Top 5 defenses in Chiefs History:
1. 1969 Kansas City Chiefs
The greatest defense in Chiefs history is the same defense that led the team to an upset victory against the “Purple People Eaters” Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Anyone that knows anything about Chiefs history knows about the incredible talent that this team had.
This defense had four Hall of Famers in its ranks: Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Emmitt Thomas, and Buck Buchanan. While Len Dawson and Hank Stram live in Chiefs lore forever, it can get lost how good this unit really was. That season, the Chiefs allowed the fewest yards AND points en route to their Super Bowl victory.
2. 1995 Kansas City Chiefs
Statistically, this was one of the best Chiefs defenses ever. Like Schottenheimer had his defense playing at a very high level. The tandem of Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas was unstoppable and the ruthless nature of Dan Saleaumua in the middle of the defensive line was a headache for opposing offensive coordinators. This season, Dale Carter also emerged as a pro bowler at cornerback.
If not for the Super Bowl team with so many Hall of Famers, this would be the best defense in Chiefs history. For reference, Saleaumua registered 7 sacks, Thomas had 8, and Smith had 12. The Chiefs also finished the fewest points allowed in the NFL and the 2nd least amount of yards.
3. 1990 Kansas City Chiefs
While the Chiefs were 16th in yards allowed, they were 5th in points allowed. While that may not seem like an excellent defense, it was. This was in Marty Schottenheimer’s heyday. This was when football was football. This was also the season that Derrick Thomas recorded 20 sacks across from Neil Smith who had 9.5. On the back end, Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross combined for seven interceptions.
This defense had an explosive team. While consistency was not always there, the chiefs made plays at opportune times and had some legitimate all-stars. This was also the best of Derrick Thomas which automatically puts it at the top of the pack.
4. 1971 Kansas City Chiefs
A couple of years removed from the Super Bowl victory, the Chiefs once again assembled one of the best defensive units in the NFL. With some of the same players from the Super Bowl before, the defense made some big-time plays. Not enough to win the Super Bowl again, but enough to make it to the AFC Divisional Round where they lost to Don Shula’s Dolphins.
Emmit Thomas was particularly good as he recorded 8 interceptions this season. Willie Lanier was a first-team all-pro. The Chiefs had several other pro bowlers that propelled them to their ten-win season.
5. 1989 Kansas City Chiefs
In 1989, the Chiefs defense was all that they had. This was the inverse of what they are in the modern-day. Bill Cowher as the defensive coordinator led the defense alongside Marty Schottenheimer. While Kansas City only won eight games, the defense allowed the second-fewest yards and was top ten in fewest points allowed.
It was a weird year to be a Chiefs fan. Kansas City was always competitive, only losing two games by more than one possession. The Chiefs were dominant on defense while the offense occasionally sputtered resulting in a topsy-turvy season all around. Kansas City’s defense was top-notch and ranks in at number five.