You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Hall, Rowe Were Unsung Raiders' Heroes in Super Bowl XI

Raider Maven on FanNation 3/27/2023 Tom LaMarre
© Provided by Raider Maven on FanNation

Super Bowl XI had many stars for the Raiders, including two of them were linebacker Willie Hall and nose tackle Dave Rowe.

Wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, running back Clarence Davis, and quarterback Kenny Stabler were the big stars for the Oakland Raiders in their 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to cap the 1976 season,

However, you always need some unsung heroes in games like this, and this time for the Raiders, two of them were linebacker Willie Hall and nose tackle Dave Rowe.

The 6-2, 223-pound Hall was selected in the second round (No. 31 overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft out of USC by the New Orleans Saints but played only nine games in two seasons in part because of injuries before being released before re-signing to become a star for the Raiders when they needed him most.

After sitting out the 1974 season, Hall signed with the Raiders the next year and played seven games in a backup role. However, early in 1976, defensive linemen Art Thoms, Horace Jones, and Tony Cline were knocked out for the season because of injuries, and Coach John Madden switched to a 3-4 defense.

That made Hall and Rowe critical for the Raiders' defense.

In the AFC Championship game at the Coliseum, Hall was all over the field, intercepted a pass by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and returned it 25 yards to the Pittsburgh one-yard-line, from where running back Clarence Davis scored to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead on their way to a 24-7 victory.

Early in the Super Bowl XI, Raiders punter Ray Guy had a punt blocked for the first time in his career by linebacker Fred O’Neill and the Vikings took over at Oakland’s three-yard line with a chance to make the first score of the game.

However, on second down, running back Brent McClanahan fumbled when hit by linebacker Phil Villapiano; Hall recovered at the six-yard line, and the Raiders went on to build a 19-7 lead.

When the Vikings were driving toward a touchdown that would have closed the gap in the third quarter, Hall stepped in front of wide receiver Ahmad Rashad and intercepted a pass by quarterback Fran Tarkenton and returned it 16 yards to set up Stabler’s 48-yard pass to Biletnikoff and Banaszak’s two-yard touchdown run that gave the Raiders a 26-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“The other halfback was my man, but I saw Tarkenton look to the inside and that’s where I went,” said Hall, who had three unassisted tackles in the game. “I don’t think he saw me coming. He just threw it, and I was there.”

Said Stabler: “Willie Hall made big plays in the Super Bowl as he did throughout the playoffs.”

The 6-7, 280-pound Rowe was acquired from the San Diego Chargers when those injuries hit the Raiders on the D-line, and Madden switched to a 3-4 defense with Rowe as the nose tackle.

“After the injuries on our defensive line, Dave Rowe made our defense complete again,” Madden said.

Rowe made only two official tackles in Super Bowl XI. Still, he forced running back Chuck Foreman outside for only 44 yards rushing, as linebacker Phil Villapiano, cornerback George Atkinson and linebacker Ted Hendricks all made six tackles.

In addition, Rowe made a one-handed deflection of a pass by Tarkenton and could have returned it for a touchdown had they gotten both hands on the ball.

“It’s almost like I should have ended my career right then,” said Rowe, who played three more years in the National Football League and keeps his personal Super Bowl trophy on a shelf in his office at Randolph Electric Membership Corp. in Asheboro, N.C., where he is the business spokesman.

“What a moment it was to walk off that field and realize that you had accomplished a goal that you had set 10 or 12 years before.”

Rowe was only one of many on that Raiders team who felt that way.

Please tell us your thoughts when you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon