Super Bowl XI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1976 season. The Raiders defeated the Vikings by the score of 32–14 to win their first Super Bowl….as the game was played on January 9, 1977 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This is, and remains, the earliest scheduled Super Bowl during the calendar year.
This was the Raiders’ second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl II to Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers….at they posted a 13–1 regular season record before defeating the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Vikings were making their fourth Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–2–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams. The Vikings became the first team to appear in four Super Bowls….a record they held until the Dallas Cowboys advanced to a Super Bowl for the fifth time in Super Bowl XIII against the Steelers. The Vikings had yet to win in their previous three attempts….losing Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final Super Bowl before the AFL–NFL merger and following that up with losses to the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII and the Pittsburg Steelers in Super Bowl IX.
Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards….which included a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half while en route to winning Super Bowl XI….when after a scoreless first quarter….Oakland scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 16–0 lead at halftime. The Raiders also had two fourth quarter interceptions….including cornerback Willie Brown‘s 75-yard return for a touchdown. Oakland WR Fred Biletnikoff had 4 catches for 79 yards that set up three Raider touchdowns and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Among the wide receivers who have won the Super Bowl MVP….Biletnikoff is the only one to not have gained 100 yards in his performance….while QB Ken Stabler became the first left-handed quarterback to win the Super Bowl….who would be joined 18 years later by San Francisco quarterback Steve Young….who led the 49ers to victory against the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.