SI Vault
 
WHAT A PASSING PARADE!
Dan Jenkins
January 29, 1979
The leader of the band of Steelers who defeated the Cowboys 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII was Terry Bradshaw, who strutted his stuff by throwing for four touchdowns
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 29, 1979

What A Passing Parade!

The leader of the band of Steelers who defeated the Cowboys 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII was Terry Bradshaw, who strutted his stuff by throwing for four touchdowns

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

For Pittsburgh, nobody dropped anything that mattered. Stall worth's two touchdown pass plays were very different, and they both say something about Bradshaw. The first was a cunning 28-yard beauty—the Steelers call it "One Eleven Out"—that Bradshaw thought would take advantage of Kyle on Stallworth, man-for-man, and it did. Stallworth got behind Kyle and caught the ball easily in the end zone.

The second came at what might be described as a mildly opportune time: in the second quarter, after the Cowboys had taken their 14-7 lead by virtue of the Brink's job that Henderson and Hegman had performed on Bradshaw. Bad shoulder or no bad shoulder, Bradshaw was right back running for his life again. This time he found Stallworth at the Pittsburgh 35. Stallworth shook off a glancing blow by Kyle—more or less a flesh wound—and, using a couple of blocks and his speed, outran everybody for the score.

Earlier, in what was as wildly exciting a first half as two good teams have ever played, in or out of the Super Bowl, the Cowboys had done something no other club had achieved against the Steelers all season. They scored a touchdown in the first quarter.

Granted, it was on the last play, when Staubach connected with Hill, but Dallas already had hinted very strongly that it could move the football and, surprisingly, that it could move it on the ground, most notably with Dorsett, who gained a tough 96 yards on 15 carries, running traps and misdirected sweeps.

The Cowboys received the opening kickoff and moved downfield for big yardage and a first down at the Steeler 34 when, perhaps ill-advisedly, Landry sent in the double reverse which Pearson fumbled and Steeler Tackle John Banaszak recovered.

All game long, though, it was Bradshaw who was the dominant presence, who was mainly responsible for turning XIII into the best Super Bowl game of all as well as the highest-scoring. It was Bradshaw who took ferocious licks from a Dallas defense that sacked him four times. It was Bradshaw who kept playing with an injured shoulder. It was Bradshaw who kept finding Swann and Stallworth and Tight End Randy Grossman just when he needed them. And it was Bradshaw who escaped a Cowboy rush and improvised the touchdown pass to Bleier that put the Steelers ahead to stay 21-14 just before halftime.

Bradshaw had driven the Steelers to the Dallas seven, principally on passes of 29 and 21 yards to Swann, and now he faced third down. Bradshaw called a pass-run option play and sprinted to his right. Hemmed in by the Cowboys—and with no place to go—Bradshaw finally spotted Bleier in the end zone. Bleier leaped high to catch Bradshaw's pass behind Linebacker D.D. Lewis.

"Today I relaxed, felt good and had fun," said Bradshaw, who was the unanimous choice for MVP. "I had a little bit of a lackadaisical attitude. I didn't want to get uptight. I don't need anyone telling me how great or how smart I am, or how smart I'm not, I just tried to go out there and help win a football game."

Which he did—and how.

1 2 3