1978 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head Coach Marv Levy
Home Field Arrowhead Stadium
Record 4–12
Place 5th AFC West
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Previous season Next season
1977 1979

The 1978 Kansas City Chiefs season began with the hiring of new head coach Marv Levy, formerly of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. With the NFL expanding its schedule to 16 games, the Chiefs finished with a 4–12 record and fifth place in the AFC West.

Coach Levy’s systematic restocking of a relatively barren defensive roster began with a 1978 draft class that included a pair of future Chiefs franchise hall of famers in defensive end Art Still and linebacker Gary Spani. Running back Ed Podolak, who was the club’s all-time leading rusher at the time, retired in the offseason on June 15.[1]

Perhaps Levy’s most unconventional tactic in rebuilding the Chiefs was installing the Wing-T offense. “It was a situation where we took over a team that had the worst defensive record in the history of the National Football League,” Levy explained.[1] “We wanted to keep that defense off the field, so we ran the ball 60 times a game.”[1] The 1978 Chiefs team ran and ran often, posting franchise records with 663 rushing attempts and 2,986 ground yards.[1] Levy’s squad ran the ball a staggering 69 times in a 24–23 Opening Day win at Cincinnati on September 3, the most rushing attempts in an NFL contest since 1948.[1] Five different players had 100-yard rushing games during the year, including running back Tony Reed, who finished the season with 1,053 yards to become the team’s first 1,000-yard back since 1967.[1] Despite the squad’s Opening Day success, the club lost 10 of its next 11 games, including a pair of overtime decisions. However, the team showed signs of improvement with the defense recording a 23–0 shutout against San Diego on November 26 as the club concluded its first 16-game schedule with a 4–12 mark.[1]


NFL DraftEdit

Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team

Regular seasonEdit


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 3, 1978 at Cincinnati Bengals W 24–23
2 September 10, 1978 Houston Oilers L 20–17
3 September 17, 1978 at New York Giants L 26–10
4 September 24, 1978 Denver Broncos L 23–17
5 October 1, 1978 at Buffalo Bills L 28–13
6 October 8, 1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 30–13
7 October 15, 1978 at Oakland Raiders L 28–6
8 October 22, 1978 Cleveland Browns W 17–3
9 October 29, 1978 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 27–24
10 November 5, 1978 Oakland Raiders L 20–10
11 November 12, 1978 at San Diego Chargers L 29–23
12 November 19, 1978 Seattle Seahawks L 13–10
13 November 26, 1978 San Diego Chargers W 23–0
14 December 3, 1978 Buffalo Bills W 14–10
15 December 10, 1978 at Denver Broncos L 24–3
16 December 17, 1978 at Seattle Seahawks L 23–19


AFC West
y-Denver Broncos 1060.625282198
Oakland Raiders 970.563311283
Seattle Seahawks 970.563345358
San Diego Chargers 970.563355309
Kansas City Chiefs 4120.250243327


AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1978 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XIII

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