- Super Bowl IV
visitor_qtr1 = 0
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January 11, 1970
stadium = Tulane Stadium
city = New Orleans, Louisiana
attendance = 80,562
odds = Vikings by 12½
Len Dawson, Quarterback
coin_toss = Game referee
referee = John McDonough
halftime = "
Mardi Gras" with Carol Channing
Jack Buck, Frank Giffordand Pat Summerall
rating = 39.4
share = 69
commercial = $78,000
last = III
next = V
Super Bowl IV was the fourth
AFL-NFL Championship Gamein professional American football, and the second one (after Super Bowl III) to officially bear the name " Super Bowl". This was the final AFL-NFL Championship Game before the National Football League(NFL) and the American Football League(AFL) merged into one combined league after the season.
The game was played on
January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadiumin New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the first Super Bowl played without the standard week off after the conference championship games (league championship games at the time). Strangely enough, the AFL had a week off between its divisional playoffs (the NFL played its conference championship games during the AFL's off-week) and league championship game. The AFL started its 1969 season a week earlier than the NFL, and thus had an extra week to deal with during the post-season. This would be the last Super Bowl played without the week off until Super Bowl XVII.
The AFL champion
Kansas City Chiefs(11-3) defeated the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings(12-2), 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.
Len Dawsonbecame 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 crowd of 80,562 was a Super Bowl record for attendance.
The Vikings, led by head coach
Bud Grant, entered the game with an NFL best 12-2 regular season record, leading the older league in total points scored (379) and fewest points allowed (133). They had scored 50 or more points in three different games. They had 12 straight victories, the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years, ["Super Bowl IV," "Super Bowl I-X Collector's Set." NFL Productions, LLC, 2003] and became the first modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL championship. Their defense, considered the most intimidating in the NFL, was anchored by a defensive line nicknamed the " Purple People Eaters", consisting of defensive tackles Gary Larsenand Alan Page, and defensive ends Carl Ellerand Jim Marshall. The secondary was led by defensive backs Bobby Bryant(8 interceptions, 97 return yards), Earsell Mackbee(6 interceptions, 100 return yards), and Paul Krause(5 interceptions, 82 return yards, 1 touchdown).
On offense, quarterback
Joe Kappwas known for his superb leadership and his running ability, both throwing on the run and running for extra yards. And when Kapp did take off and run, instead of sliding when he was about to be tackled like most quarterbacks, he lowered his shoulder and went right at the tackler. This style of play earned him the nickname "Indestructible". In the NFL Championship Game against Cleveland Browns, he collided with linebacker Jim Houstonwhile running for a first down, and Houston had to be helped off the field after the play ended. Also, Kapp was known for being an extremely unselfish leader: when he was voted the Vikings' Most Valuable Player, he turned the award down and said that every player on the team was equally valuable.
Dave Osbornwas the team's top rusher with 643 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 236 yards and another touchdown. In the passing game, Pro Bowlwide receiver Gene Washingtonaveraged 21.1 yards per catch by recording 821 yards and 9 touchdowns of off just 39 receptions. Wide receiver John Hendersoncaught 34 passes for 553 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Vikings offensive line was anchored by Pro Bowlers Grady Aldermanand Mick Tingelhoff.
Kansas City Chiefs
Meanwhile, it seemed that the Chiefs, led by head coach
Hank Stram, and especially quarterback Len Dawson, were jinxed throughout the year. In the second game of the regular season, Dawson suffered a knee injury that kept him from playing the next six games. The Chiefs managed to finish in second place behind the Oakland Raidersin the AFL's Western Division, but only after suffering a tough 10-6 loss to Oakland in the final game of the regular season. After that game, many sports writers and fans heavily criticized the team and Dawson for the poor play calling (Dawson called between 80 and 90 percent of the plays during the season).Len Dawson, "Super Bowl IV," "Super Bowl: The Game of Their Lives," Danny Peary, editor. Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 0-02-860841-0]
The Chiefs still managed to clinch a playoff spot. Wanting to set itself up more like the NFL right before the merger, the AFL expanded the playoffs for the 1969 season, by having the second place teams from each division face the first place teams from the other division (Western Champion vs. Eastern Runner-Up, and vice versa). As a result of the new playoff format, many critics thought the Chiefs entered the playoffs through a "back-door" as the runner up in the Western division. But Dawson silenced the critics and led Kansas City to a strong finish in the playoffs, defeating the Jets 13-6 in the Divisional Playoffs and eliminating the Raiders 17-7 in the AFL Championship Game, thus essentially making the Chiefs the first wild card team to play in the Super Bowl. (Dawson says he thinks both the Jets and the Raiders could have beaten the Vikings.)
Still, many people felt that Dawson's level of play in the AFL was not comparable to the NFL. Dawson himself had spent 4 seasons in the NFL as a backup before going to the AFL and becoming one of its top quarterbacks. "The AFL saved my career," said Dawson. In his 8 AFL seasons, he had thrown more touchdown passes (182) than any other professional football quarterback during that time. But because many still viewed the AFL as being inferior to the NFL, his records were not considered significant. Dawson's first chance to prove himself against an NFL team ended in failure, with his Chiefs losing 35-10 in
Super Bowl I, reinforcing the notion that his success was only due to playing in the "inferior league".
Offensively, the Chiefs employed innovative formations and strategies designed by Stram to disrupt the timing and positioning of the defense. Besides Dawson, the Chiefs main offensive weapon was running back
Mike Garrett(1965 Heisman Trophywinner), who rushed for 732 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also recorded 43 receptions for 432 yards and another 2 touchdowns. Running back Robert Holmeshad 612 rushing yards, 266 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. In the passing game, wide receiver Otis Taylor caught 41 passes for 696 yards and 7 touchdowns. The offensive line was anchored by AFL All-Stars Ed Buddeand Jim Tyrer. According to Len Dawson, placekicker Jan Stenerud and punter Jerrel Wilson were the best kickers in football.
The Chiefs defense led the AFL in fewest points allowed (177). Like the Vikings, the Chiefs also had an outstanding defensive line, which was led by defensive tackles
Buck Buchananand Curley Culp, and defensive ends Jerry Maysand Aaron Brown (American football). The Chiefs also had AFL All-Star linebacker Willie Lanier, who recorded 4 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery during the season. The Kansas City secondary was led by defensive backs Emmitt Thomas(9 interceptions for 146 return yards and a touchdown), and Johnny Robinson(8 interceptions for 158 return yards).
uper Bowl pregame news and notes
Many sports writers and fans fully expected that the Vikings would easily defeat the Chiefs. Although the AFL's
New York Jetswon Super Bowl IIIat the end of the previous season, many were convinced that it was a fluke. They continued to believe that all of the NFL teams were far and away superior to all of the AFL teams.
Super Bowl IV provided another chance to show that Dawson belonged at the same level with all of the great NFL quarterbacks. But five days before the Super Bowl, news leaked that his name had been linked to a Detroit federal gambling investigation. Although Dawson was eventually cleared of any charges, the controversy added to the pressure he was already under while preparing for the game, causing him to lose sleep and concentration. "It was, beyond a doubt, the toughest week of my life," said Dawson.Shelby Strother, "Beyond an Unreasonable Doubt," "The Super Bowl: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of America's Greatest Game". Simon and Schuster, 1990 ISBN 0-671-72798-2]
The night before the game, Ed Sabol of NFL Films met with Stram and convinced Stram to wear a hidden microphone during the game so his comments could be recorded for the NFL Films Super Bowl IV film. They agreed the microphone would be kept secret. This would be the first time that a head coach had worn a microphone during a Super Bowl.
Television and entertainment
Super Bowl IV was broadcast in the
United Statesby CBSwith play-by-play announcer Jack Buckand color commentators Frank Giffordand Pat Summerall. While the game was sold out at Tulane Stadium, unconditional blackout rules in both leagues prohibited the live telecast from being shown in the New Orleans area. Trumpeters Al Hirtand Doc Severinsen"faced off" during the pregame show in a "Battle of the Horns". A planned hot-air balloon race fizzled when the balloon marked NFL and carrying a "Viking" lifted off prematurely, failed to gain altitude, and crashed into the stands in the end zone. Hirt later performed the national anthem, while actress and singer Carol Channingwas featured during the halftime show that paid tribute to Mardi Grasin New Orleans.
NFL FilmsSuper Bowl IV film is one of the best-known and most popular of the NFL Films Super Bowl films due to the constant chatter and wisecracking of Hank Stram.
Chiefs head coach
Hank Stram, who was also the team's offensive coordinator, devised an effective game plan against the Vikings. He knew the Vikings' secondary was able to play very far off receivers because defensive ends Carl Ellerand Jim Marshall knocked down short passes or pressured the quarterback. Stram decided to double-team Marshall and Eller; most of Dawson's completions would be short passes, and neither Marshall nor Eller knocked down any passes. Stram also concluded that the Vikings' aggressiveness on defense also made them susceptible to trap plays (at one point stating that the Chiefs offensive formations left Viking safety Karl Kassulke running like it was a " Chinese Fire Drill"); Mike Garrett's rushing touchdown would come on a trap play. The Chiefs routinely played a 3-4 defense, common in the AFL but rare in the NFL. The Vikings' inside running game depended on center Mick Tingelhoffblocking linebackers. Stram put 285 pound Buck Buchananor 295 pound Curley Culpin front of Tingelhoff, who weighed only 235 pounds. It was a mismatch that disrupted the Vikings' running game. Wrote Dawson, "It was obvious that their offense had never seen a defense like ours." The Vikings would rush for only two first downs.
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.) 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 Dawsonthrew 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 Sharockmannullified 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 Hendersonfumbled the ball after catching a 16-yard reception, and Chiefs defensive back Johnny Robinsonrecovered the ball at the Minnesota 46-yard line. But the Vikings made key defensive plays. First defensive tackle Alan Pagetackled running back Mike Garrettfor a 1-yard loss, and then safety Paul Krauseintercepted 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 an end around play then set up another field goal by Stenerud to increase the Chiefs' lead to 9-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Vikings returner
Charlie Westfumbled the ball, and Kansas City's Remi Prudhommerecovered it at Minnesota 19-yard line. ("That was a key, key play," said Dawson.) 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 Hayesand 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 on a trap play gave Kansas City a 16-0 lead.
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 Buchananfor 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. Taylor caught the ball at the Minnesota 41-yard line, broke Earsell Mackbee's tackle, raced down the sideline, broke safety Karl Kassulke's tackle, and scored.
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 (American football). Kapp was replaced by Gary Cuozzo. Fittingly, the Vikings' final play was an interception Cuozzo threw to Thomas.
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. The Chiefs defense had completely shut down Minnesota's rushing attack. In the NFL championship game, Osborn had rushed for 108 yards while Kapp rushed for 57. But in the Super Bowl, they rushed for a combined total of 24 yards.
Referring to the Vikings' three interceptions, three fumbles, and six penalties, Vikings safety Karl Kassulke said, "We made more mental mistakes in one game than we did in one season."
Source: [Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present. ] Kansas City Minnesota OFFENSE
Frank Pitts25 WR Gene Washington 84 Jim Tyrer77 LT Grady Alderman67 Ed Budde71 LG Jim Vellone63 E. J. Holub55 C Mick Tingelhoff53 Mo Moorman76 RG Milt Sunde64 Dave Hill 73 RT Ron Yary73 Fred Arbanas84 TE John Beasley 87 Otis Taylor 89 WR John Henderson 80 Len Dawson16 QB Joe Kapp11 Mike Garrett21 RB Dave Osborn41 Robert Holmes 45 RB Bill Brown 30 DEFENSE Jerry Mays75 LE Carl Eller81 Curley Culp61 LT Gary Larsen77 Buck Buchanan86 RT Alan Page88 Aaron Brown87 RE Jim Marshall 70 Bobby Bell78 LLB Roy Winston60 Willie Lanier63 MLB Lonnie Warwick59 Jim Lynch51 RLB Wally Hilgenberg58 Jim Marsalis40 LCB Earsell Mackbee46 Emmitt Thomas18 RCB Ed Sharockman45 Jim Kearney46 LS Karl Kassulke29 Johnny Robinson42 RS Paul Krause22
*Referee: John McDonough (AFL)
*Head Linesman: Harry Kessel (AFL)
*Line Judge: Bill Schleibaum (NFL)
*Field Judge: Charlie Musser (AFL)
*Back Judge: Tom Kelleher (NFL)
"Note: A seven-official system was not used until 1978"
*61 degrees, heavy overcast, wet field, Tornado Watch issued for area
1969 NFL season
NFL playoffs, 1969
American Football League playoffs
* [http://www.superbowl.com/ Super Bowl official website]
*cite book | title=2006 NFL Record and Fact Book | publisher=Time Inc. Home Entertainment | id=ISBN 1-933405-32-5
*cite book | title=Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League | publisher=
Harper Collins| id=ISBN 1-933405-32-5
*cite book | title=The Official NFL Encyclopedia Pro Football | publisher=NAL Books | id=ISBN 0-453-00431-8
*cite book | title=The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995 | id=ISBN 0-89204-523-X
*http://www.pro-football-reference.com - Large online database of NFL data and statistics
* [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/super/superbowl-plays.htm Super Bowl play-by-plays] from
USA Today(Last accessed September 28, 2005)
* [http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default.asp?c=sportsnetwork&page=nfl/superbowl/2005/superbowl-alltime-odds.htm All-Time Super Bowl Odds] from The Sports Network (Last accessed October 16, 2005)
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