Ranking the top 10 Kansas City Chiefs linebackers of all time

Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Chiefs, Jim Lynch
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 11: Jim Lynch #51 of the Kansas City Chiefs extends his hand to help quarterback Joe Kapp #11 of the Minnesota Vikings up off the turf during Super Bowl IV on January 11, 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl 23-7. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

9. Jim Lynch

"“I am often asked who was the best player to coach, and Jim Lynch always comes to mind. He was All-America in every sense – talented, hard-nosed, and honest.” – Ara Parseghian, former Notre Dame Head Coach"

Jim Lynch is one of the more overshadowed members in Kansas City Chiefs franchise history. Had he not played second fiddle to a host of Hall of Famers, it’s likely he’d be a number of spots higher on this list.

Lynch was a budding superstar during his college years at the University of Notre Dame. As a senior he led the team in tackles on the nation’s fourth ranked defense, was named a consensus All American, and was named the Maxwell Player of the Year in college football. He’d cap his collegiate career off captaining the Fighting Irish to the 1966 National Championship with a record of 9-0-1.

The Chiefs selected Lynch in the second round of the inaugural NFL Draft including both NFL and AFL teams. Lynch would be the fifth linebacker taken that year, but his career would surpass nearly all those chosen before him.

Though overshadowed slightly by his running mates, Lynch was a pivotal character on the right side of one of the best linebacking units in the history of the NFL. Lynch excelled instinctually, known for his playmaking ability, and was a key cog in the team’s success against the run. Teammates often credited him with doing the things that allowed them to be successful.

Lynch’s shining moment came in the 1969 AFL Championship on the road to Super Bowl IV. The Oakland Raiders, in an attempt to find the Chiefs defensive weakness, decided to direct their running game at perceived weak link Jim Lynch. To their surprise, and dismay, Lynch mastered the Raiders that day and the Chiefs held them to less than three yards per attempt. The Chiefs would ride this defensive effort, led by Lynch, to their second Super Bowl berth and first Super Bowl victory.

The one-time All Star, one-time AFL Champion, and one-time Super Bowl Champion was the stereotypical glue guy. He wasn’t the superstar whose jersey was sported by hundreds of thousands of fans, but he was the player who made that guy’s success possible.