The 1960’s was perhaps the most pivotal decade in the NFL’s rich history. In 1960, another rival professional football league arrived, the American Football League (AFL). The eight-team league began attracting some talented players and coaches, as well as fans. Eventually, the two leagues opted to merge in 1966, hence, the birth of the Super Bowl era. The inaugural Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles, California on January 15, 1967 determining the champion of the 1966 season. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, in what was a decade of ascendancy for the Packers. AFL teams were considered for the list even prior to the merger.
Green Bay Packers
No other NFL franchise displayed the overpowering dominance as the Packers of the 1960’s. The difficult decision was who would join them on the list. Nevertheless, legendary head coach Vince Lombardi developed the Packers into a powerhouse dynasty. They blanked the New York Giants 37-0 in the 1961 NFL Championship Game. A year later, they became repeat champions by defeating the Giants 16-7. They won 24 out of 28 games combined in 1961 and 1962. They had winning seasons in 1963 and 1964, but failed to make it to the championship matchup. They returned to the NFL Championship game in 1965, defeating the Cleveland Browns 23-12. In 1966, the Packers earned the right to appear in the first Super Bowl by bouncing the Dallas Cowboys. They crushed the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to become the first Super Bowl champions. They provided an encore a year later when they handed the AFL’s Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II. Overall, the Packers claimed five NFL championship including two Super Bowl triumphs. They reigned supreme for at least half of the decade with star players such as quarterback Bart Starr, running back Jim Taylor, and wide receiver Boyd Dowler.
Kansas City Chiefs / Dallas Texans
The Chiefs originally began as the Dallas Texans in the 1960 inaugural season for the AFL. They earned the 1962 AFL Championship before owner Lamar Hunt relocated the franchise to Kansas City, Missouri, rebranding them as the Chiefs. They won the AFL title in 1966, earning a trip to face the NFL juggernaut Green Bay Packers. While they celebrated the AFL championship, they were brought back to earth when the Packers lit them up 35-10. In 1968, the Chiefs tied the Raiders for first place in the Western Division, but lost the playoff game by a demoralizing score of 41-6. A year later, the Chiefs avenged the previous defeat by shutting down the Raiders 17-7, earning a second trip to the Super Bowl. Despite the fact that the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings were favored by as many as 12 points, the Chiefs won the game 23-7. Overall, the franchise won three AFL championships and one Super Bowl. They boasted four seasons in which they won 11 or more games (14-game seasons). The Chiefs were led by legendary coach Hank Stram and Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson.
The Colts appeared in two NFL Championship games. They lost to the Cleveland Browns in 1964 by a score of 27-0. However, they returned the favor in 1968 by shutting out the Browns 34-0. They earned their first trip to the Super Bowl, where they were 18 point favorites to defeat the New York Jets. Despite the conventional notion that they were the superior team, the Jets upset the Colts 16-7. The Colts won 10 or more games in four seasons throughout the 1960’s. They were led by head coach Don Shula, quarterback Johnny Unitas, and defensive back Bobby Boyd.
Honorable mentions include Chicago Bears; Philadelphia Eagles; Oakland Raiders; Houston Oilers; New York Jets; Cleveland Browns; Buffalo Bills
Resource: Pro Football Reference