Why Kansas City is called Chiefs? exploring the NFL franchise’s origin and legacy

Since the establishment of the Kansas City Chiefs, the team has clinched many accolades justifying their legacy in the league. With the hands of their four-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid, the team has attained their last two Super Bowls within just four years.

However, when the team was founded, they were not referred to as “Chiefs”. The origin of the team’s name has no affiliation with the American Indian culture and there is an interesting backstory behind the name that is outlined next.

How did the Kansas City Chiefs get their name?

The Kansas City team was founded by Lamar Hunt and was initially named the Dallas Texans in 1959. Hunt decided to move it to Kansas City in 1963. After relocation, the mayor of Kansas City Harold Roe Bartle took aim to change the name of the team.

The Mayor was known as “Chief” and he wanted to name the team in order to attract Hunt’s team to Kansas City in the same year of its relocation. Later, for his kind support and attractive efforts, the teams’ executive Jack Steadman recommended the name “Chiefs” to honor him. 

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The team honors all the tribes of the US and held themselves with respect to the heritage of Native Americans. A post from the Chiefs’ official website states:

“While the origin of the team’s name has no affiliation with American Indian culture, much of the club’s early promotional activities relied heavily on imagery and messaging depicting American Indians in a racially insensitive fashion. Over the course of the club’s 60-plus-year history, the Chiefs organization has worked to eliminate this offensive imagery and other forms of cultural appropriation in their promotional materials and game-day presentation.”

Exploring Kansas City team’s legacy and history

The journey of the Chiefs started with Lamar Hunt, a 26-year-old man. After his unsuccessful attempts to purchase an NFL team, Lamar instead took the risky step of founding the organization.

Since the establishment of the Chiefs in 1960, they stunned the football world through their supremacy on the field. They defeated the Houston Oilers to win the AFL championship in their third season in 1962, and they went on to win the league again in 1966, becoming the first AFL team to compete in the Super Bowl.

They maintained their stature by winning their third championship in 1969, making them the only team in AFL history to do so.

In the 1970s Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs achieved their first Super Bowl victory. After that, they required an additional 50 years before Patrick Mahomes, their one-man army, took the field to lead them to their second Super Bowl victory in 2020 against the San Francisco 49ers.

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The team witnessed a heartbreaking loss to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers team the following year; the Chiefs didn’t lose heart, however. By working on their shortfalls, they came back on track by winning their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2023 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The historic journey of the Chiefs continues to march ahead and they are seeing substantial growth in their fan base. After an exceptional season, the team is now aiming to build on its illustrious legacy in the league.




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Shabiha is a sports content writer for Sportszion. The writer completed her graduation in Management and post-graduation in HRM. Writing is her passion and she has a long career goal in relation to writing.


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