1969 Kansas City Chiefs season

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1969 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coach Hank Stram
General manager Jack Steadman
Owner Lamar Hunt
Home field Municipal Stadium
Record 11–3
Division place 2nd AFL Western
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Jets) 13–6
Won AFL Championship (Raiders) 17–7
Won Super Bowl IV (Vikings) 23–7
Previous season Next season
< 1968 1970 >

The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs season 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 "Contact" Lanier, Buck Buchanan 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.

Eight future Hall of Famers played for the Chiefs on the 1969 squad, including QB Len Dawson, LB's Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, DT Buck Buchanan, DT Curley Culp, CB Emmitt Thomas and K Jan Stenerud. Coach Hank Stram has also been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

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."


1969 AFL Draft[edit]

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


Kansas City Chiefs 1969 final roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve List—Did not play

Complete team roster
Rookies in italics
Starters in bold
Positions in parentheses

Regular season[edit]

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]


AFL Preseason
Week Opponent Result Game site Attendance
1 Oakland Raiders W 23–17 Legion Field 21,000
2 Detroit Lions W 38–13 Municipal Stadium 38,027
3 Cincinnati Bengals W 23–7 Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium 24,513
4 at Los Angeles Rams W 42–14 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 58,306
5 at St. Louis Cardinals W 31–21 Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium 48,006
6 Atlanta Falcons W 14–10 Municipal Stadium 37,273
AFL Regular Season
Week Opponent Result Game site Attendance
1 at San Diego Chargers W 27–9 San Diego Stadium 47,988
2 at Boston Patriots W 31–0 Alumni Stadium 22,002
3 at Cincinnati Bengals L 19–24 Nippert Stadium 27,812
4 at Denver Broncos W 26–13 Mile High Stadium 50,564
5 Houston Oilers W 24–0 Municipal Stadium 45,805
6 Miami Dolphins W 17–10 Municipal Stadium 49,809
7 Cincinnati Bengals W 42–22 Municipal Stadium 50,934
8 at Buffalo Bills W 29–7 War Memorial Stadium 45,844
9 San Diego Chargers W 27–3 Municipal Stadium 51,104
10 New York Jets W 34–16 Shea Stadium 63,849
11 Oakland Raiders L 24–27 Municipal Stadium 51,982
12 Denver Broncos W 31–17 Municipal Stadium 48,773
13 Buffalo Bills W 22–19 Municipal Stadium 47,712
14 at Oakland Raiders L 6–10 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 54,443
1969 AFL Playoffs
at New York Jets W 13–6 Shea Stadium 62,977
at Oakland Raiders W 17–7 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 54,443
Super Bowl IV at New Orleans
Super Bowl IV Minnesota Vikings W 23–7 Tulane Stadium 80,562


AFL Western Division
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[edit]

Week 1[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Chiefs 3 10 7 7 27
Chargers 3 0 6 0 9



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]

For more details on this topic, see American Football League playoffs.


1 2 3 4 Total
• Chiefs 0 3 3 7 13
Jets 3 0 0 3 6


AFL Championship[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Chiefs 0 7 7 3 17
Raiders 7 0 0 0 7


Super Bowl[edit]

Main article: Super Bowl IV
Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 0 7 0 7
Chiefs 3 13 7 0 23

at Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information
First Quarter
Second Quarter
  • KC - Jan Stenerud 32-yard field goal - Chiefs 6-0
  • KC - Jan Stenerud 25-yard field goal - Chiefs 9-0
  • KC - Mike Garrett 5-yard run (Jan Stenerud kick) - Chiefs 16-0
Third Quarter

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.

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.

AFL All-Star Game[edit]

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


  • The 1969 Chiefs were the last team to be 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.
  • During Super Bowl IV, coach Hank Stram was the first person to ever wear a microphone for NFL Films.[2] Stram's infamous phrases have now become as famous as the Hall of Fame coach himself.
  • Coach Hank Stram had a local Kansas City tailor custom-fit each member of the Chiefs team with a suit jacket and pants which were to be worn on all road trips during the 1969 season.[2]
  • Kansas City began the regular season with four consecutive road games for the only time in team history.[4] This is likely due to the fact the Kansas City Royals began play at Municipal Stadium in 1969. As a condition of returning baseball to Kansas City (the Athletics moved from Kansas City to Oakland, California following the 1967 season), Royals owner Ewing Kauffman won a concession from Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt that gave the Royals priority in scheduling at the stadium until the baseball season ended. This became moot when the Chiefs moved to Arrowhead Stadium in 1972 and the Royals moved to Royals Stadium in 1973.

"65 Toss Power Trap"[edit]

  • "65 Toss Power Trap" – Wearing an NFL Films microphone during Super Bowl IV, Chiefs head coach Hank Stram made one of the classic play calls in NFL history, “65 Toss Power Trap.” Len Dawson recounts, “I’m in the huddle and here comes Gloster Richardson into the game with a play. He says ‘Coach wants you to run 65 Toss Power Trap.’ I said, ‘We haven’t run that play in a really long time, are you sure that’s what he wants?’ Gloster says, ‘Yes, it’s 65 Toss Power Trap.’” Running back Mike Garrett scored a touchdown on the play giving the Chiefs a commanding 16–0 lead in the second half.[2]


  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 c d America's Game: The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs 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 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[edit]

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