Super Bowl X Cowboys 17 - Steelers 21 http://www.dallascowboysfanclub.com/superbowl/sb10.htm The final step to the NFL title, indicated by Super Bowl X, is always the longest whether you make it or not. It's the best or emptiest feeling. And for the second straight time, Pittsburgh Steelers made that step, though they were not sure of it until the very end. But this time there was no twilight magic, no flair for Dallas, a team which had become popular as a kind of champion of the underdog. It was not a day for the underdog. "I'm more more excited winning this time than last year," said Steeler running back Franco Harris. "We're number one twice, we have that championship blood in us." "What hurts is that you come so far, make it to the Super Bowl and then have a chance to win and don't," said Cowboy flanker Drew Pearson. "This game means so much it can make you forget for awhile what a good season you had." BUT UNTIL the end Roger Staubach, who had personified this team, was hurling bombs into a stacked deck of the Steeler end zone hoping once again fate, the gods or whoeveror whatever has interest in football would again warm in Dalls. Pittsburgh won. Rightly so. And the 21-17 victory was the most exciting, the best all around game in 10 Super Bowls as some 125 million watching on television from around the world and the 80,187 fans who filled the Orange Bowl on this Sunday will attest. There were big plays offensively and defensively and the closeness which keeps interest high until the end because it was, as they say, not really over until the time ran out. Dallas, who had lost control early in the final period and fallen behind 21-10, had struck back in the final two minutes as Staubach hurled a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Percy Howard, who had replaced injured Golden Richards at split end. The Cowboys got a final chance, which was about all they needed much of the season, with 1:22 left. No timeouts remained and, oddly, enough both Staubach and running back Preston Pearson lost valuable seconds by not getting out of bounds. But Dallas got to the Steeler 38 and Staubach had time for three passes. On second down the best chance was there. Howard, who is 6-4, went up in the end zone but the ball sailed over him. "I was pushed," said Percy, who had not caugh a pass all season until he made the TD. "Roger told me to go down and just try to jump up and get the ball. I was shoved or I might have." On the following pass, the final one of the game, Staubach threw it up again, hoping Pearson might perform magic as he had to beat Minnesota. But safety Glen Edwards got the ball. MANY PLAYS will be talked about, some feeling this one made the difference...some feeling that one did. But Dallas was barely hanging onto momentum and a 10-7 lead early in the final period when it changed, as it often does, on a play by the specialty teams. Mitch Hoopes was attempting to punt on fourth and 14 at the Dallas 14. Pittsburgh went for the block, rushing 10 men and Reggie Harrison escaped up the middle, hit the ball and knocked it back through the Dallas end zone for a safety. Dave Edwards, who lines up as the back near Hoopes, said, "I have no idea what happened. It seemed like about three of them were coming through there." "It was the first time we rushed 10 men," Harrison said. "I lined up on the outside of the shoulder of the center (Kyle Davis) and stepped in front of the upback. I didn't know what hit me but I heard a boom and the next thing I knew the ball was going out of the end zone." "That was the key," agreed Tom Landry. "We were holding our own until then." Actually Dallas did not recover until the Steelers had all the points they needed. Because of the 2-point safety, Hoopes had to punt from his own 20 and the Steelers, getting field position at the Dallas 45, moved to Ron Gerela's 36-yard field goal. Safety Mike Wagner intercepted a Staubach pass over the middle for Pearson and returned it 19 yards to the Dallas seven, paving the way for an 18-yard kick by Gerela and then Terry Bradshaw teamed with wide receiver Lynn Swann to apply what turned out to be the coup de grace. Appropriately, the player was somewhat of a gamble on the part of both clubs. PITTSBURGH WITH its 15-10 lead, faced a third-and-four at its own 36 but did not hold back. Bradshaw dropped back to throw. A safety blitz was called from the sidelines and Cliff Harris came charging in after Bradshaw, as did linebacker D.D. Lewis. Both had a shot at Bradshaw, who ducked, broke loose from Lewis and threw the ball some 60 yards in the air toward Swann, the game's most valuable player. With the blitz, cornerback Mark Washington had Swann man-to-man and when Lynn started back across the middle Harris was not there to help. "I thought I was going to get Bradshaw," said Harris. "I came in, jumped over Rocky Bleier but Bradshaw apparently ducked under me and I missed." "I had a perfect shot at him and missed," said Lewis. "I hit him with my left arm but he got the ball off. It was the biggest play of my life and I missed it. Mark didn't have a chance. Don't blame him." "I though I might be there," said Washington. "But on a safety blitz you just hope he's forced to dump the ball and not be so accurate." HE WAS SO accurate. Swann gathered the ball in just inside the five, with a step on Washington, and scored with 3:02 left to play. Bradshaw was knocked out on the play and left the game, though the way it turned out he had done all he needed to do. He hit only nine of 19 passes, but got 209 yards and two touchdowns. Swann had made a tremendous catch running down the sidelines in the first half, leaping between Harris and Washington for a 32-yard gain as the Steelers went 67 yards in eight plays to tie the game, in its first period, 7-7. Defensively, the Cowboy priorities, in order, had been to contain Harris and Swann. Harris carried 27 times for 82 yards, a 3.0 average, though the Cowboys did a better job after intermission, holding them to 34 of those yards. "We didn't do the job we had been in the playoffs, though I thought we controlledthem fairly well, said middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. "Harris is just an outstanding back. He has a great ability for a big man to cut back on you. He made some yardage that way. "Our defense," added Drew Pearson, "played well enough for us to win. The offense didn't." "THEY HAVE a tremendous defense but the plays were there at times and we just couldn't make them," said Staubach. Until the final two minutes Pittsburgh had blunted the Dallas spread. Before that time Dallas had made only one first down off the eight times it had used the spread. Due to coverage or whatever, Staubach was trapped seven times. "They had the cornerbacks playing our wide receivers man-to-man and the safeties dropping deep and playing zone on us," said Pearson. They really took away split end Golden Richards, who left with apparent fractured ribs in the final period. "Mel Blount just slugged me in the ribs," said Richards. "He'd been doing it all day. I said something to an official and he told me to just shut up and get back in the huddle." "We just wanted to make sure their luck didn't hold out in this one," said Blount, the all-pro running back. STAUBACH HIT 15 of 24 for 204 yards and two touchdowns but also suffered three interceptions. On the other hand the Steeler offense did not suffer a turnover or a penalty. Dallas was penalized twice for 20 yards. Dallas had come out opening things up from the first as Thomas Henderson ran the opening kickoff back 48 yards off a reverse, though Dallas could not take advantage of field position. Next time it did. An all-out rush, led by Henderson, caused Steeler punter Bobby Walden to drop the ball, allowing the Cowboys to take over at the Pittsburgh 29. On the first play, Staubach hit Drew Pearson, coming across the middle, for a touchdown. Pearson, going in motion, cut back inside and broke out all alone. "Andy Russell had his momentum going one way and couldn't recover to pick me up," said Drew. Neither could cornerback J.T. Thomas. "That was the same play Wagner got the interception on to set up that sure field goal," said Staubach. "Wagner gambled and won. I didn't see him. If I had, I could have come back to Golden who had to be open over the middle. Wagner certainly wasn't there." The Cowboys' only other significant drive, before the frantic finish, came when they mvoed 46 yards to Toni Fritsch's field goal on the third play of the second period. "We might have gone a little conservative in the second half for a while," said Drew Pearson. "Dallas gave us a good run for our money," said Wagner. "I THOUGHT we did well against a great team," added Landry. Preston Pearson, the back who had come to Dallas from Pittsburgh, added, "Hey, I'm holding my head up. We have nothing to be ashamed of. This team will be back. It has youth and a great attitude...we'll definitely be back." But not the same way...the way Dallas got here this time just when nobody expected it. This has been one of the most exciting, unusual season's in the club's history and probably should not be diminished too much by the ending which, of course, Pittsburgh had a lot to do with writing.