33. Super Bowl XI, 1977: Oakland 32—Minnesota 14
John Madden’s long suffering Raiders finally won their first championship after years of being tantalizingly close, while the Vikings failed to prevail in their fourth effort at the big game. The contest was never really close, as the Ken Stabler lead Raiders raced out to a 16-0 halftime lead. Scrambling wingnut Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton briefly got the team within twelve in the 3rd quarter, but the door was soon shut by a Willie Brown interception return for a touchdown.
Competitiveness: 3 out of 10. The 1970s Vikings specialized in Super Bowl catastrophes and this was no different. For such a gifted team, it is startling that they would arrive so unprepared. Oakland led 16-0 at half, racking up 288 total yards against the Purple People Eaters in just two quarters. The Vikings never got closer than two scores the rest of the way.
Star Power: 8 out of 10. John Madden, Ken Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Bud Grant, and Fran Tarkenton are just a sampling of the eighteen Hall of Famers who figured prominently in this star-studded affair.
Controversy/Intrigue: 8 out of 10. The Raiders were dirty and made no excuses for it. George Atkinson’s cheap shot that knocked Lynn Swann unconscious in the previous season’s AFC Championship game is one of the most notorious plays in league history. In the rematch before Super Bowl XI, he concussed Swann again. He also broke Russ Francis’s nose in the divisional playoffs. Remarkably, Atkinson was not the Raiders’ dirtiest player.
Aftermath: 6 out of 10. The Vikings finished the 70’s 0-4 in Super Bowls and have not been back since. The Raiders became a big game fixture over the next several years and won two more titles while essentially serving as a maximum security penitentiary.
Aggregate Score: 25 out of 40.
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