Another Great D.T. Party … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

From Canton, Ohio

The party roared late into the night in a big white tent just about 100 yards away from the Pro Football l Hall of Fame.

The bust of Derrick Thomas was not yet in its permanent position in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That will happen sometime on Sunday, when his bronze likeness joins the rest of the 2009 Class of HOF inductees in the circular room where all the busts of Hall of Famers, all 253 of them, sit in their place of honor.

But Saturday night, after an emotional induction evening, there was nothing but smiles and laughter inside the party tent where the Hunt Family staged a post-ceremony party. Music played, some people danced, the lives of lost friends and teammates were reviewed.

And in the corner of this tent sat D.T.’s bust. And just like it would have been if he were there in person, that bust was never alone. There was a parade of people who stood with it and had their picture taken. Some rubbed his head and others just stood and stared at what was obviously the face of Derrick Thomas.

Whoever casts these busts for the Hall of Fame does a remarkable job every year in capturing how a person really looks, or in the case of Derrick, how he looked. This image was spot on, a spitting image.

To see that all one had to do was see Derrion Thomas walking around, shaking hands and getting hugs from family and friends. With a profile view there is no doubt that Derrion is D.T.’s son. Derrion told the crowd that he will head off to junior college this fall and then hopefully onto the University of Missouri where he hopes to play football.

The rest of his brothers and sisters were there, along with his niece. That’s right, Derrick Thomas is a grandfather.

Something about that doesn’t jibe with the mental pictures we all carry of the 33-year old D.T. in his final season of 1999.

Here’s what did look right under this big white tent: the celebration and the smiles on the faces of the people who knew D.T. best. How many times have we seen people that have lost a loved one go on with something in their lives and say of the person they lost “He/She would have wanted me to do this.”

Everyone in that tent knew the party is what Derrick Thomas would have wanted. There was nothing he enjoyed more than a party. Along a street coming out of the Hall of Fame were the white tents that held parties for all those who were honored with induction Saturday night.

“If he was here, this tent wouldn’t be able to hold everyone,” said his former teammate Kevin Ross.”They would have to bust out the sides. Everyone wanted to be around him and all those other tents would be empty.”

It was a party scene that Chiefs fans would have loved. There was Ross standing with Tracy Simien and telling a story of a half-time speech Marty Schottenheimer once gave. Ross was failing his arms around, shouting at the top of his lungs, looking like somebody who had just been struck with palsy. The best part of the picture was Schottenheimer was standing right there, roaring with laughter as Ross did his best Marty.

Earlier somebody had mentioned to Schottenheimer the blubbering picture of him that the TV cameras caught during the ceremonies. “I’ve given up trying to hold that stuff in,” Marty said. “Not that I did a very good job of it in the first place!”

Dave Szott was there with his youngest son. Szott now works with the New York Jets and he was at the team’s training camp in Cortland, New York at dinner time Friday evening. Then they got in the car and drove all night to get to Canton to enjoy the festivities. “I didn’t want to miss it, and I wanted my son to see it,” Szott said. “What a great night.”

Pat Schottenheimer stood off the side and watched a parade of former players find their head coach to say hello.

“You know years ago when we were in Kansas City, I was sitting in the box and I looked into the press box through the glass and Ozzie Newsome was sitting in there,” Pat said. “He saw me and he waved and he came around to the box and we were talking about some of the guys who played for the Browns when we were in Cleveland and Ozzie said, ‘Miss Pat, we are all grown up.’

“I’m standing here watching these familiar faces walk past and I just can’t help but think of that, they are all grown up.”

In the back corner of the tent was a big TV screen playing a continuous loop of an NFL Films-NFL Network tape with highlights and interviews about Thomas. At one point or another everyone stopped and watched John Elway go down, or Steve Young, or Jim Kelly. For a few seconds there was the face of Gunther Cunningham. If Carl Peterson was D.T.’s surrogate father, then Gunther was his surrogate godfather.

Gunther was there Saturday night in Fawcett Stadium. He slipped in midway through the event, stayed for Derrick’s induction and then hit the exit where he got back in a car with a Lions executive and drove back to Detroit. Even though Sunday’s a day off, he had to get back to training camp. Typical Gun.

Derrick would have understood.


BROWNS – released DL Shaun Smith; G Rex Hadnot suffered a torn MCL in his knee this past week, not a torn ACL as first believed. Hadnot should be ready in September.

COLTS – QB Jim Sorgi suffered a hamstring injury and will likely miss 2 or 3 weeks.

EAGLES – signed TE Rob Myers; TE Cornelius Ingram suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during practice this past week and is done for the season.

JAGUARS – claimed CB Don Carey on waivers (Browns); released S Mesphin Forrester.

SEAHAWKS – released LB Tony Taylor; signed LB Shane Simmons.


On August 9, 1964 the Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders 21-14 in a pre-season game played before 11,118 fans in Oakland. RB Jack Spikes ran for 64 yards and a touchdown, and QB Eddie Wilson threw an 11-yard TD pass to WR Solomon Brannan. Raiders QB Cotton Davidson threw four interceptions for the Raiders. One of the kickers that day for the Chiefs who had a pair of field goals and an extra point was Herb Travenio. He was a 31-year old rookie who won a Purple Heart while serving in the Korean War.

On August 9, 1975 the Chiefs lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 10-3 in a pre-season game at Arrowhead Stadium. It was the first game in franchise history where the head coach was somebody other than Hank Stram. Paul Wiggin was the team’s new head coach and he watched as his team’s only points came on a 35-yard field goal by K Jan Stenerud. The Chiefs had three turnovers in the second half. Their biggest offensive weapon was RB Jeff Kinney who had 50 yards on 11 carries.


Born on August 9, 1954 in Broxton, Georgia was WR Henry Marshall. He was selected in the third-round of the 1976 NFL Draft out of the University of Missouri. Marshall played 12 seasons (1976-87) with the Chiefs, appearing in 165 games, with 135 starts. He finished his career as the team’s all-time leading receiver with 416 catches for 6,545 yards and 33 touchdowns. Marshall also carried the ball 24 times for 257 yards and 2 TDs. His best season was 1984, when he led the team with 62 catches for 912 yards and four touchdowns.

9 Responses to “Another Great D.T. Party … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 9, 2009  - Joel @ Arrowhead Pride says:

    Great story, Bob. Thanks for keeping us filled in during this weekend.

  • August 9, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    It was a great ceremony. Wilson, Woodson, Peterson, and Smith all gave great speeches (Carl was a little long-winded, but that’s Carl). I got choked up myself when I saw Marty in tears; those were special times and even with all that’s happened since they can’t be taken away.

    All-in-all, it was a long-overdue and well-deserved sendoff for D.T.; he officially takes his place among the standout defensive players of his era.

  • August 9, 2009  - Morty says:

    I sure wish Marty would get a team that would go to the damn Superbowl and win! That man just deserves it! Seeing him emotional as he was let me know it was alright to cry! Marty was the coach when I grew up a Chiefs fan, he will always be my favorite coach! I just wish a team would give him a shot and give him what he needs to succeed! He is a GREAT coach! Thank you Carl for making him stand up and be acknowledged! Derrick and Marty…now there was a Father son relationship. Marty obviously loved DT.

  • August 9, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Real Rin :cool: daddy-o sez –

    Can somebody get Marty Schottenheimer a plumber?

    heh heh heh


  • August 9, 2009  - Don in Wichita says:

    It sounded like a remarkable event! DT was lucky to have you in his corner Bob. I’d loved to have been there.

  • August 9, 2009  - Jason says:

    Really nice post, Bob. What a great day in Chiefs history.

  • August 9, 2009  - Kevin B says:

    Im with Morty, I grew up watching DT and MArty and in my opinion that guy is the best coach around

  • August 10, 2009  - CK says:

    Thanks for your efforts getting DT where he belongs.
    My son and I drove to Canton and pretty much reacted the way Marty did. Carl did a wonderful job presenting DT. He hit all the right points. It helped us forgive him for hiring edwards.
    There were about 1,500-2,000 Chiefs fans there. We were second behind the Bills.
    I just wish we knew about the party tent afterwards. We took off right after DT’s induction to beat the Bills fans. But we would have loved to shake Marty, Carl, Neil and the rest of the Chiefs hands.
    Now DT can finally rest in peace.

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