8. Kansas City Chiefs, 1993, Montana Magic
In the offseason before the 1993 season, the Chiefs made the biggest trade in franchise history, trading the #18 overall pick in that year’s draft of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana (and a 3rd round pick, and safety David Whitmore). The hope for the Chiefs was that in doing so, they would be able to attract another star free agent offensive player, and put them with the team’s Super Bowl caliber defense, to create an AFC frontrunner.
Well, they completed the Montana trade, signed Hall of Fame free agent running back Marcus Allen, and then took off. In Montana the team had its first legitimate star quarterback since Len Dawson retired in the 1970’s, and he led the team in much the same way as he had the 49ers of the 80s. After getting over their initial awe of his stardom, Kansas City rode his arm to an 11-5, first place in the AFC West finish.
Montana only started 11 regular season games that season, but threw for 2100 yards. More importantly, he was a leader that the team desperately needed. Marcus Allen added another 1000 yards combined rushing and receiving, Willie Davis caught for 900 yards and the offensive did its job by making sure the team was in nearly every game.
The team made it all the way to the AFC Championship game; and Kansas City rejoiced at the power of Montana Magic. And then the game happened. The Montana/Allen combo managed a paltry 13 points against the (at the time) dominant Buffalo Bills, the defense could not stop Jim Kelly in route to allowing 30 points, and the team was, once again, sent home early.
Montana may have never taken the Chiefs to the promised land, but he did give the fans one of the greatest seasons in team history.