The 1986 Kansas City Chiefs season was the franchise's 17th season in the National Football League and the 27th overall. It ended with a 10–6 record, the most wins for the franchise since 1971. The Chiefs clinched a wild card playoff berth, but lost to the New York Jets 35-15.
Former linebacker Willie Lanier was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2. On the field, the pieces started coming together for head coach John Mackovic. His offense displayed plenty of scoring punch, while the club’s defense and special teams became increasingly effective. With the team sitting at 3–3, Bill Kenney replaced Todd Blackledge for the second half of the season in a game against San Diego, guiding the club to a 42–41 victory. That win was the first of four consecutive triumphs with Kenney at the helm, the club’s longest winning streak since 1980. Poised with a 7–3 record after 10 games, three straight losses in November put the Chiefs playoff chances in jeopardy. Two December wins gave Kansas City a 9–6 mark, putting the Chiefs on the verge of their first postseason berth in 15 years.
The defining moment of the season came in the regular season finale at Pittsburgh on December 21. Despite being outgained in total yardage by a 515-to-171-yard margin, the Chiefs were able to notch a 24–19 victory as all of the team’s points came via special teams on a blocked punt return, a field goal, a kickoff return and a blocked field goal return. With a 10–6 record the Chiefs earned an AFC Wild Card berth, winning a tiebreaker with Seattle. Bill Kenney was injured in the fourth quarter of the Steelers contest, meaning Todd Blackledge would draw the starting assignment for the club’s first playoff contest since 1971, a 35–15 loss at New York.
Mackovic was fired by Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt after the season.
|1986 Kansas City Chiefs season|
|Head coach||John Mackovic|
|General manager||Jim Schaaf|
|Home field||Arrowhead Stadium|
|Division place||2nd AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Jets) 15–35|
|Pro Bowlers||DT Bill Maas|
S Lloyd Burruss
S Deron Cherry
|1986 Kansas City Chiefs staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1986 Kansas City Chiefs roster|
|1||September 7, 1986||Cincinnati Bengals||W 24–14|
|2||September 14, 1986||at Seattle Seahawks||L 23–17|
|3||September 21, 1986||Houston Oilers||W 27–13|
|4||September 28, 1986||at Buffalo Bills||W 20–17|
|5||October 5, 1986||Los Angeles Raiders||L 24–17|
|6||October 12, 1986||at Cleveland Browns||L 20–7|
|7||October 19, 1986||San Diego Chargers||W 42–41|
|8||October 26, 1986||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 27–20|
|9||November 2, 1986||at San Diego Chargers||W 24–23|
|10||November 9, 1986||Seattle Seahawks||W 27–7|
|11||November 16, 1986||at Denver Broncos||L 38–17|
|12||November 23, 1986||at St. Louis Cardinals||L 23–14|
|13||November 30, 1986||Buffalo Bills||L 17–14|
|14||December 7, 1986||Denver Broncos||W 37–10|
|15||December 14, 1986||at Los Angeles Raiders||W 20–17|
|16||December 21, 1986||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24–19|
|Kansas City Chiefs(5)||10||6||0||.625||5–3||9–5||358||326||W3|
|Los Angeles Raiders||8||8||0||.500||4–4||7–5||323||346||L4|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||0||.250||1–7||4–8||335||396||L2|
Quarterback Pat Ryan led the Jets to the victory with 3 touchdown passes. The Chiefs scored first on a 67-yard drive capped by running back Jeff Smith. On their ensuing possession, the Jets faced fourth down and 6 on the Kansas City 33-yard line. Rather than attempt a long field goal, Ryan faked a handoff and rushed for a 24 yard gain. Two plays later, running back Freeman McNeil scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown. In the second period, Ryan completed two touchdown pass: a 1-yarder to McNeil and an 11-yarder to wide receiver Al Toon. On the first play of the second half, Jets linebacker Kevin McArthur returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown. Ryan later clinched the victory in the fourth period with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Billy Griggs. The Chiefs' only scores in the second half was a blocked punt recovery in the end zone, and an intentional safety by the Jets.
McNeil finished the game with 135 rushing yards, 3 receptions for 16 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs are a member of the Western Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League (NFL). Originally named the Dallas Texans, the club was founded by Lamar Hunt in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. In 1963, the team moved to Kansas City, Missouri and were renamed the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs have had 37 different quarterbacks start at least one game in their franchise's history, 21 of which have started at least 10 games. Cotton Davidson was the team's first starting quarterback; he played all 14 games for the Texans in their inaugural 1960 season. Davidson played with the franchise from 1960 to 1962, and was traded in 1963 to the Oakland Raiders. Len Dawson signed with on July 2, 1962 and played for the franchise for 14 seasons. With Dawson as the team's starter, the Texans/Chiefs won three American Football League championships and appeared in two Super Bowl championship games. Dawson was named Most Valuable Player after the Chiefs' victory in Super Bowl IV and retired in 1975 with several franchise records. Three quarterbacks currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame have started at least one game for Kansas City: Dawson, Joe Montana, and Warren Moon. In the 2008 season, the Chiefs started three quarterbacks: Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, and Tyler Thigpen. After Croyle and Huard were sidelined by injuries, Thigpen played in eleven games, winning one and losing ten. In 2009 and 2010, Matt Cassel started 15 of 16 games each season, while Croyle started the other 2 games.
|Playoff appearances (20)|
|Division championships (10)|
|League championships (3)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold