The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2024)

By Adam England


We take a look at how the Kansas City Chiefs logo has changed since the team was founded.

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (1)

The Kansas City Chiefs have been an American football fixture since being founded in 1959 – even by many who don't follow the NFL too closely, they're instantly recognisable.

And, of course, that's particularly true in 2023. Even people who'd have been hard pressed to name an NFL player before a couple of months ago are now familiar with the Chiefs and their tight end Travis Kelce due to his alleged relationship with superstar singer Taylor Swift.

As a result, the team's logo is being seen more frequently at the moment. But, while it's been their logo for a long time – and is often considered one of the best NFL logos – the Kansas City Chiefs have had other logos before. From their previous incarnation as the Dallas Texans to the logo many of us are familiar with today, here's a look back at the Kansas City Chiefs logos over the years, as well as who created them and the thinking behind them.

And if all this logo talk gives you some inspiration to make your own design, you can take a look at the best logo designers here.

The first Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1960-1962

Cartoonist Bob Taylor designed the first logo for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1960, a year after businessman Lamar Hunt founded the team. At the time, they were based in Dallas and called the Dallas Texans.

To that end, the first logo features a gun-toting cowboy running with a red map of Texas in the background. He's wearing a hat, carrying a pigskin football in his left hand, and wearing cowboy boots and a shirt that says 'Texans' on it.

Originally, Hunt wanted the team's colour scheme to be orange and Columbia blue, but he ultimately went for gold and red after the owner of the Houston Oilers picked orange and Columbia Blue first.

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It was a fitting logo for the team before they relocated and changed their name, with the map of Texas and the cowboy making it clear where the team was based and the red and gold colour scheme symbolising strength and success.

The loincloth Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1963-1971

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (3)

In 1963, the Dallas Texans relocated to Kansas City, Missouri. Hunt thought about keeping the team's name, but Jack Steadman, who was the team's general manager at the time, persuaded him to change it. They settled on the Kansas City Chiefs, in honour of Harold Roe Bartle, mayor of Kansas, who was also known as The Chief.

Taylor designed the team's new logo, too, and it had many similarities with the first. The cowboy was swapped out for a Native American man, who is running with a tomahawk rather than a gun. Likewise, the red map of Texas in the background was swapped out for a white map of Missouri and some of its nearby states.

His loincloth has the letters 'K' and 'C', and he's holding a pigskin football like the gunslinger in the first logo. The colour red still plays a part in this logo, although it's a more vibrant red than in the previous iteration. The team still use the same red six decades on.

However, it's a logo that hasn't aged well, particularly in an era when teams like the Washington Redskins have changed their names due to accusations of racism against Native Americans.

The stripped back Kansas City Chiefs logo: 1972-present

The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (4)

In 1972, the Native American man disappeared, with a simple, stripped back logo taking the place of the last one.

Hunt reportedly designed the logo on a napkin on a road trip back to Kansas City, and he took inspiration from the logo of the San Francisco 49ers, and the interlocking 'S' and 'F', which sit inside an oval. But rather than an oval, the 'K' and 'C' of Kansas City sit inside an arrowhead – the team play at Arrowhead Stadium, and have done so since 1972. This is the last aspect of Native American imagery that remains in the current logo.

The sans-serif font Hunt used was original, with his hand-drawn letters still used in the logo –there's almost a 3D effect due to the bold black outlines around the red lettering.

The logo was first used on the team's helmets during games, before it was promoted to the overall emblem used by the team. It differs from the team's previous two logos, but the minimalist design works well – it does what it needs to do, and over the last 50 years it's become very recognisable.Sometimes, less really is more.

For more sporting logo histories, see our Miami Dolphins logo history, the history of the Philadelphia Eagles logo and the NBA logo history.

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Adam England

Adam is a freelance journalist covering culture and lifestyle, with over five years’ of experience and a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from Cardiff University. He’s previously written for publications including The Guardian, The Independent, Vice and Dazed, and was Senior Editor at from 2022 to 2023. When he’s not writing, he’s probably drinking coffee, listening to live music, or tinkering with his Apple devices.

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The Kansas City Chiefs logo: a history (2024)


What is the history of the KC Chiefs logo? ›

Cartoonist Bob Taylor designed the first logo for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1960, a year after businessman Lamar Hunt founded the team. At the time, they were based in Dallas and called the Dallas Texans. To that end, the first logo features a gun-toting cowboy running with a red map of Texas in the background.

Why is the Chiefs logo an arrowhead? ›

Arrows, traditionally used by Native Americans… like the Chiefs, who have taken on the meaning of Native American tribal chiefs, though the original meaning had to do with the first owner of the team, whom everyone called "Chief". That was his nickname.

How do Native Americans feel about the Chiefs? ›

As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for Sunday's big game, so does LeValdo. She and dozens of other Indigenous activists are in Las Vegas to protest and demand the team change its name and ditch its logo and rituals they say are offensive. “I've spent so much of my personal time and money on this issue.

What is the A logo on the Chiefs jersey? ›

The design was historically significant and served as a reminder of Hunt's formation of the AFL and his contribution to the growth of professional football," the Chiefs' website explains. "Hunt's initials are worn over the heart on the left side of the jersey.

What was the Chiefs first logo? ›

As mentioned above, the Chiefs were once known as the Texans and with that, there was a completely different logo on the team's jerseys. The original symbol of the team was a running gunslinger with a wide-brimmed hat, a pigskin football in one hand, and a gun in another.

Why were the Kansas City Chiefs named the Chiefs? ›

It's a complex issue, but before diving into it, one must first understand Chiefs history. The team was named after Harold Roe Bartle, the mayor of Kansas City from 1955 to 1963, who was known among locals as Chief.

What are Kansas City Chiefs fans called? ›

The term "Chiefs Kingdom" is a slogan and rallying cry embraced by fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, an American football team in the National Football League (NFL). It reflects the strong sense of community and unity among the team's fanbase.

Are Kansas City Chiefs changing their name? ›

While the NFL's Washington Commanders (whose name was previously a slur) and Cleveland Guardians (formerly the Indians) have given in to public pressure and changed their monikers since 2020, the Kansas City team—which played in the Super Bowl in 2020, 2021, and 2023—has refused to follow suit.

Who owns the Chiefs logo? ›

Clark Hunt, 58, is the son of legendary Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and his second wife Norma Hunt. The Hunt family has owned the team since its founding in 1959, Pro Football Network reports.

What did Redskins change name to? ›

Known as the Redskins until 2020, the Washington franchise took the name Commanders in 2022 after two years as the Washington Football Team. One source said that name change itself cost the team an estimated eight-figure tab in research and rebranding efforts, and the process itself took nearly a year and a half.

Where did the Kansas City Chiefs originally come from? ›

How did Indians become Chiefs? ›

It varied by tribe and time frame. Many tribes had no “chiefs” proper. Others had large empires with hereditary leaders. It varied greatly by nation and time period, but a common pattern was to make the most competent person “Chief,” depending on what the group was doing.

What does the C on the Chiefs jersey mean? ›

Players who have been named a team captain typically wear a "C" patch on their jerseys. There is a standard design used by all teams participating in the captaincy program.

What is the symbol on Patrick Mahomes sweatshirt? ›

Mahomes posted a video on Twitter explaining the design visually. The logo design consists of: Interlocking “PM” initials. A gladiator representing a “winning mindset”

What was the Chiefs old mascot? ›

K. C. Wolf is the official mascot of the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. He was first introduced in 1989 as a successor to Warpaint, a horse ridden by a man wearing a full Indian chief headdress, from the mid-1960s.

Why is the Chiefs mascot a dog? ›

The Kansas City Chiefs adopted the wolf as their mascot to honor a group of passionate and loud fans known as the “wolf pack.” During the team's Glory Days at Municipal Stadium in the 1960s, this unofficial fan club called itself the Wolf Pack, and they were known for their fervent support of the Chiefs.

What does the KC sporting logo mean? ›

The "SC" (for Sporting Club) is inspired by Asclepius' rod representing health and fitness, a Greek statue called the Winged Victory of Samothrace – alluding to strength and movement, and to the Spanish architecture of Kansas City's Country Club Plaza.

What is the Kansas City Chiefs mascot supposed to be? ›

KC Wolf may be big with his 85 inch hips, but bad, not a chance. Everyone loves this wolf, including Little Red Riding Hood. Since his introduction to Chiefs fans in 1989, KC Wolf has quickly become one of the most entertaining mascots in professional sports.

Who drew the Chiefs logo? ›

Cartoonist Bob Taylor designed the first logo for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1960, a year after businessman Lamar Hunt founded the team.

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