For those of us who have been lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fans, we’ve had some ups and downs — and experienced some awful football along the way. For example, quarterback Warren Moon’s Week 13 in 2000, where he was 12 of 31 for 130 yards, no touchdowns and one interception — for a quarterback rating of just 38.4.
But this is not about those bad games. This is a celebration of the guys who gave us hope.
Even in our darkest moments, there have been shining stars to whom we could look — players about whom we could say, “This guy is a piece we can build around!”
So in this five-part series, we will select the best starting 11 on both sides of the ball — as well as special teams and coaches — chosen from players on the worst Chiefs teams of all time.
In this first installment, we will cover the five offensive positions: wide receiver No. 1, left tackle, left guard, center and right guard.
Here are the ground rules:
- A player had to have at least 10 starts in a bad season. We don’t want any guys like Rodney Hudson in 2012, who played in three games and then made the roster. To make the team, you had to be on the field.
- The Chiefs had to have five or fewer wins in that season. I’m not saying six is a respectable number, but we are only looking at the team’s worst years.
- Just one player at each position, using a standard pro set offensive formation and a 4-3 set on defense.
Let’s get started!
WR1 – Carlos Carson, 1987
Since he played on some abysmal Kansas City teams in the ’80s, Carson is a player that many Chiefs fans forget. But despite the team going 4-11 in 1987 — and Bill Kenney averaging only 191.5 yards per game — Carson managed to haul in 55 receptions for 1,044 yards and seven touchdowns in only 12 games played, averaging 19.0 yards per reception. He was selected to the Pro Bowl that year — one of two such honors he would earn.
Honorable Mention: Stephone Paige
LT – Jim Tyrer, 1963
The best of the five-win teams, 1963 was the team’s first in Kansas City. The newly-renamed Chiefs were coming off an 11-win season in which they won the AFL Championship. Selected to nine consecutive Pro Bowls (1962-1971) and six All-Pro teams, Tyrer protected quarterback Len Dawson’s blind side during the Chiefs’ early glory days. He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame — but with three AFL Championships and a Super Bowl to his name, one has to wonder why he hasn’t been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Honorable Mention: Brandon Albert
LG – Brian Waters, 2009
Lining up next to Albert, the pride of Waxahachie, Texas, was named to six Pro Bowls, helping to anchor the left side of a line that, despite issues in the passing game, managed to put up 1,929 yards on the ground while averaging a very respectable 4.4 yards per attempt. To date, Waters remains one of the greatest undrafted players in Chiefs history. In the same year, he won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Honorable Mention: Ed Budde
C Jack Rudnay, 1975
Long before Travis Kelce or Kareem Hunt, Kansas City’s “Man with the Mustache” was Rudnay, who also hailed from Cleveland. Making four consecutive Pro Bowls (1973-1976), Rudnay was a bright spot on some bad teams. He might best be known as the guy who wore number 58 before the late Derrick Thomas immortalized it. No player other than Thomas or Rudnay has worn number 58 for more than seven Chiefs games.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Lilja
RG – Tom Condon, 1978
These days, Condon is probably better known as a sports agent than a football player. But before he was repping the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt, Condon was a 10-year starter for the Chiefs. The former president of the NFL Players Association, Condon once assisted teammate Art Still with negotiating his Chiefs contract while both were still playing for Kansas City.
Honorable Mention: Curt Merz
How do you feel about this list?
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In the next installment, we’ll select right tackle, quarterback, tight end, wide receiver No. 2 and two running backs.