An 0–5 start doomed the squad with a 44–7 loss at Cleveland (10/30) effectively sealing Wiggin’s fate. Despite the club’s record Wiggin was still a popular figure in Kansas City, but was nonetheless relieved of his duties on Halloween, marking the only in-season coaching switch in team history. Wiggin concluded his tenure with an 11–24 record.
Defensive backs coach Tom Bettis was named interim coach and claimed a 20–10 victory vs. Green Bay (11/6) in the franchise’s initial contest under his direction, but it was the only victory of his brief head coaching tenure. The team endured a six-game losing streak to conclude the season at 2–12.
Bettis and the remainder of the coaching staff assembled by Wiggin were released on December 19, one day after a 21–20 loss at Oakland (12/18) in the regular season finale. Marv Levy, the former head coach of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, was named the fourth head coach in franchise history on December 20.
The heart and soul of the Chiefs once-vaunted defense departed when roommates Willie Lanier and Jim Lynch, who both joined the club together as second-round draft picks in 1967, retired following the ‘77 campaign. Baltimore later acquired Lanier’s rights in a trade, but failed to lure him out of retirement.