Super Bowl I (Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10), Jan. 15, 1967: The first game, there was nobody there. The Los Angeles Coliseum is huge, and I'd say there were maybe 20,000 people left at the end. The game meant nothing. No parties, no nothing. Just a football game. Max McGee ended up being the hero of the game by catching two touchdown passes, but he didn't think he was going to play. The night before the game, I went with a couple of Packers guys to a bar in Los Angeles and saw McGee. Supposedly he stayed out all night. When Boyd Dowler got hurt early in the game, McGee replaced him.
Super Bowl IV (Kansas City 23, Vikings 7), Jan. 11, 1970: The game was in New Orleans, and they were starting to do it up pretty big, at least with all the stuff before the game. There was a race with hot air balloons, one of them was marked NFL and the other one was marked AFL, and the NFL one crashed into the stands. That was kind of like the Vikings on that day. They just didn't play very well. Everyone remembers Chiefs coach Hank Stram was wired for sound for the game and they have played that stuff ever since, with Stram laughing at the Vikings. The Vikings took that loss really hard, boy.
Super Bowl VIII (Miami 24, Vikings 7), Jan. 13, 1974: In Houston, the Vikings practiced at a high school and the Dolphins practiced in the Houston Oilers' facility. Coach Bud Grant (left) was really upset. There were birds flying around the locker room. There were no lockers, the players just hung their stuff up on nails and hooks. He told the reporters that it wasn't even fit for a junior high team. The league got mad at Grant for complaining and fined him $5,000. As far as the game, the Dolphins were a dominating team. They were undefeated the year before. I almost didn't make it into the game. I rode over on the team bus, and Fran Tarkenton and Grady Alderman locked me in the bathroom on the bus.
Super Bowl IX (Pittsburgh 16, Vikings 6), Jan. 12, 1975: The Vikings had a hotel by the New Orleans airport that people said was the NFL getting revenge for them complaining about the year before. Anyway, Howard Cosell came out to the Vikings hotel to do some interviews, and they set them up down by the swimming pool. Wally Hilgenberg and Alan Page went out on a balcony and dumped some trash cans full of water on Cosell. He was interviewing Fran Tarkenton at the time, and he got out of the way, but the water hit Cosell and knocked his toupee sideways. A lot of people think Cosell had it in for the Vikings after that.
Super Bowl XI (Oakland 32, Vikings 14) Jan. 9, 1977: The night before the game, I roomed with Grant at the hotel. I knew Al Davis, the Oakland owner, real well from when he worked for Sid Gillman. I was the only media guy who could watch the Vikings practice, and Davis was bugging me for a scouting report. I told him, and I don't know why I said it, that the Vikings think they can block a punt. The Raiders had the great punter, Ray Guy, who had never had a punt blocked. Sure enough, Fred McNeill blocked a punt and the Vikings got the ball at the Oakland 3-yard line early in the game. But Brent McClanahan fumbled the ball away, and Oakland just dominated after that.