The Kansas City Chiefs were ahead of the Chicago Bears by 36 points, and now, with less than a minute to play, one of their invisible linebackers intercepted another pass and ran it down to within two yards of the Chicago goal line. At this wild and exhilarating moment not even their own fanatical followers—more than sated with the 60-24 score already in neon—expected the Chiefs to go all out to score again. The clock flashed past 50 and Quarterback Pete Beathard did the expected. He sent Halfback Bert Coan into the line for no gain, obviously content to run out the clock. The Chiefs on this night had no intention of violating the code of professional sports that decrees mercy today because it could happen to you tomorrow.
Then a stunning thing happened. Beathard called for time out. "Man alive, look down there at the Papa Bear, I believe I see him cryin' myself," said Bobby Bell, the Chiefs' monstrous linebacker, pointing to the limp figure of Chicago Coach George Halas. "He can't believe all this stuff. Man, but it's time for another touchdown."
On the next play Beathard executed a perfect quarterback bootleg. Almost contemptuously he walked—did not run—around his naked left side into the end zone. Touchdown. Surely now the vengeful Chiefs would not dare attempt to fake a conversion kick and pass instead for two points? They had done this successfully earlier in the game when they were 17 points ahead, and that was shame enough. Fortunately, the Bears will never find out. The snap from center was bobbled, and the slaughter was ended.
Still, the humiliation was complete. The 66-24 defeat was the third worst ever inflicted on the Bears in the 830 games they have played since Halas organized them as the Decatur Staleys in 1920. It represented, in addition, the most emphatic victory ever scored against anyone by an American Football League team.
"Well, I wonder what the world will say now?" asked sarcastic Chris Burford, the Chiefs' good split end, after the game. "Ever since we lost the Super Bowl last January we have listened to a lot of nonsensical comment about the National Football League and the Green Bay Packers and Mr. Lombardi and how he said we aren't as good as the other top teams in the National Football League—like the Chicago Bears. Now maybe everyone will get off our backs."
The Chiefs, of course, were seeking vindication against the Bears, not only for their 35-10 loss to Green Bay in the Super Bowl, but also for the entire American Football League, which the NFL has casually ignored for most of the past eight years. Kansas City is the best team in the AFL, and if the Chiefs could not beat one of the "top" teams in the NFL, the stature of the American League consequently would suffer. And if you should question whether Chicago is, indeed, a top team, remember that just five days before the Bears lost to the Chiefs in Kansas City, they played the Packers in Milwaukee and lost by only 18 to 0—permitting the Packers to score only one touchdown. The Chiefs, four days after scoring six touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders, scored nine against the Bears.
NFL teams, however, won the three other interleague exhibitions played last week, although only one of those came as easily as had been expected. The NFL now has won eight of the 11 games played so far during this training season. In all four games last week the NFL teams scored at least a field goal—if not a touchdown—the first time they had the ball, thereby substantiating one AFL coach's observation that his team seemed somewhat awestruck for 10 minutes until his players realized that all shoulder pads go on over the head.
The Washington Redskins, who had whipped both the Bears and the New York Giants in their previous starts, beat the Patriots, who have won only two exhibitions in five years, 13-7 in Boston, with help from an odd penalty. Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, the Patriots had a first down at the Redskins' four. Quarterback Johnny Huarte rolled back, while simultaneously the officials signaled that the Redskins' Brig Owens was guilty of defensive holding near the goal line on Boston Fullback Jim Nance.
Huarte finally was tackled back around the 13-yard line, and then the officials marked the five-yard penalty off from there, which gave the Patriots a first down at the eight-yard line instead of the two and, in effect, penalized them and not the offending Redskins. It was an unfortunate call but proper under the rules.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who decisively beat the New York Jets the week before, scored two touchdowns in the last 45 seconds to overtake the Buffalo Bills 38-30. Quarterback Norman Snead first threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to rookie Flanker Chuck Hughes, and Sam Baker kicked the point that put the Eagles ahead 31-30. Then Joe Scarpati, who spent most of the day driving a National Guard truck from Indiantown Gap, Pa. to Philadelphia and later flew to Buffalo in time to play, intercepted his third pass of the night at the Bills' 30-yard line. He went in to score his second touchdown of the game with 11 seconds to go.