Super Bowl I Review: Packers vs. Chiefs
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 15, 1967
Site: Los Angeles Memorial Stadium
Point Spread: Green Bay Packers -14/Kansas City Chiefs +14
Score: Packers 35, Chiefs 10
MVP: QB Bart Starr
A funny thing about Super Bowl I is that it wasn’t even called that at the time. Super Bowl III would be the first big game to be billed as a Super Bowl. This game was called the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game and later renamed Super Bowl I. This was a time when there was conflict between the AFL and the more-established NFL. It’s all one happy family now with the AFC and the NFC under the same banner, but at the time, both leagues were eager to prove their supremacy.
The Packers, however, held the upper edge in terms of prestige--having been the winner in the preceding two NFL Championships leading into this game and generally considered the kings of American football. Legendary Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi and his storied squad had dominated the previous decade.
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Green Bay, led by regular-season MVP Bart Starr, was 12-2 in 1966--smack in the midst of a dynasty. Their AFL opponent in Super Bowl 1967 had also lost only twice, with the Chiefs going 11-2-1. Green Bay was stacked to the gills with legendary weapons--with 9 Hall of Famers making big contributions on both sides of the ball. Their defense, with Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderly, Willie Wood, Willie Davis, and others was one of the best in the league. On offense, Starr was deadly efficient, throwing only 3 picks the entire season. Leading the rushing attack was hard-charging Jim Taylor.
The Chiefs were led by Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, whose running attack was deep with 3 backs over 500 yards. Dawson had a big year in the air and his main weapon was WR Otis Taylor, who had 1297 yards receiving and an ungodly 22.3 yards per catch. With a stout defense to boot, Kansas City was respected, but still staggering 14-point underdogs to the Packers. If anything, it turns out the bookies gave too much credit to the AFL in this first Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 1 Game Recap
First Half: It was a competitive superbowl for the first half, as Kansas City hung in there and acted like a team that might give the mighty Packers a run for their money. Green Bay jumped out to an early lead, with a Bart Starr 37-yard touchdown pass to Max McGee, who made a one-handed catch. A few plays before, McGee replaced starting receiver Boyd Dowler. Not expecting to play, McGee entered the game hungover, yet probably played the game of his life on this Super Bowl Sunday, in one of the more interesting side-stories of this Super Bowl story.
Down 7-0 and having already missed a field goal attempt, Kansas City got on the board early in the 2nd quarter, when Dawson connected with Curtis McClinton from 7 yards to knot the game at 7. The Packers, prideful as ever, felt the need to respond immediately, which they did with a 14-yard touchdown run by Jim Taylor on the next drive. Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson responded, however, completing a quartet of passes to drive into Green Bay territory and leading to a Mike Mercer field goal to bring the game to 14-10, Green Bay.
Second Half: Those thinking the 14-10 first half would lead to a competitive second half between these two teams were unfortunately mistaken. The Chiefs offered hope to open up the second half and had driven to midfield. But in the pivotal play of the game, Dawson got picked off while under pressure by Willie Wood who returned it all the way to the Chiefs 5-yard line. The Packers immediately pounded it in, with Elijah Pitts running it in for a touchdown on the first play of their drive to give the Packers a 21-10 lead.
Not only was Kansas City held to zero second-half points, but they only crossed midfield once following this point, as the Green Bay defense dominated the game. In control of the field position game, Green Bay went on a 56-yard touchdown drive, with unlikely hero Max McGee catching an 18-yard touchdown pass. Then in the 4th quarter, Pitts scored his second touchdown to cap off a drive that was catapulted by another big McGee reception. Though McGee had played sparsely during the regular season, his stats were big, as he caught 7 balls for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the big game. Bart Starr, who won the MVP, was 16-23 for 250 yards with two touchdown passes.