The Kansas City Chiefs had won Superbowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, but opened the following season with a defeat to the same team. In week 2 of the 1970 season, the Chiefs needed to bounce back quickly. However they faced a tricky away tie at the Baltimore Colts, who were led by start quarterback Johnny Unitas, and who had got their season start away in San Diego.
The game was chosen to be televised on ABC’s Monday Night Football – this was a new treat for football fans which had only started the week before as the Cleveland Browns hosted, and defeated, the New York Jets. However, viewers looking for drama would be disappointed as this game was over as a contest well before half time.
The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first quarter as quarterback, and Superbowl IV MVP, Len Dawson found received Gloster Richardson for a 48 yard score. Richardson was playing the last of his four years as a Chief – in which time he scored a dozen regular season touchdowns.
He also scored a post-season touchdown in the Divisional Round of the 1969 playoffs – the final and decisive score of the game which saw the Chiefs win away at the New York Jets. In the Superbowl itself, he was responsible for passing head coach Hank Stram’s famous “65 Toss Power Trap” play call to the quarterback.
A Jan Stenerud field goal extended the KC lead to 10-0 by the end of the quarter, and in the second quarter the team raced further clear. First up was another Dawson touchdown pass, this time to running back Robert Holmes. Holmes scored 17 touchdowns as a Chief before moving on to play for the Houston Oilers and San Diego Chargers, finally ending his career north of the border with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Just like Gloster Richardson, Holmes also scored one of his touchdowns during the Chiefs 1969 post season run to the Superbowl – getting the go-ahead score in the AFL Championship game against the Raiders. He had opened his account with a pair of touchdowns in the 1968 crushing 34-2 win over the Denver Broncos.
In the next Colts possession, they fumbled away the ball, and it was taken back 46 yards for another score by star safety Johnny Robinson. With Baltimore reeling, Dawson then found another receiver, this time Frank Pitts, for another long score – this time a 54-yarder. Pitts had been drafted in 1965 by the Chiefs, and had scored thirteen times for the team over his six years before going on to play for three more seasons as a Brown. Stenerud’s third extra point of the quarter gave the Chiefs an astonishing 31-0 lead with plenty of time still left in the first half.
The Colts finally got themselves moving with a touchdown just before the break and a field goal early in the third quarter. But the 31 point lead was re-established by Kansas City through another Stenerud field goal and then another Frank Pitts touchdown reception from Len Dawson, making the score 41-10.
Two fourth quarter touchdowns from the Colts gave a veneer of respectability to Baltimore’s scoreline, but it was left to Stenerud once again to have the last word – his late field goal being the final points of the day, and giving the visitors a 20-point victory.
This great Baltimore side would go on to win the AFC East and then ended their season by defeating the Dallas Cowboys to win Superbowl V – but this home thrashing would be the biggest black mark against an otherwise wonderful season.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
Fran Tarkenton’s New York Giants led 10-0 at half time in the Cotton Bowl, but Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach then led a second half fightback. The Cowboys scored four touchdowns and shut out the Giants to record a 28-10 win.
Elsewhere in the world:
In the world of music – the week leading up to this game saw both the death of Jimi Hendrix, and also the first ever Glastonbury festival