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Shortchanged


More by Ed Fulda
Other writers' articles
When you look over the Chiefs all-time roster, there are several players listed who turned in one great season after another but were virtually ignored for post season honors. It would be an understatement to say this baker's dozen was shortchanged. There's no evidence to support it, but Mike Shanahan and Al Davis have to be involved in some fashion.

Of the recent players, the two most notable players to be snubbed are Dave Szott and Tony Richardson. Other than Larry Allen, I cannot think of another offensive guard who was as consistent as Dave Szott. Unfortunately, Szott played with Will Shields who was, and still is, a perennial Pro-Bowl selection and voters don't like to pick two guys from the same team for the same position. Why the fans and players continue to ignore Richardson is beyond me. There may be better blockers, better receivers, and better runners among his competitors, but Richardson is the only fullback in the NFL who does all of these things well.

The "Dave Szott Syndrome" is probably what kept Mike Bell, Lloyd Burris, Wendall Hayes, Dave Hill, Jim Kearney, Jim Lynch, and Jack Spikes from getting post-season recognition. Bell busted his tail while the other DE, Art Still, got the Pro-Bowl votes. Strong Safety Lloyd Burris turned in 11 strong seasons, but it was Free Safety Deron Cherry who got all the honors. FB Wendall Hayes was a great blocker, receiver, and runner, but it was Bobby Holmes and Mike Garrett who went Pro-Bowling. Hill manned the right offensive tackle spot in a line that included Ed Budde, Jim Tyrer, EJ Holub, and, later, Jack Rudnay. Kearney was the only member of the Chiefs secondary of the late '60's - early '70's to be snubbed for post season honors despite doing things like running back four interceptions for touchdowns in one season. Lynch actually went to one all-star game, but he played with future Hall-of-famers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier. Jack Spikes was another fullback who could block, catch and run with the best of them, but he had to play with Abner Haynes. Spikes' ultimate reward was to be replaced in the starting backfield by Curtis McClinton.

Gary Spaini had the misfortune of replacing Willie Lanier at middle linebacker and playing while the Chiefs were bad. Couple that with the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers' linebackers were all the rage, and it's easy to see why Spaini was ignored. Much the same can be said for Henry Marshall. He replaced Otis Taylor, played while the Chiefs were bad, and had to compete with the Steelers' receiving tandem of John Stallworth and Lynn Swann.

It's tougher to determine why the voters shunned Stephone Paige and Wilbur Young, but it probably was because they played most of their careers while the Chiefs were losing. Voters tend to ignore players from bad teams.

Recognition may not have come from the voters, but their efforts did not go unnoticed. All 13 of these players deserve a standing ovation from Chiefs fans for a job well done.






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