Blast From The Past – Week 1

September 21 1969: Kansas City Chiefs 31 – Boston Patriots 0

As we look forward to a new Chiefs season, I will also be once again looking back to some of the great games and players from the team’s past. Heading up to New England for the season’s opening night, what better place to start than a meeting between the teams, at the start of our greatest ever season…?

The Chiefs, buoyed by the best defence in the AFL, had cruised through the previous regular season with a 12 and 2 record, only to fall flat in the playoffs against our rival Raiders. A new season started with optimism for another push towards the playoffs, especially when the opening week saw a comfortable 27-9 win at in San Diego. The team then travelled to Alumni Stadium in Boston in week 2 for another road game.

It didn’t take long for Kansas City to get on top. Early in the first quarter of the game, quarterback Len Dawson, in his seventh season leading the team, passed to Mike Garrett for a 22 yard score. Jan Stenerud kicked the point and the Chiefs were 7 up. Only minutes later Dawson repeated the trick, this time finding Otis Taylor, to double the score.

The Chiefs defence was so solid in this era that a 14 point lead was virtually impossible for opponents to pull back, and true to form, we began to lock down the Patriots. The Patriots ground offense was held to only 43 rushing yards in the game, and Mike Taliaferro’s air attack to an only slightly more respectable 77 yards. And before half time, KC’s lead was extended further as Mike Garrett scored his second touchdown of the game, this time a short range rush.

Running back Garrett had been a college star at the University of Southern California, winning the Heisman trophy and starting a long run of rushing stars at the college which went on to see OJ Simpson and Marcus Allen also win the Heisman. Drafted by the Chiefs in 1966, he scored 34 touchdowns for the teams in 64 games – culminating in a score in our Superbowl IV victory. He then went on to play for the Chargers for 3 years before then returning to his alma mater USC for several years as its football team’s athletic director. After being selected to the Chiefs Hall of Fame, he was later also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In a comfortable second half, the Chiefs’ fourth touchdown was scored by fullback Robert Holmes. Stenerud added his fourth additional point, before rounding things off with a field goal to close the scoring. The defensive shut-out was one of two in 1969 – and one of an amazing eight occasions over the season when we kept our opponents’ score in single figures.

Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:

With Johnny Unitas injured in the game, the Baltimore Colts struggled badly at home. The Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp had a career day – hurling 7 touchdown passes (he never got more than 3 in any of his other 54 games), and racking up 449 yards of passing (he never passed 300 in any other game), in a 52-14 blowout.

Also having a day was the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Norm Snead – he managed 335 yards and 5 touchdowns in a win over the Steelers. These were Snead’s best passing figures, in a career which saw him play 178 regular season games for five different teams without ever making it to a post-season game.

Elsewhere in the world:

Highlights this week were the release of the Beatles’ classic Abbey Road album, as well as Willie Mays hitting his 600th home run – the first baseball player since Babe Ruth to reach that mark.

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