1981 Kansas City Chiefs season
OwnerLamar Hunt
General managerJim Schaaf
Head coachMarv Levy
Home fieldArrowhead Stadium
Results
Record9–7
Division place3rd AFC West
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersRB Joe Delaney
DE Art Still
CB Gary Green
S Gary Barbaro
K Nick Lowery

The 1981 Kansas City Chiefs season was the franchise's 12th season in the National Football League and 22nd overall. They improved from 1980 from an 8-8 record to a 9–7 record but missing the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season.

Bill Kenney began the 1981 season as the club's starting quarterback and directed the Chiefs to a 6–2 start, including a 37–33 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium on Opening Day. 2nd round draft choice, running back Joe Delaney electrified the club's offense by rushing for 1,121 yards, a team single-season record at the time. He was named the AFC's Rookie of the Year and became the first running back to represent the franchise in the Pro Bowl.[1] Delaney registered a 193-yard performance in a 23–10 victory against the Oilers on November 15, the best single-game total ever amassed by a Kansas City rookie.[1]

Owning an 8–4 record with four games remaining, the Chiefs were poised to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years before hitting a three-game losing skid. Bill Kenney missed the club's final three contests due to injury as Steve Fuller temporarily reclaimed the starting quarterback position and guided the club to a 10–6 win at Minnesota, in the final contest played at Metropolitan Stadium. With the Chiefs winning the game, Vikings fans began dismembering the stadium as early as the second half—taking seats, pieces of the scoreboard and even chunks of sod as souvenirs.[1] The victory assured the Chiefs of a 9–7 record, the club's first winning mark since 1973 as coach Marv Levy increased the club's victory total for a third consecutive year. Inspired by the Washington Redskins's "Hail to the Redskins," Levy penned a fight song for the Chiefs called "Give a Cheer for Kansas City" which never caught on.[1]

Offseason

NFL draft

Main article: 1981 NFL draft

1981 Kansas City Chiefs draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 14 Willie Scott  Tight end South Carolina
2 41 Joe Delaney *  Running back Northwestern State
3 70 Marvin Harvey  Tight end Southern Mississippi
3 75 Roger Taylor  Offensive tackle Oklahoma State
3 78 Lloyd Burruss *  Defensive back Maryland
4 97 Ron Washington  Wide receiver Arizona State
5 124 Todd Thomas  Center North Dakota
6 153 Dock Luckie  Defensive tackle Florida
7 180 Billy Jackson  Running back Alabama
8 206 David Dorn  Wide receiver Rutgers
9 237 Anthony Vereen  Defensive back Southeastern Louisiana
10 262 Les Studdard  Center Texas
11 289 Frank Case  Defensive end Penn State
12 319 Bob Gagliano  Quarterback Utah State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

[2]

Personnel

Staff

1981 Kansas City Chiefs staff
Front office
  • Founder – Lamar Hunt
  • President – Jack Steadman
  • Vice President and General Manager – Jim Schaaf
  • Director of Player Personnel – Les Miller
  • Assistant Director of Player Personnel – J. D. Helm

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Rick Abernethy

Roster

1981 Kansas City Chiefs roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve List

Complete team roster
Rookies in italics

Schedule

Preseason

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 August 7 at Washington Redskins L 10–16 0–1 RFK Stadium 32,488 Recap
2 August 15 Chicago Bears W 13–0 1–1 Arrowhead Stadium 41,099 Recap
3 August 22 St. Louis Cardinals L 3–16 1–2 Arrowhead Stadium 42,550 Recap
4 August 28 at Miami Dolphins L 7–31 1–3 Miami Orange Bowl 41,290 Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 September 6 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 37–33 1–0 Three Rivers Stadium 53,305 Recap
2 September 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 19–10 2–0 Arrowhead Stadium 50,555 Recap
3 September 20 San Diego Chargers L 31–42 2–1 Arrowhead Stadium 63,866 Recap
4 September 27 at Seattle Seahawks W 20–14 3–1 Kingdome 59,255 Recap
5 October 4 at New England Patriots L 17–33 3–2 Schaefer Stadium 55,931 Recap
6 October 11 Oakland Raiders W 27–0 4–2 Arrowhead Stadium 76,543 Recap
7 October 18 Denver Broncos W 28–14 5–2 Arrowhead Stadium 74,672 Recap
8 October 25 at Oakland Raiders W 28–17 6–2 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 42,914 Recap
9 November 1 at San Diego Chargers L 20–22 6–3 Jack Murphy Stadium 51,307 Recap
10 November 8 Chicago Bears L 13–16 (OT) 6–4 Arrowhead Stadium 60,605 Recap
11 November 15 Houston Oilers W 23–10 7–4 Arrowhead Stadium 73,984 Recap
12 November 22 Seattle Seahawks W 40–13 8–4 Arrowhead Stadium 49,002 Recap
13 November 26 at Detroit Lions L 10–27 8–5 Pontiac Silverdome 76,735 Recap
14 December 6 at Denver Broncos L 13–16 8–6 Mile High Stadium 74,744 Recap
15 December 13 Miami Dolphins L 7–17 8–7 Arrowhead Stadium 57,407 Recap
16 December 20 at Minnesota Vikings W 10–6 9–7 Metropolitan Stadium 41,110 Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 1: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chiefs 10 3 101437
Steelers 6 13 7733

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Game information

Week 2: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Buccaneers 7 3 0010
Chiefs 7 3 3619

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Game information

Week 3: vs. San Diego Chargers

Week 3: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chargers 14 14 7742
Chiefs 7 7 14331

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: September 20
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 68 °F (20.0 °C), relative humidity 54%, wind 14 mph
  • Game attendance: 63,866
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (NBC): Mike Adamle and Rocky Bleier
  • Box Score
Game information

Week 4: at Seattle Seahawks

Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chiefs 7 13 0020
Seahawks 0 7 7014

at Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

  • Date: September 27
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: None (game played indoors)
  • Game attendance: 59,255
  • Referee: Tom Dooley
  • TV announcers (NBC): Phil Stone and Gene Washington
  • Box Score
Game information

Standings

AFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
San Diego Chargers(3) 10 6 0 .625 6–2 8–4 478 390 W2
Denver Broncos 10 6 0 .625 5–3 7–5 321 289 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 9 7 0 .563 5–3 7–5 343 290 W1
Oakland Raiders 7 9 0 .438 2–6 5–7 273 343 L2
Seattle Seahawks 6 10 0 .375 2–6 6–8 322 388 W1

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Kansas City Chiefs History 1980's". Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
  2. ^ "1981 Kansas City Chiefs draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 4, 2014.