60 Years of Chiefs: A Progression of Greats! Wide Receiver Edition

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2019 will mark the 60th year the Kansas City Chiefs have played football. We recently concluded the decade-by-decade breakdown of the team, their move from Dallas to Kansas City, and the times in-between, some bad and some good. In this new series, A Progression of Greats, we are going to spend an entire article on specific player groups.

In coming up with this series, we here at Arrowhead Guys wanted to get more involvement from fans, some of whom remember players who played in the earlier years. Look for their comments in the article below as they reflect on some early Chiefs greats, along with the custom Arrowhead Guys created highlight video for each player mentioned here.

The decade by decade articles touched on a few players, yet with this upcoming season being the Kansas City Chiefs 60th, lets have a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the greats who wore our teams uniform, by position.


Also please remember the lists compiled here are not completely reflective of every single great Chiefs player. In order to keep the article readable, and not have certain time-periods omitted, we tried to sprinkle in players from all the decades. If you see your favorite player is not on the list, drop a line in the comment section and we can talk about them! Up next:

Wide Receivers

Chris Burford #88

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One of the earlier inductees into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, Wide Receiver Chris Burford was a solid pass catching asset for the early Chiefs franchise. The 6 foot 3 inch Stanford product was a quite workhorse, and never put up flashy numbers, but the game was different back in those days.

Arrowhead Guys member KCH1EFSFAN reflects on some memories of Chris Burford here;

Another player slightly before my time was Chris Burford. He did not have blazing speed or great leaping ability. But few receivers from the American Football League made life more miserable for defensive backs than Burford. An exceptional route runner, he had a knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Chris was a master of sideline receptions and if time was running out and the Chiefs needed a big gainer or to get in field goal position to win a game, everyone knew Burford would be Dawson’s top target-but still, frustrated defensive backs were defenseless in stopping his special brand of magic.

And even though on Friday October 12, 1962, he had a career game aginst the Boston Patriots: 10 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown, I remember my dad showing me a clip on TV, not of that incredible day, but the day a fan (the man in the trench coat) ran onto the field in Boston and played defense for the Patriots swatting a game winning pass by Cotton Davidson intended for Burford in the endzone with time running out securing the win for the Patriots 28-21 in 1961.

KCH1EFSFAN @MarcCentanni

Otis Taylor #89

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Super Bowl Champion Otis Taylor is one of the earlier Chiefs stories that 34 year old me remembers. Courtesy of NFL Films, young me growing up in Southwest Missouri remembers the story of Otis Taylor sneaking out of a room to sign a contract with the Chiefs. I must have watched that episode a hundred times on ESPN Classics growing up, like I am sure some of you here did as well.

Now onto some stats of one of Kansas City’s greatest players ever. For his career Otis Taylor would achieve; 2 Pro Bowl appearances, 2 First Team All-Pro nominations, 2 AFL Championships, First Team All-AFL, Second Team All-AFL, AFL All-Star, 1971 NFL Receiving Yards Leader, 1967 AFL Receiving Touchdowns Leader, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer, and as mentioned before, Super Bowl IV Champion.

I’m sure many of you remember this highlight reel play from the NFL Films vault;

Taylor’s most memorable highlight from that season came in the fourth and final AFL-NFL World Championship Game on January 11, 1970, when he caught a short pass, turned downfield and stiff-armed his way to a 46-yard touchdown in the Chiefs 23-7 upset victory over the NFL’s champion, the Minnesota Vikings, who, before Super Bowl IV, had been dubbed by some as “the greatest team in pro football history”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_Taylor_(American_football)

Carlos Carson #88

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From 1980 to 1989 over the span of 120 games, Carlos Carson would entrench himself in the fifth spot all time for yards by a Chiefs receiver with 6360 yards. A member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, Carson was a 5th round draft pick out of LSU.

While he never produced big time touchdown numbers during his years in Kansas City, his steady presence of the course of some rough years solidified his nomination into the teams Hall of Fame. Most notably this season here:

His best year came during the 1983 season when he caught 80 receptions for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns.[ During that same season, Carson had the second most receiving yards in the NFL, only behind Philadelphia Eagles receiver Mike Quick with 1,409 yards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Carson

Arrowhead Guys member KCH1EFSFAN remembers the Carlos Carson years, and provides us with a little firsthand remembrance here;

Carlos Carson was a small statured guy with great speed and agility drafted in the 5th round from LSU in 1980. I remember it took a while for Carson to make an impact. His career in KC blossomed in 1983 after the Chiefs broght in John Mackovic to serve as HC. Mackovic would turn quarterback Bill Kenney loose and open the playbook up. I recall the one thing that really stood out about Carlos was how good he was with his hands, getting DBs hands off of him, so they could never get a really good jam on him.

KCH1EFSFAN @MarcCentanni

Stephone Paige #83

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Stephone Paige is another one of those NFL feel good stories everyone loves to read about. Going undrafted out of Fresno State, Paige would latch on with our Chiefs team for 9 seasons. He never achieved any big recognition during his time in Kansas City, but he was a solid and reliable receiver as mentioned here;

Between 1985 and 1991, Paige had at least one reception for 83 consecutive games, a team record until it was broken on January 1, 2006 by tight end Tony Gonzalez.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephone_Paige

Finishing his Chiefs career in 1992 before a one year stint with the Vikings, Stephone Paige is remembered for one very big game a few days before Christmas;

On December 22, 1985, Paige had 309 yards receiving yards versus the San Diego Chargers, an NFL record until it was broken in 1989 by Flipper Anderson of the Los Angeles Rams with 336 yards; Anderson’s record “holds an asterisk”, since 40 of those yards came in overtime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephone_Paige

Derrick Alexander #82

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I can remember when the Chiefs picked up Derrick Alexander in free agency. While we never went to the promised land like I had envisioned in my dreams, Alexander came to the Chiefs and gave then QB Elvis Grbac a sure target.

In 2000, he set a team record for receiving yards in a season, with 1,391.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrick_Alexander_(wide_receiver)

While he was drafted by Cleveland and played for that franchise while they were the Browns, then the Ravens and finished his career with the Vikings, Alexander’s best years came as a Chief, and fittingly he signed a one day contract to retire as a member of our club.

Dwayne Bowe #82

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2007 Chiefs 1st Round draft pick Dwayne Bowe might be considered a bust by some, just unlucky, or a quite contributor by others. While I wish we would have gotten more out of Dwayne Bowe, I’m sure we all do, sadly he was a member of some terrible Chiefs squads. Yet his rookie year was one of promise.

In his rookie season, Bowe led all first-year receivers in receptions (70), yards (995), and touchdowns (6). His reception and yardage totals set franchise records for Chiefs’ rookie receivers. Bowe also set the team’s single-game rookie receiving record with 164 yards against the San Diego Chargers on September 30, 2007.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwayne_Bowe

The production from Bowe over the next few years was up and down. In 2010 Dwayne was selected to the Pro Bowl, while setting a Chiefs record of catching a Touchdown pass in 7 straight contests. Mounting legal troubles and suspensions finally caught up with Bowe, even after signing a long term contract with the team that he would never live up to;

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Bowe became the NFL’s third highest-paid wide receiver in terms of total compensation on his contract. His deal was for $56 million over five years and included $26 million in guaranteed money plus a $15 million signing bonus,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwayne_Bowe

After 8 years with the team the Chiefs released Bowe, who went on to sign with the Cleveland Browns where he did next to nothing statistically. In May of this year Bowe officially retired and signed a contract with the Chiefs to retire.

Tyreek Hill #10

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At the time of typing this, yes there is still drama surrounding Tyreek Hill, which will not be covered here. I know everything surrounding him and the club is not sunshine and rainbows, yet for the sake of this post, I want to focus on some highlight and stats that Hill has accumulated during his time in Kansas City.

With that out of the way, let us just go ahead and remember this fun NFL stat from Hill;

On November 27, 2016, Hill returned a kickoff for an 86-yard touchdown, ran for a three-yard touchdown, and caught a three-yard touchdown pass with less than five seconds left in the fourth quarter. He was the first player with a kick return for a touchdown, rushing touchdown, and touchdown reception in a single game since Gale Sayers did so for the Chicago Bears in 1965.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyreek_Hill

Known as the “Cheetah” Hill has blazing speed, and is not afraid to let the world know about it, as anyone who follows him on Social Media sees through his interactions. While we do not know what the future holds for Tyreek and the Chiefs I will leave you with his awards so far, and total production;

3 time Pro Bowler, 2 time First Team All-Pro, Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team.

223 receptions with 3,255 yards and 34 total Touchdowns, granted not all have come as a WR, like he was listed here in this article.

Taking a glance back at the names on this list and it really surprises me the Chiefs do not have one “world beater” receiver they have employed. Lots of big names, and Pro Bowlers yet none of the superstar type wide receivers we have seen with other teams. That is not to take away from anything these men and others have done for our team. I have a sneaking suspicion that with our improved Quarterback play, we might quickly be adding names to this list of people who start breaking these Chiefs wide receiver records.

Up Next: Tight Ends

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upamtnWaywerdSonStramtoReidCHIEFSandSABRESBig Chief Recent comment authors
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upamtn

Fast Eddie Kennison … dunno why, but I always liked him … maybe cuz he came to KC mid-season from the Broncos and ended up with over 5k yards while in KC (Kelce just passed him by 6 yards for 8th place on the Chiefs all time list) … Hill is tied with Fast Eddie for TD’s (rec) but has a coupla thousand yards to go to catch up … sure, 2 more 1k seasons barring injury/tag’n’trade but whatever … and after that, nobody is close

WaywerdSon
WaywerdSon

Rison has to be in there someplace. The catch that beat the Faiders by itself is enough

StramtoReid
StramtoReid

Great article
I hear Chris Burford was an awesome WR and somebody we need to talk about more. I know Burford and Abner Haynes had a close relationship and Abner nominated Burford to the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame which he was eventually inducted into.

50 years from now, maybe nobody remembers Christian Okoye or Jamaal Charles, it important to never forget our Chiefs legends. THANKS for the article.

Big Chief
Big Chief

Henry Marshall is another guy that should probably make this list. Despite playing on some truly dismal teams, he’s still 4th all time in receiving yards for KC (behind only TG, Otis, and Bowe, and just ahead of Carlos Carson), and 3rd in receptions (behind TG & Bowe). I don’t think they kept YAC data for that time, but I’d like to see what his YAC numbers were because one thing I liked (and that Lenny Dawson used to point out when he called games) was that Marshall was really good about keeping his feet on the ground to make a catch at a time when a lot of WRs would jump for the ball even when it wasn’t necessary. So he always picking up YAC at a time when that wasn’t talked about like it is now.

StramtoReid
StramtoReid

Actually Henry Mashall is my 3rd favourite Chiefs WR behind Otis Taylor and Tyreek. He was kind of like Tony Gonzalez when he came out and had bad hands. Unfortunately he played on some really bad teams that liked to run the ball. He turned out to be a top receiver for the Chiefs, and I’m actually surprised that he is not in the Chiefs Hall of fame.

Big Chief
Big Chief

Otis Taylor was a “World Beater” receiver who should be in the HOF. I’m really hoping he gets consideration for the “expanded” class being discussed for the 100th NFL season. The NFL, especially in the pass game, was a completely different league back then, so stats don’t tell the whole story. I’ve watched a lot of football over the years, and you see the games where players take over games and drive the outcome of the game. The true greats do that multiple times in their career. Otis was one of those players. There were several games, including two big games against the Raiders, where Otis was the difference in the game.