"Old Man Willie" Intercepts Tarkenton for TD
In January 1977, in front of over 100,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, an encounter between two 36-year-old players in the twilight of their Hall of Fame careers resulted in one of the great interception returns in Super Bowl history. In the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XI, the Raiders led the Vikings 26-7 and were trying to stymie a drive by Minnesota, which had the ball deep in Oakland territory. Hall of Fame Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, in his 16th NFL season, turned to his left and – staring down a receiver and telegraphing his throw all the way – lofted up a pass. Defensive back Willie Brown, himself in his 14th NFL season, jumped in front of the throw, picked it off and ran the ball back for a 75-yard TD return as his closeup while running for the score became one of NFL Films' most iconic images. The play put an exclamation point on a 32-14 Oakland victory as the team, coached by John Madden, won its first Super Bowl – the first of three over the next eight seasons – capping a dominant 1976 year in which it only lost once.