KC Sportswriters' Memories

August 13, 2014

Chiefs of the 1960s provided many Super moments

Former Star reporter Bill Richardson covered both Chiefs’ Super Bowls — from Fred Williamson saying he wanted to drop “The Hammer” on the Packers to Len Dawson’s gambling rumor before Super Bowl IV.

The first Super Bowl

As the 1966 season approached, the NFL and AFL announced a merger. The leagues would combine into one for the 1970 season. It also meant a championship game between the two leagues would conclude the season, and it would begin immediately.

The Chiefs were maturing into a strong team, but there was additional motivation for the championship game, and, as Bill Richardson remembers, it had nothing to do with trophies or championship rings.

“The Hammer” is dropped

At Super Bowl I, Richardson wasn’t exactly looking for a story about how the Chiefs would defend the Green Bay Packers, but he ran into one in the strangest place.

And a self-promoter with one of the game’s most colorful nicknames was born. And soon after, an acting career.

Once the story was told, it could be heard all the way back to Wisconsin.

Chiefs or Aliens?

The Chiefs and Green Bay Packers were aligned in pro football’s first championship game between the leagues — it wouldn’t officially be called the Super Bowl for two more years — but to Richardson, who covered the game for The Star, the entire AFL was made to feel like an inferior product by the NFL.

The championship game changed some impressions, for a while. But a big defensive play early in the second half altered the game’s momentum, and afterward original suspicions were confirmed by Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

The Chiefs would have to wait three years to respond.

Controversy before a championship

The week before Super Bowl IV, Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson was caught in a swirl of controversy involving a gambling investigation.

As the story unfolded, Richardson was right there — in coach Hank Stram’s hotel suite with Dawson, who was visibly shaken by the whole thing.

Richardson was with the Chiefs throughout the week, and in the aftermath when a phone call was made that drew the controversy to a conclusion.

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