American Football Database
2003 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head Coach Dick Vermeil
Home Field Arrowhead Stadium
Record 13–3
Place 1st AFC West
Playoff Finish Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs (Colts)
Previous season Next season
2002 2004

The 2003 Kansas City Chiefs season resulted in a 13–3 record, beginning with a nine-game winning streak—the franchise’s best start in their 40-year history. The Chiefs won the AFC West and clinched the second seed in the playoffs. Kansas City lost in an offensive shootout at home in the AFC Divisional Playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts 38–31, a game notorious for involving no punts from either team's kicking squad.

The season is best remembered for the Chiefs’ record-breaking offense. On December 28, running back Priest Holmes broke Marshall Faulk’s single-season rushing touchdown record by scoring his 27th rushing touchdown against the Chicago Bears. Quarterback Trent Green threw for 4,000 yards and kick returner Dante Hall returned four kicks for touchdowns. However, as successful as the Chiefs’ offense was, the Chiefs’ weak defense failed to stop the Colts in the playoffs.


Vermeil’s third year

At Dick Vermeil’s previous coaching tenure with the St. Louis Rams, Vermeil won Super Bowl XXXIV, so expectations in Kansas City were high of Vermeil’s new offense.

Free agency

Position Player Tag Date signed 2002 team Contract
(with KC)
CB Dexter McCleon UFA March 6 St. Louis Rams ?
RFA: Restricted free agent, UFA: Unrestricted free agent, ERFA: Exclusive rights free agent

2003 NFL Draft

The Chiefs originally had the 16th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Coach Dick Vermeil was intent on selecting a defensive player, but felt that there were no defensive players available with their pick, and traded the pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 27th pick, as well as the Steelers third and sixth round picks.[1] With the 16th pick, the Steelers selected Troy Polamalu from USC. With the 27th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected running back Larry Johnson from Penn State.[2]

Round Selection Overall Player College
1 27 27 Larry Johnson Penn State
2 15 47 Kawika Mitchell South Florida
3 28 92 Julian Battle Tennessee
4 16 113 Brett Williams Florida State
5 18 153 Jordan Black Notre Dame
6 16 189 Jimmy Wilkerson Oklahoma
7 16 230 Montique Sharpe Wake Forest
7 38 252 Willie Pile Virginia Tech

Regular season

After beginning the 2003 season 9–0, the Chiefs finished the regular season with a record of 13–3. The Chiefs’ offense topped the NFL in almost all categories and Kansas City became favorites to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.[3]

The Chiefs clinched their first AFC West title since 1997 with a 45–17 win vs. Detroit (December 14) as QB Trent Green became the first player in team history to register a “perfect” 158.3 passer rating in a game.[4]

Kansas City concluded its 13–3 regular season with a 31–3 victory vs. Chicago (December 28), marking a perfect 8–0 record at home and the club’s 13th consecutive regular season victory at Arrowhead Stadium. In that win, Priest Holmes set a trio of TD records. He finished the season with 27 rushing scores, establishing NFL single-season records for both rushing TDs and total TDs. Holmes (61) also bypassed WR Otis Taylor (60) for the most career TDs scored by a player in Chiefs history.[4]

The Chiefs five-game improvement in the win column from the previous season tied as the best mark in franchise history. Kansas City became the first AFC team to lead the NFL in scoring in consecutive seasons since San Diego in ‘81–82 as the club produced a franchise-best 484 points. The team also led the NFL with a +19 turnover differential.[4]

Nine Chiefs players received Pro Bowl recognition, the third-highest total in team history, while the club’s six offensive Pro Bowlers marked the most in club annals.[4]


Week Opponent Result Game site TV Time Attendance
1 San Diego Chargers W 27–14 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 1:00pm
2 Pittsburgh Steelers W 41–20 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 1:00pm
3 at Houston Texans W 42–14 Reliant Stadium CBS 1:00pm
4 at Baltimore Ravens W 17–10 Ravens Stadium CBS 4:15pm
5 Denver Broncos W 24–23 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 1:00pm
6 at Green Bay Packers W 40–34 (OT) Lambeau Field CBS 1:00pm
7 at Oakland Raiders W 17–10 Network Associates Coliseum ABC 9:00pm
8 Buffalo Bills W 38–5 Arrowhead Stadium ESPN 8:30pm
Week 9 — Bye
10 Cleveland Browns W 41–20 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 1:00pm
11 at Cincinnati Bengals L 24–19 Paul Brown Stadium CBS 1:00pm
12 Oakland Raiders W 27–24 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 4:15pm
13 at San Diego Chargers W 28–24 Qualcomm Stadium CBS 4:15pm
14 at Denver Broncos L 45–27 Invesco Field at Mile High CBS 4:15pm
15 Detroit Lions W 45–17 Arrowhead Stadium FOX 1:00pm
16 at Minnesota Vikings L 45–20 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome CBS 4:15pm
17 Chicago Bears W 31–3 Arrowhead Stadium FOX 1:00pm
2004 Playoffs
Indianapolis Colts L 38–31 Arrowhead Stadium CBS 1:00pm


AFC Divisional Playoffs

Indianapolis Colts 38, Kansas City Chiefs 31
1 2 3 4 Total
Colts 14 7 10 7


Chiefs 3 7 14 7


at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

This offensive shootout became the first puntless game in NFL playoff history. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns (to Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and Tom Lopienski), while Edgerrin James ran for a career postseason high 125 yards and two scores. On the Kansas City side, Dante Hall caught a touchdown and returned a kickoff for another; and Priest Holmes, who set the regular-season rushing touchdown record in 2003, rushed for 176 yards, caught 5 passes for 32 yards, and scored twice. Kansas City quarterback Trent Green threw for 212 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 18 yards in his first career postseason game. The Chiefs defense failed to stop the colts offense. Kansas City's defensive coordinator Greg Robinson was asked to resign the following week.

  • Scoring
    • IND – Stokley 29 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
    • KC – FG Andersen 22
    • IND – James 11 run (Vanderjagt kick)
    • KC – Hall 9 pass from Green (Andersen kick)
    • IND – Lopienski 2 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
    • IND – FG Vanderjagt 45
    • KC – Holmes 1 run (Andersen kick)
    • IND – Wayne 19 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
    • KC – Hall 92 kickoff return (Andersen kick)
    • IND – James 1 run (Vanderjagt kick)
    • KC – Holmes 1 run (Andersen kick)


AFC West
view · talk · edit W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Kansas City Chiefs 13 3 0 .813 5–1 10–2 484 332 W1
Denver Broncos 10 6 0 .625 5–1 9–3 381 301 L1
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 1–5 3–9 270 379 L2
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 .250 1–5 2–10 313 441 W1


  1. So there they were with the 16th pick... Retrieved October 4, 2010
  2. Kansas City Chiefs 2003 season – Database Football Retrieved 18 December 2006.
  3. Zimmerman, Paul. The Race to XXXVIII Sports Illustrated, 17 November 2003.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Chiefs history: 2003, retrieved 18 December 2006.

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