For 1973, the defense kept the club in contention thanks to a nucleus that still included the bulk of the squad’s Super Bowl IV starters. Quarterback Mike Livingston started in a 23–13 Opening Day loss against the Los Angeles Rams on September 16, but Len Dawson returned to rally the club for three consecutive wins to get the club off to a 3–1 start for a third consecutive year. The aging Len Dawson made his final start of the year in a 23–14 loss at Buffalo on October 29 and was replaced for the remainder of the year by Livingston, beginning a string of three straight seasons in which both players split time at the position.
Livingston led the club to another three straight wins, putting the team in first place in mid-November with a 6–3–1 record. A 1–2–1 ledger over the season’s final month ended the club’s post-season aspirations as the team finished the year in a second-place tie with Denver at 7–5–2. Len Dawson became the second Chiefs player in as many years to win the NFL Man of the Year Award. Following Super Bowl VIII, The AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was held at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20 with the AFC claiming a 15–13 win thanks to five field goals from Miami placekicker Garo Yepremian.