While Arrowhead Stadium stands in the state of Missouri, much of its fan base resides in bordering states to the west. There’s a joke in Kansas about why it’s always so windy here. The answer isn’t because it’s flat and has very few trees. Every true Kansan knows it’s because Oklahoma sucks and Nebraska blows.
I don’t think I’d have the cojones to tell that joke to former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields though. He’s 6-foot-3, 315 pounds and played his high school ball in Lawton, OK and his college ball at the University of Nebraska. He was the first to come to mind as I looked at the guard position for my all time Chiefs lineup though, even as a native Kansan. Little did I know, he’s a Kansan too.
There are numerous historic forts in Kansas but only three active military bases — one of which is Fort Riley. It’s located just outside of Manhattan, KS where another beloved football stadium stands. Manhattan is the home of Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the Kansas State Wildcats. Fort Riley is also home of the United States Army’s First Infantry Division, known as the Big Red One.
On Sept. 15, 1971, Will Herthie Shields was born on that base. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round in 1993. He didn’t start his first game, but he played in it. He then played in 231 consecutive games for Kansas City, a club record, and second at the time only to Brett Favre.
Shields blocked for Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, all of whom had 1,000 yard seasons behind him. He protected two 4,000 yard passers, Trent Green and, hold it, hold it, hold it — Elvis Grbac. He went to the Pro Bowl every year from 1995 to 2006, 12 total, and, of course, actually played in all of them. Only two other NFL players have done that.
When it comes to the best guards in Chiefs’ history, it’s a no-brainer to me — born on a fort, always reporting for duty, and with the name Will Shields. He wore No. 68, but to me he will always be the Big Red One.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia or “Like” him on Facebook