Super Bowl IV
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|Super Bowl IV|
|File:Super Bowl IV Logo.svg|
|Date||January 11, 1970|
|Stadium||Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|MVP||Len Dawson, Quarterback|
|Favorite||Vikings by 12|
|Future Hall of Famers|
Chiefs: Hank Stram (coach), Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Jan Stenerud, Emmitt Thomas. |
Vikings: Bud Grant (coach), Carl Eller, Paul Krause, Alan Page, Mick Tinglehoff, Ron Yary.
|National anthem||Doc Severinsen with Pat O'Brien|
|Coin toss||Game referee|
|Halftime show||"Mardi Gras" with Carol Channing|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Jack Buck and Pat Summerall|
(est. 44.3 million viewers)
|Cost of 30-second commercial||US$78,000|
Super Bowl IV, the fourth 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. This was also the final AFL-NFL World Championship Game before the two leagues merged into one after the season.
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.
For the first time, the Super Bowl halftime show featured a celebrity instead of college bands. Singer and comedienne Carol Channing led a halftime tribute to Mardi Gras. 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.
The game was awarded to New Orleans on March 19, 1969 at the owners meetings held in Palm Springs, California. 
For more details on this topic, see 1969 Minnesota Vikings season.
The Minnesota Vikings, led by head coach Bud Grant, entered the game with an NFL best 12–2 regular season record, leading the older league in total points scored (379) and fewest points allowed (133). They had scored 50 or greater points in three different games. They lost their first and last games of the season, but in between had 12 straight victories, the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years. Their defense, considered the most intimidating in the NFL, was anchored by a defensive line nicknamed the "Purple People Eaters", consisting of defensive tackles Gary Larsen and Alan Page, and defensive ends Carl Eller and Jim Marshall. The secondary was led by defensive backs Bobby Bryant (8 interceptions, 97 return yards), Earsell Mackbee (6 interceptions, 100 return yards), and Paul Krause (5 interceptions, 82 return yards, 1 touchdown).
On offense, quarterback Joe Kapp was known for his superb leadership and his running ability, both throwing on the run and running for extra yards. And when Kapp did take off and run, instead of sliding when he was about to be tackled like most quarterbacks, he lowered his shoulder and went right at the tackler. This style of play earned him the nickname "Indestructible". In the NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns, he collided with linebacker Jim Houston while running for a first down, and Houston had to be helped off the field after the play ended. Also, Kapp was known for being an extremely unselfish leader: when he was voted the Vikings Most Valuable Player, he turned the award down and said that every player on the team was equally valuable.
Running back Dave Osborn was the team's top rusher with 643 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 236 yards and another touchdown. In the passing game, Pro Bowl wide receiver Gene Washington averaged 21.1 yards per catch by recording 821 yards and nine touchdowns from 39 receptions. Wide receiver John Henderson caught 34 passes for 553 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Vikings' offensive line was anchored by Pro Bowlers Grady Alderman and Mick Tingelhoff.
By winning the 1969 NFL Championship, the Vikings became the last possessors of the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy.
Kansas City Chiefs
For more details on this topic, see 1969 Kansas City Chiefs season.
Meanwhile, it seemed that the Chiefs, led by head coach Hank Stram, and especially quarterback Len Dawson, were jinxed throughout the year. In the second game of the regular season, Dawson suffered a knee injury that kept him from playing the next six games. However, back-up quarterback Mike Livingston of Southern Methodist University fame engineered five wins of the next six starts, with Dawson coming off the bench in the second half of the sixth to clinch the win. The Chiefs managed to finish in second place behind the Oakland Raiders in the AFL's Western Division, but only after suffering a tough 10–6 loss to Oakland in the final game of the regular season. After that game, many sports writers and fans heavily criticized the team and Dawson for the poor play calling (Dawson called between 80 and 90 percent of the plays during the season).
The Chiefs still managed to clinch a playoff spot. Wanting to set itself up more like the NFL right before the merger, the AFL expanded the playoffs for the 1969 season, by having the second place teams from each division face the first place teams from the other division (Western Champion vs. Eastern Runner-Up, and vice versa). As a result of the new playoff format, many critics thought the Chiefs entered the playoffs through a "back-door" as the runner up in the Western division. But Dawson silenced the critics and led Kansas City to a strong finish in the playoffs, defeating the defending champion Jets in New York, 13–6 in the Divisional Playoffs, and defeating the Raiders 17–7 in the AFL Championship Game, thus essentially making the Chiefs the first wild card team to play in the Super Bowl. (Dawson says he thinks both the Jets and the Raiders could have beaten the Vikings.)
Still, many people felt that Dawson's level of play in the AFL was not comparable to the NFL. Dawson himself had spent 5 seasons in the NFL as a backup before going to the AFL and becoming one of its top quarterbacks. "The AFL saved my career," said Dawson. In his 8 AFL seasons, he had thrown more touchdown passes (182) than any other professional football quarterback during that time. But because many still viewed the AFL as being inferior to the NFL, his records were not considered significant. Dawson's first chance to prove himself against an NFL team ended in failure, with his Chiefs losing 35–10 in Super Bowl I, reinforcing the notion that his success was only due to playing in the "inferior league".
Offensively, the Chiefs employed innovative formations and strategies designed by Stram to disrupt the timing and positioning of the defense. Besides Dawson, the Chiefs main offensive weapon was running back Mike Garrett (1965 Heisman Trophy winner), who rushed for 732 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also recorded 43 receptions for 432 yards and another 2 touchdowns. Running back Robert Holmes had 612 rushing yards, 266 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. In the passing game, wide receiver Otis Taylor caught 41 passes for 696 yards and 7 touchdowns. The offensive line was anchored by AFL All-Stars Ed Budde and Jim Tyrer. According to Len Dawson, placekicker Jan Stenerud and punter Jerrel Wilson were the best kickers in football.
The Chiefs defense led the AFL in fewest points allowed (177). Like the Vikings, the Chiefs also had an outstanding defensive line, which was led by defensive tackles Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp, and defensive ends Jerry Mays and Aaron Brown. The Chiefs also had AFL All-Star linebacker Willie Lanier, who recorded 4 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery during the season. The Kansas City secondary was led by defensive backs Emmitt Thomas (9 interceptions for 146 return yards and a touchdown), and Johnny Robinson (8 interceptions for 158 return yards).
Kansas City's defense had shown their talent in the AFL title game when they defeated the Raiders. Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica had completed 13 of 17 passes for 276 yards and a record setting 6 touchdowns in a 56–7 divisional rout of the Houston Oilers in their previous game, and had shredded the Chiefs with 347 yards and 5 touchdowns in their 41–6 win in the previous season's playoffs. But in the 1969 AFL Championship Game, the Chiefs defense held him to just 15 of 39 completions and intercepted him 3 times.
Super Bowl pregame news and notes
Many sports writers and fans fully expected that the Vikings would easily defeat the Chiefs. Although the AFL's New York Jets won Super Bowl III at the end of the previous season, many were convinced that it was a fluke. They continued to believe that all of the NFL teams were far and away superior to all of the AFL teams. And regardless of the differences among the leagues, the Vikings simply appeared to be a superior team. Minnesota had the NFL's best record and outscored their opponents by 246 points, while Kansas City had not even won their own division.
Super Bowl IV provided another chance to show that Dawson belonged at the same level with all of the great NFL quarterbacks. But five days before the Super Bowl, news leaked that his name had been linked to a Detroit federal gambling investigation. Although Dawson was eventually cleared of any charges, the controversy added to the pressure he was already under while preparing for the game, causing him to lose sleep and concentration. "It was, beyond a doubt, the toughest week of my life," said Dawson.
Television and entertainment
Super Bowl IV was broadcast in the United States by CBS with play-by-play announcer Jack Buck and color commentator Pat Summerall, with Frank Gifford and Jack Whitaker reporting from the winning and losing locker rooms, respectively. While the game was sold out at Tulane Stadium, the NFL's unconditional blackout rules prohibited the live telecast from being shown in the New Orleans area.
Trumpeters Al Hirt and Doc Severinsen "faced off" during the pregame show in a "Battle of the Horns". A planned hot-air balloon race fizzled when the balloon marked NFL and carrying a "Viking" lifted off prematurely, failed to gain altitude, and crashed into the stands in the end zone. The Apollo XII astronauts were given a special presentation by John Mackey, president of the NFL Players Association, and then Severinsen, backed by the Southern University Marching Band, played the national anthem, which was also recited by actor Pat O'Brien. Actress and singer Carol Channing was featured during a halftime show that paid tribute to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and was titled "Way Down Yonder". The Southern Marching Band was also featured during the halftime show, playing "Get Ready" and several New Orleans jazz standards with Hirt and Lionel Hampton. The band also did a dance routine to "Rampart Street", and performed the background music to a Battle of New Orleans recreation.
Hank Stram "miked for sound"
The night before the game, Ed Sabol of NFL Films met with Hank Stram and convinced Stram to wear a hidden microphone during the game so his comments could be recorded for the NFL Films Super Bowl IV film. They agreed the microphone would be kept secret. This would be the first time that a head coach had worn a microphone during a Super Bowl. This has led to one of the best-known and most popular of the NFL Films Super Bowl films due to the constant chatter and wisecracking of Stram. Ed Sabol had his number one sound man, Jack Newman – who also wired Vince Lombardi in a previous playoff game – place the microphone on Stram. Newman, a multiple Emmy award-winning sound man and cameraman, shot Stram for the entire game as well as monitored the sound to make sure it continued to work. The success and popularity of this first Super Bowl wiring of a winning head coach led to 24 years of Newman continuing to wire players and coaches for NFL Films.
Some excerpts of Stram include:
Chiefs head coach Hank Stram, who was also the team's offensive coordinator, devised an effective game plan against the Vikings. He knew Minnesota's secondary was able to play very far off receivers because Viking defensive ends Carl Eller and Jim Marshall knocked down short passes or put pressure on the quarterback. Stram decided to double-team Marshall and Eller; most of quarterback Len Dawson's completions would be short passes, and neither Marshall nor Eller knocked down any passes. Stram also concluded that the Vikings' aggressiveness on defense also made them susceptible to trap plays; Mike Garrett's rushing touchdown would come on a trap play. The Vikings' inside running game depended on center Mick Tingelhoff blocking linebackers. Stram put 285-pound Buck Buchanan or 295-pound Curley Culp in front of Tingelhoff, who weighed only 235 pounds. To Minnesota's credit, the NFL used the so-called light "greyhound" centers while the AFL used big centers. It was a mismatch that disrupted the Vikings' running game. Wrote Dawson, "It was obvious that their offense had never seen a defense like ours." Minnesota would rush for only two first downs.
The Vikings began the game by receiving the opening kickoff and marching from their own 20-yard line to the Kansas City 39-yard line with quarterback Joe Kapp completing his first two passes for 36 yards. Kapp's next pass was also a completion but running back Bill Brown was slowed by linebacker Bobby Bell, then brought down by left defensive end Jerry Mays for a yard loss to make it third down, on which Kapp failed to connect with tight end John Beasley. Minnesota rushed for only 6 yards on the drive and was forced to punt. The Chiefs then drove 42 yards in eight plays. Included was a 20-yard reception by wide receiver Frank Pitts after Vikings defensive back Ed Sharockman gambled trying to make an interception. Kansas City then scored on placekicker Jan Stenerud's Super Bowl record 48-yard field goal. This record would stand for 24 years until broken by Steve Christie in Super Bowl XXVIII. (According to Dawson, the Vikings were shocked that the Chiefs would attempt a 48-yard field goal. Stenerud was among the first soccer-style placekickers in professional football. The others included brothers Charlie and Pete Gogolak. The soccer-style placekickers used the instep of the foot while the conventional professional football placekickers kicked straight on with their toes. "Stenerud was a major factor," Dawson said.) Minnesota then managed to reach midfield on its next drive, but was forced to punt again.
On the first play of their ensuing drive, Dawson threw a 20-yard completion to 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 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 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. Kapp's two incompletions and a delay of game penalty forced Minnesota to punt from its own 5-yard line. The Chiefs then took over at the Viking 44-yard line after punter Bob Lee's kick traveled only 39 yards. A 19-yard run by Pitts on an end around play fooled the overaggressive, overpursuing Viking defense to set up another field goal attempt by Stenerud, which was good to increase Kansas City's lead to 9–0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Vikings returner Charlie West fumbled the football, and Kansas City's Remi Prudhomme recovered it at the Minnesota 19-yard line. ("That was a key, key play," said Dawson.) Defensive end Jim Marshall sacked Dawson for an 8-yard loss on the first play of the drive; however, a 13-yard run on a draw play by running back Wendell Hayes and a 10-yard reception by Taylor gave the Chiefs a first down at the Viking four-yard line. Three plays later, Garrett's five-yard touchdown run on a trap draw play, aided by pulling right guard Mo Moorman's block on Page that cleared a huge hole, gave Kansas City a 16–0 lead. This play is forever known as the 65 Toss Power Trap.
West returned the ensuing kickoff 27 yards to the 32-yard line. 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, the next three plays, Kapp threw 2 incompletions and was sacked by Chief defensive tackle Buck Buchanan for an eight-yard loss. On fourth down, kicker Fred Cox's 56-yard field goal attempt fell way short of the goal posts. For the first half, Minnesota rushed for only 24 yards and failed to convert any of five third downs.
In the third quarter, the Vikings managed to build momentum after forcing the Chiefs to punt on their opening possession. Kapp completed four consecutive passes for 47 yards and rushed for 7. Minnesota also made its first third down conversion as it drove 69 yards in 10 plays to score on fullback Dave Osborn's four-yard rushing touchdown, reducing the lead to 16–7. However, Kansas City responded on its next possession with a six-play, 82-yard drive. Pitts picked up a key first down with a 7-yard left-to-right run on a reverse play. Then after a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Vikings, Dawson hit Taylor with a short pass. Taylor caught the ball at the Minnesota 41-yard line, broke Earsell Mackbee's tackle, raced down the sideline, broke through Vikings' safety Karl Kassulke's tackle and scored the clinching touchdown on a 46-yard play.
The Vikings were demoralized after the game-breaking touchdown and the Chiefs' defense would continue to shut them down 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. Kapp was replaced by Gary Cuozzo. Fittingly, the Vikings' final play was an interception Cuozzo threw to cornerback Emmitt Thomas.
Kansas City running back and future University of Southern California Athletic Director Mike Garrett, the 1965 Heisman Trophy recipient, was the top rusher of the game, recording 11 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 25 yards and returned a kickoff for 18 yards. Taylor was the Chiefs' leading receiver with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kapp finished the game with 16 of 25 completions for 183 yards, with two costly interceptions. Henderson was the top receiver of the game with seven catches for 111 yards. The Chiefs defense completely shut down Minnesota's vaunted rushing attack. In the NFL championship game, Osborn had rushed for 108 yards while Kapp rushed for 57. But in Super Bowl IV, the two rushed for a combined total of 24 yards. In addition, Kansas City's secondary held Minnesota All Pro receiver Gene Washington to one reception for 9 yards.
Referring to the Vikings' three interceptions, three fumbles, and six penalties, Vikings safety Karl Kassulke said, "We made more mental mistakes in one game than we did in one season." Kapp would never play again for the Vikings, as he would play out the option of his contract and sign with the Boston Patriots for the 1970 season.
Sources:The NFL's Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, (1973), p. 144, Macmillan Publishing Co. New York, NY, LCCN 73-3862, NFL.com Super Bowl IV, USA Today Super Bowl IV Play by Play
Note: A seven-official system was not used until 1978