The last time the Kansas City Chiefs played in the Super Bowl Richard M. Nixon as POTUS, the Beatles held their last recording session in EMI Studios and Disney World in Orlando had just opened its first building.
On January 11, 1970, more than 50 years ago, the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV. The Vikings, still riding the wave of NFC/NFL superiority despite the Jets upset of the Colts the previous year, were favored by 12 points.
On a chilly Sunday at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, the Chiefs rolled to a 16-0 halftime lead on three Jan Stenerud field goals and a Mike Garrett touchdown run. Kansas City wrapped up the game in the fourth quarter when quarterback Len Dawson hit Otis Taylor on a 46-yard touchdown pass.
Chiefs coach Hank Stram, shown above, was wired for that game, making for some entertaining history on the sidelines. His call on KC’s first touchdown, 65 Toss Power Trap, still resonates today.
It was a sweet victory for Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who founded the AFL in 1960. A few minutes after KC beat Tennessee 35-24 in the AFC championship game to reach Super Bowl LIV, team owner and Lamar’s son Clark Hunt told the fans at Arrowhead Stadium, “We’re going back to the Super Bowl.” That game was the Chiefs 800th since Super Bowl IV.
The Chiefs came close on several occasions, but always fell short until this year. In the 1993 AFC title game, Buffalo pounded Kansas City 30-13. Two years later the Chiefs were the top seed in the AFL at 13-3, but dropped a 10-7 game to Indianapolis.
And just last year, Kansas lost a heartbreaker to New England 37-31 in overtime.
A bit of history. The Chiefs began as the Dallas Texans in 1960 and won the AFL championship in 1962 when they defeated the Houston Oilers 20-17 in two overtimes.
They moved to Kansas City the following season, and won the AFL championship in 1967 with a 31-7 win over the Bills.
Kansas City then lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-10 in the first Super Bowl.
It all comes full cycle when the Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
In 1971, Christmas dinners from Maine to California, from Miami to Seattle, from New York to Kansas City and everywhere in between were delayed. Children had to wait patiently to open their presents. Christmas music was put on mute.
The longest game in NFL history was played that day, December 25, 1971.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins engaged in a marathon double overtime playoff game that lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds. Garo Yepremian’s 37-yard field goal won it for the Dolphins, 27-24.
Kansas City, less than two years removed from a Super Bowl championship, was favored in the contest, the final NFL game played in KC’s old Municipal Stadium. The Dolphins, an AFL expansion team, were an up and coming power, destined for a Super Bowl run of their own. Both teams entered the game 10-3-1.
Hall of Fame quarterbacks Len Dawson of Kansas City and Bob Griese of Miami led their teams up and down the field in a seesaw battle.
Podolak’s Finest Hour
Chiefs’ running back Ed Podolak (not a Hall of Famer), shown below, had the best day of anyone with 350 all-purpose yards, still an NFL playoff record. After Miami tied the game at 24 on a Griese pass to Marv Fleming with 1:25 remaining, Podolak ran back the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to the Miami 22.
However, Kansas City’s Jan Stenerud, the only kicker in the Hall of Fame, missed a game-winning field goal and the contest went into overtime.
In the first OT, Stenerud had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked and Yepremian missed a 52-yarder.
Finally, midway through the second overtime, Miami moved the ball close enough for Yepremian to win it.
The Dolphins went on the beat the Baltimore Colts, 21-0, to win the AFC championship the following week before losing to Dallas, 24-3, in Super Bowl VI.
in 1972 the Dolphins completed a perfect season with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins. The Dolphins beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII the following year for their second straight title. Although they’ve returned, they’ve never won another..
Kansas City, which lost the first Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers and then beat the Vikings, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV, hasn’t been back since.
See what happens when you ruin Christmas dinner.