- Super Bowl XXX
visitor_qtr1 = 10
visitor_qtr2 = 3
visitor_qtr3 = 7
visitor_qtr4 = 7
home_qtr1 = 0
home_qtr2 = 7
home_qtr3 = 0
home_qtr4 = 10
January 28, 1996
stadium = Sun Devil Stadium
city = Tempe, Arizona
attendance = 76,347
odds = Cowboys by 13 1/2
MVP = Larry Brown,
anthem = Vanessa Williams
Joe Montanarepresenting previous Super Bowl MVPs
network = NBC
Dick Enberg, Phil Simmsand Paul Maguire
rating = 46.1
share = 72
commercial = $1.085 million
last = XXIX
next = XXXI
Super Bowl XXX was an
American footballgame played on January 28, 1996at Sun Devil Stadiumin Tempe, Arizonato decide the National Football League(NFL) champion following the 1995 regular season. The National Football Conference(NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys(15–4) defeated the American Football Conference(AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers(13–6), 27–17. Super Bowl XXX cite book |title=Keeping Up With the Boys: From Austin to Super Bowl XXX : The Dynasty Continues |last=Barnhart |first=John |authorlink= |coauthors=Ron St. Angelo |year= |publisher=Taylor Publishing |location= |isbn=0878339523]
Dallas tied the
San Francisco 49ersfor the most Super Bowlwins by a team (5) and became the first team to win three Super Bowls in four years. This game was the third meeting between the Cowboys and Steelers in a Super Bowl (after Super Bowl Xand Super Bowl XIII), which is currently the most between any two NFL teams. For Pittsburgh, it was their first Super Bowl loss in team history after winning four in the 1970s. Pittsburgh would later tie both the Cowboys and 49ers with 5 Super Bowl victories after the Steelers won Super Bowl XLten years later.
Dallas' Larry Brown became the first
cornerbackto be named Super Bowl MVP, recording two interceptions and returning them for a total of 77 yards. The Cowboys sealed the victory by converting Brown's interceptions into 2 touchdowns.
The NBC television broadcast averaged 95.1 million people in the United States, making it at the time the second most-watched sporting event ever on American television, and the third most-watched program of all, trailing only the final episode of "M*A*S*H"." [http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/2/6/94833.shtml Super Bowl Draws Third-Largest TV Audience Ever] ".
Reuters, February 6, 2007.] The metropolitan Phoenix area hosted the Super Bowl again twelve years later.
Tempe was originally chosen as the venue for
Super Bowl XXVII. However, the NFL pulled the game away from Arizona after the league joined a massive, nationwide tourist boycott by various groups to protest the state’s refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. After Arizona finally adopted the federal holiday in 1992, the NFL again began to consider Tempe. NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXX to Tempe, Arizona during their March 23, 1993meeting.
Super Bowl XXX was the last to be hosted in a stadium containing
bleacherseats, and would also be the last Super Bowl to be held on a college campus, as the stadium sits on the campus of Arizona State University.
The Cowboys entered the 1995 regular season attempting to win 3 out of the last 4 Super Bowls. They had previously won Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII but their chance of a "three-peat" (winning three consecutive championships) was thwarted when they lost the NFC Championship Game to the
San Francisco 49ers, the eventual Super Bowl XXIXwinners. This was the Cowboys’ 8th appearance in the Super Bowl, the most of any franchise.
After taking over the Cowboys in 1989, team owner/general manager
Jerry Jonesand head coach Jimmy Johnson rebuilt the team into a Super Bowl contender with young talent. Both had different ideas on the future personnel plans for the Cowboys and both wanted equal credit for the team's recent success. As a result, Johnson eventually left the team after their XXVIII win and was replaced by former University of Oklahomahead coach Barry Switzer, who had one of the highest winning percentages of any college footballcoach in history with a mark of .837.
In 1995, the Cowboys finished with a 12-4 regular season record, the best in the NFC.
Pro Bowlquarterback Troy Aikmanfinished the regular season completing 280 out of 432 passes for 3,304 yards and 16 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions. Pro Bowl running back Emmitt Smithwon his fourth league rushing crown in his career with 1,773 yards, and broke a league single-season record with 25 rushing touchdowns. Smith was also a reliable receiver out of the backfield, recording a career high 62 receptions for 375 yards. Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Irvinled the team in receiving with 111 catches for 1,603 yards and 10 touchdowns. Pro Bowl tight end Jay Novacek also had 62 receptions for 705 yards and 5 touchdowns. Dallas' offensive line was led by Pro Bowlers Larry Allen, Ray Donaldson, Nate Newtonand Mark Tuinei.
Dallas' major acquisition before the season was 4-time Pro Bowl cornerback
Deion Sanders. Coincidentally, Sanders won the Super Bowl the year before with San Francisco. However, Sanders only played 9 regular season games for the Cowboys in 1995 due to injuries, and thus only recorded 24 tackles and 2 interceptions for 34 yards. However, defensive back Darren Woodsonwas named to the Pro Bowl with 89 tackles and 2 interceptions for 46 return yards and a touchdown. defensive back Larry Brown led the team in interceptions with 6 for 124 return yards and 2 touchdowns. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Charles Haleyled the team in sacks with 10.5. Safety Brock Marionrecorded 6 interceptions, returning them for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Super Bowl XXX was the first time that the Steelers advanced to the league championship game under head coach
Bill Cowher. Cowher took over the team in 1992 after longtime head coach Chuck Nollretired after a 23-year tenure and leading the team to 4 Super Bowl wins. During Cowher's first year, the Steelers captured the #1 AFC playoff Seed with an 11-5 regular season record, but were eliminated in their first playoff game against the Buffalo Bills, 24-3. Cowher then led the Steelers into the playoffs in 1993 and 1994 but were also eliminated, including a 17-13 upset loss to the San Diego Chargersin the AFC Championship Game.
In 1995, the Steelers finished with an 11-5 record, the second best in the AFC. Their offense was led by quarterback
Neil O'Donnell, who completed 246 out of 416 passes for 2,970 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions. Pro Bowl wide receiver Yancey Thigpenwas the team's leading receiver with 85 receptions for 1,307 yards and 5 touchdowns. Other contributors in the passing game included wide receivers Andre Hastings(48 catches for 502 yards and 1 touchdown) and Ernie Mills(39 receptions for 679 yards and 8 touchdowns), who both also excelled as returners on special teams. Mills gained 1,306 yards returning kickoffs while Hastings returned 48 punts for 474 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers rushing attack was led by Erric Pegram, who recorded 813 yards and 5 touchdowns, and Bam Morris, who had 559 yards and 9 touchdowns. On special teams, kicker Norm Johnsonled the NFL in both field goals made (34) and field goals attempted (41), while also successfully making all 39 of his extra point attempts.
The 1995 Pittsburgh defense ranked second in the league in total yards allowed (4,833). Pro Bowl linebacker
Kevin Greeneled the team with 9 sacks, while Pro Bowl linebacker Greg Lloydled the team with 86 tackles. The secondary was led by Pro Bowl defensive backs Carnell Lakeand Rod Woodson.
The Cowboys first defeated the
Philadelphia Eagles, 30–11. The score was tied 3–3 into the second quarter until Dallas scored 27 unanswered points to put the game out of reach. First, Sanders scored a 21-yard touchdown on an end around play. Smith then capped of a 79-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run before halftime. Kicker Chris Boniol later scored two field goals in the third quarter, and Aikman completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Irvin in the final period, giving a commanding 30-3 lead. Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Randall Cunninghamwas limited to just 11 of 26 completions for 161 yards and no touchdowns, with 1 interception. Philadelphia could only score a single field goal and Cunningham's meaningless 4-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Dallas then advanced to their fourth consecutive NFC Championship Game where they faced the
Green Bay Packers, who had eliminated the San Francisco 49ersin the other NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Dallas jumped to an early 14-3 lead with a pair of first quarter touchdown passes from Aikman to Irvin. But Packers quarterback Brett Favrethrew 2 touchdowns to take a 17-14 lead midway through the second quarter: a 73-yard strike to wide receiver Robert Brooksand a 24-yard pass to tight end Keith Jackson. Dallas stormed right back with a Boniol field goal, and a record 99-yard drive to score on Smith's 1-yard touchdown run, giving them 24-17 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Green Bay regained the lead with a field goal and another touchdown pass from Favre to Brooks. But Dallas scored two unanswered touchdowns in the final period to put the game away. A 90-yard drive was capped with Smith's second touchdown run. Then on the Green Bay's ensuing drive, Brown intercepted a pass from Favre and returned it 28 yards to set up Smith's third touchdown run. Smith finished the game with 150 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, while also catching 2 passes for 17 yards. Aikman threw for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. Irvin caught 7 passes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For the Steelers, they started their playoff run with a 40–21 win over the
Buffalo Bills. Pittsburgh dominated the Bills right from the start, building up a 23-7 halftime lead. Buffalo scored 2 touchdowns in the second half, but Morris' two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter ended any thoughts of a Bills comeback.The Steelers defense limited Buffalo's Jim Kellyto just 135 passing yards and 1 touchdown, while intercepting him 3 times. Bills running back Thurman Thomas, who had rushed for 158 yards and caught 3 passes for 42 yards in Buffalo's wild card playoff win over the Miami Dolphins, was held to just 46 rushing yards and 12 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Morris rushed for 106 yards 2 touchdowns, while kicker Norm Johnsonscored 4 field goals.
Pittsburgh then narrowly defeated the
Indianapolis Colts, 20–16, to advance to their first Super Bowl since the 1979 season.O'Donnell's 5-yard touchdown pass to Kordell Stewartin the second quarter gave Pittsburgh a 13-6 halftime lead. But after the teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter, Indianapolis quarterback Jim Harbaughthrew a 47-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Floyd Turnerto take a 16-13 lead with 3:04 left in the game. Pittsburgh then took the ensuing kickoff and drove 67 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run by Morris with 1:34 left. However, the Colts responded by driving to the Steelers 29-yard line, and on the game's final play, Harbaugh threw a "Hail Mary" pass intended for wide receiver Aaron Bailey in the end zone. Bailey attempted to make a diving catch, but the pass was ruled incomplete.
Television and entertainment
The game was broadcast in the
United Statesby NBC, with play-by-play announcer Dick Enbergand color commentators Phil Simmsand Paul Maguire. Greg Gumbelhosted all the events with the help of then-NBC analysts Ahmad Rashad, Mike Ditka, Joe Gibbs, and Joe Montana. The Lombardi Trophy presentation for this game was the first to be held on the field instead of the winners' locker room, all subsequent trophy presentations have been held in this manner.
A portion of this Super Bowl was predicted in the episode "All Americans" of 'Quantum Leap' in which Al (Dean Stockwell) states that the Steelers were down by 3 points. Following the game, NBC broadcast an hour-long episode of "
Friends", beginning a trend in which the prized post-Super Bowl time slot was given to an established program. Previously, networks typically used the occasion to premiere a new show, with little success. Of the new series premiering after the Super Bowl from 1983-95, only " The A-Team" (NBC, after Super Bowl XVII), " The Wonder Years" (ABC, after XXII), and "" (NBC, after XXVII) had lengthy runs.
The radio broadcast was carried by CBS Radio, with
Jack Buckand Hank Stramannouncing. It proved to be the Buck's last NFL broadcast.
Some weeks before Super Bowl XXX, it was found that some proxy servers were blocking the web site for the event. The reason: The game's Roman numeral (XXX) is usually associated with
The pregame show held before the game featured dancers in celebration of the culture of
Native Americans in the United States, the traditions of the American Old West, and the great outdoors.
Actress and singer Vanessa Williams later sang the national anthem.
Diana Rossperformed during the halftime show, titled "Take Me Higher: A Celebration of 30 years of the Super Bowl". The show featured a number of her songs along with pyrotechnics, special effects and stadium card stunts. The show ended with Ross singing "Take Me Higher" from her 1995 album of the same name, and then she was taken from the field in a helicopter. Super Bowl XXX ]
Super Bowl XXX began with Dallas wide receiver Kevin Williams returning the opening kickoff 18 yards to the 29-yard line. On Dallas' first possession
Troy Aikmancompleted a 20-yard pass on second down to wide receiver Michael Irvin, followed by a 23-yard gain by Emmitt Smithto advance to the Pittsburgh 28-yard line. On third down and eight from the 26-yard line, Williams' could only gain 2 yards on a reverse play, forcing Dallas to settle for a 42-yard Chris Boniolfield goal.
On the Steelers' first possession, the Dallas defense forced a punt after only three plays, which Cowboy cornerback
Deion Sandersreturned 11 yards to the 25-yard line. After 2 Smith runs, Aikman completed two quick passes, the first to Irvin for an 11 yard gain and the second to Sanders (who was brought in on offense as an extra receiver) for 47. Four plays later, Aikman completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Novacek, increasing Dallas' lead to 10–0.
After the Steelers managed to advance to the Dallas 36-yard line on their ensuing drive, the possession fell apart due to a miscue by center
Dermontti Dawson. Pittsburgh had lined up in the shotgun formation, and Dawson's snap sailed over quarterback Neil O'Donnell's head. O'Donnell managed to recover the fumble, but the Steelers were unable to recover from the 13-yard loss and had to punt 2 plays later.
After the punt, Dallas drove to the Steelers 24-yard line. However, a pass interference penalty on Irvin nullified a 24-yard touchdown reception, and moved the ball back to the 34-yard line. On the next play, Aikman completed a 19-yard pass to Novacek, bringing up second down and 1 to go from the 15-yard line. However, the Steelers defense stopped Smith for no gain on the next play, and then tackled him for a 3-yard loss on third down. Boniol then kicked a 35-yard field goal, increasing Dallas' lead to 13–0.
After an exchange of punts, Steelers wide receiver
Andre Hastingsreturned John Jett's punt 11 yards to the Pittsburgh 46-yard line. After O'Donnell's first down pass fell incomplete, Dallas linebacker Charles Haleythen sacked the Steeler quarterback for a 10-yard loss, forcing 3rd down and 20. O'Donnell's next pass was a 19-yard completion to Hastings, and then a 3-yard fourth down run by wide receiver/backup quarterback Kordell Stewartnetted a first down. Nine plays later, O'Donnell threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Yancey Thigpenwith just 13 seconds left in the half, cutting Pittsburgh's deficit to 13-7.
After the third quarter began with another exchange of punts, the Steelers advanced the ball to their own 48-yard line. However, on third down, Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown intercepted O'Donnell's pass at the Dallas 38-yard line and returned it 44 yards to the Pittsburgh 18-yard line. Aikman then completed a 17-yard pass to Irvin to reach the 1-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown by Smith to increase Dallas' lead to 20-7.
On their next drive, the Steelers had second down and 2 on their own 47-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs after running back
Bam Morriswas tackled for no gain on 3 consecutive running plays: a draw playto the left, a run to the left, and one to the middle. The Steeler defense held, however, forcing Dallas into a three-and-out; after a 6-yard run by Smith and an incompletion, Aikman's third down pass was broken up by defensive back Rod Woodson, forcing the Cowboys to punt.
On their next drive, the Steelers advanced from their own 20-yard line to the Dallas 19. Dallas defensive end
Tony Tolbertsacked O'Donnell on third down for a 9-yard loss, however, forcing Pittsburgh to settle for kicker Norm Johnson's 46-yard field goal with 11:20 left in the game, cutting the deficit to 20-10. On the ensuing kickoff, Pittsburgh surprised the Cowboys by executing a successful onside kick, with defensive back Deon Figuresrecovering the ball for Pittsburgh at their own 47-yard line. O'Donnell hit Hastings two consecutive passes for 23 total yards. His next pass went to wide receiver Ernie Millsfor 7 yards, and then Morris ran for 5 yards and caught a pass for a 6-yard gain to the Dallas 11-yard line. Three plays later, Morris scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, cutting Pittsburgh's deficit to 20-17.
With the aid of linebacker
Levon Kirkland's 8-yard sack on Aikman, the Cowboys were forced to punt on their next drive and Pittsburgh regained possession of the ball at their own 32-yard line with 4:15 remaining. On second down, however, Brown intercepted another O'Donnell pass and returned it 33 yards to the Steelers' 6-yard line.
Two plays later, Smith scored once again with 3:43 left in the game, increasing the Cowboy lead 27–17. The Steelers responded by driving to the Dallas 40-yard line, but after O'Donnell threw 4 consecutive incompletions, Pittsburgh turned the ball over on downs with 1:42 left in the game. After that, Dallas ran out most of the clock with three
quarterback kneels and an intentional delay of the game penalty before punting the ball back to the Steelers. Pittsburgh regained possession of the ball with three seconds remaining, but O'Donnell's hail mary pass was intercepted by Dallas safety Brock Marionon the final play of the game.
The Steelers had outgained the Cowboys in total yards, 310-254, had 25 first downs compared to the Cowboys 15, and limited Dallas' powerful running attack to just 56 yards. However, they were unable to overcome O'Donnell's interceptions, which led to two Cowboy touchdowns. The irony of the game was that O'Donnell entered Super Bowl XXX as the NFL's career leader in fewest interceptions per pass attempt.
Troy Aikman finished the game with 15 out of 23 completions for 209 yards and a touchdown (Aikman became just the third quarterback to win three Super Bowls.
Terry Bradshawand Joe Montanaeach won four). Smith was the Cowboys' leading rusher with 49 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. (Smith became just the 5th player to score a touchdown in three different Super Bowls, joining Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomasand Jerry Rice. He also became the first player to rush for two touchdowns in two different Super Bowls). Irvin was Dallas' top receiver with 5 catches for 76 yards. Novacek caught 5 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Chad Henningsrecorded 2 sacks.
Although his 3 interceptions were costly, O'Donnell recorded 28 of 49 completions for 239 yards and a touchdown. Morris was the top rusher of the game with 73 yards and a touchdown, and caught 3 passes for 18 yards. Hastings was the top receiver of the game with 10 receptions for 98 yards, and returned 2 punts for 18 yards. Mills caught 8 passes for 78 yards and gained 79 yards on 4 kickoff returns, giving him 157 total yards.
Charles Haleybecame the first player to win 5 Super Bowls, winning two with San Francisco (XXIII and XXIV) and two previously with Dallas (XXVII and XXVIII). Barry Switzerbecame the second head coach, after former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, to win a college football national championship ( University of Oklahoma1974, 1975, 1985) and a Super Bowl title.
This was the first Super Bowl in which the
Vince Lombardi Trophywas given to the owner of the winning team in an on-field ceremony after the game, a practice which has been followed ever since.
This game had dramatic effects on the players most visibly responsible for its outcome. O'Donnell seemed likely to be named the Steelers franchise player at the conclusion of the season, denying him free agency. Instead, after his interceptions cost the Steelers the Super Bowl, he never played another down for them and was allowed to enter free agency. He subsequently signed a big contract with the Jets and never reach the level of play he had with the Steelers. On the other hand, the Cowboys' defensive back Larry Brown, the beneficiary of two O'Donnell passes thrown directly to him, was named the game's Most Valuable Player. This propelled him to a large free agent contract with the Raiders. Like O'Donnell, he never reached the expectations of his new team.
*DAL - FG: Chris Boniol 42 yards 3-0 DAL
*DAL - TD: Jay Novacek 3 yard pass from Troy Aikman (Chris Boniol kick) 10-0 DAL
*DAL - FG: Chris Boniol 35 yards 13-0 DAL
*PIT - TD: Yancey Thigpen 6 yard pass from Neil O'Donnell (Norm Johnson kick) 13-7 DAL
*DAL - TD: Emmitt Smith 1 yard run (Chris Boniol kick) 20-7 DAL
*PIT - FG: Norm Johnson 46 yards 20-10 DAL
*PIT - TD: Byron "Bam" Morris 1 yard run (Norm Johnson kick) 20-17 DAL
*DAL - TD: Emmitt Smith 4 yard run (Chris Boniol kick) 27-17 DAL
Source: [Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. "The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present". 1994 ISBN 0312114354 ]
*Umpire: John Keck
*Head Linesman: Paul Weidner
*Line Judge: Dale Orem
*Field Judge: Don Hakes
*Back Judge: Dick Creed
*Alternate Umpire: Hendi Ancich
1995 NFL season
NFL playoffs, 1995-96
* [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
* [http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/superbowl/ The Sporting News: History of the Super Bowl] (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
* 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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