All the Silver
When the Oakland Raiders knocked off the defending NFL champion Pittsburgh Steelers 24-7 to win the AFC crown, it seemed that coach John Madden and his Raiders would finally have their day in the sun. For all their frustration, the Raiders had won the Western Division title seven of eight times, but they hadn't appeared in the Super Bowl since 1967, when they were humbled by Green Bay. Now all that remained in their way to a championship was Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings, who were the three time losers of the biggest game in pro sports.
As things turned out, Minnesota proved hardly an opposition for the devastating Raiders as they rang up 266 yards on the ground and 163 yards in the air. Although the first quarter went scoreless, the Raiders were on top 16-0 at the half behind a field goal, a Ken Stabler pass, and Pete Banaszak's one-yard run. Errol Mann added another field goal in the third quarter and Tarkenton finally put Minnesota on the board to make the score 19-7 as the quarter ran out.
Whatever hopes the Vikings had for a comeback were soon dispelled as Banaszak again crossed the goal line at 7:21 into the fourth quarter. A few minutes later Willie Brown intercepted a Tarkenton pass and ran the ball back 75 yards for a touchdown to make the score 32-7. With Bob Lee in the game for Tarkenton, the Vikings again got on the scoreboard, but it was simply too little, too late.
Although Banaszak had scored two touchdowns and Clarence Davis rushed for a career-high 137 yards, the game's Most Valuable Player honors went to Fred Biletnikoff, who caught four passes for 79 yards and set up three scores. The secret to the Raiders overwhelming victory was their ability to exploit the weak left side of the Vikings' line and to keep premier runner Chuck Foreman in check with only 44 yards in 17 attempts.
For the black and silver clad Raiders their dreams had finally become a reality. For the Vikings, the reality seemed more like a nightmare.