- Super Bowl VI
visitor_qtr1 = 3
visitor_qtr2 = 7
visitor_qtr3 = 7
visitor_qtr4 = 7
home_qtr1 = 0
home_qtr2 = 3
home_qtr3 = 0
home_qtr4 = 0
January 16, 1972
stadium = Tulane Stadium
city = New Orleans, Louisiana
attendance = 81,023
odds = Cowboys by 6
Roger Staubach, Quarterback
anthem = U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale
coin_toss = Jim Tunney
referee = Jim Tunney
halftime = "Salute to
Louis Armstrong" with Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirtand the U.S. Marine CorpsDrill Team
announcers = Ray Scott and
rating = 44.2
share = 74
commercial = $86,000
last = V
next = VII
Super Bowl VI was an
American footballgame played on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadiumin New Orleans, Louisianato decide the National Football League(NFL) champion following the 1971 regular season. The National Football Conference(NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys(14–3) defeated the American Football Conference(AFC) champion Miami Dolphins(12–4–1), 24–3, to win their first Super Bowlgame.
The Cowboys dominated the game, setting Super Bowl records for the most rushing yards (252), the most first downs (23), the least total yards allowed (185), and the least points allowed (3). The Cowboys are currently the only team ever to prevent their opponent from scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Quarterback, former Heisman Trophywinner Roger Staubach, completed 12 out of 19 passes for 119 yards, threw 2 touchdown passes, and rushed 5 times for 18 yards, and was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. [Staubach became the first quarterback of a winning team in the Super Bowl to play the entire game. Bart Starrwas relieved by Zeke Bratkowskiin the first two Super Bowls when the Packers had the game safely in hand; Joe Namathwas relieved briefly by Babe Parilliin Super Bowl III; Len Dawsongave way to Mike Livingstonlate in Super Bowl IVwhen the Chiefs had clinched the game; Earl Morrallcame in for an injured Johnny Unitaslate in the first half of Super Bowl Vand led the Baltimore Colts to a come-from-behind victory over the Cowboys.]
The Cowboys entered the season still having the reputation of "not being able to win the big games" and "next year's champion". The
Super Bowl Vloss added more fuel to that widely held view. As in the previous season, Dallas had a quarterback controversy as Staubach and Craig Mortonalternated as starting quarterback (in a loss to the Bears in game 7, Morton and Staubach alternated "plays").Roger Staubach, "Super Bowl VI," "Super Bowl: The Game of Their Lives," Danny Peary, editor. Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 0-02-860841-0] . The Cowboys were 4-3 at the season midpoint. But after head coach Tom Landrysettled on Staubach, the Cowboys won their last seven regular season games to finish with an 11–3 record.
Staubach finished the regular season as the NFL's top rated passer (101.8) by throwing for 1,882 yards, 15 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions. He was also a terrific rusher, gaining 343 yards and 2 touchdowns on 41 carries. Dallas also had an outstanding trio of running backs,
Walt Garrison, Duane Thomas, and Calvin Hill, who rushed for a combined total of 1,690 yards and 14 touchdowns during the season. Garrison led the team in receptions during the season. (Thomas, upset that the Cowboys would not renegotiate his contract after his excellent rookie year, had stopped talking to the press and to almost everyone on the team). Wide Receivers Bob Hayesand Lance Alworthalso provided a deep threat, catching a combined total of 69 passes for 1,327 yards and 10 touchdowns. The offensive line, anchored by all-pro tackle Rayfield Wright, Pro Bowlers John Nilandand Ralph Neely, and future hall of famer Forrest Gregg, was also a primary reason for their success on offense (Neely had broken his leg in November in a dirt-bike accident, and was replaced first by Gregg and then by Tony Liscio, who came out of retirement).
The Dallas defense (nicknamed the "Doomsday Defense") had given up only one touchdown in the last 25 quarters prior to the Super Bowl. Their defensive line was anchored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle
Bob Lilly, who excelled at pressuring quarterbacks and breaking up running plays. Dallas also had an outstanding trio of linebackers: Pro Bowler Chuck Howley, who recorded 5 interceptions and returned them for 122 yards; Dave Edwards2 interceptions; and Lee Roy Jordan, who recorded 2 interceptions. The Cowboys secondary was led by 2 future hall of fame cornerbacks Herb Adderley(6 interceptions for 182 return yards) and Mel Renfro(4 interceptions for 11 yards). Safeties Cliff Harrisand Pro Bowler Cornell Greenalso combined for 4 interceptions.
The Dolphins were based primarily around their league-leading running attack, led by running backs
Larry Csonkaand Jim Kiick. Csonka rushed for 1,051 yards, averaging over five yards per carry, and scored seven touchdowns. Versatile Jim Kiick rushed for 738 yards and three touchdowns, and was second on the Dolphins in receiving with 40 receptions for 338 yards. They fumbled once (by Kiick) between the two of them during the regular season. But Miami also had a threatening passing game. Quarterback Bob Griese, the AFC's leading passer and most valuable player, put up an impressive performance during the season, completing 145 passes for 2,089 yards and 19 touchdowns with only 9 interceptions. Griese's major weapon was wide receiver Paul Warfield, who caught 43 passes for 996 yards (a 23.2 yards per catch average) and a league-leading 11 touchdowns. The Dolphins also had an excellent offensive line to open up holes for their running backs and protect Griese on pass plays, led by future Hall of Fame guard Larry Little.
Miami's defense was a major reason why the team built a 10–3–1 regular season record, including eight consecutive wins. Future Hall of Fame linebacker
Nick Buonicontiwas a major force reading and stopping plays, while safety Jake Scott recorded 7 interceptions.
Before this season, the Dolphins had never won a playoff game in franchise history, but they surprised the entire NFL by advancing to the Super Bowl with wins against the two previous Super Bowl champions.
First Miami defeated the
Kansas City Chiefs(winners of Super Bowl IV), 27-24, in the longest game in NFL history with kicker Garo Yepremian's game-winning field goal after 22 minutes and 40 seconds of overtime play. Later, Miami shut out the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Colts, 21-0, in the AFC Championship Game, aided by safety Dick Andersonwho intercepted 3 passes from Colts quarterback Johnny Unitasand returned one of them for a 62-yard touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys marched to the Super Bowl with playoff wins over the
Minnesota Vikings, 20-12 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, and the San Francisco 49ers, 14-3 in the NFC Championship Game, only giving up one touchdown in the two games.
uper Bowl pregame news and notes
Soon after the Dolphins' win in the AFC Championship Game, Shula received a phone call at his home from President
Richard M. Nixonat 1:30 in the morning. Nixon had a play he thought would work, a particular pass to Warfield. (That particular play, which was called late in the first quarter, was broken up by Mel Renfro.)
When asked about the Dolphins' defensive team prior to Super Bowl VI, Landry said that he could not recall any of the players' names, but they were a big concern to him. This remark immediately led to the nickname "No-Name Defense".
According to Tom Landry, the Cowboys were very confident. "When they talked among themselves they said there was no way they were going to lose that game."Bill McGrane, "Winning the Big One," "The Super Bowl: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of America's Greatest Game". Simon and Schuster, 1990 ISBN 0-671-72798-2]
On Media Day, Duane Thomas refused to answer any questions and sat silently until his required time was up. Roger Staubach surmises that Duane Thomas would have been named MVP if he had cooperated with the press prior to the game. In the Cowboys' locker room after the game, flustered CBS reporter
Tom Brookshierasked Duane Thomas a long-winded question, the gist of which was "You're fast, aren't you?" Thomas, who had shunned the press all season, stared into the camera for several seconds and then simply said "Evidently." Thomas became the first player to score touchdowns in back-to-back Super Bowls, having a receiving touchdown in Super Bowl V.
Dolphins safety Jake Scott entered Super Bowl VI with a broken left hand. He broke his right wrist during the game but never came out. With both hands in casts for three months, he said "When I go to the bathroom, that's when I find out who my real friends are." [Dave Hyde, "Still Perfect! The Untold Story of the 1972 Miami Dolphins," p115. Dolphins/Curtis Publishing, 2002 ISBN 0-9702677-1-1]
This game was originally scheduled to be the last to be played in Tulane Stadium. It was hoped the
Louisiana Superdomewould be ready in time for the 1972 NFL season. However, political wrangling led to a lengthy delay in construction, and groundbreaking did not take place until August 11, 1971, five months before this game. The Superdome was not completed until August 1975, forcing Super Bowl IXto be moved to Tulane Stadium. That Super Bowl proved to be the final NFL game in the stadium, which was demolished in late 1979.
Television and entertainment
The game was broadcast in the
United Statesby CBSwith play-by-play announcer Ray Scott and color commentator Pat Summerall. Although Tulane Stadium was sold out for the game, unconditional blackout rules in the NFL prohibited the live telecast from being shown in the New Orleans area. This would be the last Super Bowl that was blacked out in the TV market that the game was played. The following year, the NFL allowed Super Bowl VII to be televised live in the host city (Los Angeles) when all tickets were sold. In 1973, the NFL changed its blackout policy to allow games to be broadcast in the home team's market if sold out 72 hours in advance.
Kilgore CollegeRangerettes drill team performed during the pregame festivities. Later, the United States Air Force AcademyChorale sang the national anthem.
The halftime show was a "Salute to
Louis Armstrong" featuring jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, actress and singer Carol Channing, trumpeter Al Hirtand the U.S. Marine CorpsDrill Team.
Despite being the second Super Bowl after the AFL-NFL merger, Super Bowl VI was the first one to have the NFL logo painted at the 50-yard line. The NFL would do this for all but one Super Bowl after this until
Super Bowl XXXI.
According to Roger Staubach, the Cowboys' game plan was to neutralize the Dolphins' key offensive and defensive players--Paul Warfield and Nick Buoniconti. Warfield was double-teamed by Green and Renfro. "They pretty much shut him down," wrote Staubach. Since the running game was the key to the Cowboys' offense, they wanted to take the quick-reacting Buoniconti out of each play. Two linemen, usually Niland and center
Dave Manders, were assigned to block Buoniconti. Combined with counterplays and the excellent cutback running of Thomas, this tactic proved very successful.
Miami's defense was designed to stop Staubach's scrambling. According to Staubach, although his scrambing was shut down this did not work to the Dolphins' benefit because it opened things up for the other backs.
Miami won the coin toss and elected to receive. Neither team could mount a drive on its first possession. On the first play of the Dolphins' second possession, Csonka, on his first carry of the game, gained 12 yards on a sweep. That would be his longest gain of the day. On the next play, Csonka fumbled a handoff from Griese–his first fumble of the season–and it was recovered by linebacker
Chuck Howleyat the Cowboys 48-yard line. Twelve plays later, Dallas kicker Mike Clarkkicked a 9-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 3–0 lead. [Mike Clark's 9-yard field goal tied the New York Jets Jim Turner's 9-yard three pointer in Super Bowl III for the shortest field goal in Super Bowl history. At the time, the goal posts were on goal lines instead of at the back of the end zones. Thus, this shared record will stand indefinitely unless the league decides to move the goal posts back to the goal lines.]
On the third play of the Dolphins' next possession at their own 38-yard line, Griese was sacked by Lilly for a 29-yard loss. Early in the second quarter, Miami drove to the Cowboys 42-yard line with the aid of a 20-yard reception by receiver
Howard Twilley, but the drive stalled and ended with no points after kicker Garo Yepremianmissed a 49-yard field goal attempt.
Later in the period, Dallas drove 76 yards in nine plays, including a 21-yard reception by Alworth, and then scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Staubach to Alworth to increase their lead, 10–0. Miami started the ensuing drive with just 1:15 left in the half, and quarterback
Bob Griesecompleted three consecutive passes, two to receiver Paul Warfieldand one to running back Jim Kiick, for 44 total yards to reach the Dallas 24–yard line. On the next play Griese threw to Warfield, who was open at the 2-yard line, but the ball was deflected by Green and bounced off Warfield's chest. Miami had to settle for Yepremian's 31-yard field goal to cut the Dolphins deficit to 10–3 going into halftime.
But Dallas dominated the second half, preventing any chance of a Miami comeback. Dallas reasoned that Miami would make adjustments to stop the Cowboys' inside running game which had been so successful in the first half. So the Cowboys decided to run outside. The Cowboys opened the third period with a 71-yard, 8-play drive, which included four runs by Thomas for 37 yards, a reverse by Hayes for 16 yards, and only one pass, scoring on Thomas' 3-yard sweep to make the score 17-3. This seemed to fire up the Dallas defense, who managed to prevent Miami from getting a single first down in the entire third quarter. The farthest advance Miami had in the third quarter was to its own 42-yard line as Griese and the offense were, said Shula, "destroyed." Miami did manage to advance to midfield early in the final period, but Howley ended the drive by intercepting a pass from Griese intended for Kiick in the flat. After returning the ball 41 yards, Howley tripped and fell at the Dolphins 9-yard line with nobody near him. But three plays later, Staubach threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end
Mike Ditka, increasing the Dallas lead to 24–3 with twelve minutes left in the game.
Miami began their next possession at their own 23-yard line and mounted only their third sustained drive of the game, reaching the Dallas 16-yard line in six plays. However, Griese fumbled the snap and the ball was recovered by Cowboys left end
Larry Coleat the 20-yard line. The Cowboys then mounted an eleven-play drive to the Miami 1-yard line which featured just one pass and a fake field goal attempt on fourth-and-one at the Miami 20-yard line. However, on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Hill fumbled while attempting to dive across the goal line, and the ball was recovered at the 4-yard line by Dolphins defensive tackle Manny Fernandez with just under two minutes left. Miami then ran four meaningless plays to end the game.
Wrote Staubach, "I can say that I don't think I ever felt any better as an athlete than how I felt after that game..." Nick Buoniconti wrote, "I was knocked senseless...The Cowboys seemed to be moving so much faster than we were....We were overmatched psychologically as well as physically."Nick Buoniconti, "Super Bowl VII," "Super Bowl: The Game of Their Lives," Danny Peary, editor. Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 0-02-860841-0] Jim Kiick said, "Dallas wasn't that much better, but football is momentum. We lost it in the first quarter when we fumbled and they scored, and we never got it back." [John Underwood, "The Blood and Thunder Boys," "Sports Illustrated", August 7, 1972] Said the Dolphins' Howard Twilley:
It's so hard to figure. We went in confident. We really thought we'd win and win handily. Something happened, though, during the week. I guess it was that week. The week has its own momentum, like nothing we'd been in before... [Shula] said we'd been embarrassed. He said we didn't even compete....That's the sickest feeling I've ever had.
Said Cornell Green, "The difference between the Dolphins and Cowboys was that the Dolphins were just happy to be in the game and the Cowboys came to win the game.". Griese completed the same amount of passes as Staubach (12), and threw for 15 more yards (134), but threw no touchdown passes and was intercepted once. Csonka and Kiick, were held to just 80 combined rushing yards (40 yards each), no touchdowns, and lost 1 fumble on 19 carries. Warfield was limited to just 4 receptions for 39 yards. Thomas was the top rusher of the game with 19 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 3 passes for 17 yards. Dallas running back
Walt Garrisonadded 74 rushing yards and caught 2 passes for 11 yards.
*DAL - FG: Mike Clark 9 yards 3-0 DAL
*DAL - TD: Lance Alworth 7 yard pass from Roger Staubach (Mike Clark kick) 10-0 DAL
*MIA - FG: Garo Yepremian 31 yards 10-3 DAL
*DAL - TD: Duane Thomas 3 yard run (Mike Clark kick) 17-3 DAL
*DAL - TD: Mike Ditka 7 yard pass from Roger Staubach (Mike Clark kick) 24-3 DAL
*Referee: Jim Tunney
*Umpire: Joe Connell
*Head Linesman: Al Sabato
*Line Judge: Art Hoist
*Field Judge: Bob Wortman
*Back Judge: Ralph Vandenberg
"Note: A seven-official system was not used until 1978"
1971 NFL season
NFL playoffs, 1971-72
* [http://www.superbowl.com/ Super Bowl official website]
*cite book | title=2006 NFL Record and Fact Book | publisher=Time Inc. Home Entertainment | id=ISBN 1-933405-32-5
*cite book | title=Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League | publisher=
Harper Collins| id=ISBN 1-933405-32-5
*cite book | title=The Official NFL Encyclopedia Pro Football | publisher=NAL Books | id=ISBN 0-453-00431-8
*cite book | title=The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995 | id=ISBN 0-89204-523-X
* http://www.pro-football-reference.com - Large online database of NFL data and statistics
* [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/super/superbowl-plays.htm Super Bowl play-by-plays] from
USA Today(Last accessed September 28, 2005)
* [http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default.asp?c=sportsnetwork&page=nfl/superbowl/2005/superbowl-alltime-odds.htm All-Time Super Bowl Odds] from The Sports Network (Last accessed October 16, 2005)
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