1986 Kansas City Chiefs season

1986 Kansas City Chiefs season

1986 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coach John Mackovic
Home field Arrowhead Stadium
Record 10–6
Division place 2nd AFC West
Playoff finish Lost AFC Wild Card round (Jets) 15–35
Previous season      Next season
< 1985      1987 >

The 1986 Kansas City Chiefs season ended with a 10–6 record, the most wins for the franchise since 1971. The Chiefs clinched a wild card playoff berth, but lost to the New York Jets 15–35.

Former linebacker Willie Lanier was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2. On the field, the pieces started coming together for head coach John Mackovic. His offense displayed plenty of scoring punch, while the club’s defense and special teams became increasingly effective.[1] With the team sitting at 3–3, Bill Kenney replaced Todd Blackledge for the second half of the season in a game against San Diego,[1] guiding the club to a 42–41 victory. That win was the first of four consecutive triumphs with Kenney at the helm, the club’s longest winning streak since 1980. Poised with a 7–3 record after 10 games, three straight losses in November put the Chiefs playoff chances in jeopardy. Two December wins gave Kansas City a 9–6 mark, putting the Chiefs on the verge of their first postseason berth in 15 years.[1]

The defining moment of the season came in the regular season finale at Pittsburgh on December 21.[1] Despite being outgained in total yardage by a 515-to-171-yard margin, the Chiefs were able to notch a 24–19 victory as all of the team’s points came via special teams on a blocked punt return, a field goal, a kickoff return and a blocked field goal return.[1] With a 10–6 record the Chiefs earned an AFC Wild Card berth, winning a tiebreaker with Seattle. Bill Kenney was injured in the fourth quarter of the Steelers contest, meaning Todd Blackledge would draw the starting assignment for the club’s first playoff contest since 1971, a 35–15 loss at New York.

Mackovic was fired by Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt after the season.

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 7, 1986 Cincinnati Bengals W 24–14
2 September 14, 1986 at Seattle Seahawks L 23–17
3 September 21, 1986 Houston Oilers W 27–13
4 September 28, 1986 at Buffalo Bills W 20–17
5 October 5, 1986 Los Angeles Raiders L 24–17
6 October 12, 1986 at Cleveland Browns L 20–7
7 October 19, 1986 San Diego Chargers W 42–41
8 October 26, 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 27–20
9 November 2, 1986 at San Diego Chargers W 24–23
10 November 9, 1986 Seattle Seahawks W 27–7
11 November 16, 1986 at Denver Broncos L 38–17
12 November 23, 1986 at St. Louis Cardinals L 23–14
13 November 30, 1986 Buffalo Bills L 17–14
14 December 7, 1986 Denver Broncos W 37–10
15 December 14, 1986 at Los Angeles Raiders W 20–17
16 December 21, 1986 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–19



AFC Wild Card Playoffs

1 2 34Total
Chiefs 6 0 0915
Jets 7 14 7735

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Quarterback Pat Ryan led the Jets to the victory with 3 touchdown passes. The Chiefs scored first on a 67-yard drive capped by running back Jeff Smith. On their ensuing possession, the Jets faced fourth down and 6 on the Kansas City 33-yard line. Rather than attempt a long field goal, Ryan faked a handoff and rushed for a 24 yard gain. Two plays later, running back Freeman McNeil scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown. In the second period, Ryan completed two touchdown pass: a 1-yarder to McNeil and an 11-yarder to wide receiver Al Toon. On the first play of the second half, Jets linebacker Kevin McArthur returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown. Ryan later clinched the victory in the fourth period with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Billy Griggs. The Chiefs' only scores in the second half was a blocked punt recovery in the end zone, and an intentional safety by the Jets.

McNeil finished the game with 135 rushing yards, 3 receptions for 16 yards, and 2 touchdowns.

  • Scoring
    • KC – Smith 1 run (kick failed)
    • NYJ – McNeil 4 run (Leahy kick)
    • NYJ – McNeil 1 pass from Ryan (Leahy kick)
    • NYJ – Toon 11 pass from Ryan (Leahy kick)
    • NYJ – McArthur 21 interception return (Leahy kick)
    • KC – Lewis recovered blocked punt in end zone (Lowery kick)
    • NYJ – Griggs 6 pass from Ryan (Leahy kick)
    • KC – Safety, Jennings ran out of end zone