Had Dallas lost, the play would have been filed in the 1975 treasury with the Mel Gray pass in the St. Louis-Washington game six weeks earlier and the Mercury Morris fumble or no fumble in the Miami-Buffalo game and several other controversies that have made life so wonderful for the refs and so expensive for some critics.
Upstairs in an owner's box, the Cowboys' Clint Murchison said during half-time, "I've watched the replay several times and I don't see the ball touch anybody." Then he grinned and added, "But whether it did or not, I ain't goin' for the $5,000."
In the bitterness of suddenly being out of the Super Bowl derby, and having lost in the crudest of ways, the Vikings will see what pleases them in the films of the Staubach-to-Pearson touchdown pass. Coach Bud Grant was saying afterward, " Pearson did the right thing, pushing off. He had nothing to lose." And the Cowboys will cherish the heroics of it all—a ball that couldn't be thrown or caught in those circumstances. And a game that couldn't be won, but was.