Super Bowl XI: Wikis

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Super Bowl XI
SuperBowlXI.png
1 2 3 4 Total
OAK 0 16 3 13 32
MIN 0 0 7 7 14
Date January 9, 1977 (1977-01-09)
Stadium Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California
MVP Fred Biletnikoff, Wide Receiver
Favorite Raiders by 4
National anthem Vikki Carr ("America the Beautiful")
Coin toss Jim Tunney
Referee Jim Tunney
Halftime show Disney presents "It's A Small World" with the Los Angeles Unified All-City Band
Attendance 103,438
TV in the United States
Network NBC
Announcers Curt Gowdy and Don Meredith
Nielsen Ratings 44.4
Market share 73
Cost of 30-second commercial US$125,000
 < X Super Bowl XII > 

Super Bowl XI was an American football game played on January 9, 1977 at the Rose Bowl[1] in Pasadena, California to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1976 regular season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders (16–1) won their first Super Bowl by defeating the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings (13–3–1), 32–14. Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half, en route to winning their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff had 4 catches for 79 yards that set up three Raider touchdowns and was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. There have been six wide receivers named MVP in the Super Bowl and Biletnikoff is the only one to not have gained 100 yards in his MVP performance.

Contents

Background

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Oakland Raiders

This game marked the second Super Bowl appearance for the Oakland Raiders, who lost Super Bowl II. Two years after their Super Bowl loss, the Raiders hired John Madden as their head coach. Under Madden, the Raiders posted the best overall record for any NFL team in his 8 seasons, 83-22-7. But Super Bowl XI was the first time Madden led his team to a league championship game. They had been eliminated in all 6 of their previous playoff appearances, including 5 losses in the AFC Championship Game.

The Raiders offense was led by quarterback Ken Stabler, who finished as the top rated passer in the AFC, passing for 2,737 yards and 27 touchdowns. His 66.7 completion percentage (194 completions out of 291 attempts) was the second highest in the league. Stabler's main passing weapon was wide receiver Cliff Branch, who caught 46 passes for 1,111 yards (24.2 yards per catch average) and 12 touchdowns. Fred Biletnikoff was also a reliable deep threat, with 43 receptions for 551 yards and 7 touchdowns. And tight end Dave Casper recorded 53 receptions for 691 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In addition to their great passing attack the Raiders also had a powerful running game, led by fullback Mark van Eeghen (1,012 rushing yards, 17 receptions) and halfback Clarence Davis (516 rushing yards, 27 receptions). Another reason for the Raiders' success on offense was their offensive line, led by left tackle Art Shell and left guard Gene Upshaw, as well as perennial all pro center Dave Dalby.

Injuries early in the season forced the Raiders to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. The switch benefited the team, as they won their last 10 games and finished the regular season with the best record in the league, 13-1. The Raiders defense was anchored by great linebackers, such as Phil Villapiano and Ted Hendricks, while defensive end Otis Sistrunk anchored the defensive line. Their defensive secondary was extremely hard hitting and talented, led by safeties Jack Tatum, George Atkinson, cornerback Skip Thomas and cornerback Willie Brown.

Many accused the Raiders defense of being overly aggressive, especially Atkinson, who inflicted a severe concussion on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann in the previous season's AFC Championship Game. Atkinson added to that reputation as the Raiders advanced through the playoffs to Super Bowl XI. In the Raiders' 24–21 playoff win over the New England Patriots, Atkinson broke the nose of Patriots tight end Russ Francis. Then Atkinson inflicted another concussion to Swann in the Raiders' 24–7 AFC Championship victory over the Steelers. In reaction, Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll complained of a "criminal element" in Atkinson's play. Atkinson himself denied deliberately trying to injure anyone and pointed out that at 6'0 and 185 pounds, he was one of the smallest players on the field. The Raiders and their fans were often known to counter these accusations against Atkinson and Jack Tatum by pointing out the physical way that Pittsburgh cornerback Mel Blount covered Oakland's speedy split end Cliff Branch. Although 13–1, the Raiders were fortunate to get to the Super Bowl. They avenged their only loss of the year (vs. the Patriots) but needed a controversial roughing the passer penalty to keep their last minute drive alive. In the AFC championship game, the Steelers were without their top two running backs, as Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were injured.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings won the NFC Central for the eighth time in the last nine seasons with an 11–2–1 record, and advanced to their fourth Super Bowl in eight years. They were the only team who had lost three Super Bowls (they had previously lost Super Bowls IV, VIII and IX), and did not want to be the first one to lose four.

Once again, the Vikings had a powerful offense led by 37-year old quarterback Fran Tarkenton and running back Chuck Foreman. Playing in his 16th NFL season, Tarkenton was already the league's all time leader in pass completions (3,186), passing yards (41,802), and touchdown completions (308). He had another fine season in 1976, completing 61.9 percent of his passes for 2,961 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. Foreman had the best season of his career, rushing for 1,155 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also catching 55 passes for 567 yards and another touchdown. Fullback Brent McClanahan also contributed 634 combined rushing and receiving yards. The Vikings also added 2 new weapons to their offense: veteran wide receiver Ahmad Rashad and rookie wide receiver Sammy White combined for 104 receptions, 1,577 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. And once again, tackle Ron Yary anchored the offensive line.

The Vikings' "Purple People Eaters" defense, anchored by Carl Eller and Alan Page, were also dominating teams again. During this regular season, they led the NFC in fewest points allowed (176). Also, defensive back Nate Wright led the team with 7 interceptions for 47 yards, while safety Paul Krause had 2 interceptions for 21 yards.

Playoffs

The Vikings went on to defeat the Washington Redskins, 35–20, and the Los Angeles Rams, 24–13, in the playoffs.

The Raiders defeated the New England Patriots, 24–21, with the aid of a penalty call against the Patriots. New England's Ray Hamilton was tagged for roughing the passer in the fourth quarter; a call which served to give the Raiders a win. Oakland went on to defeat the previous season's Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, which was missing starting running back tandem of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, 24–7.

This was the first Super Bowl game to match both conference's #1 seeds, and was the last Super Bowl (and first one held in the Rose Bowl) to finish under daylight. It was the last Super Bowl where both team's placekickers (Minnesota's Fred Cox and Oakland's Errol Mann) used the straight-on style. Scheduled on the 9th day of January, the game marks the earliest Super Bowl played during the calendar year. The regular season started one week earlier than usual in order to avoid having playoff games on Christmas Day, which fell on a Saturday in 1976. By moving the season up, the divisional playoffs were held December 18-19, and the conference championship games Sunday, December 26.

Television and entertainment

The game was televised in the United States by NBC with play-by-play announcer Curt Gowdy and color commentator Don Meredith. This was Meredith's last broadcast with NBC, as he returned to ABC to rejoin the Monday Night Football crew for the 1977 season, where he had been a commentator from 1970–73. Bryant Gumbel and Lee Leonard with analyst John Brodie anchored NBC's pregame, halftime and postgame coverage.

The pregame festivities featured the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) All-City Band and frisbee dog Ashley Whippet. Later, singer Vikki Carr sang "America the Beautiful". There was no national anthem played before coin toss.

The halftime show was produced by Disney and was based on It's a Small World, an attraction at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. The show featured the cast members of the New Mickey Mouse Club. It was the first Super Bowl halftime show to include crowd participation as people in the stadium waved colored placards on cue. The LAUSD All-City Band also played during the show.

Game summary

The Raiders took the opening kickoff and advanced all the way to the Vikings 12-yard line, but came up empty after kicker Errol Mann hit the left upright on his 29-yard field goal attempt. Later in the period, the Vikings had a great opportunity to score when linebacker Fred McNeill blocked a punt from punter Ray Guy and recovered it on the Raiders 3-yard line. The Vikings special teams unit was known for blocking kicks, but this was the first time it had happened to Ray Guy. However, Vikings running back Brent McClanahan fumbled the ball while being tackled by Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano and linebacker Willie Hall recovered the ball for Oakland. The Raiders then marched 90 yards to the Vikings 7-yard line (the key play being a 35-yard run by Clarence Davis), but had to settle for a field goal from Mann, giving them a 3–0 lead 48 seconds into the second quarter.

The next time the Raiders got the ball, they did even better, driving 64 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ken Stabler to tight end Dave Casper, increasing their lead to 10–0. Then, Oakland got the ball back in excellent field position after returner Neal Colzie returned Minnesota's punt 25 yards to the Vikings 35-yard line. After 3 running plays, Stabler completed a 17-yard pass to Fred Biletnikoff at the 1-yard line, and running back Pete Banaszak scored a touchdown on the next play, increasing Oakland's lead to 16–0 after Mann missed the extra point attempt. The score at halftime marked the fourth time in as many Super Bowls that the Vikings failed to score in the first half.

The second half began with 3 consecutive punts, but then Colzie returned the Viking's second punt of the period 12 yards to the Oakland 46-yard line. From there, the Raiders advanced to the Vikings 23-yard line, aided by an 18-yard run by Davis and a 10-yard reception by wide receiver Cliff Branch, to set up Mann's 40-yard field goal to increase the their lead, 19–0.

Quarterback Fran Tarkenton then threw 3 consecutive incomplete passes on their ensuing drive, forcing the Vikings to punt again. However, Oakland linebacker Ted Hendricks was penalized for running into the punter on the play, giving Minnesota a first down. Taking advantage of their second chance, the Vikings ended up with a 12-play, 68-yard drive and scored on an 8-yard pass from Tarkenton to receiver Sammy White to cut their deficit to 19–7.

The Raiders were forced to punt on their next drive after they were unable to recover from Alan Page's 11-yard sack on first down. Then aided by Tarkenton's completions to White for gains of 14 and 18 yards, respectively, the Vikings advanced to the Oakland 37-yard line. But on third down and 3 to go, Hall intercepted a pass from Tarkenton and returned it 16 yards to the 46-yard line. Three plays later, Biletnikoff's 48-yard reception moved the ball to the Vikings 2-yard line, setting up Banaszak's second rushing touchdown to increase Oakland's lead to 26–7.

White returned the ensuing kickoff 19 yards to the Minnesota 32-yard line, and four plays later, Tarkenton completed a 25-yard pass to receiver Ahmad Rashad to reach the Oakland 28-yard line. But on the next play, defensive back Willie Brown intercepted a pass intended for White and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. Although Mann missed the extra point attempt, the Raiders put the game out of reach, 32–7.

After both teams turned the ball over on downs, Minnesota drove 86 yards in 9 plays to score on a 14-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Bob Lee to tight end Stu Voigt. The touchdown cut Minnesota's deficit to 32–14, but by then there was only :25 left in the game.

Stabler finished the game with 12 out of 19 pass completions for 180 yards and a touchdown. Davis, who was the top rusher in the game, gained 137 yards on just 16 rush attempts, an average of 8.5 yards per carry. Casper finished the game with 4 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Colzie returned 4 punts for a Super Bowl record 43 yards. Running back Chuck Foreman had a solid performance for Minnesota, contributing 44 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards. Tarkenton had 17 out of 35 pass completions for 205 yards, a touchdown, and 2 interceptions. White recorded 163 total yards, catching 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, rushing once for 7 yards, and returned 4 kickoffs for 79 yards.

Scoring summary

  • OAK - FG: Errol Mann 24 yards 3-0 OAK
  • OAK - TD: Dave Casper 1 yard pass from Ken Stabler (Errol Mann kick) 10-0 OAK
  • OAK - TD: Pete Banaszak 1 yard run (kick failed) 16-0 OAK
  • OAK - FG: Errol Mann 40 yards 19-0 OAK
  • MIN - TD: Sammy White 8 yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick) 19-7 OAK
  • OAK - TD: Pete Banaszak 2 yard run (Errol Mann kick) 26-7 OAK
  • OAK - TD: Willie Brown 75 yard interception return (kick failed) 32-7 OAK
  • MIN - TD: Stu Voigt 13 yard pass from Bob Lee (Fred Cox kick) 32-14 OAK

Starting lineups

Oakland Position Minnesota
OFFENSE
Cliff Branch WR Ahmad Rashad
Art Shell LT Steve Riley
Gene Upshaw LG Charlie Goodrum
Dave Dalby C Mick Tingelhoff
George Buehler RG Ed White
John Vella RT Ron Yary
Dave Casper TE Stu Voigt
Fred Biletnikoff WR Sammy White
Ken Stabler QB Fran Tarkenton
Mark Van Eeghen FB Brent McClanahan
Clarence Davis RB Chuck Foreman
DEFENSE
John Matuszak LE Carl Eller
Dave Rowe NT-LDT Alan Page
Otis Sistrunk RDE-RDT Doug Sutherland
Phil Villapiano LOLB-RE Jim Marshall
Monte Johnson LILB-LOLB Matt Blair
Willie Hall RILB-MLB Jeff Siemon
Ted Hendricks ROLB Wally Hilgenberg
Skip Thomas LCB Nate Wright
Willie Brown RCB Bobby Bryant
George Atkinson SS Jeff Wright
Jack Tatum FS Paul Krause

Officials

Note: A seven-official system was not used until 1978

Game time and weather conditions

  • 3:30 p.m. EST/12:30 p.m. PST
  • 74 °F (23 °C), sunny

See also

References

  1. ^ This was the first professional football game ever played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum played host to two previous Super Bowls (Super Bowl I and Super Bowl VII).

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