The Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Chiefs compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The team was founded in 1960 as the Dallas Texans by businessman Lamar Hunt and was a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) (they are not associated with an earlier Dallas Texans NFL team that only played for one season in 1952). In 1963, the team relocated to Kansas City and assumed their current name. The Chiefs joined the NFL as a result of the merger in 1970. The team is valued at just under $1 billion.
The Kansas City Chiefs have won three AFL championships, in 1962, 1966, and 1969 and became the second AFL team (after the New York Jets) to defeat an NFL team in an AFL–NFL World Championship Game, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. The team’s victory on January 11, 1970, remains the club’s last championship game victory and appearance to date, and occurred in the final such competition prior to the leagues’ merger coming into full effect. The Chiefs were also the second team, after the Green Bay Packers, to appear in more than one Super Bowl (and the first AFL team to do so) and the first to appear in the championship game in two different decades. In the 2015 AFC Wild-Card playoff game, held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on January 9, 2016, the Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 30–0 to earn their first NFL playoff win in 23 seasons, dating back to the 1993–94 NFL playoffs, a win that also came in Houston, Texas. The Chiefs’ Wild-Card playoff victory ended what was at the time the third-longest drought in the NFL, and it also ended a then NFL record eight-game playoff losing streak.
In 1959, Lamar Hunt began discussions with other businessmen to establish a professional football league that would rival the National Football League. Hunt’s desire to secure a football team was heightened after watching the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. After unsuccessful attempts to purchase and relocate the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals to his hometown of Dallas, Texas, Hunt went to the NFL and asked to create an expansion franchise in Dallas. The NFL turned him down, so Hunt then established the American Football League and started his own team, the Dallas Texans, to begin play in 1960. Hunt hired a little-known assistant coach from the University of Miami football team, Hank Stram, to be the team’s head coach after the job offer was declined by Bud Wilkinson and Tom Landry.
After Stram was hired, Don Klosterman was hired as head scout, credited by many for bringing a wealth of talent to the Texans after luring it away from the NFL, often hiding players and using creative means to land them.
The Chiefs’ first mascot was Warpaint, a nickname given to several different breeds of pinto horse. Warpaint served as the team’s mascot from 1963 to 1988. The first Warpaint (born in 1955, died in 1992) was ridden bareback by rider Bob Johnson who wore a full Native American headdress. Warpaint circled the field at the beginning of each Chiefs home game and performed victory laps following each Chiefs touchdown. On September 20, 2009, a new Warpaint horse was unveiled at the Chiefs’ home opener which was won by Oakland Raiders. Warpaint is now ridden by a cheerleader, Susie.
In the mid-1980s, the Kansas City Chiefs featured a short-lived unnamed “Indian man” mascot which was later scrapped in 1988. Since 1989 the cartoon-like K. C. Wolf, portrayed by Dan Meers in a wolf costume, has served as the team’s mascot. The mascot was named after the Chiefs’ “Wolfpack”, a group of rabid fans from the team’s days at Municipal Stadium. K. C. Wolf is one of the most popular NFL mascots and was the league’s first mascot inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006.