1966 American Football League Championship Game
The 1966 American Football League Championship Game was an American football game between the Western Division champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Eastern Division champion Buffalo Bills to decide the American Football League (AFL) champion for the 1966 season. The game was held at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York on January 1, 1967. The Chiefs defeated the Bills by a score of 31–7. The Chiefs would advance to Super Bowl I to play against the National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers.
The game had originally been schedule for Monday December 26, but when the AFL and NFL agreed to merge in 1970 and play a "world championship game" starting with the 1966 season the game was moved to January 1.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs finished the 1966 season with an 11–2–1 record, finishing first place in the Western Division. Len Dawson finished the season with 2527 passing yards and 26 touchdowns, with only 10 interceptions, giving him a 101.7 passer rating. The team's top wide receiver was Otis Taylor who caught 58 passes for 1297 yards and 8 touchdowns; Chris Burford also contributed by catching 58 passes for 758 yards and 8 touchdowns. Mike Garrett was the team's leading rusher, gaining 801 yards and 6 touchdowns. Other reliable options included Curtis McClinton (540 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Bert Coan (521 yards, 7 touchdowns). The Chiefs' offense consisted of five All-Stars: Len Dawson, Curtis McClinton, Otis Taylor, Jim Tyrer, and Ed Budde.
The Bills went into the 1966 AFL Championship having already won the game the previous two years. Though the game was to be played in Buffalo, the visiting Kansas City Chiefs were three-point favorites, mainly because of their explosive and innovative offense led by Head Coach Hank Stram. The Bills were a more conventional team with a solid defensive line and a running mindset on offense.
A Bills fumble on the opening kickoff gave the Chiefs a short field to work with, and Quarterback Len Dawson immediately took advantage of it, hitting Fred Arbanas for the game's first score. Jack Kemp's first pass for the Bills was a 69 yard score to Elbert Dubenion. Late in the second quarter and trailing 14–7, Kemp led the Bills to the Kansas City 10. Bobby Crockett was open in the endzone, but Kemp's pass was intercepted by Johnny Robinson, who returned the ball 72-yards, setting up a Mike Mercer field goal to close out the first half.
Buffalo found no offensive rhythm in the second half, and the Chiefs closed the game out in the fourth quarter with Dawson found Chris Burford for a 45 yard gain, setting up a one foot touchdown run by rookie Mike Garrett. Garrett scored his second touchdown less than two minutes later following another Bills fumble, sending the Chiefs to the AFL-NFL Championship Game.
- Date: January 1, 1967
- Game weather: 32 degrees, relative humidity 82%, wind 12 mph, wind chill 22
- Box Score
|Len Dawson||QB||Jack Kemp|
|Mike Garrett||RB||Bobby Burnett|
|Curtis McClinton||FB||Wray Carlton|
|Otis Taylor||FL||Elbert Dubenion|
|Chris Burford||SE||Bobby Crockett|
|Fred Arbanas||TE||Paul Costa|
|Jim Tyrer||LT||Stew Barber|
|Ed Budde||LG||Billy Shaw|
|Wayne Frazier||C||Al Bemiller|
|Curt Merz||RG||Joe O'Donnell|
|Dave Hill||RT||Dick Hudson|
|Jerry Mays||LDE||Ron McDole|
|Andy Rice||LDT||Jim Dunaway|
|Buck Buchanan||RDT||Tom Sestak|
|Chuck Hurston||RDE||Tom Day|
|Bobby Bell||LLB||John Tracey|
|Sherrill Headrick||MLB||Harry Jacobs|
|E.J. Holub||RLB||Mike Stratton|
|Fred Williamson||LCB||Tom Janik|
|Willie Mitchell||RCB||Butch Byrd|
|Bobby Hunt||SS||Hagood Clarke|
|Johnny Robinson||FS||George Saimes|
1965 AFL Champions
|Kansas City Chiefs
American Football League Champions
| Succeeded by|
1967 AFL Champions