SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
January 12, 1976
The team from the long-suffering National Conference with the best chance to beat the Steelers is, in fact, going to the Super Bowl, and it is about time for the world to realize that the Dallas Cowboys are better than they are lucky, tougher than they are miraculous, smarter than they are enthusiastic, and perhaps even the team of now rather than tomorrow. Miami might be v-e-r-r-y interesting if Roger Staubach's arm doesn't drop off when he's saluting the flag, and if Coach Tom Landry's brain doesn't explode with ideas.
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January 12, 1976

Dallas Coming Of Age? Roger!

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Immediately after the interception, Staubach got off the first of his many perfectly executed plays, a screen pass to Preston Pearson for a touchdown. The Rams were both stunned and stung, and they were never to be themselves thereafter. Jaworski came on, to an approving roar from the 84,483 spectators. He hit his first pass, and he took the Rams to a field-goal try, which could have made it 7-3 and maybe awakened his team, but one of those Dallas rookies, Tom Henderson, blazed in to block Tom Dempsey's kick.

Staubach then drove the Cowboys 76 yards to the touchdown that made it 14-0 and removed all doubt. He shot a 42-yarder to Golden Richards, the biggest play in the drive, and he found Richards in the end zone for the touchdown so all alone it looked as if the Rams had only five players on the field. This was a play-action pass from the Rams' four-yard line, and the reason Richards was all alone was that Cornerback Monte Jackson went for the fake.

Now turn to Preston Pearson, a fine running back, a good blocker and receiver, and the only Cowboy who ever played for another NFL team. Landry got him two days before the opening game of the season when the loaded Steelers had to let somebody go. Pearson not only took the screen pass in for the first touchdown, but also he made that sensational catch on the third touchdown, and it was also Preston Pearson who took the little shovel pass from Staubach and scooted the remaining 19 yards for Dallas' fourth touchdown.

If you are wondering what exactly to make of Dallas, you might want to consider what Knox was saying even before the game: "They've done a great job of sandbagging. They've got more football players than we do, but right down to the secretaries in their offices they speak the party line—that they're young and lucky. Bunk. A heck of afoot-ball team is what they are."

Eager and emotional, too, unlike the old Cowboys. Take the case of Too Tall Jones. "We were scared and nervous," he said late Sunday, "but Coach Landry said that was good. I got up this morning and took a shower and was ready to go. Then I looked at the clock and it was 2 a.m."

Roger Staubach summed up these Cowboys the best, and the Steelers would do well to take note. "We're nervous," said Roger, "and we're hungry and we have more fun than the Dallas teams of old."

The Cowboys have seldom had more fun than they did on Sunday in Los Angeles, and if they continue having it right on through Jan. 18 in Miami, a good question will be how many consecutive Super Bowls is this team of tomorrow going to win?

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