The Detroit Lions will hold a moment of silence for former Chiefs and Lions coach Gunther Cunningham before the game today.
From 1969 to 2016, Gunther Cunningham was a football coach. He was old-school, hard-nosed, and business-focused—a football coach.
In May 2019, Cunningham unfortunately succumbed to cancer and passed away. Before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Detroit Lions held a moment of silence for the ol’ ball coach.
This is a classy gesture by the Lions’ organization for the head coach of their team from 2014-2016. This game will likely be the most prudent opportunity to do so, as Cunningham also worked for the Chiefs organization as the head coach from 1999-2000, and served as the team’s defensive coordinator from 1995-1998 and again from 2004-2008.
Lions honored their former defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham with a moment of silence. Nice touch with Chiefs here. pic.twitter.com/4ZzwJKiom0
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) September 29, 2019
Clark Hunt with Renee Cunningham, wife of former Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham, who died in May. pic.twitter.com/vKZuK1KoGu
— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) September 29, 2019
— Carlos Monarrez (@cmonarrez) September 29, 2019
While not incredibly successful as a head coach, Cunningham did lead some incredibly successful Chiefs’ defenses during his tenure in Kansas City, including what was likely the second best defensive unit in franchise history during the 1996 season. As a head coach, Cunningham helped steer the Chiefs through the tragic loss of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in February 2000.
Cunningham is most remembered for his time as an NFL coach and for his no nonsense approach to football and defense. But, he was first a successful coach in the NCAA from 1969-1980, serving as a coach for Oregon, California, Stanford, and Arkansas.
Before joining Kansas City in 1995, Cunningham coached for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts as well as the L.A. Raiders. The Chiefs gave Cunningham his first shot at both being a defensive coordinator and also at being a head coach in the National Football League.
Born in 1946 in Munich, Germany, Cunningham played in college for Oregon as a linebacker and placekicker before becoming a defensive line coach for Oregon in 1969.
The Chiefs and Lions kick off at 12:00 p.m. C.T. on Sunday.