1969 American Football League Championship Game

The 1969 AFL Championship Game was the tenth and final AFL championship game, held at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Oakland, California, on January 4, 1970. It matched the Kansas City Chiefs (11–3) and the Oakland Raiders (12–1–1), both of the Western Division. Oakland had won the two regular season games between the two teams and were slight favorites.[2]

The Chiefs won 17–7 on the strength of 17 straight points in the last three quarters and represented the AFL in Super Bowl IV the following week.[3][4][5] This was the final AFL game.

1969 American Football League Championship Game
1986 Jeno's Pizza - 49 - Robert Holmes
Chiefs running back Robert Holmes (center) rushing against the Raiders in the championship game.
Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders
17 7
1234 Total
KC 0773 17
OAK 7000 7
DateJanuary 4, 1970
StadiumOakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California
RefereeJack Vest
Attendance54,544
TV in the United States
NetworkNBC
AnnouncersCurt Gowdy, Kyle Rote[1]
Oakland is located in the United States
Oakland
Oakland
Location in the United States

Game summary

The Chiefs managed to edge out Oakland in a hard fought defensive struggle in which both teams combined for just 440 yards (233 for Oakland, 207 for KC) and each lost four turnovers. It was a very satisfying win for Kansas City, who had lost to the Raiders twice during the season and in 7 of their last 8 meetings, including a 41-6 loss in the previous year's postseason.

The Raiders opened up the scoring with a 66-yard drive, featuring Daryle Lamonica's 24-yard completion to Warren Wells on the Chiefs' 3-yard line. Running back Charlie Smith ran the ball across the goal line on the next play, giving Oakland a 7-0 lead. Both defenses would take over the majority of the rest of the half, but with 3:24 remaining in the second quarter, Kansas City, who had only gained two first downs up to now, drove 75 yards to tie the game. Quarterback Len Dawson started off the drive with a 14-yard completion to Otis Taylor, while Robert Holmes' 8-yard run moved the ball into Raiders territory on their 42 for the first time in the game as the clock ran down to the 2-minute warning. On the next play, Dawson threw a 41-yard completion to receiver Frank Pitts. Then Wendell Hayes scored a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7 going into halftime.

Oakland seemed primed to respond in the third quarter with a drive to the Chiefs' 33-yard line, but in what turned out to be a crucial play, Lamonica jammed his thumb and fingers when his throwing hand struck the helmet of Chiefs defensive end Aaron Brown, and he had to miss the rest of the drive. Backup George Blanda took over and tried to take the team the rest of the way to the end zone, but a few players later, defensive back Emmitt Thomas made a clutch interception on the Chiefs' 5-yard line. Kansas City then drove 95 yards for a go-ahead score. The key play on the drive with a 35-yard reception by Taylor through triple coverage with the team facing 3rd and 13 from their own 2-yard line. Dawson later completed a 23-yard pass to Holmes on the drive, and defensive back Nemiah Wilson's pass interference penalty eventually gave Kansas City a first down on the Raiders' 7-yard line. Holmes carried the ball three straight times after that, the last a 5-yard touchdown run to put the Chiefs up 14-7.

Lamonica returned to the game in the 4th quarter, but was unable to lead the Raiders to any points, despite numerous opportunities. A promising drive into Kansas City territory was eliminated when Jim Kearney intercepted Lamonica's pass on the Chiefs 18-yard line. Two plays later, defensive end Carlton Oats recovered a fumble from Holmes on the Chiefs' 24. But on the next play, Oakland gave the ball right back with an interception to rookie cornerback Jim Marsalis. Amazingly, Oakland got the ball back on another Holmes fumble, this one recovered by linebacker Dan Conners on the Chiefs' 31. Still, the only result would be another Lamonica interception, this one to Thomas, who returned it 62 yards to the Raiders' 18-yard line, setting up Jan Stenerud's 22-yard field goal that increased Kansas City's lead to 17-7. Oakland had one last chance to get back in the game when defensive end Ike Lassiter recovered a fumble from Dawson on the Kansas City 13 with two minutes left. But Lamonica threw four straight incompletions and the Chiefs ran out the rest of the clock.[6][7]

Neither quarterback had a particularly good day. Dawson completed only 7 of 17 passes for 129 yards, while Lamonica finished 15/39 for 167 yards and three interceptions. Charlie Smith was the sole offensive star of the game, with 31 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with 8 receptions for 86 yards.

Officials

  • Referee: Jack Vest
  • Umpire: Paul Trepinski
  • Head Linesman: Cal Lepore
  • Line Judge: Aaron Wade
  • Back Judge: Hugh Gamber
  • Field Judge: Bob Baur [3]

The AFL (and NFL) had six game officials in 1969; the seventh official, the side judge, was added in 1978.

Players' shares

The Chiefs players each received $7,000 and the Raiders players about $5,000 each.[8]

Aftermath

The Chiefs went on to win the Super Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings, in a final showing of the AFL and its strength. 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.

The two leagues merged into one after this game, with the ten AFL teams and three NFL teams (Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts, and Cleveland Browns) forming the American Football Conference. Super Bowl V was the first game for that conference, which the Colts won. The Chiefs have not yet won an AFC Championship, having only appeared twice, most recently in 2018. Conversely, the Raiders have appeared in eleven, winning four and losing seven; their last appearance (and win) was in 2002.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b 1969 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Raiders slight favorites". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 4, 1970. p. 1, sports.
  3. ^ a b Markus, Robert (January 5, 1970). "Chiefs, Vikings roll into Super Bowl". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 3A.
  4. ^ "Vikings, Chiefs gain Super Bowl". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. January 5, 1970. p. 1, part 2.
  5. ^ Rathet, Mike (January 5, 1970). "Viks, Chiefs storm to Super Bowl showdown". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. p. 3B.
  6. ^ http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1970/01/05/page/93/article/minnesotans-beat-browns-27-7-1st-title
  7. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1653179-two-championships-in-one-season-1969-kansas-city-chiefs
  8. ^ "Chiefs 'intercept' ticket to Super Bowl". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 5, 1970. p. 24.

Coordinates: 37°45′07″N 122°12′04″W / 37.752°N 122.201°W

Preceded by
New York Jets
1968 AFL Champions
Kansas City Chiefs
American Football League Champions

1969
Succeeded by
League's last season was 1969
1969 NFL Championship Game

The 1969 NFL Championship Game was the 37th and final championship game prior to the AFL–NFL merger, played January 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb south of Minneapolis. The winner of the game earned a berth in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans against the champion of the American Football League.The Minnesota Vikings of the Western Conference hosted the Cleveland Browns of the Eastern Conference. It was the Vikings' first appearance in the title game, while the Browns were making their second straight appearance and fourth of the 1960s.

Minnesota had a regular season record of 12–2, including a 51–3 defeat of the Browns eight weeks earlier on November 9. The Vikings defeated the Los Angeles Rams 23–20 in the Western Conference championship a week earlier at Met Stadium. They were coached by Bud Grant and led on offense by quarterback Joe Kapp and wide receiver Gene Washington. The defense allowed only 133 points (9½ per game) during the regular season and their four defensive linemen were known as the "Purple People Eaters."

Cleveland was 10–3–1 during the regular season and had upset the Dallas Cowboys 38–14 at the Cotton Bowl for the Eastern Conference title. The Browns were coached by Blanton Collier; Bill Nelsen was the starting quarterback and Gary Collins and Paul Warfield were star wide receivers for the team.

Although not as severe as the "Ice Bowl" of 1967, the weather conditions were bitterly cold at 8 °F (−13 °C), with a sub-zero wind chill factor. Cleveland linebacker Jim Houston suffered frostbite during the game and was hospitalized.

Minnesota was favored by nine points to win the title game at home, and they won, 27–7.Of the four NFL teams that joined the league during the AFL era (1960s), Minnesota was the sole winner of a pre-merger NFL championship. The Dallas Cowboys entered the league in 1960 and lost two NFL title games to the Green Bay Packers, in 1966 and 1967. The expansion Atlanta Falcons (1966) and New Orleans Saints (1967) did not qualify for the postseason until 1978 and 1987, respectively.

The Vikings would go on to lose Super Bowl IV 23-7 to the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs. Starting with the 1970 season, the NFL champion was determined in the Super Bowl, beginning with Super Bowl V.

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