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Who was the first head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs?

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History lesson

The Tale of "Possum Trot": Kansas City's Almost-Name

Back in 1838, John McCoy and his 13 pals pooled together a sum of $4,220 and acquired what we now recognize as downtown Kansas City. With the land secured, the next big challenge was naming it. Many locals have heard the quirky tale that the city was almost christened "Possum Trot." This whimsical name suggestion has become as much a part of local folklore as tales about renowned figures like Walt Disney and Ernest Hemingway. Historian Matt Reeves, affiliated with the Kansas City Public Library, delved into this legend, noting that stories often stick better than plain facts.

McCoy's own recollection, penned four decades after the naming event, paints a vivid picture. He and his buddies, all white men, convened in One-Eyed Ellis's cabin. After a series of name suggestions, including the rather self-serving "Port Fonda" by Abraham Fonda, the group turned to a dictionary for inspiration. Amidst this brainstorming, Old Squire Bowers humorously proposed "Rabbitville" or "Possum Trot." While the latter name did elicit some chuckles, it wasn't taken too seriously. In the end, the name "Kansas City" narrowly won out. However, before this name became official, the town was often referred to as "Kansas" or the "Town of Kansas," names deeply rooted in the local indigenous culture.

The "Possum Trot" legend, though entertaining, is a blend of truths, half-truths, and pure fiction. Different accounts of that fateful naming night exist, with variations in details. For instance, Walt Bodine, a Kansas City radio pioneer, had his own spin on the story, suggesting that "Possum Trot" was a serious contender, missing out by just one vote. Whether fact or fiction, the tale has endured, capturing the imaginations of Kansas Citians for generations.

Haven, Heywise Staff

Quiz WriterHaven, Heywise Staff

As a child, Haven enjoyed learning everything they could about many subjects, though the best resource was her grandma’s old stack of encyclopedias in those days. Today, Haven still likes to know a bit about everything. When they're not researching information for their posts or flexing that history degree, Haven's going through the quizzes of other authors on the site - because this is where the facts are found! Visitors to our site turn to Haven's fun and factual articles to learn about all kinds of things, from do-it-yourself ideas to the wider world. Those who prefer to get their facts in article format can find Haven all across the web, as well.

Did you know?

The Chiefs' Dallas Origins

Before they became the iconic Kansas City Chiefs, this esteemed football team had its roots in a completely different city and under a different name. Founded in 1959 by businessman Lamar Hunt, the team was originally known as the Dallas Texans. They were a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and shared the Cotton Bowl stadium with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys for their first three seasons. Despite their promising performance, the Texans found themselves overshadowed in the Dallas–Fort Worth media market, which led to considerations of relocating the team.

In a twist of fate, Kansas City Mayor Harold Roe Bartle made an enticing offer, promising to boost the franchise's season ticket sales and expand the seating capacity of Municipal Stadium. This led to the team's relocation to Kansas City in 1963. But here's the fun part: the team's new name, the "Chiefs", was inspired by a fan contest. It paid homage to Mayor Bartle's nickname, acquired from his role as Scout Executive of local Boy Scout Councils and founder of the Scouting Society, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. Contrary to some beliefs, the name wasn't a direct reference to Native Americans but a nod to Bartle's nickname "Chief". This rich history adds layers of depth to the Chiefs' legacy, making them more than just a football team, but a tapestry of stories, decisions, and fate.

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