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.[1][2]

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.[3][4] 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.[5][6] 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,[1][7] and they won, 27–7.[2][8][9]

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.

1969 NFL Championship Game
Cleveland Browns Minnesota Vikings
7 27
1234 Total
Cleveland Browns 0007 7
Minnesota Vikings 141030 27
DateJanuary 4, 1970
StadiumMetropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota
FavoriteVikings by 8 points [1]
RefereeTommy Bell
TV in the United States
AnnouncersRay Scott, Paul Christman,
and Bruce Roberts
Radio in the United States
Metropolitan Stadium is located in the United States
Metropolitan Stadium
Metropolitan Stadium
Location in the United States
Metropolitan Stadium is located in Minnesota
Metropolitan Stadium
Metropolitan Stadium
Location in Minnesota

Game summary

Cleveland had lost the previous season's NFL title game 34–0 at home, and this time fared little better. The Vikings dominated the game, racking up 381 yards with no turnovers, while Cleveland gained just 268 yards and turned the ball over three times.

The Vikings took a lead just four minutes into the first quarter, driving 70 yards for a touchdown in 8 plays. The key play of the drive was a pass from Joe Kapp to receiver Gene Washington that was nearly 5 yards short of the mark. Despite the short throw, Washington was able to come back and haul it in for a 33-yard gain to the Browns' 24-yard line. Two plays later, Dave Osborn's 12-yard run moved the ball to the 7. Then two plays after that, Bill Brown accidentally slipped and bumped into Kapp while moving up to take a handoff, but Kapp simply kept the ball himself and ran it 7 yards for a touchdown.

The situation never got any better for Cleveland. The next time Minnesota got the ball, defensive back Erich Barnes slipped while in one on one coverage with Washington, enabling him to catch a pass from Kapp and take off for a 75-yard touchdown completion. Barnes had been knocked down by linebacker Jim Houston, his teammate, and this made the score 14-0 after only a few seconds more than 7 minutes of play.[10] Near the end of the first quarter, Browns running back Leroy Kelly lost a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Wally Hilgenberg on the Cleveland 43. Kapp then completed a 12-yard pass to Washington before Fred Cox finished the drive with a 30-yard field goal, putting the Vikings up 17–0. Later in the second period, Hilgenberg snuffed out a Cleveland scoring threat by intercepting a pass from Bill Nelsen on the Vikings' 33-yard line. Minnesota subsequently drove 67 yards in 8 plays. Kapp started the drive with a pair of completions to John Henderson for 17 total yards, while Osborn broke off a 16-yard run and ended up finishing the drive with a 20-yard touchdown burst, giving the Vikings a 24–0 lead with 4:46 left in the first half. Cleveland responded with a drive to the Vikings' 17, but turned the ball over on downs when Nelsen overthrew receiver Gary Collins in the end zone on 4th and 3.

The third quarter was mostly uneventful, other than Cox's 32-yard field goal that gave Minnesota a 27–0 lead after an 11-play, 80-yard drive. The most noteworthy play was a 13-yard scramble by Kapp in which he plowed into 240-pound Browns linebacker Jim Houston so hard that Houston was knocked out of the game. In the 4th quarter, Cleveland finally got on the board when a diving 18-yard reception by Paul Warfield set up Nelsen's 3-yard touchdown pass to Collins. There were still 13 minutes on the clock at this point, but there would be no more scoring. The Vikings had a drive to the Cleveland 2-yard line, but decided to let the clock run out instead of go for another score.[11]

Kapp completed just 7 of 13 passes, but for 169 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 57 yards and another score. Osborn rushed 18 times for 108 yards and a touchdown. Washington had 120 yards and a touchdown on just 3 receptions. Kelly was the Browns' top rusher with 80 yards, while also catching two passes for 17. Nelsen completed just 17 of 33 passes for 181 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.[2][8][9] The Browns had trouble on the frozen turf of Metropolitan Stadium even though many players wore broomball shoes.[10]


  • Referee: (7) Tommy Bell
  • Umpire: (57) Joe Connell
  • Head Linesman: (30) George Murphy
  • Line Judge: (39) Jack Fette
  • Back Judge: (47) Ralph Vandenberg
  • Field Judge: (34) Fritz Graf [11]

The NFL had six game officials in 1969; the side judge was added in 1978.

See also


  1. ^ a b Livingston, Pat (January 4, 1970). "Vikings, Browns clash for NFL title". Pittsburgh Press. p. 1, section 4.
  2. ^ a b c "Minnesota, Chiefs will meet on Super Sunday". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 5, 1970. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Browns routed by Vikings, 51-3". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. November 10, 1969. p. 28.
  4. ^ "Browns crushed by Vikings, 51-3". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. November 10, 1969. p. 13, part 2.
  5. ^ "Nelsen leads Browns to 38-14 victory". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 29, 1969. p. 26.
  6. ^ "Browns baffle Dallas again". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. December 29, 1969. p. 9, part 2.
  7. ^ "It's cold - of course - in Minnesota". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 4, 1970. p. 1, sports.
  8. ^ a b Lea, Bud (January 5, 1970). "Vikings, Chiefs gain Super Bowl". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  9. ^ a b Livingston, Pat (January 5, 1970). "Vikings' supermen hurdle Browns". Pittsburgh Press. p. 25.
  10. ^ a b "Kapping the Browns". Sports Illustrated. January 12, 1970.
  11. ^ a b Rollow, Cooper (January 5, 1970). "Minnesotans beat Browns, 27-7; 1st title". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 3A.

External links

[https://www.webcitation.org/68UZMEIjN?url=http://www.cleveland.com/brownshistory/plaindealer/index.ssf?%2Fbrowns%2Fmore%2Fhistory%2F19700104BROWNS.html%5D Chuck Heaton, "Vikings Repulse Browns, 27–7", Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 4, 1970, Browns history database retrieved December 12, 2007

Coordinates: 44°51′14″N 93°14′31″W / 44.854°N 93.242°W

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.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. This was the final AFL game.

1969 Cleveland Browns season

The 1969 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 20th season with the National Football League and the last before the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger.

The Browns made it to the 1969 NFL Championship Game, where they fell to the Minnesota Vikings. The 1969 season would be the last year that Cleveland would win a postseason game until 1986. In addition, that victory over Dallas would also be the last time the Browns won a postseason game on the road as of 2017.

Dave Osborn

Dave Osborn (born March 18, 1943 in Everett, Washington) is a former professional American football player who played running back for twelve seasons for the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.

John Henderson (wide receiver)

John William Henderson (born March 21, 1943) is a former professional American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan in 1963 and 1964 and in the National Football League (NFL) from 1965 to 1972. He was the leading receiver in Super Bowl IV with seven catches for 111 yards.

Henderson was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1943 and attended Roosevelt High School. He played college football at the end position for the Michigan Wolverines football team in 1963 and 1964. He gained 330 receiving yards on 27 catches in 1963 and 377 yards on 31 catches in 1964.Henderson was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round (63rd overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft. He played eight seasons in the NFL for the Detroit Lions (1965–1967) and the Minnesota Vikings (1968–1972). His best year in the NFL was 1969 when he caught 34 passes for 553 yards and five touches. The Vikings won the 1969 NFL Championship Game and advanced to play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV; Henderson was the game's leading receiver with seven catches for 111 yards. In his eight-year NFL career, Henderson appeared in 93 games and had 108 receptions for 1,735 yards and 10 touchdowns.

List of Minnesota Vikings head coaches

The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League (NFL). The club was founded by Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H. P. Skoglund and Max Winter in 1959 as a member of the American Football League. However, they forfeited their membership in January 1960 and became the National Football League's 14th franchise in 1961.There have been nine head coaches in the history of the franchise, beginning with Norm Van Brocklin, who was head coach for six seasons between 1961 and 1967. Van Brocklin's successor, Bud Grant, is the only coach to have had more than one tenure with the franchise, and also the only one to have won an NFL championship with the team, at the 1969 NFL Championship Game. Grant is the all-time leader in games coached (243), wins (151), and winning percentage (.622). Les Steckel has the worst winning percentage of the franchise's nine head coaches (.188), with just three wins in his only season in charge. Two Vikings coaches have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Grant and Van Brocklin, although Van Brocklin was elected for his playing career. Mike Tice is the only former Vikings player to have become a head coach for the franchise. The most recent coach was former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who took over as interim head coach from Brad Childress after the latter was fired on November 22, 2010. Frazier held the position permanently from January 3, 2011, until December 30, 2013, when he was fired after compiling a 21–32–1 record as head coach. On January 15, 2014, the Vikings appointed Mike Zimmer as the team's ninth head coach.

List of NFL franchise post-season droughts

This is a list of current National Football League (NFL) franchise post-season and Super Bowl droughts (multiple consecutive seasons of not winning). Listed here are both appearance droughts and winning droughts in almost every level of the NFL playoff system.

As of the 2018 NFL season, every active NFL team has qualified for, and won a game in, the playoffs at least once. Teams that have never made it beyond each successive milestone are listed under the year in which they began NFL play.

Of the 12 teams that have never won the Super Bowl, four (4) are expansion franchises younger than the Super Bowl itself (Bengals, Panthers, Jaguars, and the Texans). The Falcons began playing during the season in which the Super Bowl was first played. The seven (7) other clubs (Cardinals, Lions, Oilers/Titans, Chargers, Browns, Bills, and Vikings) all won an NFL or AFL championship prior to the AFL–NFL merger; in the case of the Vikings, however, the Super Bowl existed at the time they won their league title, leaving them and the Falcons as the only two teams to have existed for as long as or longer than the Super Bowl that have never secured the highest championship available to them. The longest drought since a championship of any kind is that of the Cardinals, at 71 seasons.

Note that for continuity purposes, the Cleveland Browns are officially considered to have suspended operations for the 1996, 1997 and 1998 seasons, Since returning 19 years ago, they have only made the playoffs once, while the Baltimore Ravens are considered to be a separate team that began play in 1996. The Ravens, as a result of the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, absorbed the Browns' personnel upon their suspension, but not their history.

List of Super Bowl records

This is a list of Super Bowl records. Performances of the highest and lowest caliber throughout the history of the Super Bowl. The list of records is separated by individual players and teams. Players and teams, along with their records, are noted with the Super Bowl game played. All records can be referenced at the National Football League (NFL)'s official website, NFL.com.

Metropolitan Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium (often referred to as "the Met", "Met Stadium", or now "the Old Met" to distinguish from the Metrodome) was a sports stadium that once stood in Bloomington, Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Millers minor league baseball team played at Met Stadium from 1956 to 1960. The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings then played at the "Met" from 1961 to 1981. The North American Soccer League soccer team Minnesota Kicks also played there from 1976 to 1981.

The area where the stadium once stood is now the site of the Mall of America.

Super Bowl IV

Super Bowl IV, the fourth and final AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, was played on January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Minnesota Vikings by the score of 23–7. This victory by the AFL squared the Super Bowl series with the NFL at two games apiece. The two leagues merged into one after the game.

Despite the AFL's New York Jets winning the previous season's Super Bowl, many sports writers and fans thought it was a fluke and continued to believe that the NFL was still superior to the AFL, and thus fully expected the Vikings to defeat the Chiefs; the Vikings entered the Super Bowl as 12.5 to 13-point favorites. Minnesota posted a 12–2 record during the 1969 NFL season before defeating the Cleveland Browns, 27–7, in the 1969 NFL Championship Game. The Chiefs, who previously appeared in the first Super Bowl, finished the 1969 AFL season at 11–3, and defeated the Oakland Raiders, 17–7, in the 1969 AFL Championship Game.

Under wet conditions, the Chiefs defense dominated Super Bowl IV by limiting the Minnesota offense to only 67 rushing yards, forcing three interceptions, and recovering two fumbles. 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 one interception. Dawson also recorded three rushing attempts for 11 yards.

Super Bowl IV is also notable for NFL Films miking up the Chiefs' Hank Stram during the game, the first time that a head coach had worn a microphone during a Super Bowl.

Game information
First Quarter
Second Quarter
  • MIN - Fred Cox 30-yard field goal - Vikings 17-0
  • MIN - Dave Osborn 20-yard run (Fred Cox kick) - Vikings 24-0
Third Quarter
  • MIN - Fred Cox 32-yard field goal - Vikings 27-0
Fourth Quarter
Minnesota Vikings 1969 NFL champions
Division championships (20)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (1)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Seasons (59)
Key personnel
Culture and lore
Playoff appearances (28)
Division championships (12)
Conference championships (11)
League championships (8)
Retired numbers
Hall of Fame inductees
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (70)
NFL Championship Game
AFL Championship Game
AFL-NFL World Championship Games[1]
Super Bowl[2]
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NFL Championship
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