Super Bowl IV Review: Chiefs vs. Vikings
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 11, 1970
Site: Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Point Spread: Minnesota Vikings -12.5/Kansas City Chiefs +12.5
Score: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7
MVP: QB Len Dawson
Super Bowl IV is another historic game in the history of the NFL. The Jets superbowl win the year before got the AFL on the board, but some still felt it was a fluke and that the AFL was still an inferior league. The point-spread, which favored the Vikings by 12.5 points, spoke to the fact that the AFL was still getting blown off to an extent. But after Super Bowl 1970, both leagues had each won the big game twice. A sense of parody was achieved to a large extent and this would be the final season before the AFL and NFL merged into one league.
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Minnesota was a robust 12-2 during the regular season. The optimism was understandable, with the Vikings leading the league in points scored and fewest points allowed. Tough-as-nails quarterback Joe Kapp led a deep offensive unit, with the “Purple People Eaters” dominating offenses with their vicious defensive line, consisting of Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Alan Page, and Gary Larsen.
The Chiefs, having lost the first Super Bowl to the Packers who won the game 35-10, had gone 11-3 and beaten AFL powerhouse Oakland in the championship game. QB Len Dawson was getting another chance and had an axe to grind, having failed in the “old league,” before finding new life with the AFL and the Chiefs. He had failed miserably in his first chance to prove himself successful outside the confines of the AFL and Super Bowl 4 went a long way toward validating his career.
The Chiefs had awesome kickers, with punter Jerrel Wilson and PK Jan Stenerud giving them an edge in this category over every team they faced. RB Mike Garrett was a main weapon. So was the loaded defense, with Curley Culp and Buck Buchanan on the line, defensive backs Emmitt Thomas and Johnny Robinson combining for 17 picks, and LB Willie Lanier one of the more fearsome presences in the middle in the history of the league.
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First Half: Super Bowl Sunday began with the Vikings looking they were going to drive, only to stall out on the Chiefs 40 and punt. The Chiefs then took the ball 42 yards to set up for a 48-yard field goal attempt that Stenerud nailed to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead. After stopping Minnesota on their next drive, the Chiefs got in field goal position again, allowing Stenerud to connect on a 32-yard field goal in the beginning of the second quarter to go up 6-0.
The Chiefs and Vikings then traded turnovers. First, Johnny Robinson recovered Vikings’ John Henderson’s fumble, before Minnesota interception-machine Paul Krause picked off Len Dawson. After the Chiefs pinned the Vikings and forced them to punt, they took over on the Minnesota 44-yard line. The Kansas City drive petered out in the red zone, but they went up 9-0 after Stenerud kicked a 25-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
Vikings returner Charlie West fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff, giving Kansas City possession at the Minnesota 19. After getting sacked by Jim Marshall. Dawson got a critical first down, before Mike Garrett ran it in from the 5 yard-line to put the Chiefs up 16-0. Super Bowl 1970 just went from bad to worse for the Vikings. The Vikings drove again late in the half, but a missed field goal sent the 12.5-point favorites into the locker-room down 16-zip.
Second Half: The second half began promisingly enough for the Vikings, who seemed to wake up, taking their first possession all the way for a touchdown, as Dave Osborn ran it in from 4 yards out to narrow the deficit to 16-7. But as soon as things looked to be getting better for the Vikings, Kansas City immediately answered. Len Dawson connected with Otis Taylor for a 46-yard run and catch that effectively sealed the Vikings’ fate.
In the 4th quarter, Joe Kapp threw two interceptions and was eventually taken out of the game after a crushing sack. His replacement Gary Cuozzo added another pick, as Kansas City cruised to the finish line for their first and only Super Bowl win. The Super Bowl MVP award winner was vindicated Kansas City QB Len Dawson, who put himself on the map and furthered the cause of the AFL, which now had to be taken seriously.