Monday, January 13, 2020

NFL73 Update: Super Bowl VIII!

Channel 12's pregame coverage starts now on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 13, 1974, after some NBA game ...

So that gives us a little while to get settled in and comfortable for the big game ...

Comments flow!


  1. I never watched Kojak, but I've eaten a whole bunch of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I am pressed, however, to remember more than five or six times where I was part of an event where a bucket of KFC was present. For sure, each time it delivered the "barrel of fun" promised in this commercial preceding Super Bowl VIII.

  2. And now here's a cartoon about the Pro Football Hall of Fame featuring talking footballs.

    1. I remember this cartoon very vividly. Even though I was seven years old at the time, I thought that this was an odd way to open the Super Bowl.

    2. The Minneapolis Star Tribune in the days ahead of Super Bowl VIII have been using a sketch of Hägar the Horrible in teasers to its Vikings coverage. Hägar, which had debuted in newspapers less than a year earlier, is not identified, so it makes me wonder whether Dik Browne got any dough out of a deal.

    3. I wonder if someone tried to pitch the notion of a Saturday morning cartoon featuring the footballs at the Hall of Fame.

  3. The footballs also sing, with a lyric rhyming, for example, "fit as a fiddle" with "Y.A. Tittle."

  4. Now in what host Jack Whitaker describes as a tent outside Rice Stadium, the CBS team of NFL commentators weigh in on who they think will win.

    Lindsey Nelson: Miami
    Tommy Mason: Miami
    Frank Lieber: Miami
    Irv Cross: Minnesota
    Jack Buck: Miami
    Pete Retzlaff: Minnesota
    Dan Kelly: Miami
    Tom Brookshier: Minnesota
    Wayne Walker: Minnesota
    Tim Brown: Miami
    Dick Stockton: Miami
    John Sauer: Minnesota
    Whitaker: Minnesota

  5. Bart Starr is spending today's game in a CBS control truck. He's positioned in front of a wall of TV screens and wearing a microphone headset. "Through the use of multiple pictures provided by the surrounding monitors, we hope to give you a better understanding of the strategy of this game," Starr says as optimistically and earnestly as he might've from NASA in Houston for the Apollo 11 landing.

  6. The Sunday, Jan. 13, Star Tribune includes an eight-page "Super Bowl/8" section that wraps around the regular Section C sports pages. The cover shot is a posed portrait of an intense-faced Fran Tarkenton holding a football in the empty stands of Rice Stadium.

    Later in the section, there's a great airline ad--"Northwest gives the Vikings Roooooom!"--that features Fred Cox, Carl Eller, Chuck Foreman, Bud Grant, Bob Lurtsema and Alan Page with a flight attendant in a spacious plane cabin. A speech bubble over the flight attendant reads, "GO VIKES! Let's win today!"

  7. I’m really amazed at how defiantly wrong my memory can be. I would’ve bet you any amount of money that Karl Kassulke died from injuries he sustained in a July 1973 motorcycle accident on his way to the Vikings’ training camp. I mean, I knew the Vikings had him out for a “Karl Kassulke Day” for a game against the Bears in November, but I was certain that he died not long after that. Indeed, Kassulke lived until 2008, when he was 67. "After his playing career, Kassulke worked with Wings Outreach, a Christian Ministry to the disabled,” says Wikipedia.

    The Star-Tribume wraparound includes a bunch of pictures from the Vikings’ season, including one of fur-coated Kassulke in a wheelchair, escorted by Grady Alderman, Bill Brown, Jim Marshall and a couple of Minneapolis police officers.

  8. OK, nearing kickoff, here's Charlie Pride to sing "America the Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

    You sure don't hear the word "spangle" much often, do you?

  9. Charlie Pride sang at the annual Super Bowl party hosted by the NFL on Friday night, Jan. 11, in the Astrodome. Per various media reports, there were different barbecues served buffet-style near second base. (A whole steer and a whole pig were both roasted over barbecue pits, but those were just for show--the carcasses were too big for good barbecue, so that meat was going to be chopped up for chili on Saturday.) Also available for the team and league officials, press, TV executives, etc. in attendance: tacos, enchiladas, cornbread, thick toast and cocktails.

    Attendees Friday night reportedly included the Vikings' assistant coaches--but not Bud Grant, whose wife, Pat, arrived by train that day. They were said to have eaten at their hotel while the party was going on at the Astrodome. Coach Grant apparently this week had become fond of the hotel restaurant's seafood platter; plus, he had five different flavors of ice cream in a freezer in their room.

  10. And in the time it took me to type those two paragraphs, the Dolphins took a 14-0 lead against the Vikings in Super Bowl VIII. The Dolphins won the coin toss, which took place in a private affair long before the game and then was ceremonially recreated before the Rice Stadium and television viewers. Miami opened with a 10-play drive (two Bob Griese completions, three Mercury Morris runs and five Larry Csonka runs, including the five-yarder for a touchdown). Then Minnesota went three and out. And then Miami put together another 10-play drive (two Griese completions, two Morris runs, three Csonka runs and three Jim Kiick runs, including a one-yarder for a touchdown). Garo Yepremian’s two extra points make it 14-0 with 2:05 to play in the first quarter.

  11. This YouTube video is of the raw CBS feed, without the commercials, and I really miss the commercials. Part of that is because this game features Ray Scott and Pat Summerall, and they don't seem to have the true, off-air friendship and ease with one another as did Summerall and Brookshier in that one game I watched. But part of it is just because I like to see the commercials.

  12. Replies
    1. About a month later, Ray Scott turned up on the radio--and on blast--in Boston, per an item in the Feb. 18, 1974, Sports Illustrated "Scorecard" feature:

      Some pointed comments zinged back and forth during a two-hour discussion of sports broadcasting that was put on the air last week by WBZ radio in Boston. Among those talking on the program by phone hookup were Broadcasters Curt Gowdy, Howard Cosell, Ray Scott and Chris Schenkel, as well as Roone Arledge, head of ABC-TV sport, and Carl Lindemann, Arledge's counterpart at NBC. High point—or low point—of the heady discussion came in a childish exchange of acrimony between Scott, who did the Super Bowl for CBS last month, and Arledge.

      Arledge: "I think there has been more entertainment and certainly more journalism on our Monday night telecasts than there has been anywhere else in football."

      Scott: "In what area could you label any part of it as journalism?"

      Arledge: "Telling it like it is about trades, about people on the teams and not treating it like a religion, like you do."

      Scott: "A religion?"

      Arledge: "Yeah. You said Howard is colorful but inaccurate."

      Scott: "Totally inaccurate."

      Arledge: "Well, I think you're dull and inaccurate. You made more mistakes in the Super Bowl than Howard made all season."

      Scott: "That may be the most ridiculous statement that's been made so far, and you could never back it up."

      Arledge: "I certainly could."

      Scott: "I'll tell you something. Monday night football this past season contained more mistakes of fact than a lot of high school broadcasts I've heard."

      Arledge: "Ray, you're just jealous."

      Scott: "How could I be jealous?"

      Arledge: "How could you be jealous?"

      Scott: "I couldn't care less about being recognized in the street."

      Chris Schenkel (breaking in): "Ray, you love it. I love it."

      Scott: "That's not my aim in life." Stay tuned. Or don't stay tuned.

  13. Bud Grant played for Paul Brown with the Great Lakes Navel Academy football team, and then Don Shula played for Brown with the Cleveland Paul Browns.

  14. Sid Hartman in the Star-Tribune Super Bowl wraparound section had a thing that Grant, unlike Shula, was not particularly interested in coaching pro football. Indeed, he wasn't that interested initially in playing pro football--after lettering in three sports at the University of Minnesota, he first played with the Minneapolis Lakers and won the NBA50 championship.

  15. There are about four minutes to go in the first half, and now Miami is ahead, 17-0. The Vikings have not crossed midfield. Remarks Ray Scott: "I don't believe that even the most rabid Miami Dolphin fan ... expected this kind of domination by their Dolphins over the Vikings at this stage of the game."

    Wrong, Ray--I totally expected it.

    1. There's a very good argument to be made that Super Bowl VIII was, in fact, the most boring Super Bowl ever played.

  16. The second half also fails to deliver much in the way of drama for Ray, Pat and Bart. They spend a fair amount of time instead hyping CBS sports programming for later in the year—the NBA, CBS Sports Spectacular, the new CBS Eye on Sports program hosted by Jack Whitaker, the Masters, coverage of new “CBS Golf Championship” and “CBS Tennis Classic” events and the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic golf tournament.

  17. Facing a third-and-5 at the Minnesota 38 early in the second half, with the score still at 17-0, Griese sends Paul Warfield streaking down the left sideline. Warfield, who was questionable to play because of injury, most of the day had been used as a decoy running in motion before the snap, to draw secondary traffic out of the middle of the field and open either passing space for Griese to Jim Mandich, et al, or running space for Csonka, Kiick or Morris. But this time Griese didn't feign handoff to one of his backs, didn't look at any other receiver and zipped a pass that Warfield--probably a bit slowed by injury--had to dive to catch at the Viking 11.

    Pat: After watching him warm up, I thought there'd be no way that he'd be able to play with any degree of effectiveness in this game. Just a fine pass from Griese and really a spectacular catch.

    Ray: Bart?

    Bart: Well, Pat, the point I was going to make was that was a double zone again, and I think the strong safety on the play ... just made a mistake and blew it.

    A few minutes later comes the iconic play--you would recognize it--where Griese forgets the call or count or something and turns from the center before the snap to ask his backs what's going on. Then he hands off to Csonka who bounces across the goal line and into the goal post. Csonka really does look like a glorious load on this play, especially in the NFL Films shot from behind the end zone. His shoulder pads appear so broad and powerful that it's like there are two runners stuffed in the same uniform.

    It was 24-0.

  18. Tex Maule and Phil Tuckett, the writer and director of the NFL Films movie on Super Bowl VIII, mostly aligned in their analysis of the 24-7 outcome.

  19. Tuckett appeared to come to a similar conclusion about the game but seemed less bothered by it, turning much of the 25-minute movie into a Don Shula-narrated masterclass on offensive strategy. Tuckett superimposes all sorts of beautiful arrows and circles and blocky, all-cap phrases like "CROSS BLOCKING" and "MISDIRECTION" against forward- and reverse-run footage as Shula soberly explains the personnel assessments and if/then scenarios that undergirded Miami's massacre.

  20. It wasn't until we finally got cable--late, compared to seemingly everyone else in Paducah in the 1980s--that I watched much NFL Films, but then--boy, oh, boy--did I ever watch much NFL Films! I gobbled up any episode I could find on ESPN and sometimes taped those that the network aired in the wee hours past my bedtime. Of course, the pre-Super Bowl chronological marathons of Super Bowl-highlights movies were my favorites, and my first favorite of my favorites was Super Bowl VIII, Miami Dolphins Vs. Minnesota Vikings.

  21. In conclusion, I am thankful the Dolphins won. Also, I am thankful for all of the Dolphins and Vikings, who sacrificed their time, bodies and, apparently, in some cases their minds to play this game. I'm also thankful to Ray, Pat, Bart, Tex, Phil and all of their colleagues at the time. And I'm thankful for all of the internet makers, providers and application innovators (particularly mad props and shouts-out to YouTube users "Wade Randy," "Classic Sports," "John Castro," "Obsolete Video," "Grey Beard" and "Playstation Gamer Jo Lui"). And, of course, I'm thankful to HP nation, God and my family, peeps and employers. This, as always, has been really fun.

  22. In conclusion, I am thankful the Dolphins won. Also, I am thankful for all of the Dolphins and Vikings, who sacrificed their time, bodies and--in several cases, apparently and sadly--their minds to play this game. I'm also thankful to Ray, Pat, Bart, Tex, Phil and all of their colleagues back in and since the day. And I'm thankful for all of the internet makers, providers and application innovators (particularly mad props and shouts-out to YouTube users "Wade Randy," "Classic Sports," "John Castro," "Obsolete Video," "Grey Beard" and "Playstation Gamer Jo Lui"). And, as always, I'm thankful to HP nation, to God and to my family, peeps and employers. This has been a blast.

  23. Finally, those videos of the CBS coverage didn't include any of the commercials or halftime coverage. So, speaking of the Pro Bowl, here's the University of Missouri marching band playing at halftime of the Jan. 20, 1974, NFL73-ending game. They sound and look great!

  24. Joe Marshall in the Feb. 11, 1974, Sports Illustrated has a pretty interesting idea for the NFL draft:

    The theory behind the draft is that by selecting players in the reverse order of the teams' final standings, the weaker clubs eventually will catch up with the stronger ones. No way. As elsewhere, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. ...

    The worst team in football—this year as well as last, the Houston Oilers—drafts first in each round, which means it has the first selection, the 27th, the 53rd and so on. The best team—this year as well as last, the Miami Dolphins—drafts last, or 26th, 52nd and so on. The 26th selection is presumably better than the 27th and the 52nd better than the 53rd. Thus the real advantage gained by Houston over the stronger teams is one man, the first pick, and there is not one man on the face of the earth who could turn the Oilers around. Furthermore, strength begets strength: Miami's castoffs are better than Houston's, so they can be dealt away for high draft choices. Going into the draft Miami was tied for the most picks, 22; Houston had the fewest, 11. ...

    The draft needs drastic overhauling. One possible solution would be to open the first round only to teams with losing records, the second round to those that won just one game, the third to those that won two or less and so forth until the .500 level is reached. Thereafter the draft would proceed as of yore. Under this system Houston would have had the only pick in the second round this year, which would have been the 14th man selected. The Giants and the Chargers, who won two games, would have led off the third round, followed by Houston alone. Chicago, the only team to win three games, would have opened the fourth round, followed by Houston, San Diego and the Giants, the latter two alternating in successive rounds since they had identical records. In this manner Houston would have picked first, 14th, 17th, 19th and 25th. Teams with two wins would have had four choices in the top 27 and teams with three wins, three in the top 28.

  25. You've probably been wondering what movies I plan to watch now that NFL73 is over. Well, here are some:

    -- Harry and Tonto

    -- Claudine

    -- Mame

    -- World’s Greatest Athlete

    -- West World

    -- Almost Perfect
    , about the 1973-74 Milwaukee Bucks