Super Bowl X
Pittsburgh Steelers   21
Dallas Cowboys      17

Steelers Retain Super Bowl Crown

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 19, 1976

MIAMI, Jan. 18 The Dallas Cowboys fell 37 yards short of another miracle today in a Super Bowl that finally was super.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, their defenders swarming everywhere and Lynn Swann catching a 64-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw with 3:02 to play for the game-clinching points, held on for a breathtaking 21-17 victory and their second straight National Football League championship.

Swann's catch should have ended the suspense in the game. But Roger Staubach got the Cowboys quickly back into contention with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Percy Howard with 1:48 to play.

The Cowboys, using all three times out on Pittsburgh's subsequent series, got the ball back with 82 seconds left on the Dallas 39 when the Steelers chose to run on fourth down at the Cowboy 41 instead of punt.

But Preston Pearson, after catching a short pass from Staubach, made the mistake of turning inside and gaining 11 yards instead of going out of bounds to stop the clock.

The play carried to the Steeler 37, but used 20 seconds.

Staubach was then forced to throw desperately three times into the end zone, twice to Drew Pearson, was intercepted by the Steelers' Glen Edwards, who returned 30 yards as the game ended and fans poured onto the Orange Bowl field.

The game's outcome also saved Steeler coach Chuck Noll from a mob of second-guessers that would have come after him had the Steelers lost, since it was Noll's decision to run on fourth down that gave the Cowboys their final opportunity from reasonably good field position.

"We were afraid a blocked punt would put them in too good field position," said Steeler quarterback Terry Hanratty, who directed the final Pittsburgh series because Bradshaw had suffered a concussion on the touchdown pass to Swann.

"We had a little problem with a punt earlier and Dallas had put a pretty good rush on," Noll said. "We'd rather give them the football there (at the 39) with no timeouts when they had to score a touchdown. I figured our defense would hold them."

Dallas coach Tom Landry said he "was a little surprised that the Steelers didn't punt. They gave up field position. We were out of timeouts and couldn't get out of bounds to stop the clock."

Still, Dallas probably lost the game earlier in the fourth quarter when the Steelers' Reggie Harrison blocked a punt for a safety and Roy Gerela kicked back-to-back field goals of 36 and 18 yards, the field goals coming within a span of 2 minutes 4 seconds.

The Steelers thus turned a 10-7 deficit into a 15-10 advantage, and Swann's touchdown catch with 3:02 remaining provided the eventual winning points.

Swann caught four passes today for a Super Bowl record 161 yards. Each catch seemed more spectacular than the previous, and on each one Mark Washington was the burned Cowboy.

Swann almost didn't get a chance to make his touchdown catch. Bradshaw barely got off the pass, just eluding Cowboy linebacker D. D. Lewis before lofting the ball deep toward his swift side receiver.

Swann, who had a two-step lead on Washington, made the catch in full stride at the eight-yard line and ripped away from the defender and into the end zone.

Bradshaw never saw the play. He had been whacked from the blind side immediately after launching the football some 60 yards in the air. He suffered a slight concussion and was taken to the dressing room with two minutes to play. "I didn't know it was a touchdown until I came into the locker room. I'm still hazy," he said.

His headache certainly will be worth the price. The Steelers left the field $15,000 richer each. The Cowboys earned $7,500 a man.

Staubach, meanwhile, will be sore for the next few days. He was under heavy pressure from a Pittsburgh defense that sacked him seven times for losses of 42 yards.

The Steelers accomplished that without the full services of tackle Joe Greene. He left the game in the second quarter and never came back, replaced by Steve Furness.

Still, there was more than enough terror applied by the rest of the "Steel Curtain" and middle linebacker Jack Lambert, who was exceptional.

The Cowboys jumped off to a 7-0 lead that was set up when Steeler punter Bobby Walden was tackled after mishandling a center snap. Drew Pearson caught a 29-yard pass from Staubach 4:36 into the opening period for the game's first score.

That was the first first-quarter touchdown yielded by the Steelers all season.

Pittsburgh tied the game five minutes later on its only sustained touchdown drive of the day. Swann helped set up the score with the first of his incredible catches, a 32-yard effort on the right sideline. Swann made a leaping catch over Washington and somehow kept his feet in bounds.

Two plays later, Bradshaw passed seven yards to tight end Randy Grossman for the score that gave the first hint that Super Bowl 10 was something special. Never before had two "super" teams scored that many points in a first quarter.

Toni Fritsch kicked a 36-yard field goal 15 seconds into the second period to give Dallas a 10-7 lead, and the Cowboys maintained that advantage until Harrison blocked Mitch Hoopes' punt 3:32 into the fourth quarter to turn the game around.

Gerela atoned for previous misses from 36 and 37 yards which he connected from 36 yards for a 12-10 Steeler lead with 8:41 to play.

The Steelers could not ram over for a touchdown, however, largely because of a near-disastrous fumble on third and goal at the Dallas one. Franco Harris was hit by Lee Roy Jordan, the ball popped into the air and came back down in Harris' arms. Noll chose the field goal, and Gerela hit from the 18 for a 15-10 Steeler lead with 6:37 to play.

Copyright 1976 The Washington Post Company

Super Bowl X MVP

Lynn Swann, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh became the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowl championships. They were led by balletic wide receiver Lynn Swann, who set a Super Bowl record with 161 receiving yards on 4 catches and earned most-valuable-player honors. A 64-yard touchdown pass from former two-time Super Bowl MVP Terry Bradshaw to Swann late in the fourth quarter proved to be the decisive score. Earlier in the game, Swann had made a couple of acrobatic catches. One of them, a juggling, tumbling, 53-yard catch in the second quarter, is one of the Super Bowl's greatest plays. Stumbling over a defender, Swann was horizontal, parallel with the field in midair when he caught the pass.

Super Bowl X Memory

Swann's Mircle Catch

If anyone could make one forget that football is a violent game, it was Lynn Swann. The Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver brought style and grace to his position - and a penchant for making his biggest catches in the biggest games. The ultimate was his gravity-defying, 53-yard circus catch against the Cowboys in Super Bowl X. A few days before the game Swann didn't even know if he'd be able to play because of a concussion suffered in a victory over the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game. "I'm worried about my timing," he told Steelers wide receiver John Stallworth. "And my concentration isn't real good, either." But late in the second quarter, Swann timed his leap, concentrated, and lunged for the pass from Terry Bradshaw. Swann grabbed the ball while he was horizontal to the turf. Though the catch had no tangible effect on the outcome of the game (Roy Gerela missed a fieldgoal attempt a few plays later), it left the Cowboys shaking their heads. Swann went on to catch 4 passes for 161 yards, including a decisive 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Steelers won 21-17.

Super Bowl X Performances

Jack Lambert

Even in 1975, just the second season of Lambert's NFL career, he was an indispensable element of the Steel Curtain defense. He led the team in tackles during the regular season and recovered an AFC Championship Game-record 3 fumbles in a 16-10 victory over the Raiders. In a 21-17 Super Bowl victory over Dallas, he deliverd in other ways. On defense, he made 14 tackles and knocked down a fourth-quarter end-zone pass. On special teams, when Cliff Harris taunted the Steelers' Roy Gerela after a missed field goal, Lambert knocked him to the turf. "The Steelers don't get intimidated," he said later.

Lynn Swann

The lasting memory is of a diving, sprawling, fingertip catch that covered 53 yards only after being tipped and plucked miraculously from the air. But that was far from the only damage that Swann inflicted on the Dallas Cowboys in the Steelers' 21-17 victory. He also reined in a 32-yard spiral on the Steelers' first scoring drive and a 64-yard bomb that accounted for Pittsburgh's last touchdown. In the week leading up to the game, there had been some doubt whether Swann could play because of a concussion suffered in the AFC Championship Game. As it turned out, he was the game's MVP