- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Not to Ferragamo. With the clock approaching the two-minute warning and the ball at midfield, Vince had a discussion with himself in the huddle. A play had been suggested from the sideline, but Ferragamo said, "Aw, let's go with the other one." The other one was the winning touchdown pass, 60-X Corner.
"Waddy went out and around the zone," Ferragamo said. "They were in a deep zone and Cliff Harris was reading my eyes. I fooled him."
Billy Waddy almost didn't go "out and around" far enough. Mike Hegman, the Dallas linebacker who replaced Henderson, managed to scrape some paint off the ball while it was in the air, but did not impede its flight. The ball sailed perfectly into Waddy's arms at the Dallas 27, and he outran everyone to the end zone.
The Cowboys had a chance after the following kickoff to do that thing Staubach did to the Washington Redskins two weeks before, that thing he has done to a lot of opponents over the years: produce a game-winning score in the final two minutes. But after Dorsett ran for 12 yards to the Dallas 33, the Cowboys did nothing. Their season ended with Staubach throwing incomplete passes to Tony Hill, throwing to Guard Herb Scott, an ineligible receiver, and throwing over Drew Pearson's head.
In many ways that last series summed up the bizarre year it had been for " America's team." It began for the Cowboys when they lost, for one reason or another, three of their crowd-pleasers—Jones, Waters and Henderson.
The weird road the Cowboys traveled started taking odd twists and turns in the early summer when Too Tall shocked his teammates by announcing he was giving up football for prizefighting. Ice skating they might have believed. This left Tom Landry without a pass rush on one side of the line until he picked up the retired John Dutton, who slowly came around. As the Cowboys suffered a midseason sag, losing four of five games, the absent Too Tall became increasingly immortal. If Dallas loses one more game, somebody said, Too Tall can go straight to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Cowboy-watchers recognized Waters I as the biggest loss. He tore a ligament in his right knee in an exhibition game. This I not only took away the best strong safety in the league, but it also sidelined a guy who hollered out the defensive signals. The handsome Charlie had a good year, anyhow. He posed for a pinup poster, and it has outsold Farrah and the Cheerleaders around Dallas. He is using the money to finance his wife's first disco album. Charlie's wife, Rosie Holotik, is a singer-actress who once starred in a film titled Horror High, that also featured such notable actors as Craig Morton, Mean Joe Greene and D. D. Lewis. It still plays on some late-night TV sets under the new title of The Twisted Brain, which some Cowboy players say is an appropriate name for anyone who invested in the production in the first place.
Hughes, another handsome young man, replaced Waters and did O.K. until he dislocated a shoulder three weeks ago against Philadelphia. Before the Rams game there were two opinions about whether Hughes would be ready to play. Landry said he was ready; Hughes said, "I want to play, but I'm no fool." Landry was right.
It's such statements that ultimately get players traded from Dallas. Henderson used to talk a lot, and finally he talked too much, so smack in the middle of the season he found himself "retired." Hegman stepped in to replace him. So the Cowboys had three not-so-household words in their defense—Dutton, Hughes and Hegman.
And now America is without a team, and the NFC is going to send a strange ball club to Super Bowl XIV; either Tampa Bay, with six losses and a quarter-back, Doug Williams, who finished 27th on a list of 28 in statistics, or Los Angeles, with seven losses and a quarter-back Who often has trouble remembering anything but 60-X Corner.