Cowboys Win for Third Time in Four Years
The Dallas Cowboys won their third Super Bowl in four years when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17. It was the Steelers' first Super Bowl loss after four victories in the 1970s.
While Dallas usually relies on its offensive troika of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for most of its exploits, it was CB Larry Brown who was the star of the day.
Brown was named the game's Most Valuable Player after he intercepted Pittsburgh QB Neil O'Donnell twice in the second half. The first came in the third quarter with the Cowboys clinging to a 13-7 lead and Pittsburgh driving. O'Donnell threw a pass so poorly--he says it slipped out of his hand--that Brown looked as if he was the intended receiver. He picked it off at the Dallas 38-yard line and returned it 44 yards. Two plays later, Smith scored a touchdown to put Dallas up 20-7.
The Steelers came back in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 46-yard field goal by Norm Johnson and a one yard run by Bam Morris to make the score 20-17 and give the Super Bowl a close game for the first time in five years.
However, O'Donnell then delivered Gift No.2 to Brown. Apparently there was miscommunication on the play, as a rookie receiver ran the wrong route. But O'Donnell threw another pass seemingly intended for Brown, who returned it 33 yards to the six yard line. Two plays later, Smith scored again, and the game was all but over.
"I can't worry about how they throw them," said Brown. "All I do is catch them. My job is to catch the ball. My job isn't to question how the throw comes."
Smith scored the two touchdowns, but he hardly had a typical game, rushing for only 49 yards on 18 carries. However, Aikman was his usual efficient self, as he completed 15 of 23 passes for 209 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. Michael Irvin caught 5 of those passes for 75 yards.
So with the Pittsburgh defense holding Dallas' superstars mostly in check, it was Brown and the Cowboys' other cornerback, Deion Sanders, who did the damage. Sanders' blanket-like coverage on defense allowed the Steelers only half of the field to play with, forcing O'Donnell to look the other way most of the game. Sanders, playing offense on occasion, also caught a 47-yard pass on the Cowboys' second possession to set up a three yard TD pass from Aikman to Jay Novacek.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, never led, though they did outplay Dallas most of the game and certainly the second half. O'Donnell completed 28 of 49 passes for 239 yards, including a 6-yard TD pass to Yancey Thigpen just before the half. Steeler receivers played well, as Andre Hastings caught 10 passes for 98 yards and Ernie Mills added 8 receptions for 78 yards.
"The two interceptions led to their only scores in the second half," said Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. "Other than that, I thought we played an excellent football game in the second half. That's the game of football--big plays. They made them, and we didn't."
And the Cowboys won...again.