Curley Culp was a member of the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl Team
Curley Culp was a Hall of Fame defensive player who led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory in a 14-year NFL history. He died Saturday from complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 75.
Culp revealed this month that he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Collette Bloom Culp was his wife and announced the death of the five-time All-Pro.
Curley Culp’s passing is deeply felt by the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame Family. Jim Porter, Hall of Fame President, said that Curley Culp was a remarkable man of integrity who valued football and how it applies to everyday life. “Curley was a humble and gracious man.
Culp was regarded as one of the best players in the NFL throughout his playing career. However, his position on the interior line of the defensive side meant that his play often went unnoticed. Culp was selected to take part in six Pro Bowls and was second to Steelers cornerback Mel Blount as AP Defensive player of the year after 1975.
Culp was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981, not long after his playing days. Culp proudly wore his Hall of Fame jacket everywhere he went after his 2013 induction.
Amy Adams Strunk, Titans controlling shareholder, stated in a statement that the team had lost “a great one today.” Curley was a game-changer for our defense, when he was traded with the Chiefs. He was also pivotal to our success in the Luv Ya Blue days. Curley deserves a place in Pro Football Hall of Fame. I had the opportunity to spend quality time with Curley’s wife Collette during the Oilers reunion in September.
Curley and his wife brought their two young grandchildren along to the weekend. Curley’s affection for them was evident. As a player, Curley will be remembered for his fierce nose tackle and Hall of Fame man off the field.
Culp learned how to leverage his speed and leverage at Arizona State. Culp was an All-American football player for the Sun Devils. He also won the national title in heavyweight wrestling at 6′ and 265 lbs.
Culp was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round 1965 draft. They hoped to make him an offensive guard. They traded Culp to the Chiefs after it became apparent that this wasn’t going too well. Hank Stram placed him in the middle of a defense line that would eventually take Kansas City to the Super Bowl.
Culp said that “I guess they proved me wrong” in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “A little fireplug that’s me.”
Culp was part of an all-star defense that also included Emmett Thomas and Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, and Bobby Bell. In the fourth Super Bowl, they defeated the Vikings’ famed run game with a 23-7 win.
Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt once said to AP that Curley was a dominant force on the Super Bowl IV defensive line. His father, Lamar Hunt, founded the team. “One of many great player that helped to build the tradition and foundation for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson described Culp “a tremendous athlete,” while Thomas called Thomas “ornery and hell.”
Culp was traded from the Oilers to the Oilers 1974. He had perhaps his best season in the following year. Culp remained in Houston until the 1980 season and then spent one more season in Detroit before declaring his retirement.
In later years, he would show up to Chiefs games and kept in touch with many of the people he knew. In 2008, less than two decades after Lamar Hunt’s passing, he was inducted into team’s Hall of Fame.
Funeral arrangements are not available immediately.