1969 Kansas City Chiefs Season
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1969 Kansas City Chiefs Season

1969 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coachHank Stram
General managerJack Steadman
OwnerLamar Hunt
Home fieldMunicipal Stadium
Results
Record11-3
Division place2nd AFL Western
Playoff finishWon AFL Divisional Playoff (at Jets) 13-6
Won AFL Championship Game (at Raiders) 17-7
Won Super Bowl IV (vs. Vikings) 23-7
AFL All-StarsQB Mike Livingston
RB Robert Holmes
G Ed Budde
T Jim Tyrer
DT Buck Buchanan
DT Curley Culp
LB Bobby Bell
LB Willie Lanier
CB Jim Marsalis
K Jan Stenerud
The Chiefs topped the Raiders in the 1969 AFL championship game (left) and went on to defeat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV (right).

The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs season was the team's 10th, their 7th in Kansas City, and also their final season in the American Football League. It resulted in an 11-3 record and a 23-7 victory in Super Bowl IV over the NFL's heavily favored Minnesota Vikings. The team beat their rivals, the Oakland Raiders in the final AFL Championship Game, claiming their third AFL Championship in franchise history. The Chiefs were coached by Hank Stram, led by quarterback Len Dawson and a powerful defense led by Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas, Johnny Robinson and Curley Culp. The Chiefs' defense became the fourth defense in the history of pro football to lead its league in fewest rushing yards, fewest passing yards and fewest total yards.[1] The Chiefs were the second AFL team to win the Super Bowl and last AFL team to do so before the AFL-NFL Merger in the following season.

The season was marred not only by an injury to quarterback Len Dawson but also controversy surrounding Dawson and his purported involvement in a sports gambling ring. Back-up quarterback Mike Livingston and the Chiefs' stellar defense led the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl, this time, to win it all.

Along with owner Lamar Hunt, nine future Hall of Famers were members of the 1969 Chiefs, including QB Len Dawson, LBs Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, DT Buck Buchanan, DT Curley Culp, CB Emmitt Thomas, S Johnny Robinson, K Jan Stenerud, and Coach Hank Stram.

In 2006, the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs were ranked as the 18th greatest Super Bowl champions on the NFL Network's documentary America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions.[2]

In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1969 Chiefs as the seventh-greatest defense in NFL history,[3] noting "Hank Stram's 'Triple Stack' defense, which gave the linebackers lots of room to roam, was superb, holding five opponents to fewer than 10 points and giving up an average of less than two touchdowns a game.... Then they got serious. Against the [defending] Super Bowl champion Jets in the AFL divisional playoff game at Shea Stadium, the Chiefs held on for a 13-6 victory, thanks to a remarkable three-play goal line stand that stifled the Jets on the one. After losing twice to the Raiders during the regular season, the Chiefs allowed a single touchdown, in the first quarter, to win the AFL title over Oakland 17-7. The Chiefs defense then stifled the Vikings in the Super Bowl, allowing only two rushing first downs and picking off three passes in the fourth quarter to win 23-7. Total points against the Chiefs in the playoffs: 20." Kansas City is the only team in the Super Bowl era to win the title without allowing as much as 10 points in any postseason game.

Offseason

1969 AFL Draft

In the first round of the 1969 AFL Draft, the Chiefs selected cornerback Jim Marsalis from Tennessee State. Marsalis became an immediate starter at cornerback alongside veteran Emmitt Thomas. He was the only Chiefs rookie to start for the 1969 team, as Ed Podolak and Bob Stein were benched, and Morris Stroud and Jack Rudnay sat out the season with injuries.

Round Overall Position Player College
1 23 Defensive back Jim Marsalis Tennessee State
2 48 Running back Ed Podolak Iowa
3 76 Tight end Morris Stroud Clark
4 101 Center Jack Rudnay Northwestern
5 126 Linebacker Darian Steele Missouri
6 155 Running back John Pleasant Alabama State
7 179 Wide receiver Tom Nettles San Diego State
8 204 Tackle Clanton King Purdue
206 Defensive back Maurice LeBlanc Louisiana State
9 231 Guard Dan Klepper Omaha
10 257 Defensive tackle John Spoonheimer Cornell
11 282 Defensive end Skip Wupper C.W. Post
12 309 Linebacker John Lavin Notre Dame
13 335 Guard Rick Piland Virginia Tech
14 360 Defensive back Al Bream Iowa
15 388 Offensive tackle Leland Winston Rice
16 413 Defensive back Eural Johnson Prairie View
17 438 Defensive back Ralph Jenkins Tuskegee

Roster

Regular season

The Chiefs began the regular season with four consecutive road games for the only time in team history, due to a scheduling conflict with the Kansas City Royals about usage of Municipal Stadium.[4] After a decisive 27-9 win at San Diego (9/14), the club posted a 31-0 shutout at Boston (9/21), but QB Len Dawson sustained a knee injury against the Patriots. The once-optimistic picture for the Chiefs went from bad to worse the following week when backup QB Jacky Lee went down with a broken ankle in a 24-19 loss at Cincinnati (9/28). That injury left the team's most crucial position in the hands of second-year QB Mike Livingston, who took just five snaps as a rookie in '68.[4]

However, Livingston engineered a five-game winning streak, while getting plenty of help from the club's defense. The team's home opener at Municipal Stadium was played in a daylong deluge referred to as a "frog-strangler" by Chiefs radio broadcaster Bill Grigsby. The Chiefs and Oilers combined for 14 fumbles in a 24-0 Kansas City victory (10/12).[4]

Dawson returned to the starting lineup in a 27-3 win vs. San Diego (11/9) and guided the club to three wins in the season's next four games. Denver Broncos coach Lou Saban was infuriated following the Chiefs 31-17 win vs. Denver (11/27). Trailing 24-17 late in the game, Denver attempted an onside kick that was recovered by LB Bobby Bell, who promptly returned that kick for a 53-yard TD. Mike Livingston started the following week vs. Buffalo (12/7) for an again-injured Dawson, who returned for the regular season finale at Oakland (12/13). A 10-6 loss vs. the Raiders gave the Chiefs an 11-3 record, good for second in the division behind Oakland (12-1-1).[4]

Schedule

Pre season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 August 2 Oakland Raiders W 23-17 1-0 Legion Field Recap
2 August 9 Detroit Lions W 38-13 2-0 Municipal Stadium Recap
3 August 15 Cincinnati Bengals W 23-7 3-0 Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium Recap
4 August 23 at Los Angeles Rams W 42-14 4-0 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Recap
5 August 29 at St. Louis Cardinals W 31-21 5-0 Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium Recap
6 September 6 Atlanta Falcons W 14-10 6-0 Municipal Stadium Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 September 14 at San Diego Chargers W 27-9 1-0 San Diego Stadium Recap
2 September 21 at Boston Patriots W 31-0 2-0 Alumni Stadium Recap
3 September 28 at Cincinnati Bengals L 19-24 2-1 Nippert Stadium Recap
4 October 5 at Denver Broncos W 26-13 3-1 Mile High Stadium Recap
5 October 12 Houston Oilers W 24-0 4-1 Municipal Stadium Recap
6 October 19 Miami Dolphins W 17-10 5-1 Municipal Stadium Recap
7 October 19 Cincinnati Bengals W 42-22 6-1 Municipal Stadium Recap
8 November 2 at Buffalo Bills W 29-7 7-1 War Memorial Stadium Recap
9 November 9 San Diego Chargers W 27-3 8-1 Municipal Stadium Recap
10 November 16 at New York Jets W 34-16 9-1 Shea Stadium Recap
11 November 23 Oakland Raiders L 24-27 9-2 Municipal Stadium Recap
12 November 27 Denver Broncos W 31-17 10-2 Municipal Stadium Recap
13 December 7 Buffalo Bills W 22-19 11-2 Municipal Stadium Recap
14 December 13 at Oakland Raiders L 6-10 11-3 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Recap

Postseason

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
Divisional
Playoffs
December 20 at New York Jets W 13-6 1-0 Shea Stadium Recap
AFL
Championship
January 4 at Oakland Raiders W 17-7 2-0 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Recap
Super Bowl IV January 11 Minnesota Vikings W 23-7 3-0 Tulane Stadium Recap

Standings

AFL Western Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Oakland Raiders 12 1 1 .923 7-1 377 242 W6
Kansas City Chiefs 11 3 0 .786 5-3 359 177 L1
San Diego Chargers 8 6 0 .571 2-6 288 276 W4
Denver Broncos 5 8 1 .385 3-5 297 344 W1
Cincinnati Bengals 4 9 1 .308 3-5 280 367 L5

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Game summaries

Week 1

1 234Total
• Chiefs 3 1077 27
Chargers 3 060 9

[5]

Postseason

In an AFL Divisional Playoff Game at the New York Jets (12/20), Kansas City rode its dominating defense which produced a crucial goal-line stand en route to a 13-6 win over the defending Super Bowl champions to set up a rematch with the Raiders in the final AFL Championship Game.[4]

Divisional

1 234Total
• Chiefs 0 337 13
Jets 3 003 6

[6]

AFL Championship

1 234Total
• Chiefs 0 773 17
Raiders 7 000 7

[7]

Super Bowl

The fourth annual AFL-NFL Championship Game, now officially known as the "Super Bowl", was played on January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings, 23-7.

Even though the Vikings were 13-point favorites coming into the game, the Chiefs defense dominated the game by limiting the Minnesota offense to only 67 rushing yards, forcing 3 interceptions, and recovering 2 fumbles. The victory by the AFL evened the Super Bowl series with the NFL at two games apiece.

Kansas City's Len Dawson became the fourth consecutive winning quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, with 1 interception. Dawson also recorded 3 rushing attempts for 11 yards.

The Vikings began the game by taking the opening kickoff and marching from their own 20-yard line to the Kansas City 39-yard line, but were forced to punt. The Chiefs then drove 42 yards in 8 plays to score on kicker Jan Stenerud's Super Bowl record 48-yard field goal. (According to Dawson, the Vikings were shocked that the Chiefs would attempt a 48-yard field goal. "Stenerud was a major factor", he said.)[8] Minnesota then managed to reach midfield on their next drive, but were forced to punt again.

On the first play of their ensuing drive, Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson threw a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Frank Pitts, followed by a 9-yard pass to wide receiver Otis Taylor. Four plays later, on the first play of the second quarter, a pass interference penalty on Vikings defensive back Ed Sharockman nullified Dawson's third down incompletion and gave Kansas City a first down at the Minnesota 31-yard line. However, on third down and 4 at the 25-yard line, Vikings cornerback Earsell Mackbee broke up a deep pass intended for Taylor. Stenerud then kicked another field goal to increase the Chiefs lead to 6-0.

On the second play of their next drive, Vikings wide receiver John Henderson fumbled the ball after catching a 16-yard reception, and Chiefs defensive back Johnny Robinson recovered the ball at the Minnesota 46-yard line. But the Vikings made key defensive plays. First defensive tackle Alan Page tackled running back Mike Garrett for a 1-yard loss, and then safety Paul Krause intercepted Dawson's pass at the 7-yard line on the next play.

However, the Vikings also could not take advantage of the turnover. Quarterback Joe Kapp's two incompletions and a delay of game penalty forced Minnesota to punt from their own 5-yard line. The Chiefs then took over at the Viking 44-yard line after punter Bob Lee's kick only went 39 yards. A 19-yard run by Pitts on a reverse play then set up another field goal by Stenerud to increase the Chiefs' lead to 9-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Vikings returner Charlie West fumbled the ball, and Kansas City's Remi Prudhomme recovered it at Minnesota 19-yard line. Defensive tackle Jim Marshall sacked Dawson for an 8-yard loss by on the first play of the drive, but then a 13-yard run by running back Wendell Hayes and a 10-yard reception by Taylor gave the Chiefs a first down at the 4-yard line. Two plays later, running back Mike Garrett's 5-yard touchdown run gave Kansas City a 16-0 lead. The play call was "65 Toss Power Trap", which became a classic play call in NFL history. It was heard because head coach Hank Stram was wearing a microphone for NFL Films, making him the first person to ever do that.[2]

West returned the ensuing kickoff 27 yards to the 32-yard line. Then on the first play of the drive, Kapp completed a 27-yard pass to Henderson to advance the ball to the Kansas City 41-yard line. However, on the next 3 plays, Kapp threw 2 incompletions and was sacked by defensive tackle Buck Buchanan for an 8-yard loss. Then on fourth down, kicker Fred Cox's 56-yard field goal attempt fell short of the goal posts.

In the third quarter, the Vikings managed to build some momentum. After forcing the Chiefs to punt on the opening possession of the second half, Minnesota drove 69 yards in 10 plays to score on fullback Dave Osborn's 4-yard rushing touchdown to cut the lead, 16-7. However, Kansas City responded on their next possession with a 6-play, 82-yard drive to score on Dawson's 46-yard touchdown completion to Taylor three minutes later.

The Chiefs would then go on to shut out the Vikings in the fourth quarter, forcing three interceptions on three Minnesota possessions, to clinch the 23-7 victory. The defeat was total for the Vikings, as even their "Indestructible" quarterback Joe Kapp had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter after being sacked by Chiefs defensive lineman Aaron Brown.

Garrett was the top rusher of the game, recording 11 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 2 passes for 25 yards and returned a kickoff for 18 yards. Taylor was the Chiefs' leading receiver with 6 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kapp finished the game with 16 of 25 completions for 183 yards, with 2 interceptions. Henderson was the top receiver of the game with 7 catches for 111 yards.

This was the last game where the winner was awarded the World Championship Game Trophy, as later that fall the trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy due to Lombardi's death and the AFL-NFL Merger.

AFL All-Star Game

The Chiefs sent nine players to the American Football League All-Star game to represent the AFL West.[9]

References

  1. ^ The Best Show in Football:The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns, p.294, Andy Piascik, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-58979-360-6
  2. ^ a b America's Game: The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs Archived January 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine KCChiefs.com December 7, 2006.
  3. ^ The List: Best NFL defense of all-time, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e Chiefs History: 1960's Archived April 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine KCChiefs.com, retrieved January 1, 2007.
  5. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-Dec-21.
  6. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-Dec-21.
  7. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-Dec-21.
  8. ^ Dawson, "Super Bowl IV"
  9. ^ 1969 Kansas City Chiefs on Pro Football Reference

External links

Preceded by
New York Jets
1968
American Football League champion
1969
Succeeded by
Final champion

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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