KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The team was young but had plenty of talent.
Their run to the playoffs came after three seasons of falling short of the postseason.
A nine-game undefeated streak eventually led to a championship match on the national stage.
What seemed like a magical season, however, would turn to heartbreak.
The year was 1967 and the Chiefs were ready to make a statement in the first ever Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.
For players like Bobby Bell, the defeat in the big game stung.
“It was a thing that the AFL had to lose to the NFL. There was a competition there,” he said. “We wanted to let everybody know that we are here to stay also. That was a big defeat for us.”
The Hall of Famer sat down with 41 Action News just two days after the Chiefs suffered a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
More than 50 years after he played in the game against the Packers, Bell said the current Chiefs could take lessons from the team he played on decades ago.
“We felt we still had a good team,” he said. “We could’ve been right in there and we could’ve won the game too.”
In the weeks and months that followed the loss, the Chiefs continued to work hard and remained determined to get back to the top.
Bell’s teammate, former tight end Fred Arbanas, said the defeat served as a big motivation during the following offseason.
“We played almost our best but not our best,” he said. “That was the motivation that got us going lifting weights.”
Three years after the championship loss, the Chiefs became part of Kansas City sports history.
During the 1970 Super Bowl IV game played in New Orleans, the team defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 to become NFL champions.
Moving forward, both Arbanas and Bell said the current team only had to look at the franchise’s history to see how to recover after a painful loss.
“You get a lot of doors slammed in your face,” Arbanas said. “You get a lot of no’s. You’ve got to keep coming back.”
“The guys that want it the hardest make it,” Bell said. “You lost a game. Benefit from it. Now go straight ahead.”
With the season now behind them, Bell said the Chiefs could use the lessons from the 1970 championship team to achieve even more success.
“Make the adjustments. Keep on going,” he said. “Every time you get knocked down, you get right back up.”