1977 Super Bowl delivered long-awaited title to Raiders

Feb 1, 2022, 7:08 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2022, 9:11 am

FILE - Oakland Raiders coach John Madden is carried from the field by his players after the team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in NFL football's Super Bowl XI in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 9, 1977. After years of falling short of the title game with crushing playoff losses to rivals like Miami and Pittsburgh, the Raiders made easy work of the Minnesota Vikings in a 32-14 victory. (AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

When coach John Madden’s Oakland Raiders arrived at the Rose Bowl for the Super Bowl in 1977, the toughest part of the job was already done.

After years of falling short of the title game with crushing playoff losses to rivals like Miami and Pittsburgh, the Raiders made easy work of the Minnesota Vikings in a 32-14 victory Jan. 9, 1977, that made all of owner Al Davis’ boasts about winning and excellence prove true.

“They can never take it away from you,” Madden said later about that Super Bowl win that was the defining moment of his coaching career. “Maybe the fact that we chased it so long made it bigger to us. It was the greatest feeling in the world. There’s nothing that can beat it.”

For Davis’ Raiders, the journey to the title was a long one. Oakland had lost Super Bowl 2 to Vince Lombardi’s Packers with John Rauch as coach before failing six times in the next eight seasons with a berth in another Super Bowl on the line.

There was a blown fourth-quarter lead to Joe Namath’s Jets in 1968; a home loss to the Chiefs after a regular season sweep of Kansas City in 1969; losses to Baltimore (1970), Miami (1973) and , in back-to-back seasons to the hated Steelers in (1974-75). Not to mention the “Immaculate Deception” loss, as Raider Nation has called it, in the divisional round in 1972.

So when they got past the Steelers 24-7 in the AFC title game two weeks earlier in 1977, there was no way the NFC’s perennial heartbreak team could topple them.

“We had tougher games in the AFC than we had today,” Madden said after the Super Bowl. “We had plenty of opportunities to watch others go to the Super Bowl and we did not want the atmosphere to upset our concentration. We had a good week, we enjoyed it and winning this game is a perfect end to a perfect season.”

That version of the Raiders might have been the best ever for a franchise that had decades of success until its recent struggles. They went 16-1, losing only a Week 4 game to New England, and won seven of their final eight games by double digits.

Put together by Hall of Famer Davis, those Raiders featured a Hall of Fame coach in Madden and eight players inducted in Canton: Ken Stabler, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Willie Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, Ted Hendricks and Ray Guy.

Hall of Fame coach Tom Flores was also an assistant on that team and receiver Cliff Branch could join those getting the honor later this year.

With talent like that, the Vikings were no match in the first NFL game played at the venerable Rose Bowl.

“We knew by Wednesday we were going to win,” linebacker Phil Villapiano said after the game. “The only hard part from then on was waiting for the game.”

After surviving an early blocked punt, the Raiders dominated the game. They set a Super Bowl record at the time with 429 yards of offense, Clarence Davis running for 137 yards behind Shell and Upshaw; Pete Banaszak rushing for two scores; Stabler throwing a TD pass; and MVP Biletnikoff setting up two TDs with four catches for 79 yards.

Brown, part of the losing team in the Raiders’ first Super Bowl appearance, iced it with a 75-yard interception return for a score.

“Winning this game make up for the other Raiders who came before and didn’t have a chance to participate on a winning Super Bowl team,” he said later. “This victory meant not only a lot to me, it meant a lot to the entire Raider organization.”

The victory allowed Madden to retire two years later as a champion. Flores took over and led the Raiders to two more titles in the 1980s, cementing the Raiders’ legacy.

While the victory ended years of heartbreak for the Raiders, it was just another missed opportunity for the Vikings. Minnesota had lost three Super Bowls before this game, losing in 1970 to the Chiefs, 1974 to the Dolphins and 1975 to the Steelers.

“Most people never get here,” running back Chuck Foreman said after the game. “I don’t know if we’ll get another chance. When you get here as many times as we have and you can’t win, what can you say?”

The title that eluded the Vikings that day still hasn’t come to Minnesota. The franchise hasn’t even made it back to that stage, losing six NFC title games since then, including two in excruciating fashion to Atlanta following the 1998 season and New Orleans following the 2009 season.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

1977 Super Bowl delivered long-awaited title to Raiders