Super Bowl IV was the last championship game before the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) merged into one league at the end of the 1969 season. The Kansas City Chiefs, appearing in their second Super Bowl, defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. The game was played without the usual week off after the league championship games and although the Vikings (12-2) were thirteen-point favorites, they could not solve the Chiefs (14-3) defense.
The Chiefs, led by head coach Hank Stram and quarterback Len Dawson, finished the season in second place in the AFL Western Division and, despite a knee injury that sidelined Dawson for six games early in the campaign, managed to clinch a playoff berth. They advanced to the Super Bowl after defeating the Oakland Raiders 17-7 in the AFL Championship Game. The Vikings entered the game leading the NFL in total points scored (379) and fewest points allowed (133). They scored fifty or more points in three different games and became the first expansion team to win an NFL championship when they beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-7.
The Vikings started the game on their own twenty-yard line but were forced to punt. The Chiefs then drove the ball forty-two yards on eight plays and scored three points on the strength of Jan Stenerud's (then Super Bowl record setting) 48-yard field goal. Stenerud added another minutes later to increase the Chiefs lead to 6-0. Dawson then threw an interception but the Vikings were unable to capitalize after two Joe Kapp incomplete passes and a delay of game penalty. Meanwhile, the Chiefs capped a 19-yard running play with another filed goal, increasing the lead to 9-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Vikings returner Charlie West fumbled the ball and the Chiefs recovered on the Vikings 19-yard line. They scored three plays later on running back Mike Garett's 5-yard touchdown run. The lead was now 16-0. On their next possession the Kapp threw two incomplete passes and was sacked for an 8-yard loss. The Vikings then attempted a 56-yard field goal, but the ball fell short of the uprights.
The Vikings did managed to build some momentum in the third quarter. After forcing the Chiefs to punt on their first possession, they drove the ball sixty-nine yards in ten plays and scored on fullback Dave Osborne's 4-yard touchdown run. However, they were unable to add any more points and the Chiefs added another touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final 23-7 victory.
Both fans and writers expected the Vikings to easily defeat the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. Many considered the New York Jets victory in Super Bowl III a fluke, but once again the AFL proved it could easily defeat the NFL. Dawson was named the game's MVP making him the fourth straight quarterback to receive the award.