Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry is given a victory ride on the shoulders of his players after the Cowboys defeated the Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII at the Super Dome.
The Dallas Cowboys were mangling Tom Landry’s sophisticated offense, and not fooling the Denver Broncos with the coach’s gadget plays. And it didn’t matter.
No matter how hard they tried to make a game of it, victory was inevitable for America’s Team in Super Bowl XII. The Cowboys won their second Super Bowl in a game that was not nearly as close as the 27-10 final score.
In the first night Super Bowl (kickoff was at 5:17 p.m.), the Cowboys were not ready for prime time. They fumbled three times in the first five minutes. The Broncos didn’t recover any of them. Butch Johnson was completely covered on a Roger Staubach-audibled post pattern, and still made a diving touchdown catch. A fullback option didn’t fool Denver yet Robert Newhouse completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Golden Richards.
Randy White (l.) and Harvey Martin share MVP honors.
The Cowboys seemed determined to empty the playbook. Perhaps they were simply relieved to not see the Steel Curtain across the line of scrimmage.
Dallas had 11 reasons to be confident, or even overconfident — the second generation of the Doomsday Defense. Doomsday Mach II came up with eight turnovers and held Denver to 61 passing yards.
The Broncos, who had never made the playoffs in their first 17 seasons, came out of nowhere to go 12-2 behind their Orange Crush defense then beat AFC powers the Steelers and Raiders. Cowboys and Giants reject Craig Morton won NFL Comeback Player of the Year and became the first quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two different teams. But his Cinderella season turned into a big orange pumpkin in a hurry. He threw a Super Bowl-record four interceptions, all in the first half, surpassing the three he threw for the Cowboys in losing Super Bowl V with Staubach as his backup.
Morton’s first pick set up a three-yard TD run by rookie Tony Dorsett. Morton was picked off on the next possession, leading to a field goal. The Cowboys got another field goal in the second quarter to make it 13-0. Denver turned it over four more times but Efren Herrera missed three field goals and the Cowboys lost a fumble.
Morton was benched in the second half for scrambler Norris Weese. Two long kickoff returns helped the Broncos score twice to make it 20-10 in the third. Doomsday took over in the final period, holding Denver to 38 yards on three possessions.
The writers wanted to vote the entire Dallas defense as MVP, but finally settled on splitting the award between defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White.
Super Bowl XII marked the first time the teams had met in the regular season. Dallas won, 14-6, at Texas Stadium in a meaningless finale as both teams had clinched their conference’s top seeds.
Dorsett rushed for 66 yards and became the first player to win an NCAA national championship and the Super Bowl in consecutive years, and he did it in the same building as Pitt won the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome a year earlier.