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Bud Grant: 4 Vikings Super Bowl losses 'probably bother other people more than me'


Every year when Super Bowl time approaches, we hear from people who are critical of the fact that the Vikings participated in four Super Bowls, and lost them all.

Bud Grant, who coached all four of those teams, was asked his reaction to those who bring it up to him every year.

"Well, it probably bothers other people more than it bothers me," said the Hall of Fame coach. "To survive in this business, you can't have a backwards look. You lose a game and then you have to move to the next one. You can't look back and say we could have, would have, should have. When it's over, it's over."

No doubt coaching in the Super Bowl is certainly different than in the regular season and playoffs leading up to it.

"It's a different routine," Grant said. "You have to go into it and enjoy all the hoopla that goes into it. You have to go along with all the press and all the promotion and you have your family there and you have to go into it with an idea that you're going to enjoy it and have a good time."

Looking back on his four Super Bowl appearances, Grant said: "When we played Kansas City [in Super Bowl IV in 1970], we were maybe a better team than they were, but they won that day. We played them the opening game the next year and we beat them handily, basically the same teams."

The Vikings lost to the Chiefs 23-7 in the Super Bowl, then defeated them 27-10 in the 1970 season opener.

At Super Bowl VIII against Miami in 1974, Grant recalled that they nearly beat the Dolphins in 1972, when Miami went undefeated. "We almost beat Miami up here [the Vikings lost 16-14]. ... We maybe should have beaten them at home here. In the game, we were down on the goal line and we fumbled, and we ran the kickoff back the second half way down the field and they called a penalty and brought it back. I think we were as good as they were, but they won that day."

Regarding Pittsburgh, who beat the Vikings 16-6 in Super Bowl IX in 1975, Grant said the Vikings probably had a better team.

"Pittsburgh, we played in New Orleans [at Tulane Stadium], not a very good game, not a very good field, not a very well-played game on either side -- we were just as good as Pittsburgh, but on that particular day they won. I don't think that they went on to have more success after that, but we were as good as any of those teams."

The Vikings beat the Steelers during the 1976 regular season.

About Oakland, who beat the Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI in 1977, he said: "Oakland probably had a better team than we did, we were on the downstroke and they were on the upstroke."

The following December, the Raiders beat the Vikings again, 35-13.

"I think the football played today is better than when we played," Grant said. "The players are better. They're bigger, stronger, faster. It's a better game, although as I've told you before, I think it can be improved upon."

Grant favors the Patriots to beat the Giants in this year's Super Bowl.

"I think New England should probably have the advantage," he said. "I think with their record and their team. New York is coming on, it's when you play people as much as anything. New York is playing their best football right now, but New England is also playing their best football, that's why they're there. If one team gets four turnovers and the other gets one, then the team with more turnovers is going to win."

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Service