September 25 1966: Kansas City Chiefs 43 – Boston Patriots 24
52 years ago, an explosive Kansas City Chiefs team, with the AFL’s top scoring offence, travelled to New England to defend their unbeaten record against the Patriots. Hopefully the parallels between that team, and the present day Chiefs side, will provide an omen for this weekend.
The Chiefs raced into a first quarter lead, something we have already seen a few times this season. Star wide receiver Chris Burford started the ball rolling, with a 31 yard reception from quarterback Len Dawson. On the Boston Patriots next possession, safety Johnny Robinson picked off home quarterback Babe Parilli and took the ball back 29 yards for another score. And, after adding both extra points (no surprise, as he had a perfect 149 from 149 record in his Chiefs career), kicker Tommy Brooker then nailed a short range field goal to make it 17-0.
Having been silenced early on, the Fenway Park crowd finally had something to cheer in the second quarter, as the home team roared back with two Jim Nance rushing touchdowns, to bring the scoreline back to a much close 17-14 at the break.
The second half of the game was a pass-happy shoot-out, as both teams were able to move the ball downfield through the air.
The teams traded passing touchdowns in the third quarter – Dawson found running back Curtis McClinton in the end zone, before the Patriots hit straight back. Then in the fourth quarter, Dawson found Chris Burford again, to stretch the lead once more. Boston marched straight back down the field, but a Chiefs defensive stop meant the hosts had to settle for a field goal, leaving Kansas City with a 6 point lead late in the game.
The Patriots had to push for a score, but found themselves falling further behind as Dawson and Burford combined for a touchdown yet again. After leading all college football in receptions in 1959, Burford had been selected in the team’s first ever draft in 1960, and spent his whole career with the franchise. He scored 55 touchdowns, and made two Pro Bowls – and this was the only time that he scored 3 touchdowns in a single game.
A desperate Patriots team soon turned the ball over again, and there was still time for the now-rampant Chiefs offence to score yet again – Dawson finding running back for Mike Garrett, for a fifth passing touchdown. This was one of Len Dawson’s best passing performances – apart from this, he had one other 5 touchdown game, and a single 6 touchdown game (in a wild 49-39 defeat of the Broncos in 1964).
The Chiefs left Fenway with a convincing 43-24 win, and would go on to have the AFC’s best record (11-2-1). They would then go on to lose to Green Bay in the first ever SuperBowl.
Curtis McClinton, who scored in this game, would also get a touchdown in SuperBowl I. Better still, Mike Garrett, who also scored in this game, would go in to score three years later as the Chiefs went on to win SuperBowl IV.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
The Chiefs’ eventual opponents in SuperBowl I, the Green Bay Packers, were also having a successful day, thanks to two of their Hall of Fame players. The Packers raced into a 14-0 lead over the LA Rams with two Paul Hornung touchdowns – one a short rush, and the other a pass from quarterback Bart Starr. After LA brought the lead back to 4 points, a final touchdown pass from Starr secured a 24-13 win.
Elsewhere in the world:
Not long after the release of their Revolver album, the Beatles play their last ever concert, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.