Chiefs’ Hill Was Auburn’s First Super Bowl Champion

The Kansas City Chiefs will be looking for their second straight Super Bowl title when they tangle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55. In Auburn, though, people will be pulling for the underdog Bucs to come through.

At online sportsbooks’ Super Bowl betting,Tampa Bay is a 3.5-point underdog but in the eyes of all Tigers fans, they are solid favorites. That’s because while the defending champion Chiefs are bereft of Auburn grads, the Bucs go two deep in War Eagles. Tampa Bay starting left cornerback Carlton Davis and his backup Jamel Dean were teammates at Auburn. They were both part of the squad that beat Alabama 26-14 in 2017.

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This wasn’t the case in Kansas City’s first two Super Bowl appearances. The were four Auburn Tigers who suited up for the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, including three starters.

One of them was right tackle Dave Hill. And three years later, when the Chiefs whipped the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV, Hill was the only one of that quartet of ex-Tigers who remained with the Chiefs. He was still the starting right tackle and Hill stands forever as the first Auburn player to win a Super Bowl ring.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed

The three Chiefs starters from Auburn in the first Super Bowl game at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Jan. 15, 1967 were Hill, right defensive end Chuck Hurston and safety Bobby Hunt. Hunt picked off 10 passes that season to lead the club. Center Wayne Frazier was also on the Kansas City roster.

Hill and Hunt were high school teammates at Lanett High in East Alabama, as well as at Auburn.

If that wasn’t enough to cinch that folks from Auburn would be rooting for the Chiefs, there was also the matter that Bart Starr, the Packers’ starting quarterback, went to that other school in Alabama.

In the end, the upstart Chiefs from the American Football League couldn’t make history on Super Bowl Sunday. They played the Packers tough for 30 minutes and only trailed 14-10 at halftime.

“A lot of the NFL guys, I played against in college,” Hill recalled to Al.com. “We never believed they were better than we were. If you believe that you don’t have a chance.”

However, Green Bay delivered three unanswered second-half TDs for a 35-10 victory. Not only didn’t the Auburn four get their title, but Starr would be named MVP of the game.

A Fond AFL Farewell

The fourth Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Vikings would see the football world bid adieu to the AFL. The league would be absorbed into the NFL and form the bulk of the American Football Conference (AFC).

The Chiefs took the field in New Orleans for Super Bowl IV as 13-point underdogs against the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings. The oddsmakers were correct in a sense in that the game would be no contest, only it was the Chiefs who dominated the Vikings.

Hill drew the assignment of blocking Vikings future Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller as Kansas City punished Minnesota’s Purple People Eaters defense for 151 yards on the ground. Hill limited Eller to three solo tackles on the day.

“I’m not bragging, but we knew if we played Minnesota 100 times we’d beat them 100 times,” Hill said. “We just thought we were a much better football team than they were. It never entered our mind that we could lose that game.”

A member of the Chiefs’ Hall of Honor, Hill played a dozen seasons for the team and started at right tackle for 10 of them.

Auburn Memories

Inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, Hill nearly didn’t go to Auburn. Though he lived just 25 miles from the Auburn campus, he was quite fond of Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodds and was leaning in that direction. Ultimately, though, home and family won out.

“There was so much pressure on me to go to Auburn, there was no question where I was going,” Hill told Al.com. Malvern Morgan, Hill’s high school coach at Lanett, was a three-sport letterman at Auburn. Hal Herring, Auburn’s defensive coordinator at the time, went to high school with Hill’s parents.

“My dad wanted me to go to Auburn,” Hill recalled. “He was a used car manager at the local Chevrolet dealer and he’d get off at 4 p.m. and drive down and watch practice at Auburn.”