Super Bowl IX! Although the Vikings lost to Pittsburgh 16-6, this team outlasted the Rams 14-10 in the NFC Championship Game to get there. This was the second of 3 Super Bowl appearances in a 4 year span after drafting Chuck Foreman, from The [[_]], and acquiring Fran Tarkenton in a trade from the Giants.
This was the Purple People Eaters at their best. John Gilliam was a tremendous deep threat, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Alan Page (NFL MVP in ’71), and Gary Larsen were still the best front four in football and were in the midst of a division dominance that ruled the NFC Central for the better part of 8 years.
They didn’t win the Super Bowl but still had a hell of a run and should have more Hall of Famers off of that team: Jim Marshall and Chuck Foreman. Foreman was as dominant a RB in the mid 70s as any. He carried the Vikings to 3 Super Bowls in 4 years and was a leading receiver out of the backfield. He was Marshall Faulk, Thurman Thomas, and Marcus Allen before they were and in a bigger body. One game that ruined his legacy was in of all places Buffalo to end the 1975 season.
In the same game where Fran Tarkenton threw for his 291st career touchdown pass to move ahead of Johnny Unitas, Chuck Foreman and OJ Simpson were putting on a clinic and were both after the NFL all time touchdown records for a season. Well Chuck got 4 to OJ’s 3 but OJ finished with 23TDs to Chuck’s 22 to set the record.
Problem was Chuck had to leave the game after getting hit in the face with a snowball when he scored his 4th touchdown in the 4th quarter…had he scored a 5th he would have tied OJ for the single season touchdown record of 23 that would be later broken by John Riggins (24 in 1983) and an all time record may have garnered him some votes.
Yet Bud Grant’s team was aging having made their 3rd title appearance in 6 years. They were in the middle of a historic run when you look back on it. Those title losses could have reshaped history. Had they won Super Bowl IV against KC, it would have made the Jets win in the season before, a total fluke. The score would have been NFL3 to AFL1 in Super Bowl competition.
They would have kept Don Shula’s Dolphins from becoming a dynasty in VIII and would have stopped an emerging Steeler team in IX. However once they fell to the Steelers, you had to wonder if it was in their psyche to underplay in championship competition.
They had to look at Super Bowl IX and feel they gave one away.
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