After seemingly years and years of coming in second, twice losing NFL Championships to Green Bay and then their first Super Bowl appearance to Baltimore the previous year, the Cowboys no longer were "next year's champions."
They convincingly beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-3, in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, quarterback Roger Staubach turning in an MVP performance to help remove a gigantic monkey from his team's back on Jan. 16, 1972.
A year after that gut-wrenching 16-13 loss to Baltimore in Super Bowl V, the Cowboys were able to silence their critics with a dominant performance over the Dolphins, ridding themselves of the much hated "bridesmaid" label they had been tagged with because of their inability to win big games.
Staubach had taken over full-time at quarterback for Craig Morton midway through the 1971 Super Bowl-winning season, subsequently winning nine-straight games for the Cowboys. He capped off his magical season by earning the Most Valuable Player award in Super Bowl VI, completing 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys led the entire game, and Miami's lone score, a second-quarter field goal, drew the Dolphins no closer than 10-3 at the time. And that was it for Miami, becoming the first team Super Bowl team unable to score a touchdown.
The Cowboys defense was dominant, holding Miami to only 185 yards, and only 80 of those rushing. The Cowboys, on the other hand, had their way with Miami's defense, racking up 252 yards on the ground.
Things went downhill for Miami from the start, running back Larry Csonka fumbling away a Bob Griese handoff at the Cowboys 48-yard line early in the first quarter. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley recovered the ball, and kicker Mike Clark converted the turnover into a 3-0 Dallas lead on his nine-yard field goal.
Defensive tackle Bob Lilly was dominant, locking down his side of the ball, and his first-quarter sack of Griese became a Super Bowl record. After chasing Griese all over the field, Lilly finally got a hold of the quarterback, sacking him for the record 29-yard loss.
Riding the success of their defense, the Cowboys offense stretched the lead to 10-0 in the second quarter when Staubach finished a 76-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Alworth.
But Miami showed a glimpse of resistance, not allowing the Cowboys to pitch a first-half shutout by driving 44 yards to set up Garo Yepremian's 31-yard field goal with only four seconds remaining in the half and cutting the Cowboys' lead to 10-3.
But whatever ideas the Dolphins had of rallying were quickly squashed at the start of the third quarter. The Cowboys, thanks to the powerful running of Duane Thomas, took the second-half kickoff and drove downfield with ease. Thomas capped off an eight-play, 71-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown, extending the Cowboys' lead to 17-3.
Thomas, the game's leading rusher, finished with 19 carries for 95 yards and the touchdown.
If that didn't spell the end for the Dolphins, this certainly would. Howley intercepted a Griese pass intended for running back Jim Kiick at midfield and returned 41 yards to the Miami nine-yard line. From there, Staubach would eventually hit tight end Mike Ditka with a seven-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys what proved to be an insurmountable 24-3 lead, securing the Cowboys' first-ever Super Bowl title.
After a standout performance in Super Bowl V where Howley was awarded the MVP despite a Cowboys' loss, he turned in yet another terrific game in Super Bowl VI, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. In two Super Bowl appearances, Howley collected three interceptions and recovered two fumbles.
And finally, the Dallas Cowboys had their world championship.
|LOCATION:||Tulane Stadium - New Orleans, LA|
|DATE:||January 16, 1972|
|MVP:||Roger Staubach, QB, Dallas|
|DAL- FG Clark 9, 13:37 1st
DAL- Alworth 7 pass from Staubach (Clark kick), 13:45 2nd
MIA- FG Yepremian 31, 14:56 2nd
DAL- D. Thomas 3 run (Clark kick), 5:17 3rd
DAL- Ditka 7 pass from Staubach (Clark kick), 3:18 4th