The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2024)

By Adam England

published

We take a look at how the Kansas City Chiefs logo has changed since the team was founded.

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (1)

The Kansas City Chiefs have been an American football fixture since being founded in 1959 – even by many who don't follow the NFL too closely, they're instantly recognisable.

And, of course, that's particularly true in 2023. Even people who'd have been hard pressed to name an NFL player before a couple of months ago are now familiar with the Chiefs and their tight end Travis Kelce due to his alleged relationship with superstar singer Taylor Swift.

As a result, the team's logo is being seen more frequently at the moment. But, while it's been their logo for a long time – and is often considered one of the best NFL logos – the Kansas City Chiefs have had other logos before. From their previous incarnation as the Dallas Texans to the logo many of us are familiar with today, here's a look back at the Kansas City Chiefs logos over the years, as well as who created them and the thinking behind them.

And if all this logo talk gives you some inspiration to make your own design, you can take a look at the best logo designers here.

The first Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1960-1962

Cartoonist Bob Taylor designed the first logo for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1960, a year after businessman Lamar Hunt founded the team. At the time, they were based in Dallas and called the Dallas Texans.

To that end, the first logo features a gun-toting cowboy running with a red map of Texas in the background. He's wearing a hat, carrying a pigskin football in his left hand, and wearing cowboy boots and a shirt that says 'Texans' on it.

Originally, Hunt wanted the team's colour scheme to be orange and Columbia blue, but he ultimately went for gold and red after the owner of the Houston Oilers picked orange and Columbia Blue first.

It was a fitting logo for the team before they relocated and changed their name, with the map of Texas and the cowboy making it clear where the team was based and the red and gold colour scheme symbolising strength and success.

The loincloth Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1963-1971

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (3)

In 1963, the Dallas Texans relocated to Kansas City, Missouri. Hunt thought about keeping the team's name, but Jack Steadman, who was the team's general manager at the time, persuaded him to change it. They settled on the Kansas City Chiefs, in honour of Harold Roe Bartle, mayor of Kansas, who was also known as The Chief.

Taylor designed the team's new logo, too, and it had many similarities with the first. The cowboy was swapped out for a Native American man, who is running with a tomahawk rather than a gun. Likewise, the red map of Texas in the background was swapped out for a white map of Missouri and some of its nearby states.

His loincloth has the letters 'K' and 'C', and he's holding a pigskin football like the gunslinger in the first logo. The colour red still plays a part in this logo, although it's a more vibrant red than in the previous iteration. The team still use the same red six decades on.

However, it's a logo that hasn't aged well, particularly in an era when teams like the Washington Redskins have changed their names due to accusations of racism against Native Americans.

The stripped back Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1972-present

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (4)

In 1972, the Native American man disappeared, with a simple, stripped back logo taking the place of the last one.

Hunt reportedly designed the logo on a napkin on a road trip back to Kansas City, and he took inspiration from the logo of the San Francisco 49ers, and the interlocking 'S' and 'F', which sit inside an oval. But rather than an oval, the 'K' and 'C' of Kansas City sit inside an arrowhead – the team play at Arrowhead Stadium, and have done so since 1972. This is the last aspect of Native American imagery that remains in the current logo.

The sans-serif font Hunt used was original, with his hand-drawn letters still used in the logo –there's almost a 3D effect due to the bold black outlines around the red lettering.

The logo was first used on the team's helmets during games, before it was promoted to the overall emblem used by the team. It differs from the team's previous two logos, but the minimalist design works well – it does what it needs to do, and over the last 50 years it's become very recognisable.Sometimes, less really is more.

For more sporting logo histories, see our Miami Dolphins logo history, the history of the Philadelphia Eagles logo and the NBA logo history.

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The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (7)

Adam England

Adam is a freelance journalist covering culture and lifestyle, with over five years’ of experience and a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from Cardiff University. He’s previously written for publications including The Guardian, The Independent, Vice and Dazed, and was Senior Editor at DogTime.com from 2022 to 2023. When he’s not writing, he’s probably drinking coffee, listening to live music, or tinkering with his Apple devices.

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The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2024)

FAQs

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history? ›

Hunt's inspiration for the interlocking "KC" design was the "SF" inside of an oval on the San Francisco 49ers helmets. Kansas City's overlapping initials appear inside a white arrowhead instead of an oval and are surrounded by a thin black outline.

Why do the Chiefs have an A on their jersey? ›

"Clark Hunt commissioned a patch that Chiefs players first wore on uniforms in 2007 to honor the passing of the franchise's founder. The design was historically significant and served as a reminder of Hunt's formation of the AFL and his contribution to the growth of professional football," the Chiefs' website explains.

Why is the Kansas City Chiefs logo an arrowhead? ›

But rather than an oval, the 'K' and 'C' of Kansas City sit inside an arrowhead – the team play at Arrowhead Stadium, and have done so since 1972. This is the last aspect of Native American imagery that remains in the current logo.

What is the Kansas City Chiefs mascot supposed to be? ›

KC Wolf may be big with his 85 inch hips, but bad, not a chance. Everyone loves this wolf, including Little Red Riding Hood. Since his introduction to Chiefs fans in 1989, KC Wolf has quickly become one of the most entertaining mascots in professional sports.

What was Kansas City Chiefs original name? ›

The team originally played as the Dallas Texans as part of the American Football League from 1960 to 1962. In 1963, owner Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City and the team was renamed the Chiefs.

Why do Chiefs keep their name? ›

One explanation for the staying power of the Chiefs is that the name is less obviously pejorative than those of other teams. While writing Mascot Nation, Black asked a national sample of 1,076 people to evaluate the “acceptability” of various team names.

Why did Chiefs keep their name? ›

The Working Group made it clear in its evaluation that if the club was sincere in its desire to respect American Indian culture, changes needed to be made. But they were just as clear and consistent that the franchise should not change its name.

How do Native Americans feel about the Chiefs? ›

As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for Sunday's big game, so does LeValdo. She and dozens of other Indigenous activists are in Las Vegas to protest and demand the team change its name and ditch its logo and rituals they say are offensive. “I've spent so much of my personal time and money on this issue.

Does Kansas City Chiefs represent Kansas? ›

The Chiefs' stadium is in Kansas City, Missouri. However, the two cities are so close in proximity, and Kansas City, Kansas does not have a football team so both cities and the surrounding areas in Kansas City and Missouri are represented.

Why is Kansas City not in Kansas? ›

Kansas City, Kansas didn't even exist until 1872, 11 years after the State of Kansas was formed. Most of the city is in Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri was founded in 1850. Kansas City is actually named for the Kansas River, not the state of Kansas.

Why is Kansas City mascot a kangaroo? ›

Across town at the Kansas City Zoo, Jigger the kangaroo, who had arrived just one year before, was pregnant and the whole town was awaiting news of her little one's arrival. With all the excitement of the joey's debut, the students were inspired and chose the kangaroo as the new mascot of the debate team.

How old is the Chiefs mascot? ›

Since his introduction as the Chiefs mascot in 1989, KC Wolf has been bringing energy and excitement, as well as laughs and smiles to audiences of all ages. KC Wolf may be big with his 85 inch hips, but bad, not a chance. Everyone loves this wolf, including Little Red Riding Hood.

Do the Chiefs still have a horse mascot? ›

After the original Warpaint's retirement in 1989, the team used K. C. Wolf as its lone mascot from 1989 to 2009. In the celebration of the AFL's 50th anniversary, the Chiefs resumed the tradition of Warpaint for the 2009 season, introducing the new horse at the home-opener against the Oakland Raiders.

What was the Chiefs old logo? ›

As mentioned above, the Chiefs were once known as the Texans and with that, there was a completely different logo on the team's jerseys. The original symbol of the team was a running gunslinger with a wide-brimmed hat, a pigskin football in one hand, and a gun in another.

Who is Patrick Mahomes half sister? ›

Why is the Chiefs mascot a wolf? ›

The Kansas City Chiefs adopted the wolf as their mascot to honor a group of passionate and loud fans known as the “wolf pack.” During the team's Glory Days at Municipal Stadium in the 1960s, this unofficial fan club called itself the Wolf Pack, and they were known for their fervent support of the Chiefs.

What does the C on the Chiefs jersey mean? ›

Players who have been named a team captain typically wear a "C" patch on their jerseys. There is a standard design used by all teams participating in the captaincy program.

Why do Chiefs have Texas on helmets? ›

The Chiefs still take pride in their origins as the Dallas Texans, and I believe that they have had a throwback uniform as the Texans. If they have a uniform with Texas on the helmet, it is that throwback uniform.

What does the C stand for on NFL players jerseys? ›

That changed in 2007, when the NFL gods decreed that team captains would be permitted, but not required, to wear a patch featuring the letter “C” (imaginative, right?) and some stars indicating how long the player had served as a captain. The league's captaincy patch program has quietly proceeded apace since then.

What is the patch on Kansas City Chiefs jersey? ›

The Kansas City Chiefs announced that they will wear the patch all season in honor of Norma Knobel Hunt, who passed away on June 4, 2023. "We will remember her as the loyal wife, loving mother and a passionate football fan.

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