Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 2/3/12
Yes, it's Super Bowl Week news you couldn't possibly avoid unless you've been off herding yaks in Mongolia. Thousands of media types have been busy digging into every storyline imaginable. By the weekend, they'll be interviewing the New England punter's seventh-grade math teacher. There are head-to-head analyses on so many blogs and scratchy, end-of-the-dial radio shows that pundits now have reched far enough down that they're comparing each team's kick holder. "Yeah, and what does all this hoopla have to do with us?" moan fans in Kansas City, many of whom have just finished in-patient treatment for depression after enduring the 2011 regular season a screwy few months that ultimately may be remembered as "The Tyler Palko Era." Well, here's a surprise for Chiefs loyalists a diehard gang looking for any excuse to spend another Super Bowl Sunday enjoying something besides the party punch and that neighbor lady's terrific nachos. Wait a second andsmile, Kansas City! The Super Bowl is yours. Always. Long after Tom Brady and Eli Manning each have won another couple of rings and been inducted into various Halls of Fame, the Super Bowl will STILL belong to you. Memo to all puffed-up fans in New York and New England Who cares if the Chiefs haven't been back to the Big One since the Beatles were hot stuff in the music world and Richard Nixon had his reputation intact? Consider this: Kansas City played in the first of these Roman numeral events. Chiefs godfather Lamar Hunt named this game. And not only that, but the Chiefs created what might be considered the greatest single memory in the history of the Super Bowl. Yes, indeed. Every snap of every Super Bowl resides on film or tape in the vault of the NFL, but the moment you should remember occurred before a single ball was kicked in Super Bowl IV. The scene was ratty old Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, January of 1970, and the Chiefs were 12-point underdogs to the mighty Minnesota Vikings but most important of all, this was the final game played between representatives of the NFL and the historic American Football League. Quick recap for non-historians: Vince Lombardi's Packers won the first two Super Bowls, against Kansas City and Oakland apparently confirming what football experts considered absolute gospel, that the NFL was vastly superior to its younger cousin. In fact, those Packers were miles better than anyone in the NFL, too, thus fooling thousands of know-it-all pundits into believing that the AFL was a bit of a joke. There were shockingly wrong, as it turned out. Joe Namath struck the first counter-punch, leading the no-chance Jets to a shattering upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. That was the game made famous by Namath's boast that the Jets would knock off the heavily favored Colts. "I guarantee it," Namath boomed, as supposedly clever football gurus howled with laughter. Not as many fans remember the aftermath of that game. The Jets' triumph was considered a one-time fluke, and the prevailing opinion was that the AFL's single victory was almost a fraud. That was the backdrop to Super Bowl IV, which matched Hank Stram's Chiefs against a powerhouse Vikings team that had run roughshod over the NFL throughout the 1969 season. With the merger between the leagues due to take full effect the following year, the Chiefs-Vikes match-up was the final game between the two leagues. And remember, plenty of bad blood still existed because of the way the AFL had tried to steal several big-name quarterbacks from the established league, forcing the NFL to sue for peace. It also happened that 1969 marked the 50th anniversary of the NFL, and all during the regular season, each league team wore identical sleeve patches featuring the NFL logo set against a giant number 50. There was only one week between the end of the season and the Super Bowl that year, and my one glaring memory of it was a comment made in private by Chiefs assistant coach Bill Walsh. (No, not that Bill Walsh. The Chiefs' Walsh was a big, friendly offensive line coach who was considerably less famous.) A couple days before the game, in surprisingly chilly New Orleans, Walsh offered an assessment that made jaws drop. "We've been looking at the Vikings on film," Walsh said, "and trust me when I tell you that we have better players at 19 or 20 of the 22 positions. We also have a better punter (Jerrel Wilson) and a much better kicker (Jan Stenerud). "The two-touchdown point spread should be a little bit bigger but the wrong team is favored. We're going to beat these guys to death." At the time, it seemed maybe Walsh and the Chiefs staff were simply trying to inject some bravado into the troops trying to keep them from playing in fear against the Vikings. Nope. It was an honest scouting report, as the game proved. You already know either from memory or Googling it just now that the Chiefs really did hammer the Vikings in a 23-7 whipping that wasn't as close as the score. But "The Moment" had nothing to do with the game itself. It happened just before kickoff. The Chiefs, as the designated home team, wore their traditional red jerseys just as you see them today. There was nothing at all unusual about their uniforms as they went through their entire pre-game routine on the field. They stretched, they ran, they tossed and kicked the ball around just as they did before any other game. Then both teams returned to their locker rooms for final instructions. When they returned for pre-game ceremonies, introductions and the coin toss, however, viewers got a huge surprise. Chiefs equipment manager Bobby Yarborough had an entire second set of game jerseys ready to go, and the Chiefs changed into them after their warm-ups. Each of the special uniform jerseys carried a shoulder patch that featured the letters "AFL" under a huge number 10. With all the attention on the supposedly unbeatable Vikings and the year-long celebration of the NFL's 50th anniversary, hardly anyone remembered that this also was the 10th and last season of a very proud American Football League. Those shoulder patches were added, in part, to mock the hubris of the NFL -- and then the Chiefs went out and completely manhandled the "big" league's best team. For the men who founded the AFL, plus those who coached or played in it, this was a sweet, sweet finale. As the minutes ticked down on the Chiefs' overwhelming victory, grown men cried with happiness while others who had thought themselves somehow superior cursed in disbelief. That game proved what AFL members had believed for some time that the merger not only was a financial necessity for all involved, but that the leagues actually had become equals on the playing field, as well. Stram had known all along what was going to happen, which is why he agreed to wear a microphone on the sideline. Anyone who ever dealt with "The Mentor" knows full well that if he'd suspected for a second that the Chiefs might lose, he never would have put himself in the spotlight as he did. Thus generations of pro football fans have been treated to those remarkable scenes showing Stram laughing at the Vikings, making fun of them during the game basically handing back the same type of disrespect that NFL people had dished out all during the younger league's existence. Stram's only frustration was that he wasn't able to hand the beating to Lombardi, who had said after the first Super Bowl that the Chiefs weren't as a good as the top teams in the NFL. Green Bay had won the inaugural Super Bowl 35-10, but the talent gap wasn't truly represented by the final score. Kansas City trailed just 14-10 at halftime and was driving early in the third quarter when Lenny Dawson got hit throwing a pass. Willie Wood picked it off to set up an easy touchdown, veteran Max McGee made a couple of miraculous TD catches and the Packers appeared to have won in a waltz. It wasn't really that way, especially not in the trenches, and Stram always suspected that Lombardi knew the two teams weren't that far apart. Most people have forgotten the ill feelings that existed back then. These days, conference and division names have changed, it's all one league and there really aren't any "blood feud" games. But those first four Super Bowls were contest as though each match-up was a showdown between Hatfields and McCoys. At that time, representing your league meant everything. And thus the Chiefs, proudly wearing those shoulder patches in the last game ever played by an AFL team, struck the final blow. Yes, times have changed. Nobody even notices that Sunday's game will match one of the oldest NFL franchises against an original AFL club. To most fans, it's Tom Brady against Eli Manning and all the endless hype coming from two of America's largest sports markets. But never forget, Kansas City, that the Super Bowl will always be yours, too. Enjoy the game!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Hit Stick: What is the one sports video game fans need to buy this holiday?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lane Kiffin reportedly believed Houston job was his

Harbaugh stands by claim Pats broke rules in 2015 playoff game

Green, Durant laughed at Jazz coach for not surrendering

Art Briles sues Baylor officials for libel, slander

Giants FB has home vandalized with swastika, Trump's name

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raiders G Kelechi Osemele out Thursday with illness

Red Sox send Brewers $100 as final piece of Tyler Thornburg deal

Troy Aikman almost came out of retirement to play for the Eagles

Blues miss morning skate due to traffic in Brooklyn

Oregon president no fan of DC Brady Hoke

Carmelo blows off Jackson's ball hog remarks, looks 'annoyed'

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Box Score 12/9: Carey Price has had enough of your nonsense

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker