Hashtag TBT (throw back thursday) has become an internet phenomenon over the past few years and we here at KC Kingdom are going to start partaking in the popular tradition via the Kansas City Chiefs. Each week, we’ll throw you back to a different Chiefs player, coach, or event that deserves a trip down memory lane. For our first installment, I chose Fred Williamson, a hard hitting corner back for the Chiefs during the 1960’s.
The reason I chose Williamson as our first TBT is because of an older gentleman I met at a Piccadilly restaurant here in Baton Rouge earlier this week. For those of you that don’t know, I live in Baton Rouge, helping to extend the Chiefs kingdom in southeastern Louisiana. Naturally, I wear Kansas City apparel around town all the time and while I was quietly choosing my dinner Monday night, an older gentleman came out of no where and asked “Kansas City Chiefs eh?” while looking at my shirt.
I’m used to people asking about my Chiefs/Royals gear regularly so I typically know what to say. Some people attack it, stating the Chiefs suck or “Who Dat!” because I’m obviously in Saints country. Others just bring up how Jamaal Charles burned them in 2012 or ask about how awesome 2013 was but, this gentleman gave me a response I wasn’t really ready for. It was a quiz to test my knowledge and see how much of a Chiefs fan I truly am. He was testing to see if I was a poser, or the real deal Holyfield.
After explaining that I was born and raised in the Kansas City area, he proceeded to ask how far back I can take it with players names. I gave him the basics, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Jim Lynch, Buck Buchanon, etc. I could tell that memories were running through the gentleman’s head with each name I would drop, as he would react to some of the names I would say with a “Yeah!” or “Man he was good!”. But he was looking for one name in particular, Fred Williamson.
I knew the name was familiar, but I just could not put a face, jersey number, or year to it while standing there in conversation. He explained to me that Williamson was his favorite player as a kid because he was nicknamed “The Hammer” for his ferocious hits using his fore arm. Williamson loved to tell you he was going to hit you too, as he was known to be a huge trash talker on the field. After about a ten minute history lesson and discussion with this gentleman, I knew what the first TBT had to be, Fred Williamson.
Williamson started his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he only played one season before joining the Oakland Raiders in 1961. He would string together three seasons of AFL All-Star appearances before Oakland traded him to Kansas City in 1965. Williamson only played for the Chiefs for three seasons, but it was in Kansas City that he was able to build his fame.
Williamson was one of the first self promoting players in professional football. He nicknamed himself “The Hammer” because of his judo chop fore arms to receivers heads, often knocking them out of games. Williamson also grabbed headlines heading into Super Bowl I, when he told reporters that he was going be all over Green Bay Packers receivers, Boyd Dowler and Carroll Dale. “Two hammers to Dowler, one to Dale should be enough,” he said.
As it turned out, Williamson ended up being knocked out of the game himself, after taking a knee to the head from a Packers running back. After only 2 more years in professional football, Williamson retired and found himself in Hollywood, where he would go on to star in, and direct, many feature films. In 2004, he played the Chief of police in the feature film, Starsky and Hutch. That’s what I recognized him from most, and figured most of you would too.
Fred Williamson wasn’t the most memorable Chief of all time but because of his reputation of hard hitting play, loud mouth trash talking, and a successful Hollywood career, he’s worthy of a TBT from the Chiefs Kingdom. I spent some time trying to find highlights of Williamson and the only thing I could find was a 1966 Miami Dolphins tribute which I’ve posted below. If you fast forward to 6:27 in the video, they show a perfect example of why Williamson earned his nickname and reputation. I also found this link, which has a great video in the post about Williamson’s time with Kansas City.
After doing some more research on Williamson, I can understand why that elderly gentleman found him to be his favorite player when he was a kid. The hard hitting, loud mouthed corner back was full of confidence and easily impressionable on that era of football. Fred Williamson is this weeks #tbt.