Jim Lynch, stalwart linebacker of 1970 Kansas City Chiefs champion, dies at 76

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jim Lynch, the hard-hitting linebacker who helped the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970 Super Bowl after a stellar career at Notre Dame, has died. He was 76.

Lynch’s family announced he died Thursday but did not give a cause.

Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said Lynch will be remembered as “a mainstay in the linebacking corps during one of the greatest stretches in franchise history.”

“Jim Lynch was a enduring force that made the Chiefs defense one of the most feared in the game in the late ’60s and early ’70s,” the statement continued. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Georgia, and all of his family.”

Lynch grew up in Lima, Ohio and played at Central Catholic High School before going to Notre Dame, where he became one of the most dominant players in school history. Lynch led the Fighting Irish in tackle in 1965 and 1966 when he won the Maxwell Award for the nation’s top collegiate player while serving as captain of the national championship team.

“I’m often asked who was the best player I’ve coached, and Jim Lynch always comes to mind,” the late Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian once said. “He was All-America in every way: talented, hard-nosed and honest.”

The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 1967 draft and Lynch quickly became a permanent fixture on the lineup, helping them to three playoff appearances and their first Super Bowl title. He played 11 seasons in the NFL, all in Kansas City, and finished his career with 17 interceptions, 18 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries.

Lynch was inducted into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame in 1990 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

He is survived by his wife Georgia, daughters Megan and Kara, son Jake and nine grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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