I've been licking my chops waiting for this year to come up Hos. This was the best year of my life as both my Cowboys and Lakers FINALLY won championships!
The Boys won the SB in such a convincing manner, 24-3, that it was almost anticlimactic. My hero Bob Lilly, had the greatest play of all in chasing down (along with Larry Cole I believe) Bob Griese for a 29-yard sack that put the icing on the cake as the Doomsday Defense shut down Larry Csonka, and forced Griese to throw which he didn't like to do. My other hero, Roger Staubach had a good game as well.
So many Cowboys greats had big plays in that game. Howley with the big fumble recovery where he ran out of gas and stumbled out of bounds inside the 10. Duane Thomas and Walt Garrison ran well as we gained 252 yards on the ground against Don Shula's defense.
Lee Roy Jordan did a great job of closing down the running lanes that Csonka was used to running through on cutbacks. Jordan made the Flex work because he was so intelligent and had excellent quickness and strength. He never got the recognition he deserved because guys like Butkus, Nitschke, and Nobis were playing at the same time and got most of the headlines but he was one of the best MLBs to ever play the game.
It was also cool to see a couple of great players we signed at the end of their careers get TDs in a SB, as both Lance Alworth and Mike Ditka caught TD passes from Staubach. I wanted Bob Hayes to catch one too but we ran out of time. Hayes did have a nice run on an end-around that got us 16 yards and a first down.
People in the media crow about how great the 1972 Dolphins were because they went 17-0 (how Griese got the credit for that I'll never understand because Earl Morrall was the QB for almost the entire season and into the playoffs) but we beat that team handily in the SB the year before and if we would have played them again in 1972 I have no doubt that we would have beaten them again as we matched up very well with them. We could out-finesse them and out-muscle them.
The 1971 season was awesome for a number of reasons:
1. Because sitting at 4-3 Landry finally decided to go with Staubach as the QB instead of rotating him with Morton and we didn't lose another game that year. To me this was the difference in the team that year. Morton was a good QB and a great person but he lacked the leadership ability that Staubach had in abundance. Roger had the ability to WILL his team to win and the players stepped up and made plays in ways they hadn't before.
2. Balance - we had such a balanced team that year. We could run or pass on offense and shut down the run or force turnovers in the passing game on defense. In the 2 playoff games the defense picked off 7 passes as we beat the Vikings and 49ERs to move on the SB.
3. Team confidence - I think a lot of this was due to Staubach but we had also brought in some great players from other teams like Lance Alworth, Mike Ditka, Adderley, Billy Truax, Lee Roy Caffey and Forrest Gregg. All but Truax & Caffey would wide up in the Hall of Fame. That kind of leadership along with our own great veteran players made the difference to me.
4. Depth - We had such amazing depth on that team we could have fielded two teams and been competitive with the 2nd string. I could only count 5 players out of the 47 on the roster that weren't significant starters at some point in their careers.
My favorite year as a Cowboys fan and that means in my life.
Captain Nathan Brittles: "Only the man who commands can be blamed. It rests on me... mission failure!"
"Jerry Jones is a billionaire fan who bought his own team for the express purpose of buying his way into the game. He wants to hang out with the players, stand in front of the cameras, be the face of the team (yech), make personnel moves as if this were a video game, and more than anything else, be seen as the guy who made it all happen."