Super Bowl LV: Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a history

When Super Bowl LV kicks off on Sunday night it will be the first time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the post-season, but the two teams go way back.

Before we get into famous Bucs/Chiefs games, let’s look at the history of the two teams.

Kansas City Chiefs


We’ll begin with the eldest.

Kansas City Chiefs were formed in 1960 as a founding member of the AFL (American Football League), a rival to the NFL (National Football League).

They were originally based in Dallas and known as the Dallas Texans. The Texans and the AFL were created a by 26-year-old Lamar Hunt, who wanted to bring American Football to Texas but was denied by the NFL.

After the NFL approved the creation of the Dallas Cowboys in 1963, Hunt decided to move the team to Kansas City, Missouri.


Being based in Missouri, the Texans couldn’t exactly keep their name, although that was originally planned, so a fan contest decided the new name as the Chiefs.

Despite the Native American connotations, Chief actually refers to the nickname of the Kansas City Mayor Harold Bartle, who had been a scout leader.

Early Success

The Kansas City Chiefs were the most successful team in the AFL, winning the championship three times (1962,1966 and 1969) and were the final champions prior to the AFL’s merger with the NFL in 1970.

In 1969, they won the fourth Super Bowl, upsetting the NFL champions the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.

Merger into the NFL

The AFL’s merger with the NFL signalled the end of an era of dominance for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs struggled through much of the rest of the century, winning the AFC West divisional championships only four times.

In the 1990s and under the guidance of coach Marty Schottenheimer, the Chiefs reached the play-offs in six straight seasons, helped out by legendary quarterback Joe Montana for a short time.

However, between 1993 and 2017, they lost 10 of 11 play-off games.

New dawn

The Kansas City Chiefs are still owned by Lamar Hunt’s family and look set to achieve the same supremacy that the early Chiefs had.

Since 2017, the Chiefs have won of four out of five play-off games, helped by stellar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was named the league’s MVP in his breakout season in 2018.

Fifty years after their first Super Bowl, Kansas City Chiefs claimed Super Bowl LIV by beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 last year, as Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP.

With the chance to do win back-to-back Super Bowls, you would expect that the Chiefs will be making more history in the future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were formed in 1976 as part of the NFL’s expansion to 28 teams, and played one season in the AFC before moving to the NFC.

The Bucs were owned by Hugh Culverhouse who was celebrated for bringing the NFL to Tampa Bay.


Like the Chiefs, the Bucs got their name from a fan contest.

The Buccaneers relates to pirates that occupied the waters of Florida’s Gulf coast in the 1600s.

Early failures

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a rough start, not winning a single game in their first season, but the Bucs did reach the play-offs four years later, posting a 10-6 winning season in the process.

Between 1983 and 1996, the Buccaneers had a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons, the longest streak in NFL history.

Owner Hugh Culverhouse was criticised for being more interested in making money than winning games.

New Owners

Following the death of Culverhouse in 1996, Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to find a new owner.

There were many interested parties, but it was a late bid from Malcolm Glazer that was successful.

The Glazers paid $192 million for the franchise, then the highest price for a professional sports team.

Glazer would, of course, go on to own Manchester United in the Premier League.

Super Bowl Success

The start of a new millennium was positive for the Bucs, reaching the play-offs in the first two years of the 2000s, before bringing in Jon Gruden as coach from the Oakland Raiders in 2002.

In Gruden’s first season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached their first Super Bowl and achieved their best season to date, ending with a 12-4 record.

The Bucs then defeated Gruden’s old team the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Brady to the Bucs

After Gruden’s departure as coach, the Bucs struggled for form and failed to win a single play-off game between their victory in 2003 and this year’s run to the Super Bowl.

That changed with the arrival of quarterback Tom Brady from the New England Patriots in 2020.

Alongside his former Pats teammate Rob Gronkowski, Brady guided the Buccaneers to their best record since 2007 (11-5).

When Tampa Bay stride out, at home for Super Bowl LV, they will be the first wildcard team to make it to the Super Bowl since the Green Bay Packers in 2010.

The Stadium

NFL history will also be made this year as Tampa Bay will become the first team to play at their home stadium in a Super Bowl.

Hosts of the Super Bowl are agreed years in advance, with no way of knowing which teams will eventually feature.

The Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will host the Super Bowl for the third time, having previously hosted in 2000 and 2008.

The Stadium was built in 1998 at the insistence of Malcolm Glazer and features a concrete replica pirate ship, which includes cannons firing when the Bucs score a point or win a game.

But, will the cannons be firing on Sunday night?

Head to Head

HIGHLIGHTS: The Bucs and the Chiefs met earlier this season

The two teams have met 13 times in the regular season and the Bucs lead the head to head 7-6.

The Buccaneers have enjoyed a variety of success against the Chiefs, as they were the first AFC team the Bucs beat after being formed, when they won 30-13 in 1978.

A year later, the Bucs and Chiefs also played the lowest scoring game in Bucs history, a 3-0 win for the Bucs in the driving rain.

In 2008, the Chiefs were on the receiving end of the Bucs’ largest comeback as they overturned a 21-point deficit to win 30-27 in overtime.

However, the Kansas City Chiefs have the upper hand going into this weekend, having won the most recent encounter to end a five-game losing streaks against the Bucs.

In Game 12 of this season, Mahomes and Tyreek Hill combined for three touchdowns and, despite a late fightback led by Brady, the Chiefs came away 27-24 winners.

Will the Chiefs get even in the head-to-head or will Brady win a seventh Super Bowl?

Let us know your predictions below.

Featured image credit: Sebastian Brinkenfeldt CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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