November 9 1980: Kansas City Chiefs 31 – Seattle Seahawks 30
Back in 1980, the Chiefs and Seahawks were still divisional rivals – and Seattle had beaten KC by a single point at Arrowhead earlier in the year.
Now the Chiefs travelled to the Seattle Kingdome, in a battle of two teams with 4-and-5 records. The visitors had the edge in a cagey opening quarter, with Nick Lowery’s field goal the only score separating the teams.
However, the second quarter didn’t run as smoothly for Kansas City. The offence sputtered under Seattle pressure – 2 picks and 2 sacks of quarterback Steve Fuller meant that the home team dominated possession, and they used that to rack up two touchdowns, with a field goal in between. The Chiefs had no answer, and went in at the break 17-3 down, and seemingly out of the game.
Luckily, things improved straight away after the break. Fuller managed to get a drive moving, and rounded it off with a short touchdown pass to running back Tony Reed. This was the last of 10 TDs Reed scored in his Chiefs career. Although the Seahawks managed to drive into the red-zone in their next two drives, the defence held strong and kept them to a pair of field goals. Entering the fourth quarter, the visitors still trailed 23-10.
On KC’s next drive, Fuller again took the team downfield, and got his second touchdown pass of the day, with a short completion to veteran wide receiver Henry Marshall. On the Seahawks’ next possession, the defence also stepped up, as linebacker Frank Manumaleuga picked off QB Jim Zorn. This was one of five picks on the two, of which Manumaleuga had two – he took this one back 22 yards for the go-ahead score.
Manumaleuga, born in Hawaii, but of Samoan ancestry, was drafted by the Chiefs in 1979, and played all of his short (35 game) career with the franchise. This was the only touchdown score of his professional career.
No sooner had we taken an unlikely lead, than we lost it again! Seattle managed to put another drive together, and a 2 yard rushing touchdown put them 30-24 ahead with time running out.
With one last chance, Fuller once again put the team in with a chance. Having leant heavily on his running back committee of Tony Reed, Horace Belton and Ted McKnight, coach Marv Levy then went to his fourth choice rusher, Arnold Morgado. From a yard out, Morgado punched home to make it 30-30, and ever-reliable kicker Nick Lowery added the extra point to steal the game at the death.
Morgado was another Hawaiian born player. He played college ball for the University of Hawaii, and went into politics later in life, becoming chairman of Honolulu City Council – in between which, he put together a very nice 4 year career as a Chief. Despite going undrafted, he played in 52 games, and scored 20 touchdowns. As this day showed, he was no stranger to late heroics – the previous year he had scored two fourth quarter touchdowns in a thrashing of the Oakland Raiders. And just two weeks after this Seahawks win, he scored twice in the second half to help bring the Chiefs back from 10-0 down to beat the Rams 21-13.
A nail-biter, but the Chiefs had their revenge for the 1-point loss eight weeks earlier.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
There was another 1-point game on the same day, in Baltimore. The visiting Cleveland Browns raced into a 21-6 lead at the break on the back of a strong running game, but the Baltimore Colts’ quarterback, Bert Jones, finally sparks the game into life leading three touchdown drives in the final 20 minutes, as the Browns narrowly hold on, 28 to 27.
Elsewhere in the world:
Major political news in the USA, as Ronald Reagan is elected as the 40th President. Slightly less major news over here in the UK, as Michael Foot becomes leader of the Labour Party – despite encouraging early polls, he never comes close to replacing Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.