Gunther Cunningham presided over some of the most successful defenses in NFL history (1995 & 1997), typically ranking at the top of the league in many statistical categories.
One of Cunningham's biggest goals as co-ordinator was to create big plays and result in turnovers. During his original tenure, Cunningham's defenses allowed an average of only 16.4 points per game, the best mark in the NFL and had a turnover margin of +30, tops in the AFC. Under his lead, a number of players excelled, including stars such as Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, James Hasty, and Dale Carter. Cunningham's defenses led Kansas City to an overall record of 42-22.
After the Chiefs missed the playoffs in 1998, head coach Marty Schottenheimer resigned, opening the door for Cunningham's promotion to the head coach position. After two seasons of .500 ball, Cunningham was fired in favor of Dick Vermeil. Under Vermeil, the Chiefs' offense exploded, but its defense struggled, resulting in the firing of Vermeil's choice of defensive co-ordinator, Greg Robinson.
Again, in stepped Cunningham to revitalize a defense that had finished near or at the bottom of the overall rankings since Schottenheimer and Cunningham departed. Despite struggles in his first year, recent additions such as Patrick Surtain, Kendrell Bell, Sammy Knight, Derrick Johnson, and rookie Tamba Hali have resulted in steady improvement and feelings of optimism.