> Super Bowl LIV: 50 years in the making; a perspective from former players

Super Bowl LIV: 50 years in the making; a perspective from former players

The Kansas City Chiefs have made the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. The Chiefs have had a lot of opportunities throughout the years with championship caliber teams, but always fell short for one reason or another.

Marty Schottenheimer brought winning football back to Kansas City in 1989 and built a foundation that has ultimately led to where the team is today. That foundation reignited Chiefs Kingdom and the sea of red which brought back the electricity and passion for football, as those Chiefs would go on to become the winningest team of the 90’s. All the players that have come through this franchise since the Chiefs last won a Super Bowl in 1970, gave their blood, sweat and tears in an effort to bring a championship back to Kansas City. We reached out to a plethora of those former Chiefs players to get their thoughts, reactions, emotions and memories, as this current Chiefs team got over the hump and are heading to Super Bowl LIV!

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Lional Dalton

Lional Dalton was an undrafted rookie free agent in 1998 out of Eastern Michigan. He joined the Baltimore Ravens and won Super Bowl XXXV by beating the Kerry Collins led New York Giants. During his career, he had 110 tackles, 9 sacks and 3 forced fumbles as a stout man in the middle of the defensive lines he was on.

Lional Dalton (defensive tackle 2004-2006): “This is history. They brought Lamar Hunt his trophy back to Kansas City. I think of all the great people before me like Derrick Thomas, all the guys I played with even though we weren’t successful in making it to the Super Bowl, and those people that are still there like Allen Wright.”

“I got emotional. I’m so excited for the guys, the team, and the city. It’s a football town and they deserve a Super Bowl, it’s been awhile.”

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2003 out of South Carolina. He played on 8 different teams during his NFL career including two different stints with the Bengals and Chiefs. Teams would bring him in when they needed a physical presence and toughness along their defensive line, and nobody could bring that like Shaun could. During his career he had 244 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.

Shaun Smith (defensive tackle 2010 & 2012): “This means a lot because I finished my career in Kansas City. We lost in the playoffs to the Ravens, but I’m just so happy for the guys there now! 15 is a true leader! I just hope we don’t have to wait another 50 years after we win!”

“I shed a few tears because the team and city deserve it, just as they did last year, but were one offsides penalty away from the Super Bowl.”

Snoop Minnis

Marvin “Snoop” Minnis was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round in 2001 out of Florida State. He came into the NFL accomplished as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff award for college football’s best receiver as well as First-team All-ACC and a consensus All-American. Sadly, knee injuries shortened his career, but he was a great talent and in just 15 games played, he amassed 34 catches for 515 yards and 1 miraculous gravity-defying diving touchdown catch!

Snoop Minnis (wide receiver 2001-2003): “It means everything because Kansas City will always have my heart as they were the ones that brought me into the NFL. I’ll always want great things for the organization and fans and I’ll always support them. My son and I don’t miss a game. I was in tears when we won that game. Being with Chiefs Kingdom after that final snap, we hugged, and were telling one another that we loved each other. It was just a beautiful moment!”

“To bring that Lamar Hunt trophy back to Arrowhead and Kansas City is so special. I wish Lamar was here to see it, but I know he’s smiling from up above.”

“The people up there in Kansas City are so nice. Chiefs Kingdom is truly a family, people say that a lot, but it’s true here. It was so cold and we had fans offering us hand and foot warmers because everybody is taking care of each other. It was so beautiful and there’s so much love, it’s just a great atmosphere. My son wants me to buy a house up there. He is asking me if we can move up there and I say, man it’s cold, but he comes back and tells me he’ll adjust to the weather.”

“After 50 years now we can all exhale because we finally did it. I can’t put into words my emotions, but I just felt so much joy for the players, coaches, staff, and Chiefs Kingdom!”

Ricky Siglar

Ricky Siglar out of San Jose State played offensive tackle for 4 NFL teams during his career, but his longest run was in Kansas City. He was entrusted to block for two aging legends in Joe Montana and Marcus Allen.

Ricky Siglar (right tackle from 1993-1996, 1998): “My first thoughts and emotions were of Lamar Hunt and how I wish he was alive to witness this.”

“I honestly felt like last year was going to be our year. When Brady threw that pass that was tipped, then intercepted, I was so ecstatic! Then I saw the laundry on the field. I told Shawn Barber, please tell me that flag is on New England! He said, “Nope, it’s on us.” Flashing forward, I knew in my heart of hearts that this was going to be our year!”

Barry Word

Barry Word was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 3rd round in 1986 out of the University of Virginia. While there, Barry was selected as the ACC Player of the Year in 1985. In 1990, Barry was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs where he was voted the PFW (pro football writer’s) NFL Comeback Player of the Year! During his career, Barry carried the rock for 2,897 yards averaging 4.1 yards per carry and rushing for 16 touchdowns.

Barry Word (running back 1990-1992): “You start to think about the teams that you had and the teams that came after. I have a lot of respect for the teams that I was a part of and thinking that those teams had a lot of talent, but they didn’t make it. A lot of things have to fall into place. There’s a reason this team made it and others didn’t. That comes from big adjustments with the roster, some luck, and I think Andy Reid has done a really good job of making adjustments to a lot of the things that he typically doesn’t do well. They deserve this and they have the tools across the board to be able to do things that other teams aren’t capable of doing. Also, having that guy that’s pulling the trigger probably doesn’t hurt a whole lot either. Mahomes is pretty incredible with the range of talents he brings to the table. Having said that, he’s not catching those balls by himself. The combination of guys that he has to work with, is really really difficult to defend and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

“I don’t know anyone that played in Kansas City that didn’t think that it was a special place and it’s still a really special place to me. Lamar Hunt treated the players like his kids, like people, and he cared about the guys. It was genuine and it wasn’t something that he could turn on and turn off, it’s simply who he was. He raised his kids to be the same way and Clark has taken the mantle and run with it. I think everything you see out of that guy is genuine and that is why players want to play for the Chiefs. Let’s be real, the only reason I don’t live in Kansas City is because Kansas City isn’t close to anything else. Being an east coast guy, I can be in Philly, D.C., Baltimore, or New York within a few short hours and I’ve got a different flavor in each one of them. When you’re in Kansas City, you’re in Kansas City and it’s not a bad place to be, but you’re in Kansas City. The fact that the Hunt’s have been able to bring players in there and have guys love it and want to stay there and make that their home, that says a lot about it. I’m just so happy for the family. I’m happy for the current players, and I’m really happy for the former players. Arrowhead stadium is the best stadium I’ve ever played in as far as having a home crowd. These people love the Chiefs, win or lose, and that means a lot.”

“I got a little misty. I’ll be honest, I was a little misty and I didn’t know that was gonna happen, but it did. It was just extreme happiness because I know how hard and long the journey has been. I know a ton of great players that have been through there and all of that happened so that this could happen. I’m really proud to be a part of it and I always was. Now, we have to finish the job and it’s not going to be easy. This Super Bowl, I think, is going to be one for the ages and I really believe that, but we’ll win.”

“I have lots of memories and one guy who’s not with us anymore, Mark Hatley. It makes me think of Hatley as he was the one who called me on the phone and brought me in. Carl Peterson, he brought a lot of those guys in back in the 90’s and he was a shrewd negotiator, but he was a football man so I’m happy for Carl. Christian’s [Okoye] my boy, the Derrick Thomas’, the Todd McNair’s, all these guys like Albert Lewis, Kevin Ross, Neil Smith, Bill Maas, and Jonathan Hayes. I mean, I could keep naming all these guys who were really great teammates! These past couple of weeks have been really cool just to think about it all. I’m just really glad to have these memories and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world, I really wouldn’t.”

Louie Aguiar

Louie Aguiar punted at Utah State and made it to the NFL in 1991 with the New York Jets. In 1994, Louie signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and in 1995 he was named an All-Pro. During his career, he punted 758 times for 26,802 yards and averaged 41.2 yards per punt. Also, in 1997 Louie Aguiar had a brilliant fake punt (pictured above) where he threw a 35 yard bomb to Kevin Lockett inside the 5 yard line.

Louie Aguiar (punter 1994-1998): “This is awesome! I was at the game and had my 11 year old son with me. We’re in the stands and he asks if I ever went to the Super Bowl? I said yeah, I went to the Super Bowl between the Cowboys and Bills in L.A. at the Rose Bowl. He said, dad were you playing in the Super Bowl and I said no, you asked me if I went to it. I went to it, but I never got to play in it.”

“If it wasn’t for Lamar Hunt we wouldn’t have the AFL or the AFC. Who knows where the game of football would be today without Lamar and the Hunt family. Having the Lamar Hunt trophy back home where it belongs is very well deserved. I love this team too, it’s relentless and they never give up. Mahomes keeps them going and this team has a lot of heart.”

“We’re down in the tunnel as soon as the game is over with a lot of the Chiefs ambassadors, anyone from Deron Cherry to the Nigerian Nightmare and the feelings were just words that I can’t describe. Tim Grunhard comes up to me and gives me a hug while saying we finally got there, we finally got there and you know something, he’s right we finally got there. It’s nice to be a part of it and having Clark and Andy invite the ambassadors on the field meant the world to me. It’s a wonderful organization and I’m glad that I’m a part of it.”

“Watching the confetti burst into the air brought tears to my eyes. You see it go up and it was blowing in the direction of where all the ambassadors and former players sit. Seeing that, and being around former teammates and players with my son there, brought a tear to my eye as well. Bill Maas, who I never got to play with, but have gotten to know over the years came up and gave me a hug as well and said we’re back! I just wish D.T. was here to see it. He and I were close and watching him play linebacker and fly to the ball was a thing of beauty.”

Charles Mincy

Charles Mincy was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 5th round in 1991 out of the University of Washington. He had 12 of his 23 interceptions while in Kansas City and 3 of his 4 return touchdowns were also here. He had a total of 412 tackles to go along with 2 forced fumbles.

Charles Mincy (safety 1991-1994): “Well, this is the Super Bowl that should have been 27 years ago. In 1993, we got Joe Montana and finished the regular season at 11-5. We had a good playoff run and played the AFC Championship game at Buffalo. At the same time, the 49ers and Cowboys were playing in the NFC Championship game. If we would have won and the 49ers had won,it would have been the BIGGEST SUPER BOWL ever. It would have featured Joe Montana getting to the Super Bowl and facing his old team, the 49ers in a Super Bowl. It would have easily been the most watched Super Bowl year to date. Well, turns out we both lost. I almost had a pick on the first series. If I would have caught it, I believe I would have scored. I stepped in front of the tight end, but had to reach around him a bit and the ball bounced off my frozen hands. I’ll always wonder if that would have changed our fate if I caught that pick. Who knows? It’s just tough to experience loss at that level. So much is on the line and you never really let it go. I remember plays that I wish I had done differently and it replays in my mind often.”

Tamarick Vanover

Tamarick Vanover was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round in 1995 out of Florida State. He was a USA Today High School All-American in 1991 and was named an ACC Rookie of the Year in 1992. Before there was Dante Hall, before there was Tyreek Hill or even Mecole Hardman, there was Tamarick Vanover. During his time in Kansas City he had 8 return touchdowns including being the league leader in punt return yardage and touchdowns in 1999. Over his 5-year stint with the Chiefs, playing 70 games, he caught 39 passes for 564 yards, rushed for 88 yards, returned 181 punts for 1,930 yards (a 10.2 average) and 4 touchdowns, and returned 226 kickoffs for 5,422 yards (a 24.0 average) and 4 touchdowns. On October 9, 1995, in a home Monday Night Football game against the San Diego Chargers, Vanover returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown, to win the game for the Chiefs, 29-23 in overtime. It was the first time in NFL history that a game had been won, in overtime, on a punt return for a touchdown. 

Tamarick Vanover (kick returner/wide receiver 1995-1999): “First and foremost, I want to give credit to those guys that are there now. They did a tremendous job of getting that done. I know we went 13-3 a couple of times and had a first round bye and we couldn’t close the deal, so I commend those guys. It makes you excited for the Hunt family because they’re the ones that gave me a career in the NFL and I appreciate it greatly. I’m just so happy they finally have a chance to represent in the Super Bowl especially for Mr. Hunt, who passed away.”

“I think having the Lamar Hunt trophy back in Kansas City was in God’s hands. The Kansas City Chiefs had an opportunity last year, but due to a mistake they didn’t get it done. I thought they should have made it to the Super Bowl. These guys really put in some hardwork and the coaches did a great job of coming back this year and maintaining that high level on the offense and improving that defense toward the latter part of the season. I have no doubt that they can beat the 49ers.”

“I felt like I was a part of that celebration. I felt like I was there. The way the Chiefs put all that together this year was amazing to me. Like I said, I have no doubt the Chiefs can go in there and win this Super Bowl, but we just gotta go in there and control that defensive line.”

“Marty Schottenheimer was the first one that came to mind and I know he’s going through a lot with his situation. Especially when I was there, I really wanted Marty to get a championship and we had our hands right on it, but just could never get over the hump. He’s a part of that program and that history, so I hope he’s able to enjoy this. I’m really excited for the city because they deserve a championship quality football team. They enjoy their football out there and that’s what made it easier for me coming to an organization like the Kansas City Chiefs. It basically felt like another college program because the energy level is so high. They make you feel like you’re in that college atmosphere, especially coming from Florida State where they were doing the chop and I fall right into the Kansas City Chiefs, where they’re doing the chop.”

Steve Bono

Steve Bono was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 6th round in 1985 out of UCLA. He would go on to be signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 1989 and once again came to backup Joe Montana when he was traded to the Chiefs in 1994. Steve Bono took over in 1995 when Montana retired and went on to be the AFC Offensive Player of the Year and make the Pro Bowl. On October 1, 1995, in a game against the Arizona Cardinals, Bono ran 76 yard for a touchdown, the longest scoring run by a quarterback in NFL history up to that time. During his career Steve won Super Bowl XXIV with the San Francisco 49ers and had 10,439 passing yards with 62 touchdowns.

Steve Bono (Quarterback 1994-1996): “It is wonderful. I’m happy for the organization, fans, and Captain Andy!”

Kimble Anders

Kimble Anders spent his whole career with the Kansas City Chiefs and was a 3 time Pro Bowler in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He amassed 2,261 yards rushing averaging 4.6 yards per carry to go along with 18 touchdowns. He was also a great receiver out of the backfield catching for 2,829 yards averaging 7.7 yards per reception. Kimble was an all-around back that split his time between fullback and running back, whatever the team needed from him on that given day, Kimble was up to the task.

Kimble Anders (fullback/running back 1991-2000): “I was there this past weekend and to be part of that Lamar Hunt trophy presentation on the field just felt surreal. The whole city is very happy and everyone is excited that we brought this trophy home where it belongs. I’m so happy for the city and fans as they’ve been through some ups and downs, but they still support the Chiefs. In my opinion, we have the best fans in the National Football League!”

“It was a great feeling with the flashbacks walking through the tunnel; but at the same time you wish you had the chance to experience that as a player. Moving forward, I hope to see much more of this and with the young team we have, we could build a dynasty. I look forward to seeing that scene quite a few more times.”

“Marty Schottenheimer definitely pops up in my mind when I walk through there. Marty was a great coach and he was the leader of our generation during the 90’s, motivating us. You can just hear his voice saying,one play at a time. I take a lot of things from Marty in my coaching right now as well. Just to get that feeling coming through the tunnel. The energy going through it is so much greater than what we had. They have more showmanship and more bells and whistles now, because we came out of the tunnel with just a little line of cheerleaders. It’s just so awesome to be on the field and see the new guys play the game with such class, talent and the skillsets they have. Andy Reid is a wonderful coach and hopefully we can bring it home.”

Kevin Ross

Kevin Ross was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 7th round in 1984 out of Temple. During his career he amassed an impressive 38 interceptions for 654 yards with 2 of them being returned for touchdowns. Along with Albert Lewis, Kevin was named one of the NFL’s top 10 all-time cornerback tandems by NFL Network in 2008. He was named to two Pro Bowl’s in 1989 and 1990 and was an All-Pro in 1990. He also finds his name in Arrowhead stadium on the ring of honor as he is in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. He coached Tyrann Mathieu in Arizona where he coached the defensive backs from 2013-2017. Kevin currently holds that position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kevin Ross “Rock” (cornerback/safety 1984-1993): “This couldn’t happen to a better city. They have the best fans in the nation. You guys have good players who I think are going to be around for awhile, so I think it’s going to be a good time down in Miami for the Chiefs.”

“I think winning the Lamar Hunt trophy might be better than winning the Super Bowl. They got the trophy back home and that’s a very nice thing for the franchise and city.”

“The thing that’s scary about the Chiefs right now is that even when you dominate them in the 1st quarter or even the first half, they’re still winning the game and that’s just scary. I’ll say this, we had a couple guys in Tyrann Mathieu and Xavier William, both who were with me when I was coaching in Arizona and I can tell you this, you don’t have to worry about those two guys right there because they’ll bring everything they got. I’m expecting big plays out of both of them.”

“When they won I thought about Marty Schottenheimer, Carl Peterson, Deron Cherry, Albert Lewis, Lloyd Burruss and Derrick Thomas. D.T. would be really joyous right now playing this Super Bowl in Miami, with him being from there. They’ll do it for Derrick and he’ll be down there and I guarantee you, he’ll have his spirit down on that field as well.”

JJ Birden

JJ Birden was drafted by Marty Schottenheimer and the Cleveland Browns in the 8th round in 1988 out of the University of Oregon. Marty brought JJ to Kansas City in 1990 where he flourished, especially when Joe Montana came in and was able to take advantage of what JJ did well. JJ caught 244 balls for 3,441 yards to go along with 17 touchdowns in his career. As good of a football player as JJ was, he’s an even better person, as we have been fortunate enough to get to know him over the past 8 years.

JJ Birden (wide receiver 1990-1994): “It means a great deal to see the Chiefs finally get over the hump. There have been so many good Chiefs teams over the years dating back to the Marty Schottenheimer era. We had so many good teams, we just thought we would make it, but somehow we would always miss out. I felt they’ve had so many missed opportunities. You think about last year for sure. You thought they were going to win the AFC Championship game at home and losing in overtime to the Patriots was certainly disappointing. However, more impressively, it’s nice to see that the team came back bigger, stronger, hungrier, more determined and they did it! It’s more impressive to see that they learned from last year and got better and obviously are on their way to Miami.”

“Last year when I was watching the game, I was really surprised how excited and emotional I was. This year, the same thing because although I’m not playing for the Chiefs, once a Chief always a Chief. You still feel like you’re part of the team and a part of the organization, so you still feel the ups and downs. It was pretty special and one of the only times I watched in detail a post-game celebration with the confetti coming down and everyone celebrating. It was truly very touching and very exciting!”

“I couldn’t help but think of the Chiefs of old, especially the years I was there. We had so many good years and went to the playoffs every single year. I definitely thought of Marty Schottenheimer, such a great coach who was always so close. Unfortunately, that’s part of his legacy, that he never made it to the Super Bowl, but he certainly did deserve it. I thought of Allen Wright who is still there and his assistant Chris, guys that were working in the equipment manager’s department when I was there. I thought of Willie Davis who is a scout with the Chiefs, so not only a former player, but someone who played a role this year. I thought of everyone who has come through this organization because we’ve longed for this, we worked hard for it and it finally has happened.”

Mark Collins

Mark Collins was drafted by the New York Giants in the 2nd round in 1986 out of Cal State Fullerton. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants, Super Bowl XXI over the Broncos and Super Bowl XXV over the Bills. He was also named First-team All-Pro in 1989. He came over to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1994 bringing his Super Bowl experience and immense talent to an already talented defense. He finished his career with 27 interceptions, 8 sacks, and 2 touchdowns.

Mark Collins (safety 1994-1996): “As a member of that 1995 team, I felt we let the city down. It was the worst loss of my 13 year career. Even though I played in Super Bowls, that 1995 team was a championship caliber team. As a former player for the Chiefs, to see this team get to the Super Bowl means a lot to me and all the players who’ve played there and came up short. I’m proud of these guys! We are living vicariously through them.”

“I can only imagine how Clark and Lamar Jr. are feeling, but knowing them, they want to add the Lombardi trophy right next to the Lamar Hunt trophy!”

James Hasty

James Hasty was drafted by the New York Jets in the 3rd round in 1988 out of Washington State. He came over to the Chiefs in 1995, giving the Chiefs one of the NFL’s best and most feared cornerback tandems in the league. James was known for his aggressive bump and run style which earned him two Pro Bowl bids in 1997 and 1999. In 1997, he was also voted an All-Pro. While in 1999, he was the co-leader in the NFL for interceptions. James ended his stellar career with 45 interceptions, 555 interception return yards, and 4 touchdowns!

James Hasty (cornerback 1995-2000): “This means a ton that the folks in Kansas City finally get to raise and have that trophy back home. God knows they deserve it, as they’re the best fans in the National Football League.”

“Lamar was a trailblazer. He’s a very influential part of the league and the history behind the league. It’s a proud moment that we were able to win that trophy named for Lamar. I had many conversations with Mr. Hunt after games and I’ll tell ya; he was probably the most humble person that I’ve ever known. To finally have a chance to see that family who’s done so much for the city, to finally have a chance to win a Super Bowl; I couldn’t be more happy for them.”

“I was so proud of those guys. A lot of times we say kids because they’re younger than you, but let’s call it like it is, they’re grown men. They played fantastic and they’re deserving of the opportunity. What can you say about Mahomes? The kid is phenomenal! He’s got some great weapons across the board and [Damien] Williams is a heck of a little running back. All the changes they’ve gone through at the running back spot over this past year and he’s come in and done a great job. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

“The image that I can’t get out of my head is of Derrick Thomas. I know how much it meant to him to get a championship in that city. He constantly comes back up in my mind, over and over again. I know that he would be smiling ear to ear, man! I strongly believe that they’re going to win a championship this Sunday. As long as Mahomes stays healthy and they keep Andy Reid around for awhile; I think they have a darn good chance to win more than one.”

“It’s going to touch me in a different kind of way from an emotional standpoint, if those young men are able to do this. It’s going to be fantastic and I’m sure there will be many folks in Kansas City that will be very emotional, as I will be. I couldn’t be any happier for the Hunt family and this organization to see this streak come to an end on Sunday.”

Bill Maas

Bill Maas was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 5th pick in the 1st round of the 1984 draft out of Pittsburgh. He went on to become the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and in 1986 and 1987 he was selected to the Pro Bowl as well as being named an All-Pro. Over his career he had 40 sacks to go along with 2 touchdowns and 2 safeties. Bill was a ferocious pass rusher from the defensive tackle position and is simply one of the best the Chiefs have had at the position in franchise history. You can hear Bill frequently on local sports radio and his unfiltered takes are coming from a student of the game who calls it like it is.

Bill Maas (defensive tackle 1984-1992): “When I got there, there was still a tie to the Super Bowl Chiefs and they were often around the complex. Len Dawson was covering the Chiefs and doing the radio color commentary. Bobby Bell would be there and Jan Stenerud and you would just always see them at events. You were kind of tied to that Super Bowl even though we, didn’t get to go there as a team. Then, the Marty years, we just kept getting better and better every year. We always knew we didn’t have the “franchise quarterback”, but we always believed that if we played good enough defense, took care of the ball, played good special teams, pounded the ball and shortened the game, that we could beat anybody. We believed in that, but unfortunately, it never culminated into what everybody wanted. Watching this now, how all this has come together, it’s just fantastic to see.”

“The whole history and legacy in which Lamar brings and the nostalgia that goes along with it; you think about everything he has meant to the NFL and finally having that trophy back in Kansas City. Watching Clark and Norma hold that trophy, I don’t know how there was a dry eye around because you could just feel the passion from them.”

“For me personally, I just feel like I’ve been a part of the Chiefs organization for a long time, now with the Chiefs ambassadors, and we’re talking 37 years. You know all the players from the past. You know all the parts. You know all the people. You know all the stories and just to watch that come to a head… I’m still at a loss for words really, but you know everybody and you can just see them all there and see the joy in their faces.”

Tim Grunhard

Tim Grunhard was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2nd round in 1990 out of Notre Dame. He spent his whole career with the Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl in 1990. He was a part of so many great teams with great offensive lines with himself and John Alt, Dave Szott, and Will Shields to name a few. You can now hear Tim on sports radio 810 WHB in Kansas City and along with Bill Maas, they have a gift at explaining what’s going on in great detail, yet can talk to the casual fan, as well.

Tim Grunhard (center 1990-2000): “It means a whole lot. I think when you watch this team and you watch Patrick Mahomes and how the whole season came about with the defense finding itself and Patrick getting hurt, they’ve really earned everything that they’ve gotten. It hasn’t been an easy season for them as it’s had a lot of different challenges. I think Andy Reid hit it right on the head at his press conference because this team has a lot of heart. As an older player watching, these guys playing the right way and representing the Kansas City Chiefs and this city the way they have, it’s just awesome and we’re enjoying every second of it!”

“One of the things that we always talked about with Marty and later on with Gunther, is that we wanted to be able to hand that trophy over to Lamar with his name on it. That trophy represents one of the finest men that’s ever graced an NFL field and locker room. He had so much poise, dignity and a big heart. He was a guy that you really wanted to have success for. I feel great that Clark was able to hold his father’s trophy because Lamar was an important person in my life and a really important person in a lot of people’s lives here in Kansas City.”

“On the field at the end of the game I was speechless and I was just trying to take the whole thing in because it was so surreal. I just kept saying, can you believe the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl. I must have said it a hundred times that night and it was the first thing I said to my wife in the morning. I am so happy for this organization and I’m happy for Kansas City. This fanbase has had the trials and tribulations of last second losses or teams that just weren’t able to finish off the season. They stuck with the team and the organization and they really deserve it. I know that’s cliche, but I am dead serious when I say that when I saw the faces of the people in the crowd, that’s what really brought the emotions to me more than anything else. There are a lot of people that have been waiting a long long time for this and god bless them, they’re getting it!”

“You know who popped into my head, and Marty, god bless him as he’s going through the things he’s going through, Gunther Cunningham. He would tell us that all he wanted to do was hand that trophy to Lamar and Clark Hunt, get in his car and drive off with the Arrowhead lights in his rearview mirror. Then he would consider his coaching career a success. I thought about him with him passing away recently and how important that was for him. That’s what really hit me, just thinking about how proud Gunther would be of this team.”

“It’s like watching your little brother have success, you love it! Obviously, we wish we could have done that, but we’re watching our little brothers do it. We’re just as thrilled that the family is now having the success it is and we are very excited for this Super Bowl and the future of the Chiefs organization.”

THE PLAYERS in this article left everything they had out there on that field, in an attempt to bring the Lamar Hunt trophy and a championship back to Kansas City. While they didn’t reach their ultimate goal, they gave their hearts to this city and franchise which reminds me of a quote from the great Marty Schottenheimer, “When you step across the white stripe, the only thing that matters is that 6 inches between your backbone and your breastbone.” Whether it be these former players sharing this moment with their kids or the raw emotions on the field with several of them saying things like, “we finally got there,” the gravity of this moment was not lost on them. They remember the ones who aren’t here in body to share this moment, but are so sure that their spirit is, men like Gunther Cunningham, Derrick Thomas and Lamar Hunt.

These players love this city, they love this fanbase, they love this franchise and they love their former owner, Lamar Hunt. Lamar always thought of himself as the Chiefs “founder”, not the “owner.” He said, “Every Chiefs fan has ownership of the team. They are just as invested emotionally as I am. I was able to bring the team to Kansas City, but it is Kansas City’s team.” That speaks to Chiefs Kingdom being a family, a sentiment each and every one of these players echoed. Marty Schottenheimer said it best as he often did, “Those two little letters w-e we, those two little letters u-s us, they’re powerful, they’re powerful.” The collective “we” is this current team, the collective “us” is Chiefs Kingdom, which not only includes these former players that are now fans, just like you and me, but the spirits of Gunther, Derrick and Lamar that will be on the field alongside all of us. We all have one game left to go to be immortalized in history as Super Bowl Champions, and as James Earl Jones’ character said in Field of Dreams, “The memories will be so thick, we’ll have to brush them away from our faces.”

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By Noah Gronniger

Noah, a sports fan since 1992, began his journey into sports media in 2012. He is co-founder of the Great American Sports Network as well as a podcast host, filmmaker and freelance writer.

3 thoughts on “Super Bowl LIV: 50 years in the making; a perspective from former players”
  1. I have been true to the Chiefs since the age of 11 back in 1965. I have NEVER waivered in my total commitment and dedication to the team that I love. But I have never been to Kansas City. I grew up on a dairy farm in Upstate New York. I know what hard work is. I know what hard work does for one’s well being and character. And I know what hard work has done for the Kansas City Chiefs. We are here. Beat the drum. And be amazed.

    1. You are SO right I grew up in KC, and you’ve definitely got the spirit of Kansas Citians down pat, no matter where you grew up! Chiefs fans are among the loudest and proudest for a good reason – no matter where you find us now!

  2. There are no words that convey what the Chiefs have meant to me the past 55 years. The past and present players are so deserving of this moment in time.
    Honestly, the best part of all of this is, we the Kingdom, are largely a humble, loud and proud bunch that take losses to heart without crying foul or throwing tantrums and take the wins without downgrading or ridiculing the opponent.
    The Kansas City Chiefs organization is a class act from top to bottom and everywhere inbetween. Our Chiefs have the ability to become the next dynasty. If that were to happen it’s comforting to know that the Kingdom would remain ever greatful, humble and respectful because wherever another team finds itself, we’ve been there too. Go Chiefs!

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