In June 2011, Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine decided to count down the best of the best, the top 25 plays in franchise history. Obviously, this wasn't the easiest of tasks, but some 30,000-plus words later, we feel pretty good about the results. Now here in a 25-part summer series, we share our list for one and all. Without further ado, we continue with No. 13 and a snippet from the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine story:
13) With the World Watching, Jan. 30, 1994:
There are those select few who for whatever reason perform at their highest level when the stakes are the highest. And while this is almost expected from the best of the best in the athletic world, the Jordans and Montanas, Pele and Ali, it's all the more extraordinary when the guy having an average career emerges from anonymity with the world watching. Say Robert Horry, Don Larsen, Bob Beamon.
Such was the case with safety James Washington at the Georgia Dome on Jan. 30, 1994, also known as Super Bowl XXVIII.
Leading 13-6 early in the third quarter, Buffalo had possession near midfield when Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett swatted the ball from the grasp of Thurman Thomas.
Almost immediately, Washington, who was having the game of his life, scooped up the pigskin and starting weaving and slicing toward the opposite end zone, looking somewhat like a modern-day Ed Reed in having those rare instincts of knowing which direction to cut a nanosecond before the would-be tackler committed. Some 46 yards later, Washington reached paydirt, an extra point thereafter tying the score at 13-13.
"That play would be their downfall the whole game," Washington said. "It was a slow-developing play. It really wasn't a great play to run against a defense with our quickness and swarming linebackers and defensive backs." Usually not even a starter, Washington stepped in and registered 11 tackles, an interception and the fumble return for a touchdown. For many Super Bowls, he would've been a lock for MVP honors, but the media gave the nod to Emmitt Smith, who racked up 158 yards from scrimmage and two scores. The final tally was 7.5 votes to 5.5.