne was quite the athlete at Wilson High in West Lawn, Pa., throwing for 7,071 yards and 74 touchdowns. He also was a two-year starter on the basketball team, ran the 100-meter dash in 11.2 seconds and threw a javelin 195.5 feet.

• Though he doesn’t play much, Henne has the distinction of going to four consecutive AFC Championship Games, playing in 2017 with the Jaguars before joining the Chiefs.

• Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill made a fast impression during his 2016 rookie season, becoming the first player in more than 50 years to record a rushing, receiving and kick return touchdown in a game. The last? The legendary Gale Sayers on Oct. 17, 1965.

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill runs upfield after catching a pass during the AFC Championship Game.
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill runs upfield after catching a pass during the AFC Championship Game. [ ORLIN WAGNER | AP ]

• Hill is more than football fast (cc: Scotty Miller). He earned All-American track honors at Coffee High School in Douglas, Ga., winning 2012 state titles in the 100 and 200 meters and coming within one hundredth of a second of the national prep record at the time.

• Hill’s specialty is the big play, with 21 of at least 50 yards and 19 resulting in touchdowns: 12 catches, four punt returns, two runs and one kickoff return.

• Receiver Demarcus Robinson, a University of Florida product, has good bloodlines. He is the nephew of former NFL receiver Marcus Robinson, who played nine seasons with the Bears, Ravens and Vikings.

• Similarly, running back Darwin Thompson’s uncle, David, played three seasons with the Rams.

• Running back Le’Veon Bell has to be among the happiest Chiefs to be here. Released in October by the woebegone Jets, which whom he had signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract in March 2019, the longtime Steeler found a much more successful new home in Kansas City.

• Scout Pat Sperduto played three seasons as a lineman for the Tampa Bay Storm from 1991-93, winning two ArenaBowl titles, then another in 1995 while serving as an assistant coach.

• Fullback Anthony Sherman has played in 12 postseason games, tying punter Dustin Colquitt for the most in franchise history.

• Injured tackle Eric Fisher was the first overall pick of the 2013 draft by the Chiefs out of Central Michigan, the second Chippewa to be drafted in the first round (tackle Joe Staley went 28th to the 49ers in 2007). The previous highest-drafted player from a Mid-American Conference school was Marshall quarterback (and current Bucs offensive coordinator) Byron Leftwich, who went seventh overall to the Jaguars in 2003.

Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher, facing front, huddles with teammates during the AFC Championship Game.
Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher, facing front, huddles with teammates during the AFC Championship Game. [ REED HOFFMANN | AP ]

• Defensive end Tanoh Kpassasgnon (Tawn-oh Pass-N-y) also kept busy in college, studying accounting and finance as a double major at Villanova.

• Defensive tackle Mike Pennel has been on the move, attending three different high schools in Colorado, playing at three different colleges (Scottsdale Community, Arizona State and Colorado State) and for three NFL teams (Packers, Jets, Patriots) before joining the Chiefs in October 2019.

• Tackle Martinas Rankin is the smart one in the room, twice earning SEC academic honor roll and dean’s list honors at Mississippi State, posting a 3.3 GPA while majoring in kinesiology.

• The Chiefs have retired 10 numbers: 3, Jan Stenerud; 16, Len Dawson; 18, Emmitt Thomas; 28, Abner Haynes; 33, Stone Johnson; 36, Mack Lee Hill; 58, Derrick Thomas; 63, Willie Lanier; 78, Bobby Bell; 86, Buck Buchanan.

• There are 13 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who were enshinred as Chiefs: founder Lamar Hunt; coach Hank Stram; and players Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Len Dawson, Tony Gonzalez, Willie Lanier, Johnny Robinson, Jan Stenerud, Will Shields, Derrick Thomas and Emmitt Thomas.

• Here are five other Hall of Famers you may not remember playing for the Chiefs: Morten Anderson (2002-03), Joe Montana (1993-94), Warren Moon (1990-2000), Willie Roaf (2002-05) and Mike Webster (1989-90).

• Here are four Hall of Famers who worked for the Chiefs: Bobby Beathard, scout; Bill Cowher, assistant coach; Marv Levy, coach; Bill Polian, executive.

• Quarterback Steve DeBerg is among the players who suited up for both the Chiefs and Bucs. He was with Tampa Bay from 1984-87, then traded to Kansas City, where he played from 1988-91. He went to the playoffs twice with the Chiefs, then rejoined the Bucs for the 1992 and ’93 seasons.

• The Chiefs went big last year after winning their second Super Bowl and first since 1970, producing rings made out of 10-carat white and yellow gold, with 255 diamonds and 36 rubies for a total of 10.5 carats of gemstones.

• • •

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