THE FIRST TIME WE WERE SU­PER

Fun facts about Hous­ton’s first Su­per Bowl in 1974

Houston Chronicle - - DAILY DIGITAL - By Craig Hlavaty craig.hlavaty@chron.com twit­ter.com/craighlavaty

On Jan. 13, 1974, Hous­ton hosted its first Su­per Bowl when the Mi­ami Dol­phins and Min­nesota Vik­ings squared off in the eighth edi­tion of the big game at the spa­cious Rice Sta­dium.

A crowd of 71,882 en­dured a misty, soggy grid­iron con­test, decades be­fore it was a bloated, bil­lion-dol­lar world­wide event. Coun­try singer Charley Pride sang the na­tional an­them, so it wasn’t all that bad.

The game would see the Dol­phins, still an NFL pow­er­house led by coach Don Shula, de­feat the Min­nesota Vik­ings by a score of 24-7. Some 14 fu­ture NFL Hall-ofFamers played in that game, in­clud­ing Dol­phins greats Bob Griese and Larry Csonka and Vik­ings QB Fran Tarken­ton.

The half­time show, ti­tled “A Mu­si­cal Amer­ica,” fea­tured the Univer­sity of Texas Longhorn Band, the Westch­ester Wran­glerettes and Miss Texas 1973, Judy Mallett, on fid­dle.

That’s about a mil­lion miles away from what­ever this year’s half­time artist, Lady Gaga, likely has in store for the world.

In 1974, there was no ac­ci­den­tal or in­ten­tional nu­dity to speak of, no over­pow­er­ing mes­sages about so­ci­ety, the crowd didn’t get glow sticks to wave in the air, and there was no so­cial me­dia to roast the whole event mer­ci­lessly for days.

“It might have been the dullest ever,” NFL Films’ Steve Sabol said af­ter the fact of the game and the half­time show.

Why wasn’t it at the state-of-theart Astrodome, just a mile or two away? Rice Sta­dium sim­ply had more seat­ing ca­pac­ity at the time, that’s why. There was a Su­per Bowl party at the Dome that Fri­day night, com­plete with cat­tle me­an­der­ing near the crowds be­cause in 1974 we weren’t aware or yet ashamed of Texas stereo­types.

You can read what gonzo re­porter Hunter S. Thomp­son thought about the first Hous­ton Su­per Bowl (he stayed at the down­town Hy­att Re­gency and went to the Spindle­top while he was here) in his fa­mous “Fear and Loathing at the Su­per Bowl” col­umn writ­ten in the weeks af­ter the game. Spoiler alert: He drank a lot. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Hous­ton ap­peared to be the front-run­ner in 1991 to land Su­per Bowl XXIX for Jan­uary 1995. The ex­plod­ing score­board at the Dome had long been re­moved and re­placed with ex­tra seat­ing. In the end, Mi­ami got the game and the Oil­ers moved to Nashville, Tenn.

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