51 for LI: Doomsday for Denver in Super Bowl XII
[lead align=”default”]Only 12 days remain until Super Bowl LI. Before we see this season’s champion, very appropriately, we revisit Super Bowl XII.[/lead]
The Dallas Cowboys met the Denver Broncos in this game to conclude the 1977 season. In a year when the Yankees won the World Series and Jimmy Carter took office, these were the two best teams their conferences had to offer.
Super Bowl XII: 1977 Dallas Cowboys
1977, the year Dallas drafted Tony Dorsett, was the last year of the NFL’s 14-game schedule. Of those fourteen in which the Dallas Cowboys played, they won twelve. Their only defeats came in mid-November against the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh was a team they’d see next year in Super Bowl XIII, with similar results.
Dallas won the NFC East in a walk, and much of that was due to their offense posting 345 points. Their 212 allowed (15.1 per game) wasn’t the fewest in the NFL, but the “Doomsday Defense” of players like Mel Renfro and Randy White was among the most feared defenses in the league. In the NFC playoffs, they allowed just 13 points in two games (Bears, Vikings) to reach the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XII: 1977 Denver Broncos
In 1977, the Denver Broncos had yet to make a Super Bowl. Founded in 1960 before the merger, they had no championships at all. The franchise took a big step forward this year under first-year coach Red Miller, making the playoffs for the first time. Like Dallas, the Broncos also went 12-2, and in their regular season finale, they lost to the Cowboys. History would repeat itself in January.
Before the Broncos got there, however, they beat the Steelers in the Divisional and squeaked past Pittsburgh in the AFC title game. Their quarterback, Craig Morton, threw 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in a Comeback Player of the Year season after coming over from the Giants.
Super Bowl XII: The Game
The aforementioned Morton was in a position where he faced his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, that they were reunited didn’t feel so good for Morton and his Broncos. The Cowboys entered the game as almost touchdown favorites, and Tom Landry’s ‘Boys did not disappoint the bettors.
In one of the least competitive Super Bowls, Dallas stuck it to Denver by a score of 27-10. This was a 13-0 game at the half, and Roger Staubach put the contest away in the third quarter on a touchdown pass to make it 20-3. That “Doomsday Defense” wasn’t letting Denver back into it.
The Broncos totaled only 156 yards of offense in the game, less than half that of Dallas (325). Denver turned the ball over a whopping eight times for a minus-six ratio in defeat. Craig Morton threw four picks and had a quarterback rating of a sparking 0.0. Dallas had the ball for over 38 minutes in this snoozefest, which would be Tom Landry’s second and final Super Bowl victory.