Saturday, February 06, 2010

Gholson: Miami lucky for Colts, not so for Cowboys

By Nick Gholson
Posted February 6, 2010 at 1:18 a.m.

If Dallas Cowboys fans were to look back and pick out their worst Super Bowl memories, Jackie Smith’s drop would have to be at the top of the list.

This guy is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for all the great things he did with the Cardinals.

But in his one season with the Cowboys, he literally dropped the ball and lost Super Bowl XII.

Then there was Lynn Swann’s acrobatic catch against Mark Washington. How many times have you been forced to watch that replay?

How about John Mackey’s three-cushion billiard 75-yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl V?

Fred Swearingen’s blown call?

Mike Curtis’ interception?

Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal.

The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls.

That could easily have been eight.

The three losses were only by a combined 11 points.

All three games came down to the final few seconds.

And all three were in Miami — which on Sunday will be hosting its record 10th Super Bowl.

Beaches and bikinis make for great scenery.

But South Beach has been a Bermuda Triangle for the Cowboys over the years.

No tears were shed in Dallas when the Orange Bowl was blown up two years ago. All three of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl losses were in Miami’s old landmark stadium.

The Baltimore Colts, who were upset by the Jets at the Orange Bowl in Super Bowl III, returned to the scene of Joe Namath’s “crime” two years later and scored a 16-13 win over the Cowboys.

Two teams — supposed to be the best of the best — turned the ball over 11 times.

Curtis’ late interception of Craig Morton set up O’Brien’s winning field goal with five seconds to play.

The Colts threw three interceptions and lost four fumbles — and still won the championship.

The Cowboys would play in four more Super Bowls before the end of the decade.

They won Super Bowl VI and XII in New Orleans.

But the Steelers and that old Orange Bowl stadium in Miami were too much for them to handle in Super Bowls X and XIII.

The Dirty Dozen — 12 rookies who made the roster — and Hail Mary helped Dallas make it to the Super Bowl during the 1975 season.

Swann set a Super Bowl record with 161 receiving yards on just four catches in Pittsburgh’s 21-17 win.

Roger Staubach had the Cowboys poised for another miracle finish, but Glen Edwards’ end zone interception on the final play of the game ended that.

The two teams returned to Miami three years later.

This time Terry Bradshaw threw for a personal-high 318 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 35-31 win.

Pittsburgh scored two TDs in a 19-second span of the final quarter. Franco Harris ran 22 yards for a touchdown with 7:10 to play. On the first play following a fumble by Randy White on the kickoff, Bradshaw and Swann hooked up for a 18-yard TD and a 35-17 lead with 6:51 remaining.

The Cowboys responded. After Staubach’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Billy Joe Dupree, Dallas recovered an onside kick and Staubach threw a quick touchdown pass to Butch Johnson.

Rocky Bleier recovered the next onside kick to let Pittsburgh escape with a four-point win.

Smith’s drop was very costly.

From 1965 through 1995, the Cowboys were 1-7 in Miami.

Not only did they lose those three Super Bowls there, they also lost two of three “Playoff Bowl” games played in Miami.

The Colts blew them out 35-3 in the game matching conference runners-up following the 1965 season.

The Cowboys also were routed by the Rams 31-0 in the Playoff Bowl that followed the 1969 season.

Dallas’ only win in Miami in the first 37 years of the franchise was a 17-13 Playoff Bowl victory over the Vikings after the 1968 season.

Not only could the Cowboys not win Super Bowls in Miami, they also couldn’t win regular season games.

In their first two road games against the Dolphins, they lost 23-16 in 1978 and 28-21 in 1984.

Dallas’ first win in Miami didn’t come until 1996.

By that time the Cowboys already had their five Super Bowl championships.

The Colts, on the other hand, have won both of their Super Bowls in Miami.

On Sunday, they will be going for three in a row.