1966 Kansas City Chiefs season
The 1966 Kansas City Chiefs season was the team's seventh season and fourth in Kansas City. With an 11–2–1 regular season record, the Chiefs won the Western Division and defeated the Buffalo Bills to win their second AFL Championship, their first in Kansas City.
|1966 Kansas City Chiefs season|
|Head coach||Hank Stram|
|Home field||Municipal Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFL Western|
|Playoff finish||Won AFL Championship Game|
(at Buffalo Bills, 31–7)
Lost Super Bowl I (originally AFL-NFL World Championship Game)
(vs. Green Bay Packers, 10–35)
|AFL All-Stars||QB Len Dawson|
RB Mike Garrett
FB Curtis McClinton
TE Jim Tyrer
WR Otis Taylor
G Ed Budde
DE Jerry Mays
DE Buck Buchanan
LB E.J. Holub
LB Sherrill Headrick
S Johnny Robinson
The American Football League, also in its seventh season, became a nine-team league in 1966 with the addition of the expansion Miami Dolphins. The 14-game AFL schedule had the teams play six opponents twice and the remaining two once, both from the other division. The sole games for the Chiefs in 1966 were against the New York Jets and Houston Oilers, both victories.
In previous years, the AFL title game concluded the season, but not in 1966, following the merger agreement in June. The Chiefs were invited to play in the inaugural AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later known as Super Bowl I, against the NFL's Green Bay Packers. After a competitive first half, the underdog Chiefs lost momentum and the Packers won 35–10.
With an 11–2–1 record, the Chiefs clinched the Western division title with two games remaining on November 27, following a win over Jets in New York. This earned a berth in the AFL championship game, played on the road against the two-time defending champion Buffalo Bills (9–4–1), winners of the Eastern division for the third consecutive season.
|2||September 11||at Buffalo Bills||W 42–20|
|3||September 18||at Oakland Raiders||W 32–10|
|4||September 25||at Boston Patriots||W 43–24|
|5||October 2||Buffalo Bills||L 29–14|
|6||October 8||Denver Broncos||W 37–10|
|7||October 16||Oakland Raiders||L 34–13|
|8||October 23||at Denver Broncos||W 56–10|
|9||October 30||Houston Oilers||W 48–23|
|10||November 6||San Diego Chargers||W 24–14|
|11||November 13||Miami Dolphins||W 34–16|
|12||November 20||Boston Patriots||T 27–27|
|13||November 27||at New York Jets||W 32–24|
|15||December 11||at Miami Dolphins||W 19–18|
|16||December 18||at San Diego Chargers||W 27–17|
- Two bye weeks were necessary in 1966, as the league expanded to an odd-number (9) of teams;
one team was idle each week (three teams were idle in week one).
- Teams were played twice, except for two from other division (Houston, New York)
|AFL Western Division|
|Kansas City Chiefs||11||2||1||.846||5–1||448||276||W3|
|San Diego Chargers||7||6||1||.538||2–4||335||284||L1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
1966 AFL ChampionshipEdit
The host Bills entered the AFL title game as two-time defending champions, but the visiting 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. The two teams had split their season series, played early in the schedule without weather as a factor, with the road team winning each.
Played in a chilly drizzle, a Bills fumble on the opening kickoff gave the Chiefs a short field to work with. Quarterback Len Dawson immediately took advantage of it, hitting Fred Arbanas for the game's first score. Buffalo quarterback 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 end zone, but Kemp's pass was intercepted by Johnny Robinson, who returned it 72 yards. That set up a Mike Mercer field goal to close out the first half with a ten-point lead.
Buffalo found no offensive rhythm in the second half, and the third quarter was scoreless. 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 running back Mike Garrett, extending the lead to 24–7. Garrett scored his second touchdown less than two minutes later, following another Bills fumble.
- First quarter
- KC – Arbanas 29 pass from Dawson (Mercer kick), KC 7–0
- BUF – Dubenion 69 pass from Kemp (Lusteg kick), 7–7 Tie
- Second quarter
- KC – Taylor 29 pass from Dawson (Mercer kick), KC 14–7
- KC – Field goal Mercer 32, KC 17–7
- Third quarter
- no scoring
- Fourth quarter
- KC – Garrett 1 run (Mercer kick), KC 24–7
- KC – Garrett 18 run (Mercer kick), KC 31–7
AFL-NFL World Championship (Super Bowl I)Edit
The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later known as Super Bowl I, was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967. The Chiefs faced the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, who finished their regular season at 12–2 and won the NFL championship game, their second consecutive and fourth in six seasons.
The Packers jumped out to an early 7–0 lead with quarterback Bart Starr's 37-yard touchdown pass to reserve receiver Max McGee, who had entered the game a few plays earlier for re-injured starter Boyd Dowler. Early in the second quarter, Kansas City marched 66 yards in 6 plays to tie the game on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Len Dawson to Curtis McClinton. But the Packers responded on their next drive, advancing 73 yards down the field and scoring on fullback Jim Taylor's 14-yard touchdown run with the team's famed "Power Sweep" play. With a minute left in the half, the lead was cut to 14–10 on Mike Mercer's 31-yard field goal.
Early in the second half, Dawson was intercepted by safety Willie Wood, who returned it 50 yards to the 5-yard line. On the next play, running back Elijah Pitts rushed for a touchdown, and the Packers led 21–10. Late in the third quarter, McGee scored his second touchdown of the game with a 13-yard reception from Starr, as Green Bay held the Chiefs' offense to 12 yards in the quarter. Pitts scored another touchdown for the Packers from a yard out midway through the fourth quarter for the final score, 35–10. Starr was named the MVP of the game, completing 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
- First quarter
- Second quarter
- Third quarter
- GB – Pitts 5 run (Chandler kick), 21–10 GB
- GB – McGee 13 pass from Starr (Chandler kick), 28–10 GB
- Fourth quarter
- GB – Pitts 1 run (Chandler kick), 35–10 GB
- "Chiefs clinch first pro grid title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 28, 1966. p. 10.
- "Chiefs win, 32-24, for 'West' crown". Milwaukee Sentinel. wire services. November 28, 1966. p. 1, part 2.
- Rathet, Mike (January 1, 1967). "Kansas City is favored to halt Bills today". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. D1.
- "Potent Chiefs have slim edge on Bills". Milwaukee Journal. January 1, 1967. p. 3, sports.
- "Chiefs ready for Packers". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. Kansas. Associated Press. January 2, 1967. p. 14.
- "Kansas City romps over Buffalo to end Bills' AFL reign, 31-7". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 2, 1967. p. 1, part 2.
- "K.C. splits pot 51 ways". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. Kansas. January 2, 1967. p. 14.
- Kuechle, Oliver E. (January 16, 1967). "Interception vital". Milwaukee Journal. p. 15, part 2.
- "Wood's steal changed our plans: Stram". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. January 16, 1967. p. 1, part 2.
- Clines, Frank (August 3, 1989). "Wood shrugs off interception". Milwaukee Journal. p. 6C.
| American Football League champion