The Kansas City Chiefs have nine players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and, like all franchises, believe they have been short-changed.
There are three members of the all-time All-AFL team still awaiting the call from Canton as well as a couple Pro Bowl defensive backs from the NFL’s best secondary in the 1980s. So that’s the subject of our Talk of Fame Network poll this week – who is the best Chief not enshrined in Canton. Here are your options:
Fred Arbanas, TE. The all-time All-AFL tight end. Arbanas played in an era (1960s) when blocking was more important from the tight end position than catching. The Texans/Chiefs ranked in the Top 3 in the AFL in rushing in all eight of the seasons Arbanas lined up at tight end. He had the talent to play in either league – he was a second-round draft pick, the 22nd overall selection of the 1961 NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals but opted to sign with the AFL Texans. He caught 97 passes and deposited 20 of them in the end zone for touchdowns in his first three seasons. But he was mugged in Kansas City in December 1964 and lost sight in his right eye. He still went two more to AFL All-Star games and wound up averaging 15.7 yards per catch in his career. He has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.
Ed Budde, G. The eighth overall pick of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1963. Had he signed with the Eagles, Budde might already be in the Hall of Fame. But he signed with the AFL Kansas City Chiefs instead – and AFL players have never gotten their just due from the Hall of Fame selection committee. Twenty-one of the 22 position players on the NFL all-decade team for the 1960s have been enshrined in Canton, but only nine of the 22 position players on the AFL all decade team for the 1960s have been enshrined. Budde is among those AFL selections passed over. Even though he went to eight Pro Bowls and was a key blocking component for a franchise that won three AFL titles and appeared in two Super Bowls, Budde has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.
Deron Cherry, S. An NFL all-decade safety for the 1980s. Cherry was an undrafted college free agent punter from Rutgers signed by the Chiefs in 1981. But he was a better safety than a punter so the Chiefs gave him a look there. It took him two years to become a starter but he still wound up intercepting 52 career passes and collecting almost 1,000 tackles (972) in his 11-year career. From 1983 through 1986 he intercepted at least seven passes each season and also went to the Pro Bowl for six consecutive seasons from 1983 through 1988. Cherry has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.
Priest Holmes, HB. For a three-year window, Holmes was hands down the best running back in the NFL. From 2001-03, Holmes rushed for 4,590 yards, caught 206 passes for 1,976 yards and scored 61 touchdowns. He led the NFL in rushing in 2001 and scoring in 2002. He also led the NFL in yards from scrimmage twice. He was on his way to a second rushing title in 2004 with 842 yards and 14 touchdowns at the season’s midway point. But he suffered a knee injury in that eighth game that stripped him of his brilliance. Holmes wound up playing only 11 more games in his career before a spine injury forced him into retirement. He has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.
Albert Lewis, CB. A shutdown corner and one of the greatest kick blockers in NFL history. Lewis played 16 seasons and Jerry Rice once called him the toughest cornerback he ever faced. He played 11 seasons in Kansas City and went to all four of his Pro Bowls with the Chiefs. He played the final five years of his career with the Raiders and, in his final season in 1998, became the oldest defensive player in NFL history to score a touchdown when he returned an interception 74 yards against the Seahawks. Lewis intercepted 42 career passes and blocked 11 kicks, including 10 punts. He has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.
Otis Taylor, WR. A big body (6-3, 215), big play receiver, Taylor broke open Super Bowl IV with his 46-yard touchdown catch in a 23-7 romp over the Vikings. He averaged an AFL-leading 22.4 yards per catch in 1966, led the AFL with 11 touchdown receptions in 1967 and became the only receiver in the merged AFL-NFL with a 1,000-yard receiving season in 1971. Taylor scored 57 touchdowns in his 410 career receptions and averaged 17.8 yards per catch. He went to three Pro Bowls and was voted first-team all-pro in 1971.
Jim Tyrer, OT. Like Arbanas and Budde, Tyrer was a member of the all-time All-AFL team. He’s one of only three players with nine Pro Bowls not enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with linebacker Maxie Baughan and guard Walt Sweeney. Tyrer was a key blocking element at right tackle on the winningest team of the AFL era, a franchise that won three championships and one Lombardi Trophy. But Tyrer died in a murder-suicide in 1980, shooting his wife.