In 1959, Lamar Hunt began discussions with other businessmen to establish a professional football league that would rival the National Football League. Hunt's desire to secure a football team was heightened after watching the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. After unsuccessful attempts to purchase and relocate the NFL's Chicago Cardinals to his hometown of Dallas, Texas, Hunt went to the NFL and asked to create an expansion franchise in Dallas. The NFL turned him down, so Hunt then established the American Football League and started his own team, the Dallas Texans, to begin play in 1960. Hunt hired a little-known assistant coach from the University of Miami football team, Hank Stram, to be the team's head coach after the job offer was declined by Bud Wilkinson and Tom Landry.
The Texans shared the Cotton Bowl with the NFL's cross-town competition Dallas Cowboys for three seasons.
It turned out to be the last game the team would play as the Dallas Texans. Despite competing against a Cowboys team that managed only a 9–28–3 record in their first three seasons, Hunt decided that the Dallas–Fort Worth media market could not sustain two professional football franchises. He considered moving the Texans to either Atlanta or Miami for the 1963 season. However, he was ultimately swayed by an offer from Kansas City Mayor Harold Roe Bartle. Bartle promised to triple the franchise's season ticket sales and expand the seating capacity of Municipal Stadium to accommodate the team.