On Thursday, four former Kansas City Chiefs passed the first hurdle to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2023: wide receiver Otis Taylor, head coach Marty Schottenheimer, general manager Carl Peterson and scout Lloyd Wells.
Taylor was nominated as a Senior candidate, while Schottenheimer, Peterson and Wells were nominated as Coach/Contributor candidates. A total of 25 Seniors candidates were named, along with 29 total Coach/Contributor candidates.
The Senior and Coach/Contributor selection committees will now pare these two lists to 12 candidates each before July 27. The Seniors committee will reduce that to three finalists on August 16, while the Coach/Contributor group will be reduced to one finalist on August 23. In most years, only one person from each group may become a finalist. However, under special rules, the Hall will allow three Senior finalists in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Taylor, 79, played his entire NFL career in Kansas City after being taken in the fourth round (29th overall) of the 1965 AFL Draft. He was a key member of both the 1966 and 1969 teams that appeared in the first and fourth Super Bowls — and his legendary 46-yard touchdown reception to ice the Chiefs’s 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV is among the most celebrated plays in team history. Taylor retired after the 1975 season — and has long been considered as a player who belonged in the Hall.
Schottenheimer served as the team’s head coach from 1989 through 1998, returning the team to respectability with a 101-58-1 record. After the Chiefs had made playoffs only once between 1971 and 1990, Schottenheimer’s teams made the postseason in seven of his 10 Kansas City seasons. Unfortunately, he was never able to translate his regular-season success into postseason victories, winning in only three of his 10 playoff appearances with the Chiefs. Still, he is one of only eight NFL coaches to collect more than 200 wins. Of those, Schottenheimer is the only eligible coach who has not yet been inducted into the Hall. He died in February of 2021.
Peterson, 79, hired Schottenheimer when he was hired as the team’s general manager in 1989. While he remained in his position for another ten years after Schottenheimer’s resignation from the team following the 1998 season, the two are inexorably linked in the minds of Kansas City fans. During Peterson’s 20 years as the GM, the Chiefs turned in only six losing seasons, compiling a record of 176-143-1.
Wells is often seen as one of those who finally fully opened the doors for Black athletes in professional football, serving with the Chiefs informally before he became professional football’s full-time Black scout in 1963. He was responsible for recruiting many players from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including previous Hall of Fame inductees Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas and Willie Lanier. His story is also intertwined with Taylor’s. It was Lloyd who famously arranged to hide the former Prairie View A&M wide receiver in a Texas hotel room to prevent the Philadelphia Eagles from signing him to an NFL contract after both teams had drafted him in 1965. Wells died in 2005.
The other Senior candidates include Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Mark Clayton, Roger Craig, LaVern Dilweg, Randy Gradishar, Lester Hayes, Chris Hinton, Chuck Howley, Cecil Isbell, Joe Jacoby, Billie “White Shoes” Johnson, Mike Kenn, Joe Klecko, Bob Kuechenberg, George Kunz, Jim Marshall, Clay Matthews Jr., Eddie Meador, Stanley Morgan, Tommy Nobis, Ken Riley, Sterling Sharpe and Everson Walls.
The remaining Coach/Contributor candidates are K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr., Roone Arledge, C.O. Brocato, Don Coryell, Otho Davis, Ralph Hay, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Eddie Kotal, Robert Kraft, Rich McKay, John McVay, Art Modell, Clint Murchison Jr., Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Lee Remmel, Art Rooney Jr., Jerry Seeman, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Seymour Siwoff, Amy Trask, Jim Tunney, Jack Vainisi and John Wooten.