AP:Former Dallas Texans making rare return to their birthplace
Former Dallas Texans making rare return to their birthplace
DALLAS (AP) - When the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Texans both began play in 1960, they shared the Cotton Bowl and divided the fan base.
Everyone knew one team eventually would have to go.
Although the Texans of the upstart AFL won more games, the Cowboys had the upper hand because they were in the NFL, which brought more established teams and players to town.
So after winning the 1962 AFL title but drawing only about 10,000 fans per game, Texans owner Lamar Hunt moved his club to Kansas City and renamed them the Chiefs.
Simple as that, right?
Well, 43 years later - with the Texans-turned-Chiefs about to make only their fifth visit back to the city of their birth - there's still a story circulating that Hunt left not because of a failed bid to capture Dallas' heart, but because of a failed coin toss with Cowboys founder/owner Clint Murchison.
"No, that's just one of those apocryphal stories," Hunt said. "I've heard that lots of times. What makes it apocryphal is that the loser had to leave. It should've been that the winner GOT to leave town. ...
"After three years, it was apparent to me that it would be an endless sea of empty seats. We looked around and figured Kansas City could be a success. It's worked out extremely well there. We have probably one of the outstanding fan followings in America, with 70,000 season tickets. I love the Kansas City area, the fans."
Hunt never left Dallas. In fact, his home is a half-block from the home of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, about 10 miles from Texas Stadium.
That means Sunday's road game for the Chiefs will be a rare home game for their owner, who otherwise has to fly to every game.
"It makes it a little more convenient," Hunt said.
The Chiefs beat the Cowboys 34-31 in their first game back in Texas, on a Monday night in 1975. They returned again in '83, '92 and '95, and Dallas won each time.
Despite how long its been since the franchise moved and how seldom they play here, the Chiefs still have fans in the area left from their days as the Texans - a name, by the way, that Hunt happily passed on to the Houston franchise owned by Bob McNair.
"Bob asked our permission and he certainly didn't have to do that," Hunt said. "We didn't have any claim to it, we hadn't used it for many, many years. I still like it. Everyone in the state of Texas is a Texan, so it fits Houston, too."
Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said earlier this week he's going to remind players about being in Hunt's hometown and about the franchise's connection to the area. It's already fired up Pro Bowl left guard Brian Waters, a native of nearby Waxahachie.
"We know Lamar's going to be in that box and he's going to be at home," Waters said. "Believe me, between now and the game, a lot more is going to be made of it. I think it would give the guys a good feeling to win one for him."
Beloved by players, Hunt also is one of the most respected men in football. Kansas City has been tentatively awarded a future Super Bowl in part as a thank-you for his contributions, which include secretly negotiating the AFL-NFL merger and coining the term "Super Bowl."
"These guys have a lot of respect for Lamar," Waters said. "Because of (Lamar), around the league you never hear anything bad said about Kansas City and this organization."
The only thing you might hear is the rumor about the coin toss, a tale that still intrigues longtime Cowboys personnel director Gil Brandt.
"(Tom) Landry and I talked about it one time and he didn't know whether it was true either," Brandt said. "I think it was a mystery because there's a great deal of pride between both Lamar and Clint."
Cowboy Fan since 1960.......You young-uns stay outta my yard.