1989 Kansas City Chiefs season
OwnerLamar Hunt
General managerCarl Peterson
Head coachMarty Schottenheimer
Home fieldArrowhead Stadium
Division place2nd AFC West
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersFB Christian Okoye
LB Derrick Thomas
CB Kevin Ross
CB Albert Lewis

The 1989 season was the Kansas City Chiefs' 20th in the National Football League, their 30th overall and their first under head coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager Carl Peterson. They improved on their 4–11–1 record from 1988 and finished with an 8–7–1 record. The Chiefs did not qualify for the playoffs in for the third straight year but did send four players to the Pro Bowl. The Chiefs Week 11 10–10 tie against the Cleveland Browns remains the most recent tie in Chiefs history.


The Chiefs had changed coaches before, but never had the organization gone through the complete overhaul it did between the 1988 and 1989 seasons. On December 19, 1988, Lamar Hunt hired Carl Peterson as the team's new president/general manager. Peterson wasted no time in making changes. On January 5 he fired head coach Frank Gansz two weeks after taking over. On January 24 he hired Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell. Schottenheimer also cleaned house and with Peterson's help by making several roster changes, including drafting future hall of famer Derrick Thomas. Thomas later became a key part to the Chiefs defense in 90s and became one of the most popular players with fans in franchise history.

Season summary

The Chiefs started the season at Denver on September 10 but the Chiefs lost the opener, 34–20. The very next Sunday the Chiefs downed the Los Angeles Raiders 24–19, garnering Schottenheimer's first win as Chiefs' head coach.

The Chiefs would start the season 1–4, but soon turned things around. On October 22, Christian Okoye carried the ball 33 times for 170 yards as the Chiefs defeated the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium, 36–28.

On November 26, Kansas City cruised past the Houston Oilers, 34–0 to start a 3-game winning streak to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs.

On December 17, using a bruising running game and a smothering defense, the San Diego Chargers marched into Arrowhead Stadium and crushed the Chiefs' playoffs dreams. They bulldozed their way to 219 yards rushing, 176 by Marion Butts, and won 20–13. The all but eliminated the Chiefs from any chance of making the playoffs. Chiefs' quarterback Steve DeBerg was ineffective because of the chilling 18-degree weather and completed just 14 of 33 passes. Okoye constantly found his path blocked, holes jammed. The Chiefs had one final opportunity to tie the game, driving from their own 36 yard line to the San Diego 19. DeBerg's next pass into the end zone was intercepted, ending the Chiefs' chances and the game. The loss left the Chiefs needing a win at Miami on Christmas Eve, combined with losses by Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and the Raiders that day and Cincinnati on Christmas Day to make the playoffs.

The next week, the Chiefs did bounce back and defeated the Miami Dolphins for the second time in the season, 27–24 and had a winning record in the first Peterson-Schottenheimer season at 8-7-1. The Bengals, Colts and Raiders also lost that weekend; however, the Steelers won their game and final AFC Playoff spot, finishing 9-7 overall.

DeBerg passed for 2,529 yards in his second season with the team. Okoye led the NFL in rushing with 1,480 yards. Stephone Paige led the receivers with 44 receptions. Rookie linebacker Derrick Thomas recorded 10 sacks.

Okoye was named to the Pro Bowl along with defensive stars Albert Lewis, Kevin Ross and Thomas.


NFL draft

Main article: 1989 NFL draft

1989 Kansas City Chiefs draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 4 Derrick Thomas *   Linebacker Alabama
2 32 Mike Elkins  Quarterback Wake Forest
3 60 Naz Worthen  Wide receiver North Carolina State
4 88 Stan Petry  Defensive back TCU
6 143 Robb Thomas  Wide receiver Oregon State
7 171 Ron Sancho  Linebacker LSU
8 199 Bryan Tobey  Running back Grambling State
8 220 Todd McNair  Running back Temple
9 227 Jack Phillips  Defensive back Alcorn State
10 255 Rob McGovern  Linebacker Holy Cross
11 283 Marcus Turner  Defensive back UCLA
12 311 Bill Jones  Running back Texas State
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1989 Kansas City Chiefs staff
Front office
  • Founder – Lamar Hunt
  • Chairman of the Board – Jack Steadman
  • President/General Manager/Chief Executive Officer – Carl Peterson
  • Assistant General Manager – Dennis Thum
  • Director of Player Personnel – Whitey Dovell

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers – Bill Cowher
  • Defensive Line – Tom Pratt
  • Defensive Backs – Tony Dungy
  • Special Assistant/Quality Control – Darvin Wallis

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning


1989 Kansas City Chiefs roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics



Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 August 12 vs. Minnesota Vikings L 13–23 0–1 Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) 63,528 Recap
2 August 20 New York Giants L 7–45 0–2 Arrowhead Stadium 36,820 Recap
3 August 27 at Chicago Bears W 22–17 1–2 Soldier Field 56,343 Recap
4 September 1 New York Jets L 13–15 (OT) 1–3 Arrowhead Stadium 41,105 Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 September 10 at Denver Broncos L 20–34 0–1 Mile High Stadium 74,284 Recap
2 September 17 Los Angeles Raiders W 24–19 1–1 Arrowhead Stadium 71,741 Recap
3 September 24 at San Diego Chargers L 6–21 1–2 Jack Murphy Stadium 40,128 Recap
4 October 1 Cincinnati Bengals L 17–21 1–3 Arrowhead Stadium 61,165 Recap
5 October 8 at Seattle Seahawks W 20–16 2–3 Kingdome 60,715 Recap
6 October 15 at Los Angeles Raiders L 14–20 2–4 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 40,453 Recap
7 October 22 Dallas Cowboys W 36–28 3–4 Arrowhead Stadium 76,841 Recap
8 October 29 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–23 3–5 Three Rivers Stadium 54,194 Recap
9 November 5 Seattle Seahawks W 20–10 4–5 Arrowhead Stadium 54,489 Recap
10 November 12 Denver Broncos L 13–16 4–6 Arrowhead Stadium 76,245 Recap
11 November 19 at Cleveland Browns T 10–10 (OT) 4–6–1 Cleveland Stadium 77,922 Recap
12 November 26 Houston Oilers W 34–0 5–6–1 Arrowhead Stadium 51,342 Recap
13 December 3 Miami Dolphins W 26–21 6–6–1 Arrowhead Stadium 54,610 Recap
14 December 10 at Green Bay Packers W 21–3 7–6–1 Lambeau Field 56,694 Recap
15 December 17 San Diego Chargers L 13–20 7–7–1 Arrowhead Stadium 40,623 Recap
16 December 24 at Miami Dolphins W 27–24 8–7–1 Joe Robbie Stadium 43,612 Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.


AFC West
Denver Broncos(1) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 362 226 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 8 7 1 .531 3–5 6–7–1 307 286 W1
Los Angeles Raiders 8 8 0 .500 3–5 6–6 315 297 L2
Seattle Seahawks 7 9 0 .438 4–4 7–5 241 327 L1
San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 .375 4–4 4–8 266 290 W2


  1. ^ "1989 Kansas City Chiefs draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 8, 2014.