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When We Were Champions: Frank Pitts

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Looking back at the roster of the 1970 Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, as our 2008 team marches down that same path.

Frank Pitts played wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1965 to 1970, earning a place in Chiefs' lore with an impressive performance in Super Bowl IV.

Against the Vikings on January 11, 1970, Pitts rushed the ball three times and rushed for three first downs, all on "end-around" plays. The end-around was not an often used play by the Chiefs that season, as Pitts noted.

"One time we ran it for no gain," Pitts said. "Then we tried it against the Jets and it gained five yards. But we look at different coverage in the AFL. Our cornerbacks play bump and run with the wide receivers. They stay up close and hit the receiver as he crosses the line, then go with him. So they are playing up close to the line. You try the 52 Go on them and they are right there. And another thing, the fact that the Viking defensive ends—Carl Eller and Jim Marshall—were pinching, gave me running room outside."

The "52 Go Reverse", as the Chiefs called it, helped the them gain crucial first downs on the biggest stage in professional football and earn the franchise its only Super Bowl victory. This fan, and every other Kansas City Chiefs fan, is dearly thankful to be able to say our team won Super Bowl IV.

Pitts finished Super Bowl IV with thirty-seven rushing yards and thirty-three yards receiving on three catches. A solid, necessary performance for a Chief Super Bowl victory.

Multiple nicknames must have been the rage back in the late 1960s. As we noted yesterday, Chiefs' punter Jerrel Wilson was nicknamed Thunderfoot and the Duck. Frank Pitts evened Wilson up with "The Riddler" and "Mr. Wonderful". Mr. Wonderful came from, uh ahem, his college days apparently.

"Mr. Wonderful was what they called him because he was such a wonderful, well-rounded, great athlete and person", noted a college alumn of Pitts'.

Sure, sure. That's what they all say. I was known as Mr. Bombastic in college myself. Wait, no I wasn't.

Pitts got the nickname "The Riddler" because he had an eerily similar laugh as the character of the same name on the then-popular Batman television show.

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Over ten NFL and AFL seasons, Pitts amassed 175 receptions for 2897 yards and twenty-seven touchdowns. He played six seasons with the Chiefs, three with the Browns and one with the Falcons (Click here for a way too detailed description of Pitts' Browns helmet).

In 2005, Frank Pitts' home was burglarized and his two Super Bowl rings, one for Super Bowl I and the other for Super Bowl IV, were stolen.

Those rings aren't cheap either. The original Super Bowl IV ring is valued at $15,000 to $20,000 and the ring from Super Bowl I where is worth $8,000 to $9,000.

Pitts was the sergeant-at-arms for the Louisiana State Senate at the time and still held that same post in 2006 when he was presented with duplicate rings during half time of a Saints/49ers game.

When Pitts' colleagues in the Senate first heard about the burglary, the Senate President offered a $1,000 reward for the missing rings.

Another state senator decided to start a fundraising drive among the other senators to replace the rings. They raised just under $11,000 for the cost of the rings and made an old man happy when it came time to present the new rings.

Frank Pitts sits in a quiet spot in franchise history, never more than a second tier receiver throughout his career. Except in Super Bowl IV. And his name will live on forever because of it.