This is the 45th anniversary season of the Vikings' first appearance in a Super Bowl. It is also the 38th season since the Vikings last appeared in a Super Bowl, on Jan. 9, 1977, against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl.

Three of the NFL's other 32 franchises have waited longer than the Vikings to play in a Super Bowl: Kansas City, the New York Jets and Detroit.

The Chiefs were the Vikings' opponent in the fourth Super Bowl in January 1970. The Jets made their lone appearance (as upset winners) in the third Super Bowl. The Lions are the only franchise that has been around since the start of the Super Bowl era to never reach the game.

Three expansion teams have yet to play in a Super Bowl: Jacksonville (1995), Cleveland Browns II (1999) and the Houston Texans (2002).

Forget the Falcons' upset in January 1999. The most painful Purple defeat in history was to Kansas City in that first Super Bowl.

The historical record says the Vikings were 12-point favorites over KC, although as Minnesotans we were more convinced than that of the invincibility of Bud Grant's overwhelming defense and the Joe Kapp-led offense.

Decades later, there is no shock the Chiefs were able to outplay the Vikings by a margin at least as wide as the 23-7 final.

There were five Hall of Famers on the Chiefs defense: Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas and Curly Culp. There were two on offense in quarterback Lenny Dawson and kicker Jan Stenerud. Plus, the absence of receiver Otis Taylor in Canton remains puzzling.

As much heat as Bud's Vikings took for losing four Super Bowls in seven years, here was the real problem: The 1970s were the golden age of the AFC/AFL.

The Vikings lost to four exceptional teams in the Chiefs, the 1973 Dolphins, the 1974 Steelers and the 1976 Raiders. They also lost to four Hall of Fame coaches in Hank Stram, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and John Madden.

You're forgiven for 0-4, gents. You had the best excuse. The opponents were better.