Super Bowl IX
Super Bowl IX wrapped up much like the previous year's Super Bowl VIII as the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, making their first appearance in the NFL title game, throttled the NFC's Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota once again tied for the best record in the AFC (10-4-0) with the Washington Redskins, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams. As the first two-time losers of the Super Bowl, the Vikings entered Super Bowl IX with a bitter taste in their mouths and were eager to redeem themselves from the previous year's lopsided defeat for the title. Minnesota bettered their 10-4-0 record in the playoffs as they eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals in the divisional playoff game 30-14 and then edged out the Los Angeles Rams, who accounted for one of their four losses in the regular season, in the NFC Conference Championship 14-10. The NFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers and owner Art Rooney waited decades to reach the NFL Championship games as the team was established in 1933 and was shut out of a title shot until Super Bowl IX. Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Noll built the mighty Steelers team through the NFL Drafts in his first few years at the helm and out of them came future Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Mike Webster, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, "Mean Joe" Greene, Jack Ham and Jack Lambert. During the regular season, the up-and-coming Steelers posted a 10-3-1 record and then took down the Buffalo Bills 32-14 in the divisional playoff and the Oakland Raiders 24-13 in the NFC Conference Championship Game.
The game was played once again at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 12, 1975 for the third and final time before a crowd of nearly 81,000 fans. As predicted, this became a war between the two defensive cores of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" and Minnesota's "Purple People Eaters." The first half scoring consisted of only a safety in the second quarter when Viking quarterback Fran Tarkenton recovered a Dave Osborn fumble in the Minnesota end zone as the Steel Curtain closed on him. At the time this 2-0 lead, in favor of the Steelers, was the lowest scoring half in Super Bowl history entering halftime. Minnesota fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and on Pittsburgh's first possession, Steelers running back Franco Harris rushed for a 24-yeard return and then a 9-yard touchdown to increase their lead to 9-0. Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings defense blocked a Steelers punt and defensive back Terry Brown recovered the ball in the end zone to cut the lead to 9-6. (Vikings kicker Fred Cox missed the PAT.) With only 3:31 remaining the fourth quarter, Terry Bradshaw hit tight end Larry Brown with a 4-yard touchdown pass to ice the game. The Steelers defense forced five Minnesota turnovers including three interceptions from Fran Tarkenton. Franco Harris was named Super Bowl IX MVP as he topped Dolphins running back Larry Csonka's total rushing yards with 158 and carries with 34.