Pearson’s Opening TD Gives Cowboys A Leg Up In Super Bowl X
Brains or brawn? Intelligence or toughness? Cowboys or Steelers? For one week in January of 1976, these were the questions that tickled every ear in Miami. To many sportswriters covering the big game, the correct answer wasn’t always so simple. For the football team from Pittsburgh, their answer to the solution was steeped in candid bluntness.
Before, during, and even after Super Bowl X, there was no holding back Steelers players from expressing their views about the Dallas Cowboys’ vaunted motion-offense. They despised it, referring to the Shotgun and many of Dallas’ fancy formations as “gadget football.”
Said safety Glen Edwards: “If they’d like to know how the game should be played, it’s intimidation. Dallas has good personnel. The question in my mind is why they try all that garbage instead of blowing folks out.”
Ironically, it was that same complex system employed by Tom Landry which torched the Pittsburgh defense early in the first quarter to start the scoring in Super Bowl X.
A dropped snap from Steelers punter Bobby Walden awarded Dallas the ball on Pittsburgh’s 29-yard line to start their second possession. The offense sought to make quick work of the short field in front of them, so on first down employed a play that was sure to confuse the mighty Steel Curtain defense by using numerous pre-snap shifts.
The play worked to perfection, as quarterback Roger Staubach found Drew Pearson running free in the middle of the field. Catching the pass at the 16-yard line, Pearson angled to the corner at full-speed and ran untouched into the end-zone.
“The Cowboys went into four different sets on that play,” noted safety Mike Wagner, frustrated at having watched his defense yield its first opening-quarter points of the season. “We were on our third set when the play started. We were one set behind them.”
Follow the Dallas Cowboys’ improbable march to Miami and Super Bowl X in Ryan Bush’s new book “The Dirty Dozen.” Order your copy at the following link: