Why isn't '69 Chiefs' defense listed among all-time best? HOF corner wonders why

Emmitt Thomas photo courtesy Kansas City Chiefs.

HOF corneback Emmitt Thomas recalls playing on the last NFL defense to rank No. 1 in every category.

Emmitt Thomas is a Hall-of-Fame cornerback who played on one of the greatest defenses of all-time, yet it is seldom mentioned when the debate comes to shutdown defenses.

Why have the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs’ been forgotten? Emmitt tells the Talk of Fame Network his theory this week.

“I guess because we were in the AFL,’’ says Thomas, whose ’69 Chiefs were the last defense to lead the league in defense across the board – run, pass, scoring and total defense. “I think we ranked with any defense that ever played.’’

Anyone who knows football history, and our Hall-of-Fame co-hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge certainly do – understands that. But what many may have forgotten is that Chiefs’ team had eight future Hall of Famers, including six on defense (plus quarterback Len Dawson and kicker Jan Stenerud), and was the first to start a majority of African-Americans.

Those Chiefs won two AFL titles and went 1-1 in two of the first four Super Bowls before age caught up with them. Thomas believes that, too, may be a factor in why the 1969 Chiefs’ defense is seldom listed among the league’s greatest defensive teams.

“We didn’t win as many championships as we should have,’’ he tells the Talk of Fame Network.

Thomas, who recently retired after 38 years as an NFL assistant coach, won one Super Bowl ring as a player and two as an assistant with the Washington Redskins. His views on why interceptions are down, what made soon-to-be inducted Johnny Robinson a Hall-of-Fame safety and what is the most important trait in an NFL cornerback are all there on the Talk of Fame Network’s weekly show and podcast.

You can hear the show on your local SB Nation Radio station Wednesday or Friday nights or the free podcast on iTunes, your TuneIn app or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can also find the show at our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.

Joining Emmitt this week is long-time Raiders’ insider Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area to discuss Oakland’s acquisition of All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown in a trade and what that may mean for the future of young quarterback Derek Carr.

Head coach Jon Gruden has called Carr “a franchise quarterback,’’ but does he really mean what he says? Bair has the inside insight.

Our Talk of Fame Network hosts also debate whether all the fuss and high-dollar expense of free agency’s first three days are worth the money. They engaged in a lively argument over whether this is really the road to the Super Bowl or just a way bad teams under pressure deflect fan criticism while trying to sell season tickets to watch inferior products on the field.

There’s that and much more, including Ron’s Hall-of-Fame case for former Raiders’ wild man Lyle Alzado, this week on SB Nation radio, our free podcast or at talkoffamenetwork.com.

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