Super Bowl X Review: Steelers vs. Cowboys
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 18, 1976
Site: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
Point-Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers -7/Dallas Cowboys +7
Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
MVP: WR Lynn Swann
The tenth Super Bowl took place in the bicentennial year of 1976 and involved two teams that would become a pair of the signature teams in the history of American football history. Each team had won a Super Bowl before in the past two seasons, with the Steelers being the defending champions.
The Steelers were still loaded and saw continued maturation at the quarterback position, with Terry Bradshaw putting up good stats in the 1975 regular season. Now with both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, Bradshaw’s passing game began to flourish. Franco Harris was over 1200 yards and Rocky Bleier had over 500 on the ground. This Pittsburgh “Steel Curtain” defense sent 8 guys to the Pro Bowl and 4 to the Hall of Fame.
Dallas was good. They had a lot of the pieces still in place from their previous superbowl years, but added a few key guys--like leading rusher Robert Newhouse, exciting receiver Drew Pearson, and halfback Preston Pearson. On defense, they still had guys like Cliff Harris and Mel Renfro, but added stalwarts like linemen Harvey Martin and Too Tall Jones.
The Cowboys were 10-4 during the regular season. They became the first NFC wild-card playoff team to advance to Super Bowl 1976. They proved their mettle in the playoffs, however, beating the Vikings on a last-minute Roger Staubach connection with Drew Pearson from 50 yards out to win 17-14. In the NFC title game, they smoked the L.A. Rams 37-7.
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The Steelers were 12-2 and considered the best team in football at the time. In the playoffs, they beat the Colts 28-10, before advancing to the Super Bowl with a win over the longtime AFC stalwart Oakland Raiders. Super Bowl 10 was a heck of a game--the two most popular teams in the country. There were only 2 penalties and the result was up in the air right until the very end of the game.
Super Bowl 10 Recap
First Half: The game started with a flair, when Preston Pearson handed the kickoff to Hollywood Henderson, who advanced it into Steelers’ territory. But the Pittsburgh “Steel Curtain” made their presence felt immediately, when L.C. Greenwood sacked Roger Staubach and forced the Cowboys to punt. The Steelers got the ball back, but were also forced to punt. The snap was mishandled by Bobby Walden, who fell on it and gave the Cowboys great field position at the Pittsburgh 29.
Dallas took advantage quickly, when Roger Staubach hooked up with Drew Pearson for a big touchdown strike that sent the Cowboys up by a score of 7-0. Pittsburgh, seeing that the Cowboys meant business, got right back to business. A Lynn Swann reception gave the Steelers the ball at the Dallas 16. A few plays later, Bradshaw hooked up with tight end Randy Grossman for a 7-yard touchdown connection to tie the score at 7-7.
Some nice running by Dallas back Robert Newhouse set the Cowboys up in Pittsburgh territory, where kicker Toni Fritsch connected from 36 yards to give Dallas a 10-7 edge. Dallas again threatened, but more stellar play from L.C. Greenwood, who recorded another key sack, pushed the Cowboys out of field goal range. Pittsburgh answered with one of the more memorable of all superbowl plays--Bradshaw’s 56-yard pass strike to Lynn Swann. The Steelers got into the red zone, but Roy Gerela missed the field goal to end the first half with Dallas ahead, 10-7.
Second Half: The first action of note in the second half of Super Bowl X was when Pittsburgh DB J.T. Thomas picked off Roger Staubach’s pass and returned it to the Dallas 35. The drive stalled and Gerela missed another field goal. When Gerela missed, Dallas’ Cliff Harris got in Gerela’s face and taunted him for missing. Defending his teammate, Steelers linebacker-extraordinaire Jack Lambert threw Harris to the ground in a clear message-sender. The third quarter would be scoreless.
The 4th quarter saw the game break wide open. Dallas, forced to punt from deep in their own territory, saw the punt blocked-going through the end zone for a safety. Pittsburgh was now only down by 10-9. A nice return on the ensuing kick set Roy Gerela up for another field goal attempt, which he made to send Pittsburgh up for the first time on this Super Bowl Sunday, 12-10. After Steelers DB Mike Wagner picked off Staubach to set up Gerela for another field goal, the score was 15-10, Steelers.
Pittsburgh forced Dallas to punt again and at 3rd and 6, Bradshaw connected with Lynn Swann for another phenomenal catch--this time for a 64-yard touchdown strike. Swann, who won the MVP, had been seriously concussed in the AFC title game, as questions lingered about his status. This Super Bowl Sunday might have been his greatest game--with two catches forever in the time capsule. Gerela missed the extra point and Pittsburgh was now up 21-10. Staubach struck quickly with 3 minutes left with a 34-yard touchdown to Percy Howard to make it 21-17.
Pittsburgh couldn’t run out the clock and turned the ball over on downs at the Dallas 39, giving Staubach a chance to win it with 1:22 left. He gave it a good go, but it was not meant to be, as Staubach’s last-ditch attempt was picked off, sealing the win and giving the Pittsburgh Steelers their second Super Bowl win.