he Kansas City Chiefs. The Buffalo Bills. Two of the original teams in the young American Football League, and arguably two of the most successful franchises in those early years will be kicking off the 2011 NFL season at Arrowhead Stadium in a few days. As we look forward to the new season at hand, let's celebrate football and the past glory of the Chiefs with another look in the rearview mirror, another trip through time with our good friend Mr Peabody.
In 1966, the powerhouse Buffalo Bills were coming off two successive seasons of being AFL Champions. The Bills, led by QB Jack Kemp and RB Cookie Gilchrist defeated the San Diego Chargers in the 1964 AFL Championship Game by a score of 20-7.
A year later in the 1965 AFL Championship Game, the same two teams battled it out again, with the Bills emerging victorious once more, shutting out the Chargers 23-0.
But the 1966 season was different for both the AFL and the NFL. It was to be the first season where the two leagues would meet head to head, the first season of the newly created and soon to be named Super Bowl. One thing remained constant: The Buffalo Bills would repeat as winner of the AFL East. The Chargers, meanwhile, couldn't overcome the Chiefs, and on Jan 1, 1967 the Chiefs and the Bills played at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, NY for the AFL Championship and the right to represent the AFL against the Green Bay Packers.
The Chiefs were loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, and in time many of those players would go on to earn their rightfall place in history, with many familiar names in the Football Hall of Fame. Some of those players were relative newcomers to the team, and some were veterans of many years of gridiron battles.
But the Bills were a talented team as well. In addition to Kemp and Gilchrist, the Bills featured LB Butch Byrd, WR Elbert Dubenion, LB Mike Stratton, P Paul Maguire and LB Marty Schottenheimer. With both teams having so much talent, it was bound to be a classic football game for the ages.
The Chiefs were an offensive powerhouse that year, and the Hank Stram team went into the game as 3-point favorites. The teams traded 1st Quarter TD's, but the real turning point came in the 2nd Quarter with the Chiefs leading 14-7. Kemp led the Bills deep into Chiefs territory, but a pass intented for Bills WR Bobby Crockett was picked off by the Chiefs' Johnny Robinson and returned 72 yards, setting up a FG that would give the Chiefs what would turn out to be more than enough points.
Buffalo found no offensive rhythm in the second half, and the Chiefs closed the game out in the fourth quarter with Dawson found Chris Burford for a 45 yard gain, setting up a one foot touchdown run by rookie Mike Garrett. Garrett scored his second touchdown less than two minutes later following another Bills fumble.
As we look ahead to the future, sometimes it's best to pause and look back at the past ... a reminder of where we've been, and perhaps of what we need to do to get to where we want to go. A glance backwards in time to remind us all to keep reaching for that ring ...