KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Knowing your team's history is almost as important as knowing the present, at least according to Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.
Pioli and several other Chiefs executives were on hand at Kansas City's historic Union Station on Tuesday to unveil several community initiatives planned for this fall as the Chiefs celebrate their 50th anniversary in Kansas City.
The Chiefs actually started out as the Dallas Texans and were a charter member of the American Football League in 1960. After three years in Dallas, then owner Lamar Hunt moved the franchise to Kansas City.
"How do I put 50 years in perspective?" Pioli asked himself in front of reporters. "Well, 50 years here...it's longer than I've been alive. That puts it in perspective for me.
"I love the history of the game and of the AFL. To me, it's not just about the now. The history of the game and the history of this franchise is really amazing."
But Pioli recognizes that not everyone, including today's players, recognize and appreciate the history.
"There are guys on our team, rookies, who don't even know the Chiefs started out as the Dallas Texans," Pioli said. "I think it's our job to educate today's players about the history.
"I love football. I love looking back at the game. But not everyone knows about the past. We had a player, we were preparing for the draft, and we had a player from Morgan State come in who didn't know who Willie Lanier was. That's shameful. Shameful.
"To me, if you're going to be a part of this, you need to know about the history."
The lack of education isn't confined to the Chiefs, though.
"When I was with New England," Pioli said, "we had guys on our team who didn't know we used to be the Boston Patriots. We had guys who didn't know who Andre Tippett was. And that's a young guy in terms of the history."
Pioli and Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt will be getting the word out about the Chiefs' history throughout the summer and fall while spotlighting such Chiefs greats as Len Dawson, Bobby Bell, Lanier and Jan Stenerud in the community.
"To me, it's fascinating," Pioli said. "And it's not just the Chiefs' teams of the '60s. How about the great teams from the '90s? There's a lot of history here."
And Clark Hunt, son of Lamar Hunt, has been around for most of it.
"What we're celebrating is not just the Chiefs, either," Clark Hunt said. "We're celebrating Kanas City. It's been the perfect union."
The Chiefs will commit to participating in 50 community events this fall with player appearances, and will provide 50 under-served elementary schools with a Chiefs Play 60 kit that stresses physical exercise for children for 60 minutes a day. The Chiefs also plan to assemble numerous art works from around the community that will be placed permanently inside Arrowhead Stadium.
Most of all, Hunt would prefer to give the ultimate gift to Kansas City: Another Super Bowl victory.
"It's been too long (1970) since Kansas City was able to celebrate a Super Bowl," Hunt said. "I desperately want to see that again.
"I do think we're getting closer. I've been around the game long enough to know that you have to be patient. If you're not, you make mistakes. But we're becoming more competitive each year.
"I think we had a good off-season in free-agency and a good draft, and we provided some depth. Our front-line guys are pretty good. We're getting close."
Another Super Bowl triumph, after all, is what Clark's father, Lamar, would have wanted most as well.
"When he passed away (in 2006), I got asked a lot what it was like to step into his shoes," Hunt said. "What I said then is that my dad's footprints were too big for anyone to step in.
"But it's important for me to recognize what my father achieved and to honor his legacy, and much of that legacy is what he was able to do for Kansas City."