SITE: ORANGE BOWL, MIAMI
DATE: JAN. 18, 1978
CLAIM TO FAME: SWANN CAUGHT FOUR PASSES, INCLUDING TWO ACROBATIC CATCHES AND A 64-YARD SCORE, TO EARN THE MVP AWARD.
I CERTAINLY FELT as if we would win. We had won the Super Bowl the previous year, so the confidence on our team was high, but we weren't overconfident. There was one problem—I wasn't certain whether I was going to play. I had been knocked out of the AFC Championship Game with a concussion, and even though the team doctors had cleared me to go, I wasn't sure whether I was going to suit up.
That was until I picked up a newspaper about three days before the game and read that the Cowboys' Cliff Harris had said that if I played, he would take my head off and that I should be afraid to come across the middle. That made up my mind—I was going to play.
My only thought going into the game was, When the ball is thrown to me the first time, I have to catch it. After the concussion and having a bad week of practice, it was important to get off to a good start. It wasn't the easiest of catches—Mark Washington had very good coverage—but I found a way to make it. I felt good the rest of the way.
The big play came with a little more than three minutes left in the game, the ball on our own 36 and us leading 15-10. Washington had come up to the line in press coverage. They had a blitz called. So I took my route inside, figuring that Bradshaw had to get rid of the ball quickly. He did, and I made the catch. Mark came to make a play but didn't get the ball or me, and I got to the end zone. To be able to make that catch late in the game and score was pretty spectacular, especially after not catching a pass in the previous Super Bowl.
After the touchdown Jack Lambert was the first guy down there to congratulate me. He grabbed me and hoisted me in the air, kind of odd because I don't think Jack said two things to me when we were rookies.
I didn't realize I was the Super Bowl MVP until a media member told me after the game. In those days the award was sponsored by American Motors, so I got a 1976 Pacer. It immediately came in handy. Because of all the postgame interviews, I was late getting back to the team hotel, and by the time I showered and got ready for the victory party, the team bus had already left and I didn't have a way to get there. So I gave a doorman $20 to take the Pacer off the stand in the lobby of the hotel and put some gas in it. He brought it back, and I drove it to the victory party in Key Biscayne. That was the only time I drove that Pacer, but it was one sweet ride.
—As told to Gene Menez