Remembering Opening Day: 1998

In the days leading up to the 2010 Chiefs season opener, we have been recalling some of the more memorable first games for the red and gold over the last 30 seasons. These are openers that I’ve seen first-hand. Here’s another one of my favorites.

September 6, 1998, @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

There was a time in Chiefs history when they played defense quite well. It was a stifling, aggressive, attacking style that forced turnovers, dropped quarterbacks and helped the team rack up more victories than defeats. It also had Arrowhead Stadium rocking every Sunday, or Monday night, or Thursday evening.

There were few times during the 1990s where the Chiefs Nation made more noise than they did for the season opener in 1998. An old foe was in town, the Oakland Raiders. They had a new head coach, a young bratty looking guy by the name of John Gruden. They had a problem at quarterback, where they were led by Jeff George.

And Gruden found out that he had a major problem on his offensive line. Derrick Thomas and his defensive mates, with some help from the screaming Arrowhead faithful  – numbering 78,945 on this night - made that very plain.

Oakland fumbled the ball five times in the first half and the Chiefs offense led by QB Elvis Grbac turned those takeaways into 20 points with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of Pete Stoyanovich field goals. RB Donnell Bennett scored on a one-yard run and Grbac and WR Andre Rison combined on a 30-yard TD play.

D.T. went crazy in this game.

The Chiefs had 10 sacks and Thomas ended up sacking George six times, one short of the NFL record he set eight years earlier. The Raiders had all off-season to prepare for this game, but they had no answers in stopping Thomas.

He put the cherry on his sacking Sunday with a safety on his sixth sack, with just under two minutes to play in the game. The best part of the play was that Thomas called his shot before the snap, making the signal for a safety as the teams were lining up for the play.

“Jeff asked me ‘Do you have to keep coming so hard every single play?’” Thomas said after the game. “I just ignored him. I try to wreak havoc on every play.”

D.T. certainly did just that on this night, as the Chiefs 28-8 victory was No. 300 in the history of the franchise.

RAIDERS-CHIEFS/Sunday, September 6, 1998

Oakland        0    0    8    0    –    8

Kansas City        17     3     3     5    –    28

Team Statistics



First Downs



Total Yards






Net Passing Yards






Sacks Allowed






Time of Possession



  • Leading Rushers: Chiefs – RB Donnell Bennett 24-115 yards; Raiders – RB Napoleon Kaufman 9-27 yards.
  • Leading Receivers: Chiefs – WR Andre Rison 4-62 yards; Raiders – WR Tim Brown 7-67 yards.
  • Leading Passer: Chiefs – Elvis Grbac 12 of 23 for 130 yards; Raiders – Jeff George 19 of 31 for 270 yards.

One Response to “Remembering Opening Day: 1998”

  • September 12, 2010  - matt says:

    we need this again

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