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January 11, 1970 • Tulane Stadium • New Orleans, Louisiana • CBS • 2:40 p.m. CST
Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl IV Kansas City Chiefs
NFL-NFC-MIN - 1961-1979 Vikings Helmet.png 7
Team 1 2 3 4 Totals
Vikings 0 0 7 0 7
Chiefs 3 13 7 0 23
NFL-AFL-AFC-KC-Chiefs Retro 1963-71 Helmet Right Side.png 23

Super Bowl IV
Super Bowl IV logo.png
1 2 3 4 Total
MIN 0 0 7 0 7
KC 3 13 7 0 23
Date January 11, 1970
Stadium Tulane Stadium
City New Orleans, Louisiana
MVP Len Dawson, Quarterback
Favorite Vikings by 13
National anthem Doc Severnson with Pat O'Brian
Coin toss John McDonough
Referee John McDonough
Halftime show Reenactment of the Battle of New Orleans
Attendance 80,562
TV in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Jack Buck, Pat Summerall, and Frank Gifford
Nielsen Ratings 39.4
(est. 44.3 million viewers)[1]
Market share 69
Cost of 30-second commercial $78,000
Super Bowl IV Program
Super Bowl IV Program.jpeg
 < III Super Bowl V > 

Super Bowl IV was the fourth AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, and the second one (after Super Bowl III) to officially bear the name "Super Bowl". This was the final AFL-NFL World Championship Game before the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL) merged into one league after the season.

The game was played on a wet Sunday, January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the first Super Bowl played without the standard week off after the conference championship games (league championship games at the time). However, the AFL had a week off between its divisional playoffs (the NFL played its conference championship games during the AFL's off-week) and league championship game. The AFL started its 1969 season a week earlier than the NFL, and thus had an extra week to prepare for the Super Bowl. This would be the last Super Bowl played without the week off until Super Bowl XVII.

The underdog AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) defeated the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings (12-2), 23–7. Despite the New York Jets victory in Super Bowl III, sports writers believed the victory against the Baltimore Colts was a fluke, and still believed the NFL was superior to the AFL. Even though the Vikings were 12.5 to 13.5-point favorites, the Chiefs defense dominated the game by limiting the Minnesota offense to only 67 rushing yards, forcing three interceptions, and recovering two fumbles. This victory by the AFL squared the Super Bowl series with the NFL at two games apiece.

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.


Minnesota Vikings

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.[2] 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.

Kansas City Chiefs

For more details on this topic, see 1969 Kansas City Chiefs.

Ten-year AFL patch worn by the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV.

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).[3]

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.)[3]

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.[3] 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.[3]

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).

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.

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.[4]

The night before the game, Ed Sabol of NFL Films met with 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.

Television and entertainment

Super Bowl IV was broadcast in the United States by CBS with play-by-play announcer Jack Buck and color commentators Pat Summerall and Frank Gifford. While the game was sold out at Tulane Stadium, unconditional blackout rules in both leagues 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. Hirt later performed the national anthem, while actress and singer Carol Channing was featured during the halftime show that paid tribute to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Hank Stram Miked for Sound

The NFL Films Super Bowl IV film is one of the best-known and most popular of the NFL Films Super Bowl films due to the constant chatter and wisecracking of Hank Stram. Some excerpts include:

  • Observing the confusion in the Vikings defense: "Look at Kassulke (Viking SS Karl Kassulke) out there, it looks like he's in a Chinese fire drill."
  • Before the Chief's first touchdown, he sends the play in "65 toss power trap." When the Chiefs scored on the play, Stram is laughing and chuckling while yelling to his players on the bench "ha ha, 65 toss power trap! What'd I tell ya boys? 65 toss power trap! Ha ha."
  • One time, as the referees were spotting the ball before a measurement to determine if the Chiefs got a first down, Stram yells to the officials "you didn't mark it right! You didn't mark it right! C'mon." When the chains were stretched and the Chiefs indeed had the first down, Stram is then heard saying to the refs, "ya did good, you're doing a fine job out there."
  • On another first down measurement for the Vikings, Stram, thinking the Vikings were short, is heard saying "that's right, it was right there. That's a good spot." When the Vikings had a first down, Stram then yells "C'mon, you didn't mark it right!"
  • On Otis Taylor's touchdown reception that clinched the game, Stram is heard yelling and laughing while Taylor is running to the end zone "ha ha, go Otis, that a baby! Woo hoo!"

Game summary

Chiefs head coach Hank Stram, who was also the team's offensive coordinator, devised an effective game plan against the Vikings.[4] He knew the Vikings' 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 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 Chiefs routinely played a 3-4 defense, common in the AFL but rare in the NFL. 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 the Vikings credit, the NFL used the so-called light "greyhound" centers whle 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."[3] The Vikings 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, but were forced to punt. The Chiefs then drove 42 yards in eight plays to score on placekicker Jan Stenerud's Super Bowl record 48-yard field goal. (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 placekicker kicked straight on with their toes. "Stenerud was a major factor," he said.)[3] Minnesota then managed to reach midfield on their next drive, but were forced to punt again.

On the first play of their ensuing drive, Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson threw a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Frank 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 Vikings defensive back Ed 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 Mike 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. Viking quarterback Joe Kapp's two incompletions and a delay of game penalty forced Minnesota to punt from their 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 that fooled the overaggressive, overpursuing Viking defense to set up another field goal attempt by Stenerud to increase the Chiefs' lead to 9-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Vikings returner Charlie West fumbled the football, and Kansas City's Remi Prudhomme recovered it at Minnesota 19-yard line. ("That was a key, key play," said Dawson.)[3] Defensive end Jim Marshall sacked Dawson for an 8-yard loss by on the first play of the drive; however, a 13-yard run by running back Wendell Hayes and a 10-yard reception by Taylor gave the Chiefs a first down at the Viking four yard line. Two plays later, running back Mike Garrett's five yard touchdown run on a trap play 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.

In the third quarter, the Vikings managed to build momentum. After forcing the Chiefs to punt on their opening possession of the second half, Kapp completed four consecutive passes for 47 yards and rushed for 7 as Minnesota 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 their next possession with a six play, 82-yard drive to score on Dawson's 46-yard catch and run touchdown completion to Taylor three minutes later. 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.

The Vikings were demoralized after the game breaking touchdown and the Chiefs' defense would continue to shut down the Vikings 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 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 had 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."[4]

Box score/Game Information

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 0 7 0 7
Chiefs 3 13 7 0 23

  • Stadium: Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Date: January 11, 1970
  • Time: 2:40 p.m. CST
  • Weather: 61 °F (16 °C), heavy overcast, wet field, tornado watch issued for area
Quarter Time Team Drive Scoring Information Score
Length Plays Time MIN KC
1 6:52 KC 42 8 4:06 FG: Jan Stenerud 48 yards 0 3
2 13:20 KC 55 8 4:48 FG: Jan Stenerud 32 yards 0 6
2 7:52 KC 27 4 2:13 FG: Jan Stenerud 25 yards 0 9
2 5:34 KC 19 6 1:47 TD: Mike Garrett 5 yard run (Jan Stenerud kick good) 0 16
3 4:32 MIN 69 10 4:34 TD: Dave Osborn 4 yard run (Fred Cox kick good) 7 16
3 1:22 KC 82 6 3:10 TD: Otis Taylor 46 yard pass from Len Dawson (Jan Stenerud kick good) 7 23

Final statistics

Source:The NFL's Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, (1973), p. 144, Macmillan Publishing Co. New York, NY, LCCN 73-3862 g

Statistical comparison

Minnesota Vikings Kansas City Chiefs
First downs 13 18
First downs rushing 2 8
First downs passing 10 7
First downs penalty 1 3
Net yards rushing 67 151
Passes attempted 28 17
Passes completed 17 12
Interceptions-yards 1-0 3-24
Net yards passing 172 122
Total yards 239 273
Punts-average 3-37.0 4-48.5
Fumbles-lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-67 4-47

Individual leaders

Chiefs Passing
Len Dawson 12/17 142 1 1
Chiefs Rushing
Car Yds TD
Mike Garrett 11 39 1
Frank Pitts 3 37 0
Wendell Hayes 8 31 0
Warren McVea 12 26 0
Dawson 3 11 0
Robert Holmes 5 7 0
Chiefs Receiving
Rec Yds TD
Otis Taylor 6 81 1
Pitts 3 33 0
Garrett 2 25 0
Hayes 1 3 0
Vikings Passing
Joe Kapp 16/25 183 0 2
Gary Cuozzo 1/3 16 0 1
Vikings Rushing
Car Yds TD
Bill Brown 6 26 0
Oscar Reed 4 17 0
Dave Osborn 7 15 1
Kapp 2 9 0
Vikings Receiving
Rec Yds TD
John Henderson 7 111 0
Brown 3 11 0
John Beasley 2 41 0
Reed 2 16 0
Osborn 2 11 0
Gene Washington 1 9 0

Starting lineups


Kansas City Position Minnesota
Frank Pitts WR Gene Washington
Jim Tyrer LT Grady Alderman
Ed Budde LG Jim Vellone
E. J. Holub C Mick Tingelhoff
Mo Moorman RG Milt Sunde
Dave Hill RT Ron Yary
Fred Arbanas TE John Beasley
Otis Taylor WR John Henderson
Len Dawson QB Joe Kapp
Mike Garrett RB Dave Osborn
Robert Holmes RB Bill Brown
Jerry Mays LE Carl Eller
Curley Culp LDT Gary Larsen
Buck Buchanan RDT Alan Page
Aaron Brown RE Jim Marshall
Bobby Bell LOLB Roy Winston
Willie Lanier MLB Lonnie Warwick
Jim Lynch ROLB Wally Hilgenberg
Jim Marsalis LCB Earsell Mackbee
Emmitt Thomas RCB Ed Sharockman
Jim Kearney SS Karl Kassulke
Johnny Robinson FS Paul Krause


  • Referee: John McDonough (AFL) #11
  • Umpire: Lou Palazzi (NFL) #51
  • Head Linesman: Harry Kessel (AFL) #73
  • Line Judge: Bill Schleibaum (NFL) #28
  • Field Judge: Charlie Musser (AFL) #55
  • Back Judge: Tom Kelleher (NFL) #25

Note: A seven-official system was not used until 1978

See also


  2. "Super Bowl IV," Super Bowl I-X Collector's Set. NFL Productions, LLC, 2003
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Len Dawson, "Super Bowl IV," Super Bowl: The Game of Their Lives, Danny Peary, editor. Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 0-02-860841-0
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Shelby Strother, "Beyond an Unreasonable Doubt," The Super Bowl: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of America's Greatest Game. Simon and Schuster, 1990 ISBN
  5. Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present.
 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book,. Time Inc. Home Entertainment.  ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
 Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League,. Harper Collins.  ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
 The Official NFL Encyclopedia Pro Football,. NAL Books.  ISBN 0-453-00431-8.
 The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995,.  ISBN 0-89204-523-X.
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