(JIm Marshall photos courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)
Talk of Fame Network
Former Minnesota defensive end Jim Marshall has Hall-of-Fame credentials. He played more games in more seasons than any defensive lineman. He recovered more fumbles than any defensive player. And he ranks 19th on the all-time sack list.
But it's not his failure to reach Canton that bothers Marshall. It's Minnesota's failure to win a Super Bowl.
With Marshall anchoring the right side of the “Purple People Eaters,” the Vikings went to four Super Bowls from 1969 to 1976 … four ... and lost all of them, including Super Bowl IV when they were favored to beat Kansas City. Had they won just one or two, they might have been known as one of pro football's greatest teams. But they didn't, and that's something Marshall can't get over.
“The perception that we had of our teams, especially in the Super Bowls, was that we just didn’t put forth the effort to get the job done,” Marshall said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “It was such an enjoyable experience being in the Super Bowl. And with the level of confidence we had in ourselves we felt we could do that.
“Four times – and that’s something that sits in my craw – four times we had an opportunity to win one of those games, and we didn’t. And I think that’s what we look at and what anybody who looks at the Minnesota Viking teams looks at.
“We had some great teams, but to be really great you’ve got to win the big one. And, regardless of what the situation is, you have to rise to the occasion and make it happen. And we never did. And that kind of sits in my craw all the time.”
You’d think Marshall’s absence from Canton would, too. He’s been a Hall-of-Fame finalist but never crossed the threshold, and with each year, it seems, his chances of making it lessen.
“I try not to think about things like that,” Marshall said. “That’s out of my hands. If it happens, it would be the greatest thing in the world for me. It would be a climax to my career as an athlete to go out on top like that, and, of course, I would just love it.
“But I try never to think about it. And when I’m reminded of it by others I try to let it slip through my brain …You worry about things that you have no control over (and) it can cause you to slowly deteriorate.”