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1966-1971 Chiefs named among greatest dynasties in NFL history

Even with just one Super Bowl to its credit, Football Outsiders has ranked the legendary Chiefs team well within its top 20 all-time dynasties.

January 4, 1970; AFL Championship game, Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Over the last couple of weeks, the football analytics site Football Outsiders has been releasing their rankings of the top NFL dynasties of all time. They have previously listed the 1990-1997 Kansas City Chiefs at 35th and the 2015-2019 team — your current Super Bowl champions — at 33rd.

On Tuesday, the site released their rankings from 11th through 20th — and the 1966-1971 Chiefs are ranked 14th.

No. 14: 1966-1971 Kansas City Chiefs

Peak Dynasty Points: 13

Average DVOA: 24.6%.

Top-Five DVOA: 28.3%

Championships: 1.

Record: 60-20-4 (.738)

Head Coach: Hank Stram

Key Players: QB Len Dawson, RB Mike Garrett, WR Otis Taylor, T Jim Tyrer, G Eric Budde, DE Jerry Mays, DT Buck Buchanan, LB Bobby Bell, LB Willie Lanier, DB Johnny Robinson

Z-Score: 1.60

The Chiefs have a strong claim to being the best AFL team of all time, and that’s worthy of a high spot in the rankings. They won the league title three times, twice in Kansas City. They did win Super Bowl IV, and they kept up with the Lombardi Packers for a half in Super Bowl I. Maybe their DVOAs are inflated by ten points or so due thanks to the AFL’s level of quality, but this was a team playing in the era of the common draft, when talented players had no qualms about coming to the AFL. They weren’t playing the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Chiefs were solid on offense, with Len Dawson and company being the first pro team to operate out of the I-formation and regularly use two tight-end sets to matriculate the ball down the field. But the Chiefs were more frequently led by their defense, boating six future Hall of Famers. Stram would mix odd and even fronts, stacking his linebackers behind his defensive linemen in order to frustrate opposing offenses. When you have Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell hiding behind Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp, offenses are going to tear their hair out trying to figure out their protections. The Vikings certainly couldn’t in Super Bowl IV, as the Chiefs recorded three sacks, forced three interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and held Minnesota to 67 yards and just two first downs on the ground. The Vikings had never seen anything like the Chiefs defense before, and it showed.

In the introductory article of their series, FO described a method where they awarded “dynasty points” to identify NFL squads worthy of the name — and listed 56 teams that accumulated at least 10 of those points. Then it was just a matter of ranking those teams using these dynasty scores and the normal analytical methods FO employs.

We summarized the details of the dynasty points system in our previous article about the other two Chiefs teams appearing in the FO rankings.

Knowing that the previously listed Chiefs teams had scored 10 and 11 dynasty points — and that the 1966-1971 team had scored just 13 — could easily have led you to believe that the late 60s Chiefs team didn’t have a shot at reaching the top 20. But FO has properly credited the Chiefs of that era for being precisely what they were: a team with a very good offense and a suffocating defense — one that was among the AFL’s best teams right from the beginning.

For old Chiefs fans like myself, it’s gratifying to see a team with only one Super Bowl victory during its six-year period of sustained success to be mentioned among the greatest NFL teams.


How should Football Outsiders have ranked the 1966-1971 Chiefs?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Higher than 14th
    (151 votes)
  • 58%
    Right where they did
    (254 votes)
  • 6%
    Lower than 14th
    (26 votes)
431 votes total Vote Now

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