A Kansas City Chiefs father and son made history as first-round draft picks — just 2 decades apart
Ed and Brad Budde both played offensive line for the Chiefs, and were both first round draft picks — a singular achievement in the NFL.
For just one example of how professional football has changed since its debut in Kansas City, look no further than Ed Budde, selected 8th overall by the Chiefs in the 1963 American Football League Draft.
“I made $15,000 the first year with a $5000 bonus,” Budde says with a laugh. “Now, No. 1 draft choices are millionaires.”
Not only was Budde part of a draft class that laid the foundation for the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl championship, he became a part of football history and a unique father-son achievement that still stands, 43 years later.
Budde, a promising prospect from Michigan State, had a competing offer to play in Philadelphia as the National Football League’s fourth overall pick. But based on advice from former college teammate and then-Chiefs tight end Fred Arbanas, Budde gave the Eagles the cold shoulder.
“He told me about this new league and, ‘it’s exciting,’” Budde recalls.
Despite signing with a brand new franchise in the Chiefs, the team already had many of its key pieces in place, including Arbanas and quarterback Len Dawson, both of whom moved with the team from Dallas the year before.
Budde’s AFL draft class also included future Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan and Bobby Bell.
In practice, Ed was taught by future Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, often referred to as “The Mentor,” and Bill Walsh, the Chiefs offensive line coach.
“We had some good people,” Budde says, putting it mildly.
There was something else on his mind at that time, too: Raising a young family.
Ed and Carolyn Budde tied the knot while in high school and had their first child, Brad, in May 1958, about the same time Ed got his high school diploma.
Ed’s pro career made quite an impression on young Brad, who was a water boy during Chiefs training camps in the hot summers.
Brad Budde also recalls making the trip to New Orleans in 1970, when the Chiefs beat Minnesota in the Super Bowl — Kansas City’s first championship.
“I flew in the morning of the game, flew back with my dad’s jersey and showed it to ‘show and tell’ (in school) the next day,” he says.
By 1976, Ed’s last year with the Chiefs, Brad’s interest in football was obvious.
“I just knew that he had the talent — especially grade school and high school,” says Ed Budde, now 82 and living in Overland Park, Kansas.
Brad played at Rockhurst High School, then chose the University of Southern California for college ball. He was the first freshman since World War II to start for the Trojans. And he only got better in his four seasons there.
In the 1980 NFL Draft, Brad was selected 11th overall by — who else? — the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It was a wonderful fruition of a lot of hard work, a lot of prayers, a lot of love and support from my parents,” says Brad, who remembers being in West Hollywood, California, with his agent when the draft took place.
It was the first time a father and son were taken in the first round by the same team, and the first time both father and son were offensive linemen.
“It was just something that was really special, and the older I get the more I appreciate it,” Brad says.
Brad Budde’s NFL career didn’t have the same trajectory as his father’s. In his six years with the Chiefs, they only made the playoffs once, in 1986, his final year in the NFL.
“We’re known for the dark ages, during that time in the 80s when hardly anyone was in the stands,” said Brad, now 64 and a physical therapist in southern California.
He still makes the occasional trip to Kansas City to visit his parents, and, last year, attended the Christmas Eve game between the Chiefs and Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium.
“One of my favorite movies is, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’” he says. “And I feel like I’ve had a wonderful life.”
The modern NFL Draft eclipses the ones that made the Buddes' careers possible — this week’s mega-event will take over entire blocks of Kansas City. But Brad says he appreciates the change.
“It’s wonderful to see because the NFL is such a game of passion,” he says.
Though the Budde’s historic father-son moment won’t be replicated anytime soon, passionate NFL fans around the world will be tuned in to Kansas City this week to see what new storylines do unfold.