Super Bowl VI Review: Cowboys vs. Dolphins
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 16, 1972
Site: Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Point-Spread: Dallas Cowboys -5/Miami Dolphins +5
Score: Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
MVP: QB Roger Staubach
In the second Super Bowl held at Tulane Stadium, the Cowboys dominated the Dolphins 23-7 to claim their first Super Bowl. The Cowboys had earned a reputation of not being able to win the big game. They had lost in the Super Bowl the previous year and in two NFL championship games before to see who would go to the superbowl.
The Tom Landry-led Cowboys were ready for Super Bowl Sunday. They added a few vets like Forrest Gregg and Lance Alworth. More importantly, QB Roger Staubach began to flower into the Hall of Fame player he would later become. The previous year’s quarterback, Craig Morton, was a proven winner, but Staubach’s maturation gave the Cowboys a different dimension. Staubach was the league’s top rated passer. Alternating with Morton, Staubach threw only 4 interceptions.
Walt Garrison, Calvin Hill, and Duane Thomas gave Dallas great depth at running back, with Bob Hayes and Alworth giving them a good air attack. The Doomsday Defense was at their pick, with Ted Lilly anchoring the line, and Super Bowl V MVP Chuck Howley, Lee Roy Jordan, and Dave Edwards dominating the middle. Their secondary was epic, with Hall of Famers Mel Renfro and Herb Adderley, aided by Pro Bowl talent like Cliff Harris and Cornell Green chipping in to make Dallas one of the top defenses.
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The Dolphins had managed to put together a heck of a team by Superbowl 1972. Bob Griese rounded into shape, becoming the top passer in the AFL. He had a robust rushing attack to work with, with Larry Csonka over 1000 yards and Jim Kiick running for over 700 yards and catching 40 balls. Paul Warfield was Griese’s main threat in the air--averaging 23.2 yards per catch.
Miami was 10-3-1 and in the longest game in NFL history--defeated Kansas City for their first playoff win over 22 minutes into overtime. To earn a berth into the big game, they shut down the defending champion Baltimore Colts, 21-0. The Cowboys beat the Vikings 20-12 in the divisional playoff, before beating the 49ers by a score of 14-3 in the NFC Championship Game. The Doomsday Defense had allowed only one touchdown in the 6 games leading up to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl VI Recap
First Half: At a windy 40 degrees, it was the harshest weather seen at a Super Bowl and the offenses struggled. Good game-planning also played a role, with Dallas double-teaming the best Miami players on both sides of the ball. Late in the first quarter, Larry Csonka fumbled a Griese handoff and Chuck Howley recovered it on Dallas 48. The Cowboys drove, but it petered out late, leading to a 9-yard field goal by Mike Clark. Ah, the good old days when the goals were in front of the end zone.
Griese was flummoxed by the Dallas “D,” unable to gain much foothold. In their only good drive of the first half up to this point, they stalled and Garo Yarpremian missed a field goal attempt. But as was the case during the regular season, the Miami “D” was keeping them in the game. Late in the 2nd quarter, Dallas got another drive going, punctuated by the runs of Calvin Hill and a big reception by old Lance Alworth. A 7-yard touchdown pass from Staubach to Alworth gave Dallas a 10-0 lead. With scant time remaining in the half, Griese drove down the field, setting up Yarpremian for a 31-yard field goal to narrow the lead to 10-3 going into the half.
Second Half: Dallas quickly extinguished any hopes for a Miami comeback, taking their first drive 71 yards for a touchdown. RB Duane Thomas got into the mix with some good runs and pounded in the score from 3 yards out to send Dallas up 17-3. The Doomsday Defense, so dominant to end the season, was playing at their best. In the 3rd quarter, Miami could not even manage so much as a first down. Even thought their defense was playing tough, they were getting no help.
Big play specialist Chuck Howley intercepted Griese just as Miami looked to have some new life. He should have run it in, but fell, leaving the Dallas offense at the Miami 9-yard line. Staubach connected with tight end Mike Ditka to send Dallas up 24-3 early in the 4th quarter. Miami couldn’t get anything going, going scoreless in the second half and only managing a measly field goal for the whole game--setting a record that still hasn’t been broken or tied for Super Bowl offensive futility.
Dallas finally proved they could win the big game. Despite somewhat skimpy stats, the MVP was QB Roger Staubach, who was 12-19 with two touchdown throws.