By Dorri Partain, Contributor
When investor Lamar Hunt (1932-2005) wasn’t able to convince the National Football League (NFL) to add expansion teams or purchase an existing team in 1959, he decided to create a new league, the American Football League (AFL).
He convinced seven other investors to create teams, naming his team the Dallas Texans. The other seven teams in the AFL were the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, New York Titans (Jets), Houston Oilers, Boston Patriots, and Buffalo Bills.
The first AFL game was played on September 6, 1960, and broadcast on the ABC television network. The Texans’ home field was Dallas’s Cotton Bowl Stadium, and despite an all-star team roster, they struggled to draw enough fans from the established NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys.
The solution was to move the team to a different city, and then-mayor H. Roe Bartle was instrumental in convincing Hunt to move his Texans to Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium.
Mayor Bartle also influenced the selection of the team’s new name, as his nickname was “The Chief” due to his large size and as the creator of the Boy Scouts of America’s Tribe of Mic-O-Say.
Under the direction of head coach Hank Stram (1923-2005), the Kansas City Chiefs played their first game in their new home town on October 6, 1963, facing the Houston Oilers.
The first “Super Bowl” in 1966, in which the Kansas City Chiefs faced the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, was titled the “AFL-NFL World Championship” and was due to a pending merger of the two competing football leagues.
When the Chiefs played their next championship game, the fledgling showdown had been renamed the Super Bowl, but the AFL champions still faced the NFL champions. On January 11, 1970, the Chiefs outscored the Minnesota Vikings, 23-10 at New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium as 80,562 fans watched Super Bowl IV.
The AFL had grown to 10 teams, adding the Cincinnati Bengals in 1967 and the Miami Dolphins in 1969. The merger with the NFL was completed later that year, making the Chiefs the final team to represent the AFL in the Super Bowl championship.
The Chiefs played their first NFL season game versus the Vikings in Minnesota on September 20, 1970, losing 27-10.
This set of miniature helmets was manufactured by Orange Products of Orange, New Jersey. Based on the eight teams represented, one of which is the Kansas City Chiefs, the set would date from 1963 to 1966.