As New Orleans prepares to host its tenth Super Bowl, Jacob Mayer is taking a look back at the city's rich Super Bowl history. Stay tuned to Morning Edition and All Things Considered all this week for stories from the Big Game.
On an overcast January day in New Orleans in 1970, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in the fourth annual AFL-NFL World Championship Game, better known as Super Bowl IV.
The game was the first Super Bowl in the Crescent City, and the last before the American Football League and the National Football League completed their merger.
The AFL’s Chiefs were gigantic 12-point underdogs when they kicked off against the Vikings in front of a sold out Tulane Stadium. Public perception at this point in the history of professional football was that the NFL was, on the whole, vastly superior to the AFL.
The Chiefs quickly began to wear down the favored Vikings with effective play from their Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, who completed 70.5 percent of his passes on the day and earned the game’s most valuable player award.
Chiefs coach Hank Stram frequently and famously encouraged his team to “matriculate the ball down the field,” which they did easily in the first half, building a 16-0 halftime lead on the strength of three Jan Stenerud field goals and a rushing touchdown from former Heisman trophy winner Mike Garrett.
The Vikings, however, couldn’t matriculate their way into the end zone until the third quarter and couldn’t manage any more offensive fire power after that. Minnesota quarterback Joe Kapp had a rather pedestrian performance, completing 16 of his 25 passes for no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Dawson tacked on one more score for the Chiefs when he hit Otis Taylor for a 46-yard touchdown. Taylor shook a tackle after catching the ball and sprinted down the sideline for what was perhaps the most exciting play of the game.
Despite the sellout crowd and record television viewership, audiences in the New Orleans area could not watch the game on television due to the NFL’s blackout policy at the time.
Hank Stram later coached the New Orleans Saints in the late '70s and retired to Covington, where he lived until 2005 when he succumbed to complications from diabetes.
National Anthem: Al Hirt
Halftime Show: "Mardi Gras" with Carol Channing
Ticket Cost: $15
Cost of 30-Second Commercial: $78,000