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Sports Notes - SUPER BOWL - HISTORY - February 2006

Tom Sestak draws a bead on Len Dawson in 1964 - photo Buffalo Courier-Express

 

James Loving - National Radio Text Service - Saturday February 4, 2006

SUPER BOWL - THE AFL WAS KNOW AS THE MICKEY MOUSE LEAGUE UNTIL...

SUPER BOWL MIC...KEY...M..O..U..S..E...???

The first Super bowl game was played on January 15, 1967. The contest pitted the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League against the Kansas City Chiefs of the upstart American Football League. The game was played in the 104,000 seat Los Angeles Coliseum the then home of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams (now St. Louis).

Tickets were priced at $10. Low interest in the game resulted in a live attendance of only 61,946.

"They called us the Mickey Mouse league," said then Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson.

The AFL was put together to be competition for the long established NFL. Many cities that wanted an NFL franchise were a part of the AFL.

The league was largely made up of a few selected named stars of the NFL who were offered large contracts to furnish the new league with NFL names that had drawing (box office) power. It also consisted of NFL bench players with talent and promise and Dawson was one of those.

The Purdue University graduate was riding the bench with the NFL Cleveland Browns. In order to play regularly and show what talent he had the deal with an AFL team was his big opportunity.

Dawson was released by the Browns, having completed only 21 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns in his five seasons of NFL play. He then signed with the American Football League's Dallas Texans (now Kansas City Chiefs after relocating) on June 30, 1962.

He was on a team that had a number of NFL veterans in their twilight years of their career. The Texans/Chiefs and league also had many fresh young college graduates that were convinced that they would have a chance to play in a new league whereas in the NFL they might not make the team or have to sit on the bench much of the time.

The game was nationally televised. Green Bay was at the top of their strength in their NFL history with the renowned Vince Lombardi as coach. It was their second consecutive year as NFL champions.

Kansas City surprised everyone by trailing by only 14-10 at the half. In the second half the Packers opened up and scored three touchdowns resulting in a 35-10 victory.

After securing their third straight NFL title Green Bay returned the big game the following year. They played the Oakland Raiders at Miami's Orange Bowl (stadium) on January 14, 1968 before a crowd of 74,546. It was the first three million dollar gate in football history.

Packers quarterback Bart Star led his team to a 33-14 victory and he also won the game MVP award for the second straight year. It also was the last game that Lombardi coached the Packers.

After two blowouts the NFL was strutting their stuff and showing their peacock feathers while saying all along that the AFL was no competition for their league.

That all changed when a brash young New York Jets quarterback named Joe Namath came along. He was the AFL's highest paid player.

Before the game he guaranteed a victory for the Jets over the Baltimore Colts. Without saying it he was also guaranteeing the first win for the AFL.

Namath was largely criticized for his prediction much in the same way, as Muhammad Ali was when he said he was the greatest. He was perceived as a loud mouth with all bark and no bite.

He proved his critics wrong while leading the Jets to a 16-7 victory at the Orange Bowl before 75,389 fans and was named the games MVP.

Perhaps the biggest turning point for the Super Bowl game and the two leagues was the following year when Len Dawson returned with his Chiefs to face the Minnesota Vikings on January 11, 1970 before a crowd of 80,562 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana

Dawson led his charges to a 16-0-halftime lead enroute to a 23-7 victory. He was selected that games MVP making it the fourth year in a row that a quarterback won the award.

Dawson was in a Mickey Mouse league no more... they became MIGHTY.

That game was instrumental in proving the parity of the two leagues and the AFL indeed were competition to the older league.

The following year the two leagues merged. Under the NFL umbrella the NFL teams became the National Football Conference (NFC) and the AFL teams became the American Football Conference (AFC).

That resulted in the Baltimore Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers being assigned to the AFL and the rest… as they say… IS….. HISTORY….

NOTES

With the league's absorption into the National Football League in 1970, Dawson earned one final honor from the league as a member of the second team All-time All-AFL Team. He is also a member of the Chiefs' Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He would earn Pro Bowl honors following the 1971 NFL season, then ended his career in 1975, having completed 2,136 of 3,741 passes for 28,711 yards and 239 touchdowns, with 181 interceptions. He also gained 1,293 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground.

After leaving the NFL In 1987, Dawson was recognized for his play with the Chiefs with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dawson currently works on the Chiefs radio broadcast team, in addition to his duties as sports director for KMBC-TV in Kansas City. From 1977 to 2001, he served as the host of HBO's Inside the NFL.

Related story: Jerome Bettis

Super Bowl Game History Scores

Game *** Date *** Result

XL Feb. 5, 2006 Pittsburgh 21, Seattle Seahawks 10

XXXIX Feb. 6, 2005 New England 24, Philadelphia 21

XXXVIII Feb. 1, 2004 New England 32, Carolina 29

XXXVII Jan. 26, 2003 Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21

XXXVI Feb. 3, 2002 New England 20, St. Louis 17

XXXV Jan. 28, 2001 Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7

XXXIV Jan. 30, 2000 St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16

XXXIII Jan. 31, 1999 Denver 34, Atlanta 19

XXXII Jan. 25, 1998 Denver 31, Green Bay 24

XXXI Jan. 26, 1997 Green Bay 35, New England 21

XXX Jan. 28, 1996 Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17

XXIX Jan. 29, 1995 San Francisco 49, San Diego 26

XXVIII Jan. 30, 1994 Dallas 30, Buffalo 13

XXVII Jan. 31, 1993 Dallas 52, Buffalo 17

XXVI Jan. 26, 1992 Washington 37, Buffalo 24

XXV Jan. 27, 1991 N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19

XXIV Jan. 28, 1990 San Francisco 55, Denver 10

XXIII Jan. 22, 1989 San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16

XXII Jan. 31, 1988 Washington 42, Denver 10

XXI Jan. 25, 1987 N.Y. Giants 39, Denver 20

XX Jan. 26, 1986 Chicago 46, New England 10

XIX Jan. 20, 1985 San Francisco 38, Miami 16

XVIII Jan. 22, 1984 L.A. Raiders 38, Washington 9

XVII Jan. 30, 1983 Washington 27, Miami 17

XVI Jan. 24, 1982 San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21

XV Jan. 25, 1981 Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10

XIV Jan. 20, 1980 Pittsburgh 31, L.A. Rams 19

XIII Jan. 21, 1979 Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31

XII Jan. 15, 1978 Dallas 27, Denver 10

XI Jan. 9, 1977 Oakland 32, Minnesota 14

X Jan. 18, 1976 Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17

IX Jan. 12, 1975 Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6

VIII Jan. 13, 1974 Miami 24, Minnesota 7

VII Jan. 14, 1973 Miami 14, Washington 7

VI Jan. 16, 1972 Dallas 24, Miami 3

V Jan. 17, 1971 Baltimore 16, Dallas 13

IV Jan. 11, 1970 Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7

III Jan. 12, 1969 N.Y. Jets 16, Baltimore 7

II Jan. 14, 1968 Green Bay 33, Oakland 14

I Jan. 15, 1967 Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10


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