Saturday, February 1, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs—1969 vs 2019 Lineups

By John Turney
Patrick Mahomes
Fifty years ago the AFL Champion Chiefs beat the NFL Champion Minnesota Vikings in the fourth Super Bowl and now the Chiefs faceoff with the 49ers tomorrow.

Here are the starting lineups for both units—
The 1969 Chiefs have nine Hall of Famers plus coach Hank Stram. They were also full of All-Stars that are not in the Hall for various reasons—Jim Tyrer, Otis Taylor, Jarrell Wilson, Ed Budde, etc.
Len Dawson
Certainly, on defense, the 1969 Chiefs have the greater talent and maybe the offensive line as well. On defense, it's likely that only Tyrann Mathieu and a healthy Frank Clark and could play on the 1969 defense (obviously adjusted for the era). Robinson could move to strong safety and Honey badger could play free safety (and slot in nickel). Special teams go to the '69 Chiefs. As fast as Hardman is, McVea and Smith were super-nimble and excellent returners. 

But the skill positions seem like the 2019 iteration of the Chiefs are more dynamic. Dawson is a HOFer but Mahomes is just more talented. We'd rate Taylor over Watkins but Tyreek Hill is leaps and bounds better than Pitts and Richardson. 

It's an interesting discussion. What do you think? 2019 or 1969 more talented?


  1. Another great article, John - thanks. I was in the stands on Jan 11, 1969 on a dreary day at old Tulane Stadium. My father was upset that the tickets went for $15 and you could have walked up and bought tickets for much less because of the weather. The more I think about the 1969 Chiefs, the more I think it may have been one of the best teams ever. All those HOF players and a bunch just under HOF players. Players that were evolutionary advances at their positions - those advances are what makes today's lineups so dynamic.

    1. The 1969 Chiefs are in my opinion one of the all time great teams. They were certainly the best AFL team ever. People forget Dawson was out for a number of games yet despite that the Chiefs won every game he was out. They had no weaknesses and the talent level may have been the highest I ever seen for a team. People also forget how far ahead of it's time the kicking game was.

  2. 2019 offense is of course faster, 69 more 'bullish' (but certainly not slow)….and I'll argue that guards are much more athletic trapping and pulling assuming we're going to use 'hands in' rules for blocking 69 defense has all those HoFers…..even factoring in my "old-school" bias, I like Hank Stram's guys over Andy Reid's (and betting that Reid will eventually be HoF as well)

  3. 1969 Chiefs team is 100 times better than this 2019 joke .
    I'd list 12 HOF'ers on that 69'team ...what does the 19' team have ?

  4. don't know if its fair to compare the 2 teams , I will say this the 69 chiefs defense was great , but they had no one in that secondary was going to guard hill , Watkins or Kelsey . plus this 2019 team is pretty young while the 69 chiefs were a veteran squad and seasoned . this 2019 team in my opinion is just getting started

  5. Great article. My opinion is that the 1969 defense was the best in the history of the NFL, and the 2019 offense would have to turn the game into an aerial shootout, and rely on Mahomes field generalship,because the 1969 defensive line would stop the run.

    The 1969 offense featured Len Dawson to Otis Taylor, who was very difficult to cover with his size and speed. He would have been a test for any secondary.