The Kansas City Chiefs Then and Now: 2003 vs. 2013

The last time the Kansas City Chiefs were 4-0 was October 5, 2003. The team was made up of players who went by different names, but looking at that roster there were more similarities than one might think.

The team starts with a quarterback, and the guy leading the Chiefs that year was #10, Trent Green. Green is considered by many to be the best quarterback to head the Chiefs since Joe Montana wore #19 in Arrowhead. There are a lot of Chiefs fans in the Kingdom who would say that the Chiefs haven’t fielded a decent quarterback since Green called the signals in the BBQ City.

But, as history has a tendancy to do, the repeat is on. How much does this 2013 team have in common with the last, best team the Chiefs fielded?

Trent Green’s jersey still lives alive and well on Sundays at Arrowhead. But, how were his numbers? Currently Alex Smith is on pace to pass for 3828 yards, 28 TDs and 8 INTs. In the 2003 season, Green threw for 4039 yard, 24 TDs and 12 INTs. The similarities in the two QBs is uncanny. However, I’ve never heard Trent Green saddled with the moniker “game manager.” I didn’t hear the complaining from the Kingdom before or since about not “growing our own QB” when Green was brought to KC.

But, let’s not stop at the QB. Who was Trent throwing the ball to? The Chiefs leading receiver in 2003 (not named Tony Gonzalez) was Eddie Kennison. He caught 56 passes for 853 yards and five touchdowns. Right now, Dwayne Bowe is on target for 52 catches, 592 yards and 8 TDs. Those numbers are pretty close to the same.

Moving through the rest of the team, we see that 2003 Chiefs had a prolific punt/kick returner in the “X-Factor” Dante Hall. After Dexter McCluster’s huge, 89 yard punt return last Sunday against the New York Giants, he threw up the “X” as a show of respect. I got chills. Hall made the Pro Bowl and broke records in 2003. I’m not saying DMC is quite there yet, but the similarities are there.

Probably the biggest comparison that can be made between the two teams, is the guy playing running back. Ten years ago, the man lining up in the position was the future hall of famer, Priest Holmes. Holmes had a breakout year in 2003 rushing for 1420 yards on 320 attempts and scoring a ridiculous 27 TDs, which at the time was the single season record. But, that’s not all he did. He also led all receivers in catches with 74 out of the backfield and added 690 yards to his “from scrimmage” total bringing his total offensive production to 2110. Oddly, Priest had no TD receptions in 2003.

When looking at the Chiefs current running back, Jamaal Charles, I see a lot of Holmes in him. The two are quite different runners, but the way they are utilized in the offense is similar. JC is on target for 280 carries and 1156 yards on the ground as well as 92 receptions and 852 yards through the air. As far as scoring goes, Charles is on target for 16 total TDs, eight on the ground and eight on receptions. The numbers are eerily similar to those posted by Holmes during his epic 2003 season.

The final similarity between the current Chiefs and their counterparts ten years in the past is the coach. Both were successful coaches for the Philadelphia Eagles, and both led their teams to the Superbowl only to lose. As yet another tie between these two teams, current head coach Andy Reid called former coach Dick Vermeil about the Kansas City Chiefs job shortly after it was offered to him. The two coaches had known each other for years and it makes the similarities all too close.

For those of you who remember, the Chiefs went 9-0 that season before being knocked off their pedestal in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs dropped three of their last seven games before facing the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on January 11, 2004.

In a game dubbed “The No-Punt Bowl” both teams scored or turned the ball over on every single possession. The Peyton Manning led Colts scored last and bested the Chiefs by a final score of 38-31. This was a tough loss to take, but happened because of one reason. Unlike the 2013 version of the team, in 2003 the defense wasn’t that great.

Dick Vermeil prided himself on his high flying offensive attacks. He had to because he had to put up enough points to cover for a suspect defense. That unit was exposed by the “cyborg like” Manning. That won’t happen to the team this year. While the offense is only getting better, the defense is already firing on all cylinders. Reid may not be known for his defense, but he’s brought in somebody who can get the job done.

So what do you think, Addicts? With all the similarities, does this Chiefs team go 9-0 before losing? Is it possible for this team to go 13-3? Most say the team will lose against Denver, but are unsure who else can beat the Chiefs. The end of the season is a long way off, but right now, 4-0 for the first time in a decade feels pretty damn good.

Until next time, Addicts!

Tags: Alex Smith Andy Reid Dante Hall Dexter McCluster Dick Vermiel Dwayne Bowe Eddie Kennison Featured Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Popular Priest Holmes Trent Green

  • Bosco Cletus

    The most glaring difference is obviously the two defenses and their respective coordinators. The 2013 D thus far has been the straw that stirs the drink in my opinion, lock the opponent down with an amazing pass rush, take the ball away, and let the offense have the ball plenty, and in a short field whenever possible. The 03 offense could also score much faster than what we’ve seen so far this year, and they ran with more consistency through out the entire game.

    • berttheclock

      The ’03 offensive line was superior.

      • Bosco Cletus

        Probably the best any Chiefs fan has ever seen. Dv was a genius getting Roaf and moving Tait over.

  • berttheclock

    May I suggest two years later. You mentioned Eddie Kennison from the 2003 squad. Well, in 2005, October 2nd to be exact, Kennison was still with the Chiefs and Green still was the QB. Al Saunders called all of the plays and refused to allow Green to audible. On that date, Andy Reid brought the Eagles to KC and KC jumped to an early lead, scored 17 points and had all of the momentum going their way. Saunders had called for a quick pass to Kennison on two successful times. However, he called it a third time and just prior to the snap both Kennison and Green could see the Philly DB inching his way closer to Kennison. Green could not audible and tried to throw it quickly, but, the Philly DB pick sixed it and the tide turned. That play energized Philly and they won 37-31. BTW, that loss was part of the Chiefs ending up their season at 10-6 and the Chiefs missed the play offs by one game.

    • berttheclock

      If a similar situation developed now, Alex Smith would be able to call an audible. Pederson gives him far more leeway than did Saunders of Green.

    • steve james

      I was at that game. It was demoralizing to say the least.