This is a seminal work in the library of NFL Films — at least when it comes to their Super Bowl highlights. For the first time, Films makes liberal use of radio play-by-play calls in its storytelling narrative, working John Facenda’s oration in between spurts of the radio broadcasts from the Raiders and Vikings radio networks.
The game was a blowout, and in many ways, it was the people behind the microphones and cameras who were the stars of this piece. The film begins with a series of global broadcasters introducing the game in all manner of foreign tongues — which includes then-NBC analyst Don Meredith, speaking his folksy Texas-style interpretation of the King’s English.
This was, as an NFL Films Lost Treasures show noted, the last Super Bowl played entirely in daylight. Subsequent Super Bowls would never begin before 3 p.m. local time, bringing the encroachment of evening onto much of the game. Nowadays, the kickoff time is always at 6:25 p.m. EST — providing about 60 minutes of non-shadowed daylight on the West Coast and no workable natural light east of the Mojave Desert. Photojournalists and Films cinematographers alike mourned the loss of the vibrant daylight, especially when contrasted with the darkness of the Louisiana Superdome the following year.
Nitpicker’s note … watch for the shot of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the montage of birds being released into the sky; that particular shot comes from Super Bowl VII four years earlier. But that’s a small detail, more than made up for by the shot of a dejected Vikings player on the team’s sidelines late in the loss, his lower lip quivering with sadness as the clock runs out on what remains the Minnesotans’ most recent trip to football’s ultimate annual game.
BEST NARRATION: “The Vikings trailed by 19 points, and the remaining seven minutes of the game became a despairing, hopeless quest for a goal they knew they would never reach.”
As the reviews of the next few Super Bowl highlight films will demonstrate, Films hits its high point in this era, with the introduction of radio calls, the use of tighter slow-motion shots (beginning with Super Bowl XIII) and enhanced sound that gradually accentuates the timber in Facenda’s voice.