1987 Kansas City Chiefs season

The 1987 Kansas City Chiefs season was the franchise's 18th season in the National Football League and the 28th overall. Under new head coach Frank Gansz, The Chiefs split their first two games never recovered and the Chiefs replacement players went 0-3. After the regulars returned, the Chiefs continued to struggle losing their next four games to stand at 1-8. The Chiefs would go on to finish with a disappointing 4-11 record, a year after making the playoffs in 1986.

1987 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coachFrank Gansz
General managerJim Schaaf
OwnerLamar Hunt
Home fieldArrowhead Stadium
Division place5th AFC West
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Pro BowlersWR Carlos Carson
DT Bill Maas
CB Albert Lewis
S Deron Cherry


One of the most tumultuous weeks in franchise history took place following the club's playoff loss against the Jets in the 1986 playoffs. Assistant head coach and special teams coach Frank Gansz, resigned his position on January 7 in order to pursue opportunities as an NFL offensive coordinator.[1] The following day, the Chiefs announced in an impromptu press conference that John Mackovic was relieved of his duties as head coach on January 8. A popular figure among Chiefs players, Gansz was reinstated on January 10 and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history.[1]

Former quarterback Len Dawson became the third Chiefs player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8,[1] while injuries forced the retirement of the club's all-time leading tackler Gary Spani.

NFL draftEdit

1987 Kansas City Chiefs draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 19 Paul Palmer  Running back Temple
2 35 Christian Okoye *  Running back Azusa Pacific
3 73 Todd Howard  Linebacker Texas A&M
5 128 Kitrick Taylor  Wide receiver Washington State
7 186 Doug Hudson  Quarterback Nicholls State
8 218 Michael Clemons  Running back William & Mary
9 244 Randy Watts  Defensive end Catawba
10 271 James Evans  Running back Southern
11 298 Craig Richardson  Wide receiver Eastern Washington
12 325 Bruce Holmes  Linebacker Minnesota
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1987 Kansas City Chiefs staff
Front office
  • Founder – Lamar Hunt
  • President – Jack Steadman
  • Vice President/General Manager – Jim Schaaf
  • Director of Pro Personnel – Whitey Dovell
  • Director of College Scouting – Les Miller
  • Coordinator of College Scouting – Greg Mohns

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning Coordinator – CT Hewgley


1987 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

Regular seasonEdit

A duo of rookies made a splash in a 20–13 win on Opening Day against San Diego as running back Paul Palmer returned a kickoff for a TD and Christian Okoye dashed for 105 yards.[1] A 24-day players strike began on September 22, canceling the club's contest against Minnesota.[1] Replacement players participated in games for the next three weeks. Much like Marv Levy five years earlier, Gansz's grip on the club's coaching reins was crippled by the labor unrest.[1]

Kansas City's replacement squad consisted primarily of players cut in training camp. One of the few bright spots among this motley crew was running back Jitter Fields, who remained on the active roster following the strike.[1] The Chiefs strike squad received an ominous welcome in Los Angeles when in the early morning hours of October 4, the day prior to a contest against the Raiders, an earthquake rattled Southern California. The shaken Chiefs lost a 35–17 decision later that day. The low point of the year came the following week at Miami in the first regular season game played at what then was known as Joe Robbie Stadium. Chiefs replacement QB Matt Stevens was injured early in the contest, forcing into duty backup quarterback Alex Espinoza, who had never taken an NFL snap. The result was a 42–0 Dolphins victory, setting the stage for an 0–3 performance by Kansas City's replacement unit, giving the Chiefs a 1–4 record before the club's regular roster returned at San Diego on October 25.[1] Five straight losses followed, giving the Chiefs a team-record nine-game losing skid. For the only time in team history, five different players started games at quarterback for the club.[1] Behind Kenney, Kansas City won two of its last three games to conclude the strike-shortened 4–11 campaign.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 13, 1987 San Diego Chargers W 20–13
2 September 20, 1987 at Seattle Seahawks L 43–14
September 27, 1987 Minnesota Vikings canceled
3 October 4, 1987 at Los Angeles Raiders L 35–17
4 October 11, 1987 at Miami Dolphins L 42–0
5 October 18, 1987 Denver Broncos L 26–17
6 October 25, 1987 at San Diego Chargers L 42–21
7 November 1, 1987 at Chicago Bears L 31–28
8 November 8, 1987 Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–16
9 November 15, 1987 New York Jets L 16–9
10 November 22, 1987 Green Bay Packers L 23–3
11 November 26, 1987 at Detroit Lions W 27–20
12 December 6, 1987 at Cincinnati Bengals L 30–27
13 December 13, 1987 Los Angeles Raiders W 16–10
14 December 19, 1987 at Denver Broncos L 20–17
15 December 27, 1987 Seattle Seahawks W 41–20


AFC West
Denver Broncos(1) 10 4 1 .700 7–1 8–3 379 288 W2
Seattle Seahawks(5) 9 6 0 .600 4–3 5–6 371 314 L1
San Diego Chargers 8 7 0 .533 3–4 6–7 253 317 L6
Los Angeles Raiders 5 10 0 .333 2–6 3–8 301 289 L3
Kansas City Chiefs 4 11 0 .267 3–5 3–9 273 388 W1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Kansas City Chiefs History 1980's". Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
  2. ^ "1987 Kansas City Chiefs draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014.

External linksEdit