1969 Kansas City Chiefs season

The Chiefs topped the Raiders in the 1969 AFL championship game (left) and went on to defeat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV (right).

1986 Jeno's Pizza - 49 - Robert Holmes
1986 Jeno's Pizza - 50 - Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp

The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs season was the team's 10th, their 7th in Kansas City, and also their final season in the American Football League. It 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 Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas, Johnny Robinson 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.

Along with owner Lamar Hunt, nine future Hall of Famers were members of the 1969 Chiefs, including QB Len Dawson, LBs Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, DT Buck Buchanan, DT Curley Culp, CB Emmitt Thomas, S Johnny Robinson, K Jan Stenerud, and Coach Hank Stram.

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." 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.

1969 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coachHank Stram
General managerJack Steadman
OwnerLamar Hunt
Home fieldMunicipal Stadium
Division place2nd AFL Western
Playoff finishWon AFL Divisional Playoff (at Jets) 13–6
Won AFL Championship Game (at Raiders) 17–7
Won Super Bowl IV (vs. Vikings) 23–7
AFL All-StarsQB Mike Livingston
RB Robert Holmes
G Ed Budde
T Jim Tyrer
DT Buck Buchanan
DT Curley Culp
LB Bobby Bell
LB Willie Lanier
CB Jim Marsalis
K Jan Stenerud


1969 AFL Draft

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


1969 Kansas City Chiefs final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

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

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 10 Inactive, 7 Practice squad

Regular season

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

Week 1

1 234Total
• Chiefs 3 1077 27
Chargers 3 060 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]


1 234Total
• Chiefs 0 337 13
Jets 3 003 6


AFL Championship

1 234Total
• Chiefs 0 773 17
Raiders 7 000 7


Super Bowl

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

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"

  • "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 Archived January 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine 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 Archived April 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine 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

Preceded by
New York Jets
American Football League champion
Succeeded by
Final champion
History of Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks

31 quarterbacks have started for the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs since their franchise began. The team has also had numerous backup quarterbacks that have stolen the spotlight from the starters.Under Len Dawson, the Texans/Chiefs won three American Football League championships and appeared in two Super Bowl championship games. Dawson was named Most Valuable Player following the Chiefs' victory in Super Bowl IV. Dawson played a total of 13 seasons with Kansas City and retired with many franchise records. Despite never having success in developing and drafting a quality quarterback of their own, the Chiefs have achieved success under many veteran quarterbacks, including Dave Krieg, Joe Montana, Elvis Grbac, Trent Green and Alex Smith. The Chiefs have often relied on veteran leadership at the position.

Len Dawson

Leonard Ray Dawson (born June 20, 1935) is a former American football quarterback and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played 19 seasons for three professional teams, the last 14 seasons with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, and played college football at Purdue University.

Dawson led the Texans/Chiefs to three American Football League Championships (1962, 1966, 1969), and a victory in Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings, for which he won the game's MVP award. Dawson retired from professional football after the 1975 season, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He is former sports director at KMBC-TV in Kansas City and former color analyst for the Chiefs Radio Network. Dawson owned the Chiefs single season passing touchdown record which he set in 1964 with 30 touchdowns. The record stood until November 11, 2018 when Patrick Mahomes threw his 31st touchdown of the 2018 season.

List of AFC champions

The American Football Conference (AFC) is one of two conferences within the National Football League, the National Football Conference (NFC) being the other. The AFC has its roots in the American Football League (AFL), which began to play in 1960. In 1970, the AFL merged with the NFL. As part of the merger, the former AFL teams, plus three former NFL teams (the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers), were placed into the AFC. The remaining former NFL teams were placed in the NFC.

List of Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterbacks

The Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs are a member of the Western Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League (NFL). Originally named the Dallas Texans, the club was founded by Lamar Hunt in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. In 1963, the team moved to Kansas City, Missouri and were renamed the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs have had 37 different quarterbacks start at least one game in their franchise's history, 21 of which have started at least 10 games. Cotton Davidson was the team's first starting quarterback; he played all 14 games for the Texans in their inaugural 1960 season. Davidson played with the franchise from 1960 to 1962, and was traded in 1963 to the Oakland Raiders. Len Dawson signed with on July 2, 1962 and played for the franchise for 14 seasons. With Dawson as the team's starter, the Texans/Chiefs won three American Football League championships and appeared in two Super Bowl championship games. Dawson was named Most Valuable Player after the Chiefs' victory in Super Bowl IV and retired in 1975 with several franchise records. Three quarterbacks currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame have started at least one game for Kansas City: Dawson, Joe Montana, and Warren Moon. In the 2008 season, the Chiefs started three quarterbacks: Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, and Tyler Thigpen. After Croyle and Huard were sidelined by injuries, Thigpen played in eleven games, winning one and losing ten. In 2009 and 2010, Matt Cassel started 15 of 16 games each season, while Croyle started the other 2 games.

Willie Lanier

Willie Edward Lanier (born August 21, 1945) is a former American football middle-linebacker who played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 through 1977. He won postseason honors for eight consecutive years, making the American Football League All-Star team in 1968 and 1969 before being selected to the Pro Bowl from 1970 through 1975. Lanier was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Scoring summary
Q1KCJan Stenerud 35 yard field goalKC 3–0
Q1SDDennis Partee 50 yard field goalTie 3–3
Q2KCWendell Hayes 1 yard run (Jan Stenerud kick)KC 10–3
Q2KCJan Stenerud 17 yard field goalKC 13–3
Q3SDJohn Hadl 9 yard run (kick failed)KC 13–9
Q3KCOtis Taylor 55 yard pass from Len Dawson (Jan Stenerud kick)KC 20–9
Q4KCOtis Taylor 9 yard pass from Len Dawson (Jan Stenerud kick)KC 27–9
Scoring summary
Q1NYJJim Turner 27 yard field goalNYJ 3–0
Q2KCJan Stenerud 23 yard field goalTie 3–3
Q3KCJan Stenerud 25 yard field goalKC 6–3
Q4NYJJim Turner 7 yard field goalTie 6–6
Q4KCGloster Richardson 19 yard pass from Len Dawson (Jan Stenerud kick)
Scoring summary
Q1OAKCharlie Smith 3 yard run (George Blanda kick)OAK 7–0
Q2KCWendell Hayes 1 yard run (Jan Stenerud kick)Tie 7–7
Q3KCRobert Holmes 5 yard run (Jan Stenerud kick)KC 14–7
Q4KCJan Stenerud 22 yard field goalKC 17–7
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

Playoff appearances (20)
Division championships (10)
League championships (3)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (59)
Eastern Division
Western Division

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