MIAMI, FL — Much has changed since the Kansas City Chiefs won their last World Championship.
As the Chiefs are set to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in over half-a-century, a look back over the past 51 years shows just how much has changed in not only football, but in American culture.
In Super Bowl IV, the AFL-champion Chiefs defeated the NFL-champion Minnesota Vikings, 23-7, in the last AFL vs. NFL World Championship game before the two leagues merged in 1970.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead against the heavily-favored Vikings, before coasting to the win.
That Kansas City team featured 10 future hall-of-famers, including owner Lamar Hunt and coach Hank Stram.
On the field, the Chiefs were led by linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier, kicker Jan Stenerud and quarterback Len Dawson. Dawson was a backup in the NFL prior to becoming a star in the AFL.
In 1964, five years prior to the Chiefs championship win, Dawson passed for 30 touchdowns, a Chiefs record that stood for 54 years until Patrick Mahomes broke the record in 2018.
In his eight years in the AFL, Dawson passed for 182 touchdowns, which was more than any quarterback in either league.
However, the AFL was often looked at as the inferior organization, and idea that seemed to be reinforced by the Chiefs falling to the Green Bay Packers 35-10 in Super Bowl I (A result that the Chiefs very nearly had the opportunity to avenge this season, but the Packers failed to hold up their end of the bargain after a blowout loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game).
However, Dawson and the Chiefs, along with the AFL’s New York Jets championship the year prior, helped reverse that thought-process.
The 1969 Super Bowl also unintentionally marked a change in organized crime.
Before Super Bowl IV, the Kansas City Mafia still had a solid thumbprint on the pulse of sports.
When the Chiefs made the Super Bowl, even with the Vikings being the odds-on favorite, most betters in the city leaned on their hometown team.
With many bets rolling in for the Chiefs, the mob was searching for ways to balance the scales.
Mob boss Nick Civella made frequent calls to Northview Social Club, with Civella and his under-bosses attempting to find a solution to the problem.
Unbeknownst to Civella, the FBI had the Social Club wire-tapped, a move that helped set off a chain-of-events that led to the takedown of the Kansas City Mob.
Other important cultural events happening at the time include the original moon-landing, Sesame Street making its television premiere, the Manson Family murders took place, Richard Nixon became the 37th president and tensions in the United State began to rise as the war in Vietnam continued.