KC Helmet Arrow
First things first – the helmet arrow. Most helmet history sites and the pocket pros display two KC arrows. These are in the photo below.
Two sites – Bill’s Sports Maps and the Gridiron Uniform Database – indicate three different KC arrows:
- 1963-73 – Wide arrow with thin black line.
- 1974-83 – More narrow arrow with thicker black line.
- 1983-present – Even more narrow arrow with thicker black line.
The differences are subtle. All of the pocket pros display the 1963-73 or 1983-2011 logos. If accurate, there would be no pocket pro for the 1974-82 helmet.
I have researched this issue. I have no found convincing evidence to suggest the 1974-82 logo is different from the 1983-present logo. Despite indicating a logo change in 1974-82, Bill’s Sports Maps also states the arrow design has been the same since 1974:
“When Hunt moved the team to Kansas City, the story goes he himself drew out the new logo in his kitchen on a dinner napkin…sketching out a design influenced by the San Francisco 49ers’ interlocking-S-F, but with an arrowhead framing the letters K-C instead of the football-shaped-oval on the Niners’ helmet. That design debuted in 1963 and, aside from a slight reshaping of the logo in 1974 (the arrowhead was made a bit smaller and the K-C a bit larger), it has remained the Chiefs helmet design for over 50 years. And rightly so. The Chiefs’ bold yet dignified helmet looks as sharp today as it did a half century ago” – from Bill’s Sports Maps
I am going to assume the Chiefs helmet has displayed the same logo since 1974 with the only possible change being a change in the logo size to accommodate different helmet styles.
1960-62 (Dallas Texans)
The Chiefs originated in Dallas. The Texans’ helmet is in the Throwback Series 1, Throwback AFL 50th Anniversary, and Throwback 2-bar sets.
The first KC Chiefs helmet was a large arrow with a “KC” inside. This helmet is only available in the 1969 AFC 2-bar and Throwback Series 2 sets (see photos below). I think the Throwback Series 2 helmet could be an error, however, as the arrow logo looks more like the modern arrow logo than the 1963-73 logo.
1974-2011 and 2012-present
In 1974, the Chiefs minimized the size of the arrow logo and added a bolder line around the logo. The facemask also changed to white.
The chiefs helmet color shade apparently changed in 2012. The change is minimal, but comparing the revolution and speed helmets does show a slightly brighter red.
In week 9 of 2019, the Chiefs wore a grey facemask in honor of the super bowl IV team.
KC Chiefs Super Bowl Helmet
The Dallas Texans (later the KC Chiefs) apparently proposed a blue helmet. The story I have read is that when AFL teams were selecting colors, the Houston Oilers selected their colors first. The first Oilers helmet is also Columbia Blue. So, the Texans decided to go with red.
Pocket Helmet Checklist
- 1960-62, 2009 Throwback (Dallas Texans): Red helmet, Texas logo, grey facemask
- 1963-73: Red helmet, larger arrow logo, grey facemask
- 1974-2011: Red helmet, smaller arrow logo with bolder outline, white facemask
- 2012-present: Brighter red helmet, smaller arrow with bolder outline, white facemask
- 2019, 2021 alternate: Brighter red helmet, smaller arrow with bolder outline, grey facemask
- No factory pocket helmet
- Super Bowl:
- Charles Goldman, 2019, Oct. 19, Chiefs to wear gray throwback face masks vs. Vikings, USA Today Chiefs Wire.
- Gridiron Uniform Database, Kansas City Chiefs
- Helmet History.com, Kansas City Chiefs
- Kansas City Chiefs, Team Uniform History
- Paul Lukas, 2014, Feb. 24, KC Stands for Kinda Confusing. Gridiron Uniform Uni Watch blog.