Super Cinema Part Deux of Tres

In the first installment of my reviews of the Facenda era of Super Bowl highlight films the process was still something being learned. But in the second installment we find NFL films fully hitting stride as this era perhaps represents the best era of Super Bowl highlight films. And considering just how good the yearbooks and week in reviews of this era are this will go down as the golden age of NFL films and the product from this era will never be eclipsed and rarely has it been equaled.


VII. Washington v. Miami: This homage to the crowning jewel of the Dolphins undefeated season is another great example as to why NFL films became the benchmark that all other sports highlight films aspire. Perhaps the funkiest soundtrack ever used for a Super Bowl film it again compares favorably with the instrumentals of that era in style and structure. And musically it is good enough to hold up on it’s own, but combined with Facenda’s prose and reflection it becomes absolute poetry. Time of day, weather, lighting, color schemes and other attributes give every Super Bowl from this era a certain look and feel. Perhaps this edition is the most unique in terms of pure cinematography.. Another stunning achievement for what in reality was a really dull game. 5 stars


VIII. Minnesota v. Miami: Though not nearly as inspiring as the previous years film this particular edition does remind one as to just how dominate the Dolphins were in this era. Reverent in tone this particular tomb of the three straight Super Bowl appearances Miami made in this era shows the dynasty that Shula built in that day truly at the top of their game. Minnesota never had a chance, though it does make for some great comic relief in the opening segment when they show groups of Viking fans thinking they do. Then again the amount of alcohol Minnesota fans appeared to be consuming that day, one cannot blame them for becoming delusional. 4 stars


IX. Minnesota v. Pittsburgh: The start of the Steelers 70’s dynasty was the end of the line for old Tulane stadium in New Orleans as Chuck Noll and company conquered everyone’s favorite second banana Bud Grant’s Vikings in a game that is almost best remembered for the episode of Mary Tyler Moore the night before the game where the Vikings winning is part of the plot (the famous Ted Baxter football betting angle episode) and MTM apologizes to the Steelers over the final credits. Which is about close as the Vikings ever came to bringing home the big one to the hometown of this year’s halftime entertainment. As for the highlight film, another classic as the gathering gloom of as that gray afternoon slipping into twilight combined with a brassy soundtrack give this particular edition of the Sabol family Super Saga’s a surreal quality. 4 ½ stars


X: Dallas v. Pittsburgh: Probably my personal all time favorite. Footage from this was also used for the Bruce Dern/Robert Shaw thriller ‘Black Sunday’. This however is the ‘Citizen Kane’ of Super Bowl highlight films. The title is ‘The Best Ever’, and though this game has been surpassed in terms of overall excitement over the four-decade history of the game, never was the game as epically recounted as this. Note for note it is perfect across the board, and the final sequence is perhaps the best five minutes in NFL films history. I know that I said ratings are based on a five star scale, but in this case, 6 stars.


XI. Minnesota v. Oakland: The Raiders finally breaking thru was encapsulated by NFL films in grand style, and it also pointed the way the presentation of these programs would begin to transition into even before Facenda passed away. But what has become passé in this day and age seemed fresh at the time and it still comes off that way. Musically it fits the Raiders perfectly and the legendary ‘Old Man Willie, He’s going all the way’ still gives goose bumps. 4 ½ stars


XII. Denver v. Dallas: The second of Tom Landry’s Super Bowl titles was the first to be played indoors, and the texture the stock NFL films would use during this era gives the film a grainy noir like quality. Musically diverse with the brassier numbers balanced by synthesizer based pieces and even a touch of campy western twang in the opening sequence detailing the rise of Broncomania make this edition one of the most unique of the era. 4 stars