|Super Bowl XIII|
|Date||January 21, 1979|
|Stadium||Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida|
|MVP||Terry Bradshaw, Quarterback|
|Favorite||Steelers by 3½|
|National anthem||The Colgate Thirteen|
|Coin toss||George Halas|
|Halftime show||Bob Jani presents "Carnival Salute to Caribbean"|
Future Hall of Famers Cowboys: Tom Landry (coach), Tony Dorsett, Jackie Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, Rayfield Wright.
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Curt Gowdy, Merlin Olsen and John Brodie|
|Nielsen ratings||47.1 |
(est. 74.74 million viewers)
|Cost of 30-second commercial||US$185,000|
Super Bowl XIII was an American football game played on January 21, 1979 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1978 regular season. This was the last of five Super Bowls to be played at the Orange Bowl.
The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers (17–2) defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys (14–5), 35–31. It was the first Super Bowl rematch (the Steelers had previously beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, in Super Bowl X). The game, which was not decided until the final minute, has long been considered one of the best Super Bowls.
Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP. Despite throwing one interception and losing two fumbles, Bradshaw completed 17 out of 30 passes for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 318 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns broke Super Bowl records. Also, his 75-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter tied Johnny Unitas in Super Bowl V for the longest pass in a Super Bowl. Bradshaw became the first player since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger to win both the Super Bowl MVP and the AP Most Valuable Player Award during the same season.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys could not overcome turnovers, drops, and a controversial penalty during the second half. The Cowboys were the first defending champion to lose in the Super Bowl. They were also the first to lose two Super Bowls to the same team (they lost 21–17 to the Steelers in Super Bowl X). The Cowboys were the first team, and to date the only team, to score 30 points or more and still lose the Super Bowl.
This was later featured on NFL's Greatest Games as Battle of Champions.
Background[edit | edit source]
For the 1978–79 season, the NFL extended its schedule from 14 regular season games to 16, and increased the playoffs from an 8-team tournament to 10, creating two extra playoff games. The three division winners from each conference would be ranked first through third and be given a week off, and two wild card teams from each conference, seeded fourth and fifth, would play a playoff game with the winner going on to play the first seeded team (or, if they were in the same division, the second seed).
Pittsburgh Steelers[edit | edit source]
The Steelers joined the Cowboys in their attempt to be the first team to ever win a third Super Bowl, after wins in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X. Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw had the best season of his career, completing 207 of 368 passes for 2,915 yards and 28 touchdowns, with 20 interceptions. He ranked as the second highest rated passer in the league (84.8), his 28 touchdown passes led the league, and he won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth provided the team with a great deep threat. Swann recorded 61 receptions for 880 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Stallworth had 41 receptions for 798 yards and 9 touchdowns. Tight end Randy Grossman, who replaced injured starter Bennie Cunningham for most of the season, also was a big factor, recording 37 receptions for 448 yards and a touchdown.
In the Steelers' rushing game, running back Franco Harris was the team's leading rusher for the 7th consecutive season, recording 1,082 yards and 8 touchdowns, while also catching 22 passes for another 144 yards. Fullback Rocky Bleier had 633 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns, while also catching 17 passes for 168 yards. The Steelers' success on offense was due in large measure to their stellar offensive line, anchored by future hall of fame center Mike Webster
Although Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense had some new starters this season, such as linemen John Banaszak and Steve Furness, and defensive back Tony Dungy, they finished No. 1 in fewest points allowed (195) second in the league against the run (allowing 107.8 yards per game) and ranked third in fewest total yards allowed (4,529). Once again, defensive tackles Joe Greene and L. C. Greenwood anchored the line, while Pro Bowl linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert combined for 7 interceptions. Dungy lead the team with 6 interceptions, while the rest of the secondary, defensive backs Mel Blount, Donnie Shell, and Ron Johnson, combined for 11.
Dallas Cowboys[edit | edit source]
The Cowboys became the first team to appear in five Super Bowls (after playing in Super Bowls V, VI, X and XII). Dallas led the league in scoring (384) and was No. 2 in total yards (5959). The defending Super Bowl champions were once again led by quarterback Roger Staubach. Staubach finished the season as the top rated passer in the NFL (84.9) by throwing 231 out of 413 completions for 3,190 yards and 25 touchdowns, with 16 interceptions.) He also rushed for 182 yards and another touchdown. Wide receivers Drew Pearson and Tony Hill provided the deep passing threats, combining for 90 receptions, 1,537 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Billy Joe Dupree contributed 34 receptions for 509 yards and 9 touchdowns. Running back Tony Dorsett had another fine season, recording a total of 1703 combined rushing and receiving yards, and scoring a total of 9 touchdowns. Fullback Robert Newhouse and halfback Preston Pearson also contributed from the offensive backfield, combining for 1,326 rushing and receiving yards, while Newhouse also scored 10 touchdowns. The Cowboys also had a superb offensive line, led by Herbert Scott and 12-time Pro Bowler Rayfield Wright
The Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense" finished the season as the top ranked defense in the league against the run by only allowing 107.6 yards per game, 2nd overall (4009), 3rd in points allowed (208). Pro Bowl linemen Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Harvey Martin and Randy White anchored the line, leading the league with 58 sacks, while linebackers Bob Breunig, D. D. Lewis and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson provided solid support. Their secondary, led by safeties Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters, along with cornerbacks Benny Barnes and Aaron Kyle, combined for 16 interceptions.
The Cowboys started the regular season slowly, winning only six of their first ten games. But Dallas finished strong, winning their last six regular season games to post a 12–4 record.
Playoffs[edit | edit source]
Dallas marched through the playoffs, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 27–20, and the Los Angeles Rams, 28–0. Meanwhile, the Steelers easily demolished the Denver Broncos, 33–10, and the Houston Oilers, 34–5.
Super Bowl pregame news and notes[edit | edit source]
Although the Super Bowl had grown into America's biggest one-day sporting event by this point, many believe the 13th edition began the game's evolution to unofficial national holiday. It was the first Super Bowl with a true heavyweight title-fight feel, given the Steelers' and Cowboys' unquestioned status as the two best teams in the NFL, and the honor of the first three-time Super Bowl champion that would go to the winner.
Super Bowl XIII can arguably be called the greatest collection of NFL talent ever to gather for a game. In addition to Coaches Noll and Landry, 14 players would end up being voted into the Hall of Fame: Nine Pittsburgh players: Bradshaw, Harris, Swann, Stallworth, Webster, Greene, Lambert, Ham, and Blount, and five from Dallas: Staubach, Dorsett, White, Wright, and Jackie Smith, who the Cowboys lured out of retirement from the St. Louis Cardinals due to injuries to Cowboy tight ends, most notably, Jay Saldi. Other Hall of Famers who participated in the game were from Dallas: GM/President Tex Schramm, and defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner, who actually was a HOF defensive tackle for the Steelers. Additional Hall of Famers from Pittsburgh included owner Art Rooney, Sr., and son Dan Rooney.
This was the first Super Bowl in which the designated "home" team was allowed to select between their team colored jersey or their white jersey, a rule similar to that of home games in the regular season and playoffs. Previously, the designated "home" team was required to wear their team colored jersey. The Cowboys, who traditionally wear their white jerseys in home games and often only wear their blue jerseys against teams that have similar policies for themselves (most notably against the Washington Redskins and occasionally the Philadelphia Eagles), were forced to wear their blue jerseys as the "home" team in Super Bowl V, which the team lost to the Baltimore Colts and is widely believed where the "blue jersey jinx" started with America's Team. Not wanting a repeat of that being the designated "home" team in Super Bowl XIII, the Cowboys were able to persuade the NFL to change the rule to allow the "home" team to choose so that they could wear their white jerseys. The Cowboys would later repeat the option of wearing white jerseys as the "home" team in Super Bowl XXVII, while the Redskins would do so in Super Bowl XVII and, ironically, the Steelers (who always wear their black jerseys in home games) in Super Bowl XL due to the team's success on the road that season.
Much of the pregame hype surrounded Super Bowl XIII centered around Cowboys linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson. Henderson caused quite a stir before the NFC Championship Game by claiming that the Rams had "no class" and the Cowboys would shut them out. His prediction turned out to be very accurate; the Cowboys did shut them out, aided by Henderson's 68-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the days leading up the Super Bowl, Henderson began talking about the Steelers in the same manner. He predicted another shutout and then made unflattering comments about several Pittsburgh players. He put down the talent and the intelligence of Bradshaw, proclaiming "Bradshaw couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 'a'." But the Steelers refused to get into a war of words with Henderson. Greene responded by saying the Steelers didn't need to say they were the best, they would just go out on the field and "get the job done.'"
The matchup of quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach is still the only one in Super Bowl history to feature two quarterbacks with two Super Bowl victories. With this start, Staubach became the first quarterback to start four Super Bowls. Bradshaw joined Fran Tarkenton, Bob Griese as well as Staubach as only three quarterbacks to start at least three Super Bowls.
Television and entertainment[edit | edit source]
The game was televised in the United States by NBC, with Curt Gowdy handling play-by-play and color commentators Merlin Olsen and John Brodie. Dick Enberg served as the pregame host for the broadcast. Also taking part in NBC's coverage were Bryant Gumbel and Mike Adamle.
This was Gowdy's seventh and final Super Bowl telecast, and his last major event for NBC before moving to CBS later in 1979. Enberg had essentially succeeded Gowdy as NBC's lead NFL play-by-play announcer in the 1978 regular season, and network producers didn't decide until nearly the last minute which man would get the Super Bowl call.
NBC preceded the game with the first network broadcast of Black Sunday, a 1977 motion picture that depicts a terrorist attack on a fictitious Super Bowl game in the Orange Bowl between Pittsburgh and Dallas (and which utilized footage shot during Super Bowl X).
The pregame festivities featured the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and several military bands. The Colgate Thirteen performed the national anthem, while the Stetson University Army ROTC Color Guard presented the Colors. The coin toss ceremony featured Pro Football Hall of Famer and longtime Chicago Bears owner/head coach George Halas.
The halftime show was a "Carnival Salute to Caribbean" with various Caribbean bands.
Radio[edit | edit source]
The national radio broadcast of Super Bowl XIII was carried by the CBS Radio Network, with Jack Buck and Hank Stram calling the action. Locally, Verne Lundquist and Brad Sham called the game for the Cowboys on KRLD-AM in Dallas, while Jack Fleming and Myron Cope called it for the Steelers on WTAE-AM in Pittsburgh. A technical glitch led to Fleming and Cope's commentary going out over NBC's television broadcast in place of the network's own audio during the coin toss ceremony.
Game summary[edit | edit source]
Both teams entered the game with the best defenses in the league (the Cowboys only allowed 107.6 rushing yards per game while the Steelers only allowed 107.8), and each side took advantage of the other team's mistakes throughout the game. But Dallas could not overcome their miscues in the second half.
On their opening drive, the Cowboys advanced to the Pittsburgh 38-yard line, with running back Tony Dorsett gaining 38 yards off 3 running plays. But they lost the ball on a fumbled handoff while attempting to fool the Steelers defense with a reverse-pass play. Receiver Drew Pearson later explained "We practiced that play for three weeks. It is designed for me to hit Billy Joe 15 to 17 yards downfield. We practiced the play so much it was unbelievable we could fumble it. I expected the handoff a bit lower, but I should have had it. Billy Joe was in the process of breaking into the clear when the fumble occurred." The play was similar to the near-turnover by Butch Johnson in the previous game.
After defensive lineman John Banaszak recovered the loose ball on the Pittsburgh 47-yard line, the Steelers attempted 2 running plays with running back Franco Harris carrying the ball, but only gained 1 yard. Then on third down, wide receiver John Stallworth caught a 12-yard pass to the Cowboys' 40-yard line. Then after throwing an incomplete pass, Terry Bradshaw completed 2 consecutive passes, the second one a 28-yard touchdown completion to Stallworth to take a 7–0 lead.
On their next drive, the Cowboys responded by advancing to the Steelers 39-yard line, but were pushed back to their own 39-yard line after quarterback Roger Staubach was sacked twice, and they were forced to punt. Then on the Steelers' ensuing drive, Bradshaw threw a 22-yard pass to Harris and followed it up with a 13-yard pass to receiver Lynn Swann to move the ball to the Dallas 30-yard line. But on the next play, Dallas linebacker D. D. Lewis ended the drive by intercepting a pass intended for Stallworth.
With a little more than a minute to go in the period, Bradshaw fumbled the ball while being sacked by Cowboys lineman Harvey Martin, and defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones recovered it. Staubach then capitalized on Bradshaw's mistake three plays later with a 39-yard scoring strike to receiver Tony Hill, tying the game at 7 as the first quarter expired. Pittsburgh sent eight men on an all-out blitz, but Staubach got the pass away just before he was hit by Steelers' safety Mike Wagner. Hill beat Donnie Shell in single-coverage and scored the only first quarter touchdown surrendered by Pittsburgh all season(In Super Bowl X, the Cowboys also scored a first quarter touchdown against a Steeler team that hadn't permitted one all year).
The Steelers took possession at the start of the second quarter and advanced to their own 48-yard line. On the next play, Dallas linebackers Mike Hegman and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson went after Bradshaw on a blitz. After taking the snap, Bradshaw collided with Franco Harris and the ball popped loose. Bradshaw scooped it up and rolled to his right, looking to pass, but Henderson wrapped him up before he could throw, while Hegman ripped the ball out of his hands and returned the fumble 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cowboys a 14–7 lead.
The Cowboys lead didn’t last long. On the third play of Pittsburgh's ensuing possession, Stallworth caught a pass from Bradshaw at the Steelers 35-yard line. He then broke a tackle from defensive back Aaron Kyle and outraced every other defender to the end zone, turning a simple 10-yard pass into a 75-yard touchdown completion to tie the score, 14–14. Bradshaw later explained that Stallworth was not even the primary receiver on the play: "I was going to Lynn Swann on the post," he said, "but the Cowboys covered Swann and left Stallworth open. I laid the ball out there and it should have gone for about 15 yards, but Stallworth broke the tackle and went all the way."
Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense then dominated the Dallas offense on their ensuing drive. First, Banaszak tackled fullback Robert Newhouse for 4-yard loss. Next, linebacker Jack Ham tackled Dorsett for a 3-yard loss on an attempted sweep. On third down, defensive tackle Joe Greene sacked Staubach, forcing a fumble that bounced through the hands of Steelers' defensive lineman Steve Furness. Cowboys lineman Tom Rafferty eventually recovered at the Dallas 13-yard line. Theo Bell then returned Danny White's eunsuing 38-yard punt 3 yards to the Dallas 38-yard line.
The Steelers began their ensuing drive with Bradshaw's 26-yard completion to Swann. Jones tackled Harris for an 8-yard loss on the next play, but a subsequent holding penalty on Henderson gave Pittsburgh a first down at the Dallas 25-yard line. However, after an incomplete pass and a 2-yard run by Harris, Hegman sacked Bradshaw for an 11-yard loss on third down, pushing the ball back to the 34-yard line. The Steelers then came up empty after kicker Roy Gerela's 51-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar.
With less than two minutes remaining in the half, Dallas advanced to the Pittsburgh 32-yard line, after starting from their own 34-yard line. But Pittsburgh defensive back Mel Blount intercepted a pass from Staubach and returned it 13 yards to the 29, with a personal foul on Dallas tight end Billy Joe Dupree adding another 15 yards and giving the Steelers the ball at their own 44-yard line (note: The interception happened on exactly the same play that Drew Pearson scored on in the first quarter of Super Bowl X. Mike Wagner intercepted Staubach on exactly the same playcall in the 4th quarter of the same game.). With time running out, Bradshaw completed 2 passes to Swann for gains of 29 and 21 yards, moving the ball to the 16-yard line with 40 seconds left in the half. Then after throwing an incomplete pass, Harris ran the ball to the 7-yard line. Then with just 26 seconds left, Bradshaw completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to fullback Rocky Bleier, giving the Steelers a 21–14 lead at halftime.
The torrid scoring pace slowed during much of the third quarter, as both teams began to assert themselves on the defensive side of the ball. But late in the quarter, a 12-yard punt return by Cowboys receiver Butch Johnson gave Dallas good field position on their 42-yard line. The Cowboys subsequently drove down to the Steelers 10-yard line, mostly with Dorsett's rushing. Then on third down with less than three minutes remaining in the period, Staubach spotted 38-year old reserve tight end Jackie Smith wide open in the end zone and threw him the ball. The pass was a little low, but it was catchable. However, Smith dropped the pass and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal from kicker Rafael Septien, cutting their deficit to 21–17. Though Smith played 16 years in the league and is now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is perhaps best known for his embarrassing blunder on the sport's biggest stage.
Two controversial penalties early in the fourth quarter paved the way for the Steelers to score 14 unanswered points. The Steelers advanced to their own 44-yard line after a crucial 3rd down pass from Bradshaw to tight end Randy Grossman, a 13-yard pass to Swann, and a 5-yard run by Harris. Bradshaw then attempted a pass to Swann, but the receiver collided with Cowboys defensive back Benny Barnes and fell to the ground as the ball rolled incomplete. However, official Fred Swearingen called Barnes for pass interference. Replays showed that it could have been incidental contact, as Swann seemed to run into Barnes. The penalty gave Pittsburgh a first down at Dallas' 23-yard line.
Two plays later, the Steelers faced 3rd down and 4 from the Dallas 17. Henderson sacked Bradshaw for a 12-yard loss, but the play was nullified by a delay of game penalty on Pittsburgh, bringing up 3rd down and 9 instead of a fourth down. Replays clearly showed the whistle blew before the play's onset, plus most of the players pulled up and stopped playing after a whistle sounded, but Henderson claimed, "I didn't hear a whistle until after I had knocked Bradshaw down. The same guy (Swearingen) made that call too. Who is that guy?" " Franco Harris confronted Henderson for taunting Bradshaw after the whistle, and on the next play, Bradshaw handed the ball off to Harris, who raced untouched, with help from the umpire impeding Cowboys' safety Charlie Waters' attempt to tackle him, up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown run. The score increased Pittsburgh's lead to 28–17.
On the ensuing kickoff, video shows that Gerela slipped when trying to plant his foot, causing him to squib the ball, which bounced to Cowboy lineman Randy White at the 24-yard line. White, who was playing the game with a cast on his broken left hand, fumbled the ball before being hit by Tony Dungy and Pittsburgh linebacker Dennis Winston recovered the ball at the Dallas 18-yard line. On the next play, Bradshaw threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Swann, increasing the Steelers' lead to 35–17 with less than 7 minutes left in the game.
Some of the Steelers were already celebrating victory on the sidelines, but the Cowboys refused to give up. On their next drive, Dallas drove 89 yards in 8 plays, including an 18-yard scramble by Staubach on 3rd and 11 and a 29-yard run by Dorsett, to score on Staubach's 7-yard touchdown pass to Dupree. Then after Dallas' Dennis Thurman recovered an onside kick at 2:19, Drew Pearson caught 2 passes for gains of 22 and 25 yards (the second catch on 4th down and 18) as the Cowboys drove 52 yards in 9 plays to score on Staubach's 4-yard touchdown pass to Butch Johnson. With the ensuing extra point, the score was cut to 35–31 with just 0:22 left in the game.
But the Cowboys' second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful. Bleier recovered the ball and the Steelers were able to run out the clock to win the game.
Swann was the leading receiver in the game with 7 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. Stallworth recorded 115 yards and a touchdown off just 3 receptions. Stallworth and Swann became the first pair of teammates to each have 100 yards receiving in a Super Bowl and first time two receivers did it in the same game. Dorsett was the top rusher of the game with 96 rushing yards, and also caught 5 passes for 44 yards. Harris was Pittsburgh's leading rusher with 68 yards, and he caught a pass for 22 yards. Staubach finished the game with exactly as many passing attempts (30) and completions (17) as Bradshaw, good for 228 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Butch Johnson caught 2 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown, returned 3 kickoffs for 63 yards, and gained 33 yards on 2 punt returns, giving him 126 total yards.
Box score[edit | edit source]
Starting lineups[edit | edit source]
Pittsburgh Dallas OFFENSE John Stallworth 82 WR Tony Hill 80 Jon Kolb 55 LT Pat Donovan 67 Sam Davis 57 LG Herbert Scott 68 Mike Webster 52 C John Fitzgerald 62 Gerry Mullins 72 RG Tom Rafferty 64 Ray Pinney 74 RT Rayfield Wright 70 Randy Grossman 84 TE Billy Joe Dupree 89 Lynn Swann 88 WR Drew Pearson 88 Terry Bradshaw 12 QB Roger Staubach 12 Rocky Bleier 20 FB Robert Newhouse 44 Franco Harris 32 RB Tony Dorsett 33 DEFENSE L. C. Greenwood 68 LE Ed "Too Tall" Jones 72 Joe Greene 75 DT Larry Cole 63 Steve Furness 64 DT Randy White 54 John Banaszak 76 RE Harvey Martin 79 Jack Ham 59 LLB Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson 56 Jack Lambert 58 MLB Bob Breunig 53 Loren Toews 51 RLB D. D. Lewis 50 Ron Johnson 29 LCB Benny Barnes 31 Mel Blount 47 RCB Aaron Kyle 25 Donnie Shell 31 SS Charlie Waters 41 Mike Wagner 23 FS Cliff Harris 43
Officials[edit | edit source]
- Referee: Pat Haggerty #40
- Umpire: Art Demmas #78
- Head Linesman: Jerry Bergman #17
- Line Judge: Jack Fette #39
- Field Judge: Fred Swearingen #21
- Side Judge: Dean Look #49
- Back Judge: Pat Knight #73
- Alternate Referee: Chuck Heberling #46
References[edit | edit source]
- Pittsburgh defensive back Tony Dungy went on to coach the Indianapolis Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI, becoming the third person in the history of NFL (along with Mike Ditka and Tom Flores) to win Super Bowls as a player and a head coach.
- Super Bowl official website
- 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book. Time Inc. Home Entertainment. ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
- Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. Harper Collins. ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
- The Official NFL Encyclopedia Pro Football. NAL Books. ISBN 0-453-00431-8.
- The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995. ISBN 0-89204-523-X.
- http://www.pro-football-reference.com - Large online database of NFL data and statistics
- Super Bowl play-by-plays from USA Today (Last accessed September 28, 2005)
- All-Time Super Bowl Odds from The Sports Network (Last accessed October 16, 2005)