How many NFL Players smoke cigarettes 

There’s a green Fresca bottle between his feet, and in between his right thumb and index finger, a lit cigarette pulled closely to his lips, captured precisely with his cheeks sucked in, mid-drag. 

The man is Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson, and the photo is from halftime of the very first Super Bowl, played way back on Jan. 15, 1967. And when Donovan noticed that a colleague down the hall had placed a larger version of this photo — one that has gained more life in recent years — on top of a credenza a few years back, Donovan knew he had to have one, too. 

Ever since then, the Chiefs who were around back then have found themselves fielding questions about how a football player could have been smoking in the middle of what would eventually become one of sport’s biggest and most physically demanding spectacles. 

Arbanas said. “Nothing bad had been brought up about cigarette smoking, or any type of smoking, back then. Guys would be smoking cigarettes to relax, and most of the people our age started smoking when they were like 12 years old back then.  

While the concept of smoking during a game might seem outrageous now, Arbanas’ assertion is backed up by Chiefs historian Bob Moore, who joined the team in 1989 and spent two decades as its public relations director. 

By Stenerud’s sixth season in Kansas City, smoking was still a big enough part of pro football culture, with players puffing away on the sideline and in the locker room. All the locker room stalls at Arrowhead Stadium came with ashtrays when it opened in 1972. 

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