The Steelers' four-point eventual margin of victory meant the Las Vegas sportsbooks lost the vast majority of wagers on the game. The game thus came to be known as "Black Sunday" in Las Vegas. Dick Enberg served as the pregame host for the broadcast. Enberg had essentially succeeded Gowdy as NBC's lead NFL play-by-play announcer in the regular season, and network producers didn't decide until nearly the last minute which man would get the Super Bowl call.
A technical glitch led to Fleming and Cope's commentary going out over NBC's television broadcast in place of the network's own audio during the coin toss ceremony. The pregame festivities featured the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and several military bands.
Both teams entered the game with the best defenses in the league the Cowboys only allowed But Dallas could not overcome their miscues in the second half.
On their opening drive, the Cowboys advanced to the Pittsburgh yard line, with running back Tony Dorsett gaining 38 yards off 3 running plays.
But they lost the ball on a fumbled handoff while attempting to fool the Steelers defense with a reverse-pass play. Receiver Drew Pearson later explained, "We practiced that play for three weeks. It is designed for me to hit Billy Joe 15 to 17 yards downfield. We practiced the play so much it was unbelievable we could fumble it.
I expected the handoff a bit lower, but I should have had it. Billy Joe was in the process of breaking into the clear when the fumble occurred. After defensive lineman John Banaszak recovered the loose ball on the Pittsburgh yard line, the Steelers attempted 2 running plays with running back Franco Harris carrying the ball, but only gained 1 yard. Then on third down, wide receiver John Stallworth caught a yard pass to the Cowboys' yard line. Then after throwing an incomplete pass, Terry Bradshaw completed 2 consecutive passes, the second one a yard touchdown completion to Stallworth to take a 7—0 lead.
On their next drive, the Cowboys responded by advancing to the Steelers yard line, but were pushed back to their own yard line after quarterback Roger Staubach was sacked twice, and they were forced to punt. On the Steelers' ensuing drive, Bradshaw threw a yard pass to Harris and followed it up with a yard pass to receiver Lynn Swann to move the ball to the Dallas yard line. But on the next play, Dallas linebacker D. Lewis ended the drive by intercepting a pass intended for Stallworth.
It was the first interception thrown by Bradshaw in Super Bowl play. With a little more than a minute to go in the period, Bradshaw fumbled the ball while being sacked by Cowboys lineman Harvey Martin , and defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones recovered it.
Staubach then capitalized on Bradshaw's mistake three plays later with a yard scoring strike to receiver Tony Hill, tying the game at 7 as the first quarter expired. Pittsburgh sent eight men on an all-out blitz , but Staubach got the pass away just before he was hit by Steelers' safety Mike Wagner. Hill beat Donnie Shell in single-coverage and scored the only first-quarter touchdown surrendered by Pittsburgh all season In Super Bowl X, the Cowboys also scored a first-quarter touchdown against a Steeler team that hadn't permitted one all year.
Drew Pearson ensured the play's success by distracting Steelers cornerback Mel Blount, who was oblivious of Hill as he raced past Blount and Pearson en route to the end zone. The Steelers took possession at the start of the second quarter and advanced to their own yard line.
After taking the snap, Bradshaw collided with Franco Harris and the ball popped loose. Bradshaw scooped it up and rolled to his right, looking to pass, but Henderson wrapped him up before he could throw, while Hegman ripped the ball out of his hands and returned the fumble 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cowboys a 14—7 lead.
On the third play of Pittsburgh's ensuing possession, Stallworth caught a pass from Bradshaw at the Steelers yard line. He then broke a tackle from defensive back Aaron Kyle , waited for Swann and blockers to cross in front of him, turned toward the inside and outraced every other defender to the end zone, making a simple yard pass into a yard touchdown completion to tie the score, 14— Bradshaw later explained that Stallworth was not even the primary receiver on the play: I laid the ball out there and it should have gone for about 15 yards, but Stallworth broke the tackle and went all the way.
Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense then dominated the Dallas offense on their ensuing drive. First, Banaszak tackled fullback Robert Newhouse for 4-yard loss.
Next, linebacker Jack Ham tackled Dorsett for a 3-yard loss on an attempted sweep. On third down, defensive tackle Joe Greene sacked Staubach, forcing a fumble that bounced through the hands of Steelers' defensive lineman Steve Furness.
Cowboys lineman Tom Rafferty eventually recovered at the Dallas yard line. Theo Bell then returned Danny White 's ensuing yard punt 3 yards to the Dallas yard line. The Steelers began their ensuing drive with Bradshaw's yard completion to Swann. Jones tackled Harris for an 8-yard loss on the next play, but a subsequent holding penalty on Henderson gave Pittsburgh a first down at the Dallas yard line.
However, after an incomplete pass and a 2-yard run by Harris, Hegman sacked Bradshaw for an yard loss on third down, pushing the ball back to the yard line.
The Steelers then came up empty after kicker Roy Gerela 's yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar. With less than two minutes remaining in the half, Dallas advanced to the Pittsburgh yard line, after starting from their own yard line. But Blount exacted revenge from the first quarter by intercepting a pass from Staubach and returning it 13 yards to the 29, with a personal foul on Dallas tight end Billy Joe DuPree adding another 15 yards and giving the Steelers the ball at their own yard line note: Following a penalty, Bradshaw completed 2 passes to Swann for gains of 29 and 21 yards, moving the ball to the yard line with 40 seconds left in the half.
Next, after dropping a pass intended for him, Harris ran the ball to the 7-yard line. Then with just 26 seconds left, Bradshaw completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to fullback Rocky Bleier , giving the Steelers a 21—14 lead at halftime. The torrid scoring pace slowed during much of the third quarter, as both teams began to assert themselves on the defensive side of the ball. But late in the quarter, a yard punt return by Cowboys receiver Butch Johnson gave Dallas good field position on their yard line.
The Cowboys subsequently drove down to the Steelers yard line, mostly with Dorsett's rushing. Then on third down with less than three minutes remaining in the period, Staubach spotted year-old reserve tight end Jackie Smith wide open in the end zone and threw him the ball.
Head coach Tom Landry said Staubach tried to throw the ball soft when he saw how wide open Smith was and that it came in low, and that when Smith tried to stop, his feet seemed to come out from under him. Jackie Smith states that it was still a catchable ball and that he should have made the play. Two controversial penalties early in the fourth quarter paved the way for the Steelers to score 14 unanswered points. The Steelers advanced to their own yard line after a crucial 3rd down pass from Bradshaw to tight end Randy Grossman , a yard pass to Swann, and a 5-yard run by Harris.
Bradshaw then attempted a pass to Swann, but the receiver collided with Cowboys defensive back Benny Barnes and fell to the ground as the ball rolled incomplete. However, official Fred Swearingen the referee of the Immaculate Reception game of called Barnes for pass interference. Replays showed that it could have been incidental contact, as Swann seemed to run into Barnes. The penalty gave Pittsburgh a first down at Dallas' yard line.
Two plays later, the Steelers faced 3rd down and 4 from the Dallas Henderson sacked Bradshaw for a yard loss, but the play was nullified by a delay of game penalty on Pittsburgh, bringing up 3rd down and 9 instead of a fourth down. Replays clearly showed the whistle blew before the play's onset, plus most of the players pulled up and stopped playing after a whistle sounded, but Henderson claimed, "I didn't hear a whistle until after I had knocked Bradshaw down.
The same guy Swearingen made that call too. Who is that guy? The next day Waters was quoted as saying, "I don't know what I could do — maybe knock him [Umpire Demmas] flat and maybe he'd knock Franco flat? Our safeties play a vital role in the run. That official gets in the way a lot. He screened me off. On the ensuing kickoff, video shows that Gerela slipped when trying to plant his foot, causing him to squib the ball, which bounced to Cowboys lineman Randy White at the yard line.
White, who was playing the game with a cast on his broken left hand, fumbled the ball before being hit by Tony Dungy , and Pittsburgh linebacker Dennis Winston recovered the ball at the Dallas yard line. Remarkably, Winston wasn't even in the middle of the scrum when the fumble first occurred; he was standing by several teammates and decided to join the battle for the ball before referees intervened.
On the next play, Bradshaw threw an yard touchdown pass to Swann, increasing the Steelers' lead to 35—17 with less than 7 minutes left in the game. The touchdown was Bradshaw's last pass of the game.
Some of the Steelers were already celebrating victory on the sidelines, but the Cowboys refused to give up.
On their next drive, Dallas drove 89 yards in 8 plays, including an yard scramble by Staubach on 3rd and 11 and a yard run by Dorsett, to score on Staubach's 7-yard touchdown pass to DuPree. Then after Dallas' Dennis Thurman recovered an onside kick at 2: With the ensuing extra point, the Steelers' lead was cut to 35—31 with just 0: But the Cowboys' second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful.
Bleier recovered the ball, and the Steelers were able to run out the clock to win the game. Swann was the leading receiver in the game with 7 receptions for yards and a touchdown. Stallworth recorded yards and two touchdowns off just 3 receptions. Stallworth and Swann became the first pair of teammates to each have yards receiving in a Super Bowl and first time two receivers did it in the same game.
Dorsett was the top rusher of the game with 96 rushing yards, and also caught 5 passes for 44 yards. Harris was Pittsburgh's leading rusher with 68 yards, and he caught a pass for 22 yards. Staubach finished the game with exactly as many passing attempts 30 and completions 17 as Bradshaw, good for passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
Butch Johnson caught 2 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown, returned 3 kickoffs for 63 yards, and gained 33 yards on 2 punt returns, giving him total yards. Drew Pearson hauled in 4 passes for 73 yards, all in the fourth quarter.
The teams would face in yet another re-match in Three Rivers Stadium during Week 9 of the regular season, with the Steelers prevailing in a defensive slug fest, 14—3. The game was mostly remembered for L. Greenwood 's hit of a sliding Staubach, causing a head injury that later influenced the quarterback to retire following the season.
According to the nfl. Those were two great football teams. We the Cowboys made mistakes. We had Randy White on the return team with a cast on, and then he fumbled the kickoff This was the first Super Bowl to use a seven-man officiating crew. The side judge was added by a vote of NFL owners at their March meeting.
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