Giving Thanks For 52 Chiefs Memories

In honor of the Chiefs celebrating their 51st 52nd anniversary season this year, here are 51 52 Chiefs memories I am thankful for.

1. I once ran into Tony Gonzales at an Italian restaurant on 40 Hwy. He ate at the table next to ours. I stopped and told him I was a big fan on the way out. He was gracious and kind and said thanks. Really nice guy.
2. Martyball. Martyball. Martyball. Of course it was really a love-hate relationship I had with Martyball. I loved it when it worked and hated it because it was so predictable. However, I’m thankful for all the good football Martyball brought to K.C..
3. “Keep on matriculating the ball down the field boys.” I love that. I won’t ever forget it. I can never hear it enough.
4. A myriad of memories I call Len Dawson. Thank you for all that you have done, on and off the field.
5. A few years ago LT Damion McIntosh was the lead blocker and flattened not one, but, two Miami Dolphins in the process. Pancaked both of them. About the only good thing I recall McIntosh doing.
6. For all the memories that Derrick Thomas gave us. Not the least of which was getting to see his smile every week.
7. I remember the time, in the early ’90s, when I was sitting at home in Independence, about a half an hour before a noon game time, and I had the notion that I could get into the game and so, I decided to drive out to Arrowhead. I kept telling myself I will do whatever I have to do to get into that game, even though it was sold out. Well… I got into the game. Didn’t buy a ticket. Didn’t climb a fence. But, I sat around the 30 yard line, field level and was as happy as a clam. And now… for the rest of the story… well, maybe another time.
8. The “Nigerian Nightmare.” For the way Christian Okoye used to run through people. His thighs were huge. His shoulder pads were even bigger. I remember one play up the middle and it seemed as if he ran over most of the Seahawks defense on his way to the end zone. A nightmare on the field but, the sweetest guy off. He went to the same junior college I attended in California so, I’ve always had a special place for him.
9. Steve Bono’s long bootleg for a touchdown against Arizona in 1995. To go that far… untouched… unseen… was obscene.
10. The Chiefs in red. It’s my favorite color and the tint of red that is Chiefs red looks better filling a stadium than any other color. There’s nothing like the Arrowhead sea of red. 
11. For the spirit of Joe Delaney and the willingness to give your life to save an other’s. Delaney was a sensation on the field. At that point, he was my all time favorite Chief.
12. For the opportunity to sit in the stands with my daughter. Even though she feel asleep. You know I won’t ever let her forget that one.
13. Watching Dale Carter and James Hasty do their dirty work was a wonder to behold. Having two top level cover corners… two… was awesome. I used to ignore the rest of the defense and just watch Carter and Hasty. Dang, that was fun.
14. That Lamar Hunt was our founding father. I’ve always been tickled by the story that Mrs. Hunt coined the term “Super Bowl.” We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Hunt family.
15. For every single time the Chiefs have beaten the Raiders. No other victory ever feels so good.
16. For when the 1978 Marv Levy-led Chiefs team, used the Wing-T and had 663 rushing attempts and 2,986 yards on the ground. Levy’s offense was fun to watch but, it was the defense who helped, mostly, the Chiefs to a 4-12 record.
17. Willie Lanier. He was… is… the greatest Chiefs player ever. Derrick Thomas is my favorite Chiefs player (because I got to see him more) but, Willie Lanier was the greatest. No doubt in my mind. If I could only get one Chiefs players’ autograph it would be Willie Lanier’s.
18. For every single player the Chiefs ever drafted. I remember being so excited when the Chiefs drafted: Todd Blackledge, Percy Snow and Ryan Sims. I was thrilled with all those picks at the time. They didn’t work out but, each of the picks was exciting at the moment.
19. The year after Joe Montana came to the Chiefs… someone came up to me and asked me if I was Joe Montana. That was a highlight of my Chiefs career. They must have been drunk. Maybe I was.
20. When Mike Garrett ran through a giant hole on the left side and then into the end zone to help secure the win in Super Bowl IV. “65 Toss Power Trap.”
21 When the Chiefs drafted Brad Budde, the son of former Chiefs guard Ed Budde, in 1980 I thought great things were going to happen in the ’80s. Brad was pretty good but, had a better college career. I’m also a USC fan so when the Chiefs chose Budde with the 11th pick I was jazzed.
22. When Scott Pioli fired Herm Edwards. He was my least favorite of all of the Chiefs coaches so, I was happy to have him go. With every move he’d make I kept thinking if someone was trying to destroy an organization, this is exactly what they’d do. Seems like a decent person. But, I was glad to see him leave.
23. Gary Spani was one of my favorite players from the late ’70s to the mid ’80s and he tackled more opponents than any other Chief in history. I was tickled too, that we got him, coming out of Kansas State. He really had a nose for the ball carrier.
24. I love that I can travel to different cities in our fair country and walk into a sports bar and always find Chiefs faithful. Here’s a Thanksgiving toast to the crew at Cronies in Ventura, California.
25. I know a lot of people didn’t like Greg Hill but, I was a big fan. He had some nice runs. Wish his career had been more.
26. Dick Vermeil’s uber-emotional availability. He could take one of his player’s unfortunate performances and turn it into a Roman Polanski tragedy but, one that you’d like.
27. Art Still was my favorite player in the ’80s. Aside from Derrick Thomas, he was probably the biggest sack king the Chiefs ever had. Always thought Still had a cool factor not realized at a national level.
28. “… for the land of the free… and the home… of the… CHIEFS!!!!” If you’ve been there and done that… then, you’d like to be there, and do that, again and again and again.
29. Tamarick Vanover’s “one-cut-and-explode” kick returns were amazing to watch. I don’t think there is any single play that makes Arrowhead go crazier than a kick return TD and Vanover made that happen plenty.
30. I’m totally a “NFL Draft-day-aholic” and it feels an awful lot like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July combined… in the moment that the commissioner walks to the podium and announces the Chiefs draft pick. In fact, I’m thinking about April right now!
31. Hank Stram and his offensive brilliance. A lot of people don’t understand how forward thinking Stram was with his multiple sets and offensive movement before the snap. It’s the very model of what most teams look like today.
32. The Derrick Thomas strip. This has nothing to do with removing clothes. It has everything to do with removing the ball from a QB. DT didn’t just sack a QB. He frequently stripped the ball at the same time. I loved that.
33. Kimble Anders mowing ‘em down.
34. Tony Richardson plowing ‘em down.
35. Otis Taylor’s Super Bowl catch and run in SB IV. He turned a five yard out pattern into a 46 yard ballet, high stepping into NFL hearts and history books.
36. Joe Montana’s pass to Willie Davis at the goal line in Denver. Davis catches the ball high then tiptoes just inside of the pylon. It’s a mystical magical memory.

37. Gonzo dunking!

38. I was born in Texas so, I’ve always been proud of the Chiefs’ Texas roots.

39. The Tailgate Cloud. If you’ve ever gotten to go tailgating at Arrowhead, the cloud of barbeque smoke that rises and hovers over the parking lot is a sight and smell to be experienced. You could get high off those fumes. Wait a second, maybe it’s not just barbeque smoke.
40. Marcus Allen’s goal line leap is a tireless memory.
41. Dante Hall returning a punt and making ankle breaking moves against the Broncos on his way to a TD. He made everyone else look like they just got up from a nap.
42. The moment I received an email from Patrick Allen asking me to become a staff writer for Arrowhead Addict. Thank you, Patrick. Here’s a toast to you and everyone in the awesome AA circle.
43. The fact that Jan Stenerud was the first placekicker to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Watching Jan kick spoiled me for life… although…
44. Nick Lowry was great too. Now those two… certainly did spoil me.
45. When Willie Roaf came to Chiefs and paired with Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann, Will Shields and John Tait… I was sure we were going to the Super Bowl. With Priest running behind that line… I’m still wondering how we never made it to at least the AFC Championship game. However, I’m thankful for the thrills they gave us.
46. Our opening day victory last season against San Diego. Our first Monday night game in eons. Arrowhead was rocking, and we pulled out a “W.”
47. When Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas would arrive at the QB at the same time. I used to think this was an ultimate weapon because, the QB always knew there was no place to hide. He’d often have to get rid of the ball early which produced a lot of INTs for our DBs.
48. Deron Cherry. Best FS the Chiefs have ever had.
49. The sight of Priest Holmes following his blockers en route to paydirt. His patience on a run was the best.
50. For the 67 total rushing yards that the Minnesota Vikings were held to in Super Bowl IV. Sweeter than a sweet potato pie.
51. Mike Garrett. Mike was the very first great RB at USC in a long line of great RBs. I grew up in Southern California so, Mike was responsible for my initial interest in the Chiefs and “the” reason I became a fan.

52. (Editor’s Note)Ladner is also thankful for all of the AA readers, particularly Steve who reminded Ladner that this is in fact the 52nd anniversary of the Chiefs, not the 51st.

So, Addicts, have any memories you’re especially thankful for?

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