Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 1972: Birth of America's Team

NEW ORLEANS - There was a time when the Cowboys weren't known as America's team, but rather as the team that always seemed to be one season away from a championship. Led by quarterback Roger Staubach, that all changed in 1971.

During a cold, windy day at Tulane Stadium - the kickoff temperature of 39 degrees is the coldest in Super Bowl history - the Cowboys met the Dolphins for Super Bowl VI. It was the second straight Super Bowl appearance for the Cowboys, who had lost the previous year's game on a final-play field goal. This year's team was different in that Roger Staubach had finally been anointed as the team's starter halfway through the year. After naming Staubach as starter at the halfway point of the season, the Cowboys turned a 4-3 record into an 11-3 finish.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins were loaded, featuring many of the same players who would go undefeated the next season. Miami's defense wasn't well-known, but it was good; in fact, Dallas coach Tom Landry inadvertently gave the Dolphins their "No-Name Defense" name by saying before the game that he didn't know any of their defender's names, but they all scared him.

Landry didn't need to be worried. The Cowboys ran all over the Dolphins, outgaining them on the ground 252-80. Staubach threw two short touchdown passes, and the Cowboys scored in every quarter on their way to an easy 24-3 victory. In the 45-year history of the Super Bowl, this one was the closest the game has ever been to a shutout. In fact, it was the only Super Bowl where a team failed to score a touchdown.

The Dolphins were beaten, but they bounced back. It was their only loss in the 1972 calendear year, and Miami wouldn't lose again until September 23, 1973.

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