By Jon Cartwright
December 13th 1964: Kansas City Chiefs 49 – San Diego 6
The 1964 season struggled to flicker into life for the Chiefs. There were high spots such as a sweep of rivals the Oakland Raiders, but also a series of fruitless trips north, as the team was beat at the Buffalo Bills, the Boston Patriots and the New York Jets.
With a record of 5 – 7, there was little reason for confidence in the trip to the Balboa Stadium in San Diego – especially as the Chargers had won seven of their last eight games. However, two Chiefs players combined to score 6 touchdowns as the game turned into a romp for Kansas City.
Frank Jackson hauled in an early 64 yard pass from quarterback Len Dawson, and the Chiefs twisted the knife by going for, and making, a two point conversion. Following a Tommy Brooker field goal, Dawson then found Jackson with two more shorter passes, to give Kansas City a comfortable half time lead. After a brief fight-back in the second half with a Chargers touchdown, Jackson then scored his fourth receiving TD of the game.
Frank Jackson had been drafted by the franchise with the 150th overall pick – but comfortably outperformed that position. In five seasons with the Chiefs before moving to the Miami Dolphins, he played 70 times and scored 28 touchdowns. He had a great strike rate against the Denver Broncos – getting 4 TDs against them in 1961 and 5 more in 1963.
With the win firmly secure, it was now time for running back Bert Coan to make his mark. Coan scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pile on the agony for the Chargers – these were the first two scores of his professional career. Coan had actually started his career with the Chargers, but the majority of his time in the game was a six-season spell in Kansas City during which time he scored 19 times. He took over from Frank Jackson as a tormentor of the Denver Broncos, racking up 8 TDs against them between 1965 and 1967.
As an unusual side note, Bert Coan is responsible for an odd statistic in the long running college football rivalry between the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Missouri Tigers. Coan played for the Jayhawks in a win, but was controversially later ruled to be an ineligible player. The Jayhawks refused to accept this and still record the game as a win – while Missou regards it as a forfeited win for the Tigers!
After this win, the Chiefs managed to also win the final game of the season to finish up with a 7 – 7 record for the year.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton helped the Minnesota Vikings to overcome a fourth quarter deficit, to win 30 – 21 away at the New York Giants. A solid Vikings team on both sides of the ball would go on to finish the season with a respectable 8 – 5 – 1 record.
Elsewhere in the world:
Martin Luther King is awarded the Nobel Peace prize, while classic Bond film Goldfinger is showing at the cinema.