While the club’s sparkling new facility at Arrowhead Stadium was drawing rave reviews, the Chiefs roster was beginning to show its age. The result was the team’s first losing season in 11 years as the club was unable to string together consecutive victories during the year, a first in franchise history. Many of the club’s key players were entering the twilight of their careers: Len Dawson was 39, Jim Tyrer was 35, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, and Ed Budde were 34, Dave Hill was 33 and Otis Taylor was 32.
One of the year’s few bright spots in the 5–9 season was cornerback Emmitt Thomas, who led the league with a franchise-record 12 interceptions. The final game of the 1974 campaign marked the final time all five of Kansas City’s Pro Football Hall of Fame players from the club’s AFL champion era took the field together with coach Hank Stram. Including owner Lamar Hunt and five future Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famers, an amazing total of 12 Hall of Fame inductees were involved in that 1974 season finale game. That 35–15 loss against Minnesota provided an anticlimactic conclusion to Hank Stram’s illustrious coaching career in Kansas City. Three days later, Stram, the only head coach in franchise history was relieved of his duties on December 27 after compiling a 124–76–10 regular season record with the club.