Pivotal Pro Football Moments
pivotal NFL postseason moment: A decision by a coach or an action by a player that establishes, continues or changes the momentum of a playoff game.
1969: Chiefs Gain Revenge for Super Bowl I
Super Bowl IV: Minnesota Vikings vs Kansas City Chiefs
When the Chiefs won the AFL Championship to qualify for their second Super Bowl, they were on a mission. Coach Hank Stram and his veterans from the '66 squad had been waiting for another chance at the NFL for three years. The players and assistant coaches also wanted to erase the stain on Stram's reputation from the lopsided loss in Super Bowl I to Vince Lom­bardi's Green Bay Packers.
QB Len Dawson recalled: "My main goal in football was to have a second opportunity to win a Super Bowl and erase Lombardi's cutting remark about our team and league." After the Packers' 35-10 romp, Vince said, "I think the Kansas City Chiefs are a tough football team, but I don't think the Chiefs compare to the teams in the NFL."
Chiefs' owner Lamar Hunt, the main founder of the American Football League, had a spe­cial motivation to beat the Minnesota Vikings, and the fact that the game was in New Or­leans was a second reason to win.
New Orleans had agreed to host the 1965 AFL All-Star game, the first one hosted outside one of the league's member cities. But the segregated Deep South city wasn't ready to host an event with integrated rosters. Black players couldn't get cabs and were denied access at some restaurants and night clubs. So they banded together and decided to boycott the game. As a result, it was hurriedly moved to Houston.
Hunt hosted a dinner Wednesday night of Super Bowl week at Antoine's Restaurant in the French Quarter for family and friends. He spoke frankly to the gathering. "Two things stand out in my mind. One is the way New Orleans treated the American Football League. The other is the way some of the men who are now owners of the Vikings pulled out on us after commit­ting themselves to an NFL franchise. In looking back on these things, all I think of tonight is ... (pausing and banging his fist on the table) ... kill ... kill ... KILL! ... KILL!" Soon the entire dining room joined in the chant: "KILL! KILL!"
Apparently thinking the Jets' upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III was a fluke, the odds­makers installed the Vikings as 13-point favorites. The New York Times prognosticator called it 31-7 Vikings. Pro Football Weekly ran a headline in its Super Bowl issue: "If It's a Battle of the QBs ... Kapp Has It All Over Dawson."
Raiders QB-K George Blanda spoke for many AFL players when he proclaimed, "They're doing it again. They haven't learned a thing since last year. They're underestimating the AFL all over again."
Stram must have thought he was back in Super Bowl I as he watched films of Minnesota. Their offense was as straightforward and simple as Green Bay's. The Vikes ran the ball 59% of the time.
The Chiefs' defense had been given 20 sheets of offensive formations before their game with the Raiders for the AFL championship. Analysis of the Vikings' films produced a mere four pages. DE Jerry Mays walked out of a meeting on Wednesday of Super Bowl week and bragged to the Chiefs Public Relations man, "If Jan-ski (Jan Stenerud) can make three field goals, we're going to win the game. There is no way they're going to score more than a touch­down."
Like Lombardi's Packers, the Vikings stayed with a basic 4-3 defense. They didn't need to blitz much because of the effectiveness of the Purple People Eaters, Minnesota's defensive line. They saw no reason to change since they allowed an NFL modern record low 133 points during the regular season.
For the first time, only one week separated Super Bowl Sunday from the league champion­ship games. That proved to be a boon for the Chiefs.
Stram: "Quite honestly, I preferred the week's time span and saw it as a distinct advantage. I felt the variety of our offense would present a definite problem for Minnesota. I snickered to myself because this was the one game I was confident about."
Vikings coach Bud Grant complained about the short preparation time for the game. "It's hard to plan for a team when you've only seen them on three films. We've got nine years of Bart Starr on film. All we know about the Chiefs is that their style is similar to that of the Dallas Cowboys."

L: Len Dawson and Hank Stram; R: Jan Stenerud kicks his first field goal.
Vikings Hold Chiefs to Field Goals
Never employing a shift or putting a man in motion the entire game, the Vikings' offense was easy for the Chiefs to defend, especially after facing much more varied attacks in the AFL.
On the other side of the ball, Stram wanted to protect Dawson, who had a bad knee. So he concocted a game plan that consisted of three-step drops and a moving pocket. He also dou­ble-teamed ends Jim Marshall and Carl Eller to keep their hands down so Dawson had clear passing lanes to the outside.
The Chiefs scored first, driving from their 17 into Minnesota territory to set up Stenerud's 48y field goal. Chiefs 3 Vikings 0 (6:52)
Stram: "When I sent Jan in for the first field goal from 48 yards, guys on the Minnesota bench were punching themselves. 'Look at that. The guy's crazy!' Jan kicked the ball like it had helium in it. ... When he kicked it, it looked like it would never come down. The Vi­kings were stunned."
Dawson: "I looked over to Minnesota's sideline, and they looked like they were in shock. Their kicker did not have that range. What that meant to them was, 'We can't let these guys past midfield.'"
Neither team threatened until early in the second period when the Chiefs moved close enough for Stenerud to kick another field goal. Chiefs 6 Vikings 0 (13:20)
With the Vikings offense not yet crossing midfield, KC continued to dominate but had to settle for a third field goal. Chiefs 9 Vikings 0 (7:52)
Disaster struck the Vikings on the kickoff. Charlie West ran up and tried to catch the short kick on the run at the 11 but muffed it, and Remi Prudhomme recovered for KC at the 19.
Chiefs Finally Get a TD on 65 Toss Power Trap
But the Vikes dug in, and Marshall downed Garrett for a loss of 1. Dawson kept for no gain. On 3rd-and-goal from the 5, Stram made one of the most famous calls of all time be­cause NFL Films included the audio in its highlights of the game. Stram sent in a sub with the play call: "65 Toss Power Trap."
Dawson: "I called most of the plays, but here comes Gloster Richardson into the huddle with a play from Hank Stram. He said, 'The coach wants 65 Toss Power Trap.' I said, 'Are you sure? We haven't worked that play, even in practice, for weeks.' Richardson said, 'He said 65 Toss Power Trap.' I said, 'You better be right.'"
Stram: "On the 65 Toss Power Trap, that was the only time we ran that play all year long. Minnesota's Alan Page was a great player. Quick. Sharp. Alert. In a short-yardage situation, they would put him in the gap between the center and the left guard. If the backs were split, it looked like there might be an outside play to Page's right. Then he'd have to get in the gap between the guard and the tackle. If he saw the tackle (Jim Tyrer) pull, he was going to run like hell. It worked just like you draw it up on paper. When Page came through, he was open to the inside-out trap block (by RG Mo Moorman). It also took a good block by the tight end (Fred Arbanas) on the middle linebacker, and we got that."
The play worked beautifully. HB Mike Garrett took the handoff and ran through a big hole at left guard created by Ed Budde into the end zone. Stenerud converted.
Chiefs 16 Vikings 0 (5:34)
"65 Toss Power Trap"

L: As Dawson hands to Garrett, RG Mo Moorman (76) pulls and Fred Arbanas (lower part of his body showing directly in front of Moorman) blocks RDE Jim Marshall.
R: Garrett runs through the hole Arbanas and Moorman created past DT Paul Dickson (76).

L: Diving Dickson just misses Garrett as Marshall, pushed out by Moorman, reaches in vain.
R: Garrett scoots into the end zone.
One strategy KC used that paid off was playing an odd-man line with either one of the tack­les, 270lb Buck Buchanan or 265lb Curley Culp, playing on the nose of C Mick Tingelhoff, who was only 235. Chiefs backup QB Tom Flores recalled, "With all due respect to Mick, he was not used to it. Our defensive line just overpowered their offensive line." Tingelhoff could­n't get away from the nose tackle to block MLB Willie Lanier.
Chiefs DE Jerry Mays said KC's triple-stack defense was vulnerable if the Vikings ran to the weak side. "But they never varied from their game plan all game. They kept running into our strength. It never changed. Strong side, strong side–all game long."
Minnesota offensive coordinator Jerry Burns: "I don't know if we were thoroughly pre­pared offensively or defensively. ... We had a tough time running against them. We didn't get the job done from an offensive standpoint. Our actual game plan was pretty basic. If we made a substitution, it was to put in an extra tight end in a short-yardage play or inside the 10."
Those comments reveal a team that was smug and overconfident, believing the sportswriters and oddsmakers who still regarded the NFL as superior to the AFL.
Minnesota Goes to the Air
After their defense stopped the Chiefs on the first possession of the second half, the deter­mined Viking offense mounted a 69y scoring march. Along the way, Minnesota gained its initial first down rushing. However, most of the yardage came through the air. Kapp connected with TE John Beasley for 15y, with FB Bill Brown on a screen pass for 11, a wobbler to WR John Henderson for 9, and then RB Oscar Reed for 12 to the 4. FB Dave Osborn then slammed over right tackle and twisted into the end zone to put the Vikings on the board. Chiefs 16 Vikings 7 (4:32)

L: Joe Kapp consults with Coach Bud Grant; R: Dave Osborn scores Minnesota's touchdown.
Kansas City Clinches Victory
With momentum now on Minnesota's side, the Chiefs needed to respond, and that's what they did. Starting from the 18, they gained two first downs to the 39. Then an unnecessary roughness put the ball on the Vikings 46.
That set up the play that broke the Vikings' backs. Dawson, sensing a blitz, threw another quick hitch to Taylor on the right side. Otis broke free from CB Earsell Mackbee, who hit him right after he caught the ball, then escaped Karl Kassulke's lunging attempt at the 20, and pranced down the sideline to pay dirt. Chiefs 23 Vikings 7 (1:22)

L: Taylor breaks free from Earsell Mackbee. M: Taylor pushes away Karl Kassulke.
R: Taylor exults with RT Dave Hill.
Neither team scored in the anti-climactic fourth quarter.
Coach Stram afterwards: "I thought we could play with anybody several years ago. I was just disappointed that we didn't succeed in the first Super Bowl. There is no question we were more relaxed this time. We always felt we had a chance to win. It's difficult to say if this was our hardest game of the season. But it definitely was one of our most complete games. ... The Vikings are a tough team, but we don't think there's any tougher team than we are."
Coach Grant: "They just beat us with fine personnel. No secrets. We put our best on the line. They put their best on the line, and they were a better football team ... I can't say Kan­sas City is the toughest team we've played this year. But production-wise and point-wise, they outplayed us the toughest."
Stram later said the Super Bowl IV victory was crucial right before the leagues merged for the 1970 season. "The thing about it was we didn't have to go hat in hand, as second-class citizens, into the NFL. We went in as equals, and that was important."