Our last step back in time was a look at Bears defensive lineman William Perry. This week we are going back to the year of my birth 1977, and what a great year it was too (smiles).
Super Bowl XI was won by Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders. Coached by John Madden the Raiders went to the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Ca to face NFC Champions the Minnesota Vikings coached by Bud Grant.
The Raiders finished the season 13-1 and QB Ken Stabler was the top rated passer in the AFC with 2,737 yards for 27 touchdowns. Oakland had a formidable offense that season and a very aggressive defense that featured George Atkinson, a safety who broke the nose of Patriots TE Russ Francis in a play off win. They also defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the play offs.
The Vikings won the NFC Central on the road to Pasadena. QB Frank Tarkenton was the league’s all time leader in pass completions (3,186), passing yards (41,802) and touchdown completions (308). During the run up to the Super Bowl Tarkenton passed for 2,961 yards for 17 touchdowns with only 8 picks. The Vikings defense was known as “Purple People Eaters”. They only allowed for 176 points during that season which was fewer than any other football team. The Vikings defeated the Washington Redskins and the LA Rams en route to the Super Bowl.
On January 9th 1977 just over 103,000 people where inside the stadium, by the end of the first quarter the score was an impressive 0-0!
At the start of the 2nd quarter a 90 yard drive by the Raiders was halted by the Vikings on their own 7 yard line resulting in a field goal. The next Raiders drive was 64 yards, 10 plays and a TD pass to TE Dave Casper. Having scoring another TD this time by RB Pete Banaszak (1 yard) the Raiders lead 16-0 at HT (Errol Mann missed the PAT).
The 3rd quarter belonged to the Vikings. A Raiders penalty lead to a 68 yard drive and WR Sammy White ran into the end zone to bring the game back into reach. Another field goal by Errol Mann made it 19-7 going into the 4th quarter.
In the 4th Banaszak ran in from 2 yards for his second TD. That score tightened the Black and Silver’s grip on the game to make it 26-7. At the Oakland 28 yard line Tarkenton was picked by Raiders defensive back Willie Brown and he ran in for a 75 yard touchdown, Mann missed the PAT again but the score was now 32-7 Oakland.
Back up QB Bob Lee salvaged some pride for the Vikings with a 14 yard TD pass to TE Stu Voigt. There was less than 30 seconds left on the clock and it wasn’t enough. Oakland won their first Super Bowl and Minnesota suffered their 4th World Championship defeat.
In the same year the film industry released Star Wars, Close encounters, James Bond - The Spy Who Loved Me, Saturday Night Fever, Smokey and the Bandit and A Bridge Too Far but to name a few. The Yankees won the World Series and the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
I hope you enjoyed the brief step back in time, next week we take a look at the year 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall.