The Minnesota Vikings!! Those three words still haunt any Ramfan from the 70's. The 1969-74-76 and 77 playoff games had so many subplots that even Rod Serling couldn't write. It seemed that the games came down to an inch. Literally an inch. Either an outdated playoff format, a freak play or a blown call by the refs kept the Rams out of the Super Bowl. Without a doubt,these games still haunt my soul today. LISTEN
The date was December 26, 1977. As the four of us headed to the Los Angeles Coliseum to see our Rams finally get revenge on the Vikings. The four of us are so excited that we won't shut up. Thinking ahead to our meeting with the Cowboys. Were we overlooking the Vikings? Hell yes!!! We beat the Vikings 35-3 just weeks ago and they won't have Fran Tarkenton, some guy named Bob Lee will be their QB. Four hours later, we are headed home. Not one word is spoken in the hour drive. Right then I came to the conclusion that the Rams in a past life did something very bad to a Viking and now are being punished. There is no other way to look at it. It has to be a Viking curse.
In 1974, the Rams should of played the NFC Championship game against the Vikings in 70% Los Angeles instead of -12% wind chill factor Minnesota. Both teams were 10-4, and the Rams had won their one regular-season meeting. Until 1975, however, the NFL rotated playoff sites, and it was the NFC Central's turn to play host to the conference championship game.
Forget about it being the NFC Championship game, name me any game that a team goes over 99 yards and gets no points and loses by 4 points. OVER 99 YARDS!!! That doesn't happen in Pop Warner. This is what happened. In the 3rd quarter, the Vikings hold a 7-3 lead. A punt pinned the Rams inside their 1-yard line, but we moved out of danger to their
25. Then Harris hit Harold Jackson for a 73-yard gain. Jackson should have scored, but he was nudged out of bounds by Jeff Wright at the Vikings' 2.
One play later the Rams were less than six inches from a 10-7 lead. But Harris, who could have fallen forward for the go-ahead TD, switched to a long count.The refs said Hall of Fame guard Tom Mack flinched, costing the Rams five yards. Two plays later, linebacker Wally Hilgenberg intercepted Harris' tipped pass in the end zone. The Rams had gone 99 yards and produced no points. We lose by 4 points. The Viking curse. I know your thinking how could there be a Viking curse in 1975, when they didn't play.Your right,they didn't play. So they did a reverse Viking curse on the Rams. The Rams matched up with the Vikings that year very well. After destroying the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round, it looked like a Viking Ram championship. For 59 minutes the Vikings were leading the Cowboys, then the Cowboy's Roger Staubach throws THE HAIL MARY and the Cowboys win. So instead of playing the Vikings that we matched up perfect with, we played a team that was so hot, they would of made God punt. I was there, the Cowboys looked awesome. So the Vikings did a Reverse Viking Curse on us. In 1976, the Vikings and Rams met again in the NFC championship game. Here is the first quarter stats. Rams run 22 plays to the Vikings 5 plays. Rams 7 first downs to the Vikings 1 first down. Rams outgained the Vikings 89 yards to their 17. But the Vikings are winning 7-0. Here's how.The Rams Ground Chuck offense was blowing holes in the Minnesota defense. On second and goal from the Viking 4 yard line, the Rams do a flanker reverse with Jessie, he scores, but the refs say no and move it to the six inch line (just look at the pics he scored the refs AGAIN blew it). Knox decides to go for three. Dempsey goes out for the chip shot FG. But Nate Allen blocked the kick, which bounced directly to defensive back Bobby Bryant, who dashed 99 yards for the game's first points. That is a 14 point turnaround. The Vikings take a 17-0 lead but our defense brings us back, the Rams score 2 TD's, but Dempsey misses the extra point making it 17-13 Vikings. The Rams have the ball inside the Viking 40 with less than 3 minutes to play. But we need a TD and the Vikings play prevent. Knox decides to go for it on fourth down. It is 4th and 10 on the Viking 39 yard line. Knox tells Haden the Vikings will be playing for the short pass thinking the Rams just want a first down. Knox said " You should find Jessie or Jackson clear on the play called "sixty-five". Haden faded back to pass reading the Viking's free safety Paul Krause. Krause went to the weak side after Jackson. Jessie blew right by Nate Wright. Haden didn't have time to look at Jackson before hitting Jessie. And their right corner back Bobby Bryant sprinted all the way across the field. Jessie didn't even see him coming. As the ball was going to fall in Jessie's hands for the game winning TD. Bryant, at the last instance, took the ball from Jessie and the Rams. The Viking Curse. In 1977, it was time for our revenge. Tarkenton was out with a broken leg, putting "General" Bob Lee in charge of their offense. Just weeks earlier, we destroyed the Vikings 35-3.(that same night they filmed the plays for the movie Heaven Can Wait at halftime) And the playoff game was finally in the L.A. Coliseum. It would have been better for us if we played the game in Minnesota. It rained for three straight days and nights before the game, turning the Coliseum turf into goo. The "Mud Bowl" was made for the plodding Vikings. Chuck Foreman ran for 101 yards and a touchdown. Lee completed only five passes, but he did not turn the ball over. Haden, meanwhile, threw three interceptions (to this day, I am convinced Joe Namath would of gotten us a win), including one in the end zone. Rafael Septien missed a short field goal, and the Rams once again were on the short end of the score, 14-7. Thank God, Ray Malavasi Rams stopped the Viking Curse in 1978. Because I started thinking I also did something bad to a Viking in a past life.