“The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings would meet in the worst weather yet for a Super Bowl setting.”
Thirty-two years later, the conditions for the game that saw the dawn of the Steelers dynasty remain the nastiest in Super Bowl annals, winning a game that was as raw and inelegant as the conditions that caressed it.
The most interesting aspect of this film is its music — which provides three cues familiar to anyone who grew up watching sports in the 1970s and 1980s.
The first, an instrumental called “Gathering Crowds,” is used to accompany a first-quarter Steelers offensive sequence and would later become known as the theme song for This Week in Baseball. (So when I watch this film, I end up with a mental image of Pete Rose making a head-first, slow-motion slide into third.)
Later, we hear “Heavy Action,” better known as the theme to Monday Night Football, and what would later become known as “The Raiders,” the haunting instrumental which could still be used for any NFL team at this time, but which would soon be virtually appropriated by the Raiders –in large part thanks to its use on the 1974 season review film, The Championship Chase.
That film — as well as the Super Bowl IX highlights — show how NFL Films was starting to hit its groove by this point in time. Steve Sabol lauds Championship Chase as one of his personal favorites. (It is available on the Super Bowls I-X DVD set as a prelude to the Super Bowl IX highlight film.) Exquisitely written, the 48-minute film provided many of the Facenda soundbites sampled on the 1998 CD release The Power and the Glory, gave the Raiders their theme poem, gives then-Broncos coach John Ralston a moment in the spotlight and remains not just a football film, but a work of art.
The Super Bowl IX highlights aren’t at that level, but for what the game provided, they remain compelling.
BEST NARRATION: “The popular 74-year-old patriarch (Steelers owner Art Rooney) was a lovable loser no more.”
Straightforward, solid and effective.