I immensely enjoyed seeing the Raiders on your cover twice in three weeks (Jan. 3 and 17). Oakland won the Super Bowl not because Minnesota was so bad but because Oakland was so good. Without a doubt, the Raiders are world champions and the best team in pro football.
CHRISTOPHER H. EVANS
Your coverage of Super Bowl XI was tremendous, and Dan Jenkins' last paragraph (The Raiders Were All Suped Up, Jan. 17) tells it all. The AFC is much superior to the NFC. As I see it, the Minnesota Vikings could not have won any of the three divisions of the AFC and could have finished second only in the Western Division.
There seems to be a subtle difference between the styles of play in the two conferences, which must go back to the old AFL. Games between AFC teams are almost always more interesting to watch.
Before Dan Jenkins' statement that the NFC should apply for admission to the Ivy League is taken seriously, let's look more closely at the facts. True, the AFC has won five Super Bowls in a row and eight of 11, but Baltimore and Pittsburgh, NFL teams before the merger, account for three of those wins, so the tally should read NFC six, AFC five.
With all that has been written about the Minnesota Vikings and their disappointing Super Bowl record, I would like to enlighten some of the fans about other title games. From 1933 through 1969 (37 games), the NFL title game was decided by two touchdowns or more 17 times. The New York Giants played for the championship 14 times and lost 11 of those, including three in a row in 1961, 1962 and 1963. What is more, they were shut out twice and three times scored only one touchdown.
The Los Angeles Rams were 1-3 in title games, winning in 1951 but losing in 1949, 1950 and 1955.
The Cleveland Browns played in 11 NFL championships, winning in 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964, but losing seven times, including three in a row in 1951, 1952 and 1953. From 1950 through 1957 Cleveland played in seven of eight championships, winning three and losing four.
Also, in 1954 the Browns beat Detroit 56-10 and in 1957 Detroit beat them 59-14, which shows that the score of one championship game has no bearing on the relative strengths of divisions or conferences or even of the clubs involved. It only shows who was better on that day.
So congratulations to Oakland on its NFL title, but Minnesota has lots of company in having lost another "big game."
I have noticed that No. 12 is a winner in the Super Bowl. The only times a team that started a quarterback wearing No. 12 lost were when the other team also started a quarterback wearing No. 12. For instance, Roger Staubach and the Cowboys defeated Bob Griese and the Dolphins in 1972. Other No. 12 winners after Staubach were Griese in 1973 and 1974, Terry Bradshaw in 1975 and 1976 and now Ken Stabler.