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Ranking the Chiefs: Jamaal Charles was the king of the Game Pass Era

On Saturdays through May, Arrowhead Pride contributors weigh in on the five best Chiefs of all time. This time, Tom Childs takes a unique approach from across the pond.

San Diego Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/TUSP/Getty Images

On Saturdays through May, Arrowhead Pride contributors list (and explain) their top five Kansas City Chiefs of all time.

My top five all-time Chiefs

  1. Running back Jamaal Charles
  2. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
  3. Safety Eric Berry
  4. Linebacker Derrick Johnson
  5. Quarterback Alex Smith

Before 2008, being a Chiefs fan abroad had its challenges.

Access to live Chiefs games was difficult to come by — and even though United Kingdom broadcasters did show some Chiefs games, they were few and very far between. So to get our Chiefs fix, we would simply have to make do.

Some would feed their cravings by finding ways to listen to games — whilst others would try and pick up the odd highlight here and there. Personally, I followed my team through’s Game Center. I would spend hours on a Sunday evening watching the drive chart auto update after every play, waiting for the on-screen arrow to extend from the Chiefs end zone to the other end.

Doesn’t sound exciting, does it? But I enjoyed it — and it made me learn to appreciate the level of access international fans get these days.

It wasn’t until the introduction of Game Pass in 2008 — and then Red Zone in 2009 — that the game really changed for us. For the first time, we could watch every single Chiefs game live — or at a minimum, pick up consistent highlights. Never again would I be cheering on an arrow!

This is why I decided to attack this from a different angle from my fellow Arrowhead Pride writers. I have chosen my top 5 all-time Chiefs from the perspective of a newer, European fan — a top 5 of the Game Pass Era.

No quarterback split opinions quite like Alex Smith. But after nearly a decade of truly terrible quarterback play, Smith brought some much-needed stability — at a position where there had been anything but stability. I don’t think that’s appreciated enough by some.

The ever-present Derrick Johnson — my favourite Chief of all time — was always going to make the list. Eric Berry’s story — paired with his All-Pro level of play — made him a sure thing, too.

Now before I get to the top two, I want to address the omission of Travis Kelce. This is not a reflection of how I think he has performed. Let’s face it: he is elite — and has been for several years now. I just feel that since 2008, the other five players were (or are) more important to the team as a whole.

Patrick Mahomes has made watching the Chiefs the most enjoyable it ever has been. Heck, I’d even argue that the 2018 and 2019 Chiefs are two of the most-watchable teams in NFL history.

But even though we all love Patrick for this, it was Jamaal Charles who made the Chiefs just about bearable to watch in those early days. Without Charles, I don’t know how many of us would have continued to tune in. That might sound fickle, but imagine waiting years to get full access to watch your team — and then watching the Matt Cassel-led Chiefs without Charles.

That would have been rough.

So on behalf of Chiefs fans everywhere, I want to thank Jamaal for pulling us through some pretty dark days. I just wish you could have played with Patrick.


How perfect is this list?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Strongly perfect
    (58 votes)
  • 38%
    Somewhat perfect
    (243 votes)
  • 27%
    Somewhat imperfect
    (169 votes)
  • 24%
    Strongly imperfect
    (155 votes)
625 votes total Vote Now

Cumulative ranking

  • Patrick Mahomes (19 points)
  • Derrick Thomas (11)
  • Len Dawson (10)
  • Jamaal Charles (6)
  • Will Shields (4)
  • Derrick Johnson (3)
  • Eric Berry (3)
  • Travis Kelce (2)
  • Bobby Bell (1)
  • Alex Smith (1)

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