By Jon Cartwright
September 7th 1963: Kansas City Chiefs 59 – Denver Broncos 7
After the 1962 season, Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Dallas Texans team, took the decision to move the team out of Texas because of issues sharing the market with the other team in town, the Cowboys. He settled on Kansas City, Missouri, as the new site after negotiations with the city’s Mayor Bartle. The Mayor was popularly known as “The Chief”, and this helped to steer the decision to call the relocated team the Kansas City Chiefs.
For their first ever game under their new name, the Chiefs went to Bears Stadium. Confusingly, this wasn’t the home of the Chicago Bears but of the Denver Broncos. (Originally, it was built for the Denver Bears baseball team). It was the perfect start for the team, who demolished the Broncos and in doing so ran up what is still the highest score in franchise history in a competitive fixture.
The first player to score for the Chiefs was full-back Curtis McClinton, on a pass from quarterback Len Dawson. The same combination would later account for the team’s only touchdown of Superbowl I against the Packers.
McClinton scored 33 touchdowns in total, in an eight year career spent entirely with the Chiefs. He made the pro bowl three times and was also selected as 1962’s AFL Rookie of the Year – which he then followed by being named MVP of the AFL’s 1962 All-Star game.
Sherrill Headrick took an interception 38 yards back for a touchdown, and Dawson then found Chris Burford with a scoring pass. Even though Denver got a touchdown of their own late in the second quarter, the game looked almost over by half time.
The second half was even worse for the Broncos, as Kansas City put up four more touchdowns without reply. Dawson found Frank Jackson twice with passes as well as hitting Chris Burford for his second score of the game. Three-time Pro Bowler Abner Hayes ran in a short one, and Tommy Brooker added a field goal to go with all of the extra points he had been racking up.
Although this was an offensive rout, the defence turned up to play as well – putting up 5 sacks as well as recovering a couple of fumbles to stop Denver from ever being able to settle.
Make no mistakes, though, this was a poor Broncos team, and we would go on to put another 50 past them in the return game at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium later in the year.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
At Lambeau Field (or actually New City Stadium as it was still then known), the Chicago Bears out-fought the Green Bay Packers 10-3 in a game dominated by the defences. Bart Starr was intercepted 4 times by the Bears, and Joe Marconi pounded home a 1 yard rush to seal the game. The 11-1-2 Bears would go on to win the NFL Championship over the New York Giants.
Also, on the very same day as the Chiefs – Broncos game, the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton, Ohio.
Elsewhere in the world:
In assorted musical news, The Beatles hit the top of the charts with “She Loves You” – while both Easy-E (from N.W.A) and Jarvis Cocker (from Pulp) were born