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An NFL star, a murder-suicide and the family left behind

By: Emma Lu

As a football player, it was certain that Jim Tyrer would succeed. For 13 consecutive years, the athlete was an absolute menace in the game. He and his teams achieved feats from winning the Super Bowl to winning AFL’s All-Time Team award. He was set to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but after he fell short of the necessary votes in 1981, he was never chosen again.

No one would’ve guessed the way he carried on with his life, given how much he had accomplished. At age 40, a little over half of the average life expectancy, he ended what could’ve stayed a good life. With a wife and four children, it didn’t seem like much could go awry. However, when Tyrer shot his wife and then himself, his family knew there was something wrong.

Like many unfortunate athletes, Jim Tyrer struggled financially after his retirement. Many athletes that aren’t even retired already struggle to make ends meet. Shortly before his death, he was already acting differently. He had told his eldest child, Brad, to take care of his siblings, and he had taken his youngest child, Jason, to a Chiefs game. In both incidents, the children recalled the fact that he was unusually affectionate.

At the funeral, their house was packed, from Tyrer’s family to his teammates. He was a person to be missed. Still, his murder-suicide slimmed his chances of ever making it into the Hall of Fame. Despite this, Jim Tyrer’s legacy was secure—it showed in his numerous awards and wins. “None of us really had been upset or frustrated,” said his oldest son, Brad. As a realistic yet legendary football player, Tyrer lives on in his family.

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