The Chiefs’ iconic logo has cemented itself in NFL history and stood strong against change, much like their uniforms, but where do the logos of the past and present rank amongst each other and why?
The Chiefs organization is known around the league as being very rooted in its identity and unhindered by change throughout its 63-year history but recently Kansas City’s logo and some of the traditions that #ChiefsKingdom has come to know and love have come under fire for being derogatory toward the Native American culture.
These concerns have been brought up many times over the illustrious lifetime of the Chiefs but now more than ever there is a calling to do something about it like the Washington Redskins–err, I mean the Washington Football Team–did last season after years of public relations nightmares and fan outrage.
But the Chiefs are not the Washington Football Team, a team that has had ten different logos in their 84-year history, and KC has already done plenty to acknowledge that they are changing in the right direction by implementing new rules regarding Native American headdresses and face paint being banned from the stadium, as well as the changing of the pre-game drum ritual and removal of the riding of Warpaint.
The Chiefs are rigid in their ways, even turning down the opportunity to host a Super Bowl because Arrowhead Stadium would have to add a dome–no thank you. At the moment their logo, name, and many of the traditions are remaining intact, so with that in mind I thought it would be an appropriate time to rank the Chiefs logos even though there are not many to choose from.
First off, the Chiefs logos of the past and present:
While the Chiefs were introduced in Dallas as the Dallas Texans from 1960-1962 they had a Cowboy carrying a football and a gun in front of the state of Texas. The drawing was done by cartoonist Bob Taylor and the color scheme was made up of coral red, black, yellow, and white.
After the team relocated to Kansas City they changed their name to the “Chiefs” after Harold Roe Bartle, Mayor of KC from 1956-1963 and founder of the Mic-O-Say Tribe during his time as a Boy Scout executive, who helped founder Lamar Hunt bring an NFL franchise to the Kansas City area and was commonly known as “Chief.”
Once they were the Kansas City Chiefs, they asked Bob Taylor to create a similar drawing but to instill newfound concepts into it, he would go on to add the tomahawk, the six-state backdrop, and a more vibrant red–a red that is still used as the primary color for the franchise to this day–and thus, the Native American logo was born.
Although the logo stood as the main image that was associated with the Chiefs during the 60s it was the arrowhead featuring the letters “KC” intertwined within it that was stickered onto the helmets for the games until it was eventually promoted to the team’s emblem in 1972 where it has remained ever since.
As a famous Looney Toon once said, “that’s all folks”. That’s every logo that the Chiefs have sported since their induction over half a century ago, very much unlike the rest of the league which averages above four logos per franchise (although the number would be much higher without Jacksonville and Houston who have not been in the league for more than three decades).
The teams with the most variances in their logos are: Washington (10), LA Rams (10), Pittsburgh Steelers (8), Tennessee Titans (7), and NY Giants (7). These are the teams that have found comfort in different emblems before giving up on them or changing them slightly in order to progress with times, or because of relocation, or in some cases change due to controversy.
Other teams like Dallas (2), Tampa Bay (2), Minnesota (2), New Orleans (2), and Seattle (3) have all been in the league for at least 40 years and have stuck true to their identity and the culture that their logo embodies, with none more true than the Cowboys iconic navy blue star and their association with being “America’s team”.
Obviously, not all logos are created the same, and some have been panned from the introduction (just google the LA Rams logo reveal in March 2020) while others have been denounced later on in life, the best example being pretty much every Washington logo ever.
So to end this article I figured I’d rank the three Chiefs/Dallas Texans logos from best to worst, based on nothing other than appearance (is it aesthetically pleasing?), the strength of the teams associated with the logo (did the corresponding teams win Super Bowls? Playoff games? Division titles?), and the public response to the logo (was it rejected? was it offensive?).
Without further ado:
This was only picked last due to the controversial tone that it has now been deemed to present, although it was never meant to be exclusionary to any peoples or racist to any sort of ethnicity or race it has now become a leading force in the argument against the Chiefs’ controversial traditions like the tomahawk chop (which is performed by fans of many other teams–like the Florida State Seminoles and others).
This logo was not picked because of the success associated with this logo, the Native American logo was used when KC went to two Super Bowls and were victorious in one, but rather because the logo is not found to be controversial and it also iconic in KC as the image that would eventually be a staple of Kansas City culture.
- 1972 – Present
This was the easiest decision I’ll make all week. This logo was on the helmets even during the 60s and it is known worldwide now thanks to Mahomes and the success that Andy Reid has brought to the team after years of “almosts” and “one season away.”
This logo shows everything needed for someone living under a rock: it has the letters “KC” standing for Kansas City and the arrowhead shape as an ode the common tool of Native American hunters and to the Chiefs’ iconic stadium.
No matter what ‘cancel culture’ may do to the Chiefs, there are strong arguments against why the Chiefs should stand strong in their convictions and continue to flaunt the logo that is not nearly as offensive as the Cleveland Indians or the former Washington Redskins–a term that many associate as a slight to all Indigenous peoples of America.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below or through my Twitter @SportsGuyShawnO and be sure to check out Shawn’s Staturdays and future articles on Arrowhead Live!