- Super Bowl XII
visitor_qtr1 = 10
visitor_qtr2 = 3
visitor_qtr3 = 7
visitor_qtr4 = 7
home_qtr1 = 0
home_qtr2 = 0
home_qtr3 = 10
home_qtr4 = 0
January 15, 1978
stadium = Louisiana Superdome
city = New Orleans, Louisiana
attendance = 76,400
odds = Cowboys by 5 1/2
MVP = Randy White,
Defensive tackle; and Harvey Martin, Defensive end
anthem = Phyllis Kelly of Northeast Louisiana State University
referee = Jim Tunney
halftime = "From Paris to the Paris of America" with the
Tyler Junior CollegeApache Belles, Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt
Pat Summeralland Tom Brookshier
rating = 47.2
share = 67
commercial = $162,000
last = XI
next = XIII
Super Bowl XII was an
American footballgame played on January 15, 1978at the Louisiana Superdomein New Orleans, Louisianato decide the National Football League(NFL) champion following the 1977 regular season. It was the first Super Bowlplayed inside a domed stadium.
National Football Conference(NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys(15-2) defeated the American Football Conference(AFC) champion Denver Broncos(14-3), 27–10. The Cowboys defensive team dominated most of the game, forcing 8 turnovers and allowing only 8 pass completions by the Broncos for just 61 yards.
For the first and only time, two players won
Super Bowl MVPhonors: defensive tackleRandy White and defensive end Harvey Martin. This was also the first time that a defensive lineman was named as the Super Bowl MVP.
taubach v. Morton
The main storyline surrounding Super Bowl XII was Cowboys quarterback
Roger Staubachversus Broncos quarterback Craig Morton. Morton began his career playing for Dallas in 1965. After Staubach joined the Cowboys in 1969 after spending 4 years of service in the United States Navy, however, both quarterbacks competed for the starting job. During the 1970 season, both Morton and Staubach started for about half of the regular season games. Morton was ultimately selected to lead the team through the playoffs and eventually to their Super Bowl Vloss to the Baltimore Colts, 16-13. The next year, Staubach won the starting job and eventually led Dallas to defeat the Miami Dolphinsin Super Bowl VI, 24-3. Staubach was also named Super Bowl MVP during that game, essentially assuring him the starting spot in the future. Morton was relegated to backup status until he left the team in 1974 to join the New York Giants.
Morton and the Broncos "Orange Crush" Defense
After spending three years with the Giants, Morton became the starting quarterback for the Broncos and helped Denver to a 12-2 regular season record. He did not tally a large amount of passing yards (1,929) during the regular season, but he threw 14 touchdown passes and only 8 interceptions, while also rushing for 125 yards and 4 touchdowns, earning him the
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Denver tight end Riley Odomswas his main target, with 37 receptions for 429 yards. Wide receiver Haven Moseswas also a major deep threat, catching 27 passes for 539 yards, an average of 20 yards per catch. However, the Broncos main offensive strength was their rushing game. Denver had 3 running backs, Otis Armstrong, Lonnie Perrin, and Rob Lytle, who carried the ball equally, combining for 1,353 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. On special teams, multi-talented wide receiver Rick Upchurchled the NFL with 653 punt return yards, while also catching 12 passes for 245 yards and recording 456 yards returning kickoffs.
The backbone of the Broncos was their defense, a unit known as the "Orange Crush," which used a 3-4 formation anchored by four superb linebackers, including
Randy Gradishar(3 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries) and Tom Jackson (4 interceptions, 93 return yards, 1 touchdown). Defensive End Lyle Alzadoanchored the line, while their secondary was led by defensive backs Billy Thompson (who recorded 5 interceptions) and Louis Wright (who had 3 interceptions).
taubach and the Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense"
With Staubach and his team's "Doomsday Defense", the Cowboys won the
NFC Eastwith a 12-2 regular season record.
Staubach threw for 2,620 yards and 18 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions, while also gaining 171 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Wide receiver Drew Pearson was the leading receiver on the team with 48 receptions for 870 yards, while
Pro Bowltight end Billy Joe Dupreerecorded 28 receptions for 347 yards and provided blocking support on running plays.
The Cowboys also had a new weapon on offense: rookie running back
Tony Dorsett. Despite not becoming a full-time starter until the tenth game of the regular season, Dorsett led the team in rushing with 1,007 yards, scored 13 total touchdowns, and was the team's third leading receiver with 29 receptions for another 273 yards. Veteran fullback Robert Newhouseprovided Dorsett with blocking, and was the team's second leading rusher with 721 yards, while also catching 16 passes for another 106 yards. Running back Preston Pearsoncontributed 341 yards rushing, caught 46 passes for 535 yards, and scored 5 touchdowns. The Cowboys' offensive line was led by All-Pro tackle Rayfield Wright.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense" remained in the superb form that helped lead the Cowboys'
Super Bowl Xappearance. Their defensive line consisted of Harvey Martin(who recorded 20 sacks), Jethro Pugh, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Randy White. Behind them, the Cowboys had a trio of linebackers, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson(3 interceptions), D.D. Lewis, and Bob Breunig, who provided pass coverage and run stoppage. Dallas also had a secondary led by future hall of famer Mel Renfroand safeties Cliff Harrisand Charlie Waters.
The Cowboys earned their second trip to the Super Bowl in the three years by defeating the
Chicago Bears, 37-7, and the Minnesota Vikings, 23-6, in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Broncos earned their first ever trip to the Super Bowl in team history by defeating the two previous league champions: the Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-21, and the Oakland Raiders, 20-17, in the playoffs.
This was the final Super Bowl in the 14-game schedule era. The following season, the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, where it has remained since.
uper Bowl pregame news and notes
Super Bowl XII provided an opportunity for Morton to not only beat his former team, but also to redeem himself for his Super Bowl V loss and the loss of his starting job to Staubach. For Staubach, he had a chance to win his second Super Bowl and defeat his old rival, showing that he truly was the superior of the two.
Tony Dorsettbecame the first football player in history to win an NCAA National Championship one year (with the University of Pittsburgh Panthers) and a Super Bowl the next. Dorsett won both championships in the same building; Pitt clinched the 1976 national championship by defeating the Georgia Bulldogsin the Sugar Bowlon January 1, 1977.
Dallas was the only NFC team to win the Super Bowl in the 1970s. Both Cowboy victories in the decade came in New Orleans against teams making their first Super Bowl appearance.
This was the first Super Bowl between two teams who had met in regular season play. The Cowboys defeated the Broncos 14-6 on the final Sunday of the regular season at
Texas Stadium. Denver did not play most of its starters in that contest, since the Broncos came in at 12-1 and had already clinched the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Television and entertainment
The game, the first Super Bowl to be played in
prime time, was broadcast in the United Statesby CBSwith play-by-play announcer Pat Summeralland color commentator Tom Brookshier. The game kicked off just after 5 p.m. Central Standard Time, the latest kickoff in Super Bowl history up to that point. The standard starting time for Super Bowls since Super Bowl XXVhas been just after 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (5 p.m. CST, 4 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.)
The halftime show was "From Paris to Paris of America" featuring performances by the Apache Belles Drill team from
Tyler Junior College, clarinetist Pete Fountain, and trumpeter Al Hirt.
Super Bowl XII did not start out well for the Cowboys, as they nearly turned over the ball three times on their first two possessions. On Dallas' first
play from scrimmage, receiver Butch Johnson fumbled the handoff on a double reverse, but recovered the ball. Dallas was then forced to punt, and the Broncos advanced to the Cowboys' 33-yard line before quarterback Craig Mortonwas sacked for an 11-yard loss on third down. On the ensuing punt, Cowboys punt returner Tony Hill fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line, but managed to fall on the ball before any Denver players recover it. A few plays later, Dallas running back Tony Dorsettfumbled on his own 19-yard line, but center John Fitzgerald quickly recovered the ball.
On the Broncos' second drive of the game, Cowboys linemen Randy White and
Harvey Martinforced Morton to hurry his throw, and defensive back Randy Hughesintercepted the rushed pass at the Broncos 25-yard line. 5 plays after the turnover, Dorsett scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. On the Broncos' next possession, Morton was intercepted again when his pass was tipped by linebacker Bob Breuniginto the arms of defesive back Aaron Kyle, who then returned the ball 19 yards to Denver's 35-yard line. Dallas then drove to the 8-yard line, but Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubachwas sacked by Lyle Alzadofor a 10-yard loss on third down, forcing them to settle for a 35-yard Efren Herrerafield goal to increase their lead to 10-0.
In the second quarter, Dallas advanced to Denver's 19-yard line, and once again barely avoided a turnover. On third down, Staubach's pass was intercepted in the end zone, but officials ruled that he had stepped out of bounds before he threw the ball. On the next play, Herrera added a 43-yard field goal to increase the Dallas lead to 13-0.
The rest of the quarter was filled with sloppy play and turnovers by both teams. On the second play after receiving the ensuing kickoff, Morton was intercepted again, this time by Dallas defensive back
Benny Barnesat his own 40-yard line. The Cowboys then drove to the Denver 26-yard line, but Herrera missed wide left from 43 yards out. The Broncos then committed another turnover when wide receiver Jack Dolbinfumbled, and Hughes picked it up and returned it 19 yards to the Denver 27-yard line. However, the Cowboys once again failed to score as Herrera missed a 32-yard field goal attempt. On the first play after the missed field goal, Hughes recovered Denver tight end Riley Odoms's fumble at the Broncos 28-yard line. But on the next play, Dallas gave the ball right back to Denver after Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson recovered tight end Billy Joe Dupree's fumble. 5 plays later, defensive back Mark Washingtonintercepted another errant Morton pass and returned it 27 yards to Denver's 35-yard line with just 6 second left in the period, but Herrera missed yet another field goal attempt, this time from 44 yards out as time expired in first the half.
By halftime, the Broncos had committed 7 turnovers. Morton, whom had thrown a total of only 8 interceptions throughout the entire 1977 season, had been picked off 4 times, in addition to 3 fumbles lost. Yet Denver trailed by only 13 points as the second half began,and on the opening drive of the second half, the Broncos moved the ball to the ball deep into Dallas territory. First, John Schultz returned the second half kickoff 25 yards to the 35-yard line, and then
Otis Armstrongripped off an 18-yard gain. Seven plays later, Jim Turnerfinished the drive with a 47-yard field goal, cutting the score to 13-3. But later in the period, the Cowboys scored another touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Staubach to receiver Butch Johnson, who made a fingertip catch as he fell into the end zone. The receiver dropped the ball when he hit the ground, but the officials ruled he had caught the ball for a touchdown before it came out of his hands, and the Cowboys increased their lead to 20-3.
Denver kick returner
Rick Upchurchreturned the ensuing kickoff a super bowl record 67 yards to the Cowboys 26-yard line. On the next play, Morton nearly threw his fifth interception, and was then immediately replaced by quarterback Norris Weese. Four plays later, running back Rob Lytlescored on a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 20-10.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Weese fumbled the ball while being sacked by Martin, and Kyle recovered it on the Denver 29 yard line. On the next play, the Cowboys scored on a 29-yard
halfback option play: Staubach pitched the ball to fullback Robert Newhouse, who ran left as if it were a normal run play, but then Robert Newhousepassed the ball to Cowboys receiver Golden Richardsfor a touchdown. The score gave the Cowboys a 27-10 lead and put the game out of reach. Robert Newhousebecame the first running back in Super Bowl history to complete a touchdown pass.
Staubach finished the game with 17 out of 25 pass completions for 183 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Dorsett was the leading rusher of the game, with 66 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also caught 2 passes for 11 receiving yards. In addition to his 29 yard touchdown pass, Newhouse also contributed 55 rushing yards. Dallas tight end
Billy Joe Dupreewas the leading receiver of the game with 4 receptions for 66 yards. Hughes had an interception and a Super Bowl record 2 fumble recoveries.
Before being taken out of the game, Denver's starting quarterback
Craig Mortoncompleted just 4 out of 15 passes for 39 yards and was intercepted 4 times. Upchurch recorded 125 total offensive yards (94 on kickoff returns, 22 on punt returns, and 9 receiving yards).
The Cowboy's superb defense played a critical role in the game. So dominant were White and Martin, that they were named co-Most Valuable Players; this award is usually bestowed on an offensive player. Apart from the performances of co-MVPs White and Martin, the unheralded Hughes and Kyle of the Cowboy secondary each had superb games to play an important role in the victory. The two men came up with five turnovers between them, leading directly to 17 of Dallas' points.
*DAL - TD: Tony Dorsett 3 yard run (Efren Herrera kick) 7-0 DAL
*DAL - FG: Efren Herrera 35 yards 10-0 DAL
*DAL - FG: Efren Herrera 43 yards 13-0 DAL
*DEN - FG: Jim Turner 47 yards 13-3 DAL
*DAL - TD: Butch Johnson 45 yard pass from Roger Staubach (Efren Herrera kick) 20-3 DAL
*DEN - TD: Rob Lytle 1 yard run (Jim Turner kick) 20-10 DAL
*DAL - TD: Golden Richards 29 yard pass from Robert Newhouse (Efren Herrera kick) 27-10 DAL
Dallas (NFC) Denver (AFC)
Butch Johnson86 WR Jack Dolbin82 Ralph Neely73 LT Andy Maurer74 Herbert Scott68 LG Tom Glassic62 John Fitzgerald62 C Mike Montler52 Tom Rafferty64 RG Paul Howard 60 Pat Donovan 67 RT Claudie Minor71 Billy Joe Dupree89 TE Riley Odoms88 Drew Pearson 88 WR Haven Moses25 Roger Staubach12 QB Craig Morton7 Tony Dorsett33 RB Otis Armstrong24 Robert Newhouse44 RB Jon Keyworth32
Ed Jones 72 LE
Barney Chavous79 Jethro Pugh75 LT-NT Rubin Carter 68 Randy White 54 RT-RE Lyle Alzado77 Harvey Martin79 RE-LOLB Bob Swenson51 Tom Henderson 56 LLB-LILB Joe Rizzo59 Bob Breunig53 MLB-RILB Randy Gradishar53 D.D. Lewis 50 RLB-ROLB Tom Jackson 57 Benny Barnes31 LCB Louis Wright 20 Aaron Kyle25 RCB Steve Foley 43 Charlie Waters41 SS Billy Thompson 36 Cliff Harris43 FS Bernard Jackson 29
*Referee: Jim Tunney
*Umpire: Joe Connell
*Head Linesman: Tony Veteri
*Line Judge: Art Holst
*Field Judge: Bob Wortman
*Back Judge: Ray Douglas
"Note: A seven-official system was not used until the following season"
*70 degrees (indoors)
1977 NFL season
NFL playoffs, 1977-78
* [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)
* [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/features/superbowl/archives/12/ Sports Illustrated Archives - Super Bowl XII]
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