"Holy Toledo!"

February 22, 2008

1974 Dolphins at Raiders: The Sea Of Hands Game

Filed under: NFL — Bill @ 11:15 pm

When I look back over all the years, the hundreds of NFL games I’ve seen, there is one game that stands above all the rest. That game was the 1974 AFC Playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders, a game that because of it’s uniquely incredible ending is forever called “The Sea Of Hands Game.”

The Miami Dolphins were the Super Bowl champions two years running, they were an amazing 43-5 over the past three seasons, including their undefeated season in ’72. The Raiders were an impressive 32 -11 over that same period.

The Dolphins & Raiders were rivals fighting for the same prize, and had met twice during the prior season. The Raiders were the ones who finally put an end to the Dolphins undefeated streak with a 12-7 win in week #2. The Dolphins had the last laugh however when they literally ran over the Raiders in the ’73 AFC Championship. This game was to be the rubber match.

In 1974 the Raiders were 12-2 behind NFL MVP Kenny Stabler’s dominating #1 ranked offense. Don Shula’s 11-3 Dolphins were about to invade the House of Thrills. There seemed to be little doubt that the best two teams in the NFL were about to face off in a game the media had dubbed “Super Bowl 8 1/2.”

Saturday December 21st, 1974
AFC Divisional Playoffs
Miami Dolphins
Oakland Raiders
The “Sea Of Hands” Game
Oakland Alameda Coliseum
Oakland, California

What took place this day was of legendary proportion. You had two Hall of Fame coaches (Shula vs. Madden) with two Hall Of Fame QB’s (Greise vs. Stabler). Well Kenny Stabler should be in the Hall, but that’s an entirely different subject.

There was Hall of Fame WR’s Paul Warfield & Fred Biletnikoff, and a should be Hall of Famer Cliff Branch, There were Hall of Fame players everywhere that day. The Raiders had Dave Casper, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Jim Otto, and on defense was Bubba Smith and Willie Brown. George Blanda was the kicker, Ray Guy was the punter. The Dolphins also had their share of Famers such as Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bob Kuechenberg, Jim Langer, and Nick Buoniconti on defense. By my count that is 17 actual Hall of Fame player not counting all those who should or might yet be there.

The fans were in a frenzy waving their black towels, and just after the national anthem Nat Moore ran the opening kickoff back for an 89 yd. TD. The Raiders fought back to gain the lead with a “Holy Toledo” catch by Freddie B. The Dolphins wouldn’t die, so they captured the lead again, only to see the Raiders come back. With time running out the Dolphins again scored, only this time Shula worried he had left to much time for “The Snake.”

What ensued was to be forever lodged into NFL lore as perhaps one of the greatest drives of all-time.

Stabler to Branch, Stabler to Biletnikoff several times, including another of those Bill King called “Holy Toledo” catches (God he was good).

Then it came down to a single moment, one that will be forever remembered, a moment every player dreams of, the moment the determine who wins and who loses.

Stabler drops back, seconds remaining, pressure flushes him out of the pocket, he’s about to be sacked, yet while falling he flings the ball forward. The pass wasn’t pretty yet if floated into the end zone. Among a group of Dolphin defenders was the two waiting arms of Clarence Davis. All you could see was arms & hands, and in the end at the bottom of the pile, when all was said and done Clarence Davis emerges with the football. Somehow, some way he had caught the ball.

My brief description does little to accurately define just how great this game was, or just how much it meant at the time.

It was the ultimate Holy Toledo moment, perhaps the most exciting and important Raider victory in the teams history.

Unfortunately the actual NBC television broadcast of this game doesn’t exist. If it did it might be the most valuable DVD that ever existed, but it doesn’t.

Over the years I have accumulated what is arguably the best video package of this game. I also have the original radio broadcast on CD featuring Bill King of this game.

So if you are a Raiders fan, or a fan of the NFL, and would like to trade then please contact me. Also be sure to review my vintage sports & racing video collections by using the links at the top left of my blog.



1- A DVD containing many different “Sea Of Hands” video highlights
Plus additional Bonus coverage! And…
2- A two CD set of the actual radio broadcast of the “Sea Of Hands” game!

This might be the most complete collection of highlights of the game that many say is “The Greatest Game I’ve Ever Seen!.” This amazing collection of highlights was assembled from many different sources and contains many rare and unique views of this historic game.

Watch the highlights and listen to the radio broadcast, it’s the closest thing to being there!

DVD Contents:
1- “Sea Of Hands” Game Highlights From “Greatest Games”
2- Game Of The Week 174 AFC Playoffs Miami at Oakland
3- 1974 Oakland Raiders Season Highlights
4- Howard Cossell narrates the Highlights of the “Sea Of Hands”
5- “Autumn Wind” (famous Raiders clip with John Facenda)
6- 1974 This Week In Pro Football featuring the “Sea Of Hands” (original version)
7- 1974 This Week In Pro Football featuring the “Sea Of Hands” (TV version)
8- Steve Sabol discusses the “Sea Of Hands” Game
9- “Sea Of Hands” Stabler to Clarence Davis TD from “75 Greatest TD’s In History”
10- (BONUS) The “Holy Roller” – 1978 Oakland at San Diego
11- (BONUS) The “Heidi Game” – 1968 NY Jets at Oakland
12- (BONUS) Feature on George Blanda
13- (BONUS) Feature on John Madden

AUDIO CD Contents: A two CD set containing the entire actual radio broadcast of the “Sea Of Hands” 1974 AFC Playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. POSTGAME Included! Raiders announcers Bill King, Scotty Sterling, and Monte Stickles call this unforgettable game.


  1. “The Holy Roller” game Bill? For all the complaining I hear from Raider fans about how the NFL has it out for them, take a look at those highlights. That has to be the cheapest play in the history of the league. Anytime I feel badly about the Raiders current struggles, I think of that game and it snaps me back to reality.

    Comment by Gary Matthews — February 23, 2008 @ 7:41 am

  2. Since the writers vote for the Football Hall Of Fame and Stabler’s pals in Alabama [at Ken’s request] planted a bag of cocaine on writer Bob Padecky, after he wrote a negative story, I’m guessing the “low ball throwing, high ball drinking” Stabler is not likely to visit Canton anytime soon.

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — February 25, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  3. Gary, this article was written about the Sea Of Hands game, not the Holy Roller. A question to all Charger fans: If the SD Chicken ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken would that be considered cannibalism?

    Ralph, the Stabler-Padecky matter was “alleged” much like the alleged rumor of a Jets resurgence.

    Isn’t it funny how some consistantly choose to dwell on the negative aspects of things? Has Zig been taking grumpy lessons from T-Ho?

    Good day,

    Comment by Bill — February 25, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  4. Billy, “alleged” my aunt Fanny. I didn’t say he wasn’t deserving, just that you and I both no very well what happened in Mobile. Doesn’t make me grumpy. Don’t kill the messenger.

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — February 25, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  5. Here is the story Raplh is referring to as told by Patrick Patterson (of mvn.com) & Paul Zimmerman of Sport Illustrated:

    “The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a shrine dedicated to the best players to play the game of football. Ken “Snake” Stabler was a player who was best known for coming though in in the end when the game is on the line. Dr Z apparently has issues with certain aspects of The Snake’s legacy, but it should be his play on the field that determines whether a player is worthy of induction.

    In his article on SI.com Dr Z writes:
    In his prime, while it lasted, he was very accurate. Then he became consistently inaccurate. His teammates wondered why. That’s as far as I’ll take this one. A few years ago, the person presenting him at the enshrinement meeting mentioned how he had “always been cooperative with the media.” My hand shot up as if it were on a spring, and I reminded this ninny about how the Snake invited Bob Padecky of the Sacramento Bee down to the Redneck Riviera to do some offseason interviewing. And when Padecky showed up, all of a sudden Kenny’s buddies on the Mobile PD found some drugs that had been planted in the writer’s car, and off he went to the joint. For a night. Then he was released with no charges filed. Yeah, Kenny will make it. After I’m morto.”

    Apparently Padecky has friends in high places as you suggest.

    For the record nothing was ever proven. I find it rediculous that one “alleged” incident could keep a great QB out of the Hall. And who the hell is Zimmerman to cast such a moral stone? Should we hold him to such high standards?

    For the record Ken Stabler said he had nothing to do with Padecky’s legar run-in. No charges were filed. It’s all inuendo.

    For the entire Patterson article on the Stabler Into The Hall Debate, click on this link:

    Comment by Bill — February 25, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

  6. “Good Ol’ Boy Justice.”
    He is what he is, but what he is shouldn’t keep him out… but it will.
    Doesn’t mean he’s not deserving.

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — February 25, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

  7. I made mention of the “Holy Roller” game because it is part of the DVD you mentioned. BTW, why does every memorable Raider game have a nickname?

    I don’t know if the SD Chicken eats at KFC or not, but I’m sure he goes to “Hooters” to get some wings every now and again.

    Comment by Gary Matthews — March 7, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

  8. curt gowdys call of the this game and the catch was a masterpiece …to this day i can remember the call as if it were yesterday …i have looked for the nbc dvd on this game for years and now i know it doesnt even exist…al dero at the end of the broadcast said that to him it the greatest game of all time… and it was

    Comment by l shapiro — April 7, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

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