Super Bowl IV Chiefs-Vikings ended AFL-NFL rivalry
Many people are unaware that there was a professional football saga in the Twin Cities that began in August 1959. Five businessmen from Minnesota were granted a franchise in the new American Football League formed by the founder. of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt.
The Minnesota Vikings are said to be one of eight teams in the new professional football league.
The AFL even held its first draft – November 22, 1959 – in Minneapolis at the Nicollet Hotel.
The National Football League, however, took a stand against that rival and sought to crush the new league before it took a slam. The NFL began to promise franchises to a few groups of AFL team owners in strategic cities.
The owners of the AFL, known as the “Foolish Club”, have stayed together in an effort to make the new league work.
All but one.
Five months later, in January 1960, the same group of owners of Bill Boyer, Ole Haugsrud, Bernie Ridder, HP Skoglund and Max Winter gave up their AFL membership in order to become the 14th franchise in the National Football League. . They will start playing in 1961.
Hunt was furious.
He quickly awarded Minnesota’s AFL offer and all of the team’s draft picks to Oakland, and that franchise became known as the Raiders.
In 1966, the AFL-NFL war reached its peak, with the leagues spending a total of $ 7 million to sign their draft picks.
A series of secret meetings regarding a possible AFL-NFL merger took place in the spring between Hunt and Tex Schramm of the Dallas Cowboys. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the merger of the two leagues on June 8, 1966.
Under the agreement, the two leagues would combine to form an enlarged league with 24 teams, which would grow to 26 in 1968 and 28 in 1970. While maintaining separate schedules until 1969, the leagues agreed to play an annual AFL-NFL World Championship. Game starting in January 1967 and to organize a combined draft, also starting in 1967.
The first game played between the Chiefs and the Vikings was Super Bowl IV. It was held at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on January 11, 1970. The AFL Chiefs champions and NFL champions Vikings were playing for more than the professional football world championship.
Hunt had a particular motivation to win Super Bowl IV. The AFL founder couldn’t help but reflect on the irony of playing the Vikings in Crescent City. He spoke candidly at dinner on the Wednesday before the big game.
âEveryone was excited after reading and hearing all week how the poor Chiefs didn’t stand a chance against the mighty Vikings,â said Jack Steadman, longtime general manager of Hunt Football Club in Dallas and Kansas City. âLamar started talking about how the Minnesota owners doubled him and the other AFL owners in November 1959 by stepping down and accepting an NFL franchise. He ended up hammering the table and shouting, âKill! To kill! To kill!'”
The fact that Kansas City was playing in the last game against an AFL team added more fuel to the fire. As such, the Chiefs entered the field with an “AFL-10” patch on their jerseys to signify their pride in the league which existed for 10 seasons from 1960 to 1969.
However, the Chiefs were still a big 16-point underdog going into the game.
After all, the Vikings were ruled by one of the most dominant defensive lines in history. Carl Eller, Alan Page, Gary Larsen and Jim Marshall formed the famous “Purple People Eaters”.
As it turned out, it was Kansas City’s formidable defense that stole the show.
The Chiefs ‘defense – anchored by Hall of Fame Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier, Johnny Robinson and Emmitt Thomas – thwarted the Vikings’ offensive.
This allowed the Chiefs to build a comfortable 16-0 halftime lead after three field goals from Jan Stenerud and a 5-yard touchdown by Mike Garrett. With the Vikings forced to pitch often, Kansas City’s relentless defense intercepted three assists in the fourth quarter to seal the win, 23-7, securing the AFL’s reputation.
For the Chiefs, the victory avenged their loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. It also put an exclamation mark on the success the Chiefs have enjoyed throughout their years in the AFL, a league founded by their owner.
Perhaps the most important part of the Chiefs’ big upheaval against the Vikings in Super Bowl IV: The victory gave the AFL permanent credibility, as the Super Bowl streak between the AFL and the NFL would remain forever. tied at 2-2.
Jon Kendle is Vice President of Football Archives, Education and Information at the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Its chronicles tell unique and interesting stories from the founding of the League in downtown Canton in 1920 to the present day.