The General at Work in Super Bowl IV. (Photo Kansas City Star, 1970)
Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey
“20 seconds…19…18…the game is going to be over. Mike Livingston doesn’t want to play anymore, neither do the Chiefs. They’ve had enough. They want the football. They’re going to blow the clock out. THAT’S IT! CHIEFS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL!”
As historic moments go, it was a spine-tingler. Bill Grigsby, a monument of professional broadcasting in Mid-America, had the honor of counting down the waning seconds of Kansas City’s only Super Bowl victory. And as the seconds ticked away, Chiefs fans in bars, homes, parties, and those lucky enough to be in Tulane Stadium that day unleashed their joy in a tsunami of celebration.
Reflecting back on 1969, it’s amazing how much the game has changed. The offensive line that opened the holes for Garret, Holmes, McVea, and Hayes, enabling that quartet to amass over 2,000 yards of rushing, was considered one of the biggest in professional football. Yet today, they would only be the size of an average linebacker. Our quarterback, at 6-1 and 180 lbs, was considered average in size. Today, a skinny runt like that would likely get the tar beat out of him. Witness the fate of Brodie Croyle.
But despite the vast differences in size and speed between then and now, one thing has never changed.