Steeling the Rubber Match
Champions clashed, both two-time Super Bowl winners and both symbols of excellence. If the Cowboys were perceived as slightly flashier, the Steelers were perceived as slightly more physical. Three years ago, the Steelers had beatend the Cowboys for the crown. Now the Cowboys were the defending champions.
The Cowboys looked like champs in their opening drive until they fumbled on a razzle-dazzle play in Pittsburgh territory. Six plays later, Terry Bradshaw threw to John Stallworth for a 7-0 Steeler lead. Later in the period, Harvey Martin caused Bradshaw to fumble, and three plays later, Roger Staubach evened the score with a pass to Tony Hill.
Dallas went ahead early in the second quarter when Mike Hegman picked up Bradshaw's fumble and raced 37 yards to score. Two minutes later, John Stallworth broke Aaron Kyle's tackle on a short pass and ran for a 75-yard TD. Just before the halftime break, the Steelers went ahead on a Bradshaw to Bleier pass.
The Cowboys drove into Steeler territory in the third quarter, but when Jackie Smith dropped a pass while open in the endzone, they had to settle for three points.
The Steelers increased their four-point lead in the final quarter. A pass interference call against Benny Barnes moved the Steelers deep into Dallas territory, and then the classy Pittsburgh front line opened the way for Franco Harris to rumble 22 yards to score. On the following kickoff, Randy White fumbled a short kick. Bradshaw threw to Swann in the endzone on the next play to run the score to 35-17 with about six minutes left. Although Staubach rallied the Cowboys to two touchdowns in the final minutes, the Steelers, led by MVP Bradshaw, had secured their third Super Bowl title.