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The forgotten Cowboys Super Bowl

Maybe forgotten is a strong a word, but least-referenced Cowboys Super Bowl may work. Think about it, even older Cowboys fans don't talk much about Super Bowl V. The Cowboys first Super Bowl on Jan. 17, 1971 against the Colts was an ugly loss that was dubbed "The Blunder Bowl" by Sports Illustrated.

The only reason I even thought about this game is because #6 on SI's 10 Greatest Super Bowl Moments is the Colts Jim O'Brien's kick with five seconds left to win the game 16-13.

Super Bowl V is like the bastard child of Cowboys SB appearances. The one nobody talks about and only grudgingly acknowledges when forced. The victory over the Dolphins the next year is always recalled as our first win. The two losses against Pittsburgh are thought of as two of the best SB's ever. The Denver win gave us two for the decade and set up the 1979 classic against the Steelers for the "Team of the Decade" title. Of course, we all recall our run in the 90s.

So here's to the forgotten Cowboys Super Bowl. It was the first one played on artificial turf and the first with a defensive MVP, LB Chuck Howley. It's weird how Dallas specializes in defensive MVP's, Chuck Howley (V), Randy White and Harvey Martin (XII), and Larry Brown (XXX). Howley remains the only MVP to play for the losing team.

Click below for the recap and read about the many ways both teams tried to give the game away, with Dallas finally succeeding.


Super Bowl V
January 17, 1971 - The Orange Bowl
Baltimore Colts 16
Dallas Cowboys 13

As the Baltimore Colts prepared to meet the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V in Miami, it was apparent that they still had not gotten over their loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. After all, they were the first NFL team to lose a Super Bowl to the AFL.

Linebacker Mike Curtis summed it up for all the Colts' players, "No one knows the despair, the abject humiliation we felt that day. The 1968 Baltimore Colts, a perfect football machine that crushed every opponent except one in a tough schedule. I felt great anger inside me that day."

Among the changes the Colts had made in the previous two years was the departure of Don Shula to the Miami Dolphins and the naming of Don McCafferty, also known as "Easy Rider" by his players, to the position of head coach.

These two teams followed completely different paths to the Super Bowl during the 1970 season. The Baltimore Colts seemed destined to win, squeeking out victory after victory while the Cowboys were often defeated, sometimes by a wide margin. At one point during the season, Dallas was sporting a very modest 5-4 record.

The contest between these two teams, at times, turned into a comedy of errors. There were a total of 10 turnovers and at times it seemed as though neither team wanted the ball. In one particular series of events, Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley intercepted a Johnny Unitas pass and returned it to the Baltimore 46-yard line. The Cowboys then proceeded to lose 23 yards and punted to Colts Ron Gardin, who fumbled on the Baltimore nine-yard line.

That particular series of events set up the first score of the game, a 14-yard field goal by Mike Clark of the Cowboys. Dallas added another field goal in the second quarter, but the Colts came right back to tie the game on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Unitas to John Mackey. The colts missed the extra point which left the game at 6-6.

A fumble by Unitas set up a Dallas touchdown, and then Baltimore suffered another blow when their starting QB was injured after throwing an interception. Ironically, Unitas was replaced by Earl Morrall, the same quarterback he replaced in Super Bowl III. Morrall quickly drove the Colts to the Cowboy's goal line, but they were stopped on four consecutive plays as the first half came to a close.

Baltimore continued to have problems hanging on to the ball as Jim Duncan fumbled the second-half kickoff and Richmond Flowers recovered for Dallas on the Colts' 31. Duncan then redeemed himself by recovering a Cowboy fumble after Dallas had driven to the Colts' two-yard line.

In the fourth quarter, with Dallas ahead 13-7, another strange play took place. The Colts tried to catch the Cowboys by surprise with a flea flicker, but Morrall was picked off again, this time by Eddie Hinton. Hinton seemed to be on his way to the endzone when Baltimore safety Cornell Green stripped the ball from behind and with everyone trying to fall on the ball, it rolled through the endzone for a touchback.

The game was decided by a pair of Baltimore interceptions late in the game. The first one set up a touchdown that tied the game, and the second set up a game-winning 32-yard field goal. The Colts were the champs, 16-13.

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