Kansas City Chiefs History Lesson: KC Chiefs vs 1983 NFL Draft


The 1983 NFL Draft is the draft that still haunts the Kansas City Chiefs Organization today.  How can a draft that happened over 30 years ago still be affecting the team today?  Lets take trip back in time, to a place that was called the 80’s.

(Warning: History Lesson Below)  

(In old man voice) You see..Back in my day….

In 1983, Reaganomics was still in its infancy stage, and everyone was still buying the trickle down theory.  It was a time of Bigger is Better, with Big Money, Big Hair, and even bigger pants.    At this time Baseball was the King of American Sports Entertainment, but the NFL was steadily gaining a cult like following. The Kansas City Chiefs were not a good franchise.

Chiefs history/lore for all the younger Kansas City Chiefs fans out there, who may not know about arguably the greatest NFL draft.  A class that produced some of the biggest names in the history of the NFL. A class where almost every team walked out a winner. Those of you playing along at home can guess, The 1983 NFL Draft.

This draft has now become known as “The Quarterback Class of 1983.”  One of the reasons it got that name is because six quarterbacks were taken in the first round alone, which was an unusually number.  Believe it or not this draft had seven, let me repeat that, seven future hall of fame players and three of them were the quarterbacks selected in the first round. These players are all household names in today’s NFL, Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, Bruce Matthews, Darrell Green, Richard Dent, Dan Marino, and the respected but much hated John Elway.

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What you may not know is the Chiefs had the number seven pick of this draft.  The Chiefs selected QB Todd Blackledge with that pick.  Unfortunately, Blackledge wasn’t an NFL caliber signal caller and only lasted five seasons with the team.  Only starting 30 games for the Chiefs going 15-15 (.500) with 5,286 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 38 interceptions for a QBR of 60.2.-per Pro Football Reference.   In the Chiefs defense, Todd was fresh off leading Penn State to a College Championship in 1982.

The real kicker for Chiefs fans is the team could have picked Jim Kelly or Dan Marino with the number seven spot.  Drafting either those players would have changed the landscape for the Chiefs, that would be still felt today.  The Chiefs would have drafted and solidified the quarterback position for years.  Imagine if we had either Kelly or Marino during the Marty Monster Defense years.  Marty Schottenheimer would be remembered as a Super Bowl winning coach, if the team had drafted smarter in 1983.  The lone bright light for the Chiefs in 1983 was they drafted All-Pro and Future Chiefs Hall of Fame cornerback Albert Lewis.  This is another example of what happens to teams who don’t draft well, look at the Cleveland Browns and that circus.

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With the draft coming up there is always that unknown factor when it comes to player potential versus who the player will actually develop into. You never know who will be a Bust or Diamond in The Rough. Hopefully, for the Chiefs future the team never has another draft like it did back in 1983.