It was a victory for football's Deadend Kids and it was not as close as the final score of 32-14 indicated.
The Oakland Raiders, often criticized for their roughhouse style and bad-mounted as a team that couldn't win the big games, dominated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl 11 today with an offensive steamroller that produced a record 429 yards.
Running back Clarence Davis had a career-high 137 yards and quarter back Ken Stabler directed the attack that broke down the Minnesota defense the way a wrecking crew might take apart an old building.
"I had my own personal drive out there because of that stuff about us not winning the big ones," said Oakland coach John Madden. "This was a pretty big one, wasn't it?"
It couldn't have been bigger for the Raiders, who got to the Super Bowl the hard way, knocking off New England in the final minute of the first playoff game, then destroying the defending NFL champion Pittsburgh Steelers for the Amiercan Conference championship.
The Raiders saved their best, though, for the big show.
"If I told you I thought we'd win that big," said Madden, "I'd be lying."
It was an especially sweet victory for the old-timers of the Raiders, Pete Banaszak, Willie Brown and Fred Biletnikoff - three of the four Oakland players still with the club that lost in the second Super Bowl to Green bay in 1968 and had suffered through years of near misses.
Banaszak, 32, scored on runs of two and one yards and the 36-year-old Brown set a Super Bowl record when he returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in the final peirod to put the game away. Biletnikoff, 33, was named the game's most valuable player after catching four passes for 79 yards.
"When we were ahead 16-0, I know the game was over," said Brown. "I knew it would be real hard for them to come back. I intercepted four passes in a game once but this is so much better because this game was more important.
"This game wasn't easy - no professional football team in easy to beat - capitalized on them. A lot of people think I'm too old to play this game but I have the legs of a young colt."
"I saw the way they were lining up and I knew they couldn't stop us," added banaszak. "We just got the blocking and blew them out. I played in the Super Bowl nine years ago and I thought we'd be back a lot sooner than this. But we finally made it and now we're the world champs."
Biletnikoff seemed in a state of shocks.
"I don't know what to say," he mumbled, puffling on a cigarette and staring at the floor. "This is the biggest thing that's happened to me in pro football. I'm simply drained. It's a nice warm feeling all over but I'm a little too shocked to talk."
In the other dressing room, Minnesota coach Bud Grant was already talking about an encore.
"Hey, we'll be back," Grant said. "We're used to this. A lot of teams haven't been here. We've made more money than any other team in football."
Grant said the key to the game was "getting the third-down plays. We just didn't get them. We just played on the wrong day. If we had played tomorrow we would have beaten them."
Grant added there is no way to be happy after any loss.
"If you find a way to feel good after losing, you let me know," he said. "We dropped a couple of key passes - that was one of the big differences of the game. The team that makes the big plays wins."
Grant said he thought the team had a good chance to come back from the early 16-point deficit.
"We've been behind by 16 points before and scored 17 points in a half. This is not a game of surprises. I wasn't surprised at anything that happened out there. We thought that if we could keep Oakland from throwing ball we would have a chance. But when they were ahead, 16-0, they were able to do anything they wanted - to run when they wanted and pass when they wanted."
Minnesota quarterback Fran Tarkenton said, "We played a 3 1/2-hour dice game in front of 105,000 people. If you win, everybody thinks you're great. If you don't, you're dogs.
"I want to get away now and not see a football for a long time. Maybe in March or April I'll be ready to play again. It's a damn long road to the Super Bowl." Asked if he was going to retire, Tarkenton said, "I may never play again. But you're asking me at the wrong time. Everybody retires in January but they come right back in July."
Of Oakland, Tarkenton said, "they just totally dominated us. We were up; we had the emotion, but you have to make the plays to keep it going. We made one play (the blocked punt), but we couldn't make the others. The Raiders played extremely well. We just played badly."
Alan Page, the Viking right tackle, sat glumly on his locker room stool. "What can I tell you? Thy kicked our butts. If you saw the game from the stands, then you know. They were as good a team as I thought they would be."
Jeff Siemon, the game's leading tackler with 15 and two assists, said the Raiders assumed command at the beginning and it was an uphill battle for the Vikings.
"I didn't see anything that we did that made me feel that we could turn the thing around in a wholesale fashion," he said. "At times we played good defense, especially early in the game. A great team like Oakland, though, is bound to eventually score on you. I thought a key for us winning would be for our defense not to be out on the field very long. But it didn't work out that way."
"Thank God we came out alive," said running back Brent McClanaban.