Super Bowl Interactive Features

 

Photographs: Heinz Kluetmeier, John Iacono

 

It was a helluva time for Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw to call "69 Maximum Flanker Post."

With 3:02 remaining in Super Bowl X and the Steelers nursing a 15-10 lead, Bradshaw knelt down in the huddle. Facing third-and-four from his own 36-yard line, Bradshaw figured that all 80,197 fans in the Orange Bowl plus a certain eleven Dallas Cowboys expected him to go for the first down. Reasonable. Logical. Prudent.

Instead Bradshaw took the biggest gamble of his six-year NFL career. The play was essentially a "Go" route to his favorite wideout, Lynn Swann, whose play thus far in the contest had been even more graceful than his name. Swannie, who had suffered a concussion in Pittsburgh's 16-10 AFC Championship Game win over the Oakland Raiders two Sundays earlier, made the decision to play only minutes before kickoff. Already he had made three balletic catches for 97 yards, including a diving 53-yarder at the end of the first half which should be hanging on a museum wall.

Bradshaw rolled the dice. And so did Dallas. Thinking that the Steelers would attempt a short pass, the Cowboys blitzed both linebacker D.D. Lewis and safety Cliff Harris. That decision left rookie cornerback Mark Washington in solo coverage on Swann. Lewis stormed into the Pittsburgh backfield untouched and looked as if he was about to behead Bradshaw when the QB, sensing danger, ducked. The defender sailed harmlessly past.

Righting himself, Bradshaw heaved the pigskin with all of his might as Harris, playing the role of the second blade in one of those Gillette twin blade ads, tattooed Bradshaw directly on his left cheek. Down went Bradshaw. Up went Swann. Outleaping Washington, Swann hauled the pass in on the Dallas five and skipped into the end zone untouched. Seventy yards upfield the man who called the daring play was flat on his back, unconscious.

"I got hit from the blind side, and I heard bells ringing," Bradshaw would say in the locker room in the wake of Pittsburgh's 21-17 victory. "I wanted to go deep all day, and the play was my call all the way. I barely got the ball off."

But he did. What else matters?