SB Nation’s NFL websites are doing a theme week with the prompt, “Where were you when...?” with an event happening after 1990. We’ll do one for the older fans and a bonus one for the younger fans.
He may be one of the unlikeliest Super Bowl MVPs ever. He was a 12th-round draft pick way back in 1991. He was only starting for the Cowboys in the 1995 season because regular corner Kevin Smith was hurt. No matter. Larry Brown will forever be remembered by Cowboys fans as the man who sealed the deal on their last Super Bowl win.
It was January 28, 1996 in Tempe, Arizona. The Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers had gathered for Super Bowl XXX. I was hosting a Super Bowl party at the time while living in Atlanta, Georgia. I was feeling so confident that the Cowboys would win their third Lombardi in four years that I deviated from my normal routine and allowed a large group of people to disturb my focused viewing of a Cowboys Super Bowl.
The Cowboys came out strong and were leading 13-0 in the first half, so my hosting duties we easy. Keep an eye on the game but mingle, make sure food and beverages were good... fun times.
Then things changed. The Steelers started to grab the momentum with a touchdown right before the half, and then were set up on their own 48-yard line in the third quarter. Things were getting serious now, I was no longer a free-spirit floating around my party. Fortunately, order was restored when Larry Brown got his first interception.
“We did a lot of blitzing in that game,” Brown said. “One thing Mike Zimmer, our defensive coordinator, said was, ‘Be where you’re supposed to be.’ A lot of times guys get into trouble because they get out of position. The first interception I was where I was supposed to be. Charles [Haley] had a good rush and barely hit O’Donnell’s hand, and it altered the path of the ball. So the first one was really a gift.”
He returned it to the Steeler 18-yard line and Emmitt Smith eventually punched it in for a 20-7 lead. But, the Steelers were not done. After a field goal cut the lead to 20-10, the Steelers stunned the Cowboys with a successful onside kick. They scored on that drive and it was now 20-17 and all the momentum was on Pittsburgh’s side.
Needless to say, I had dropped all pretense of hosting my party and was plopped on the floor about four feet in front of the television as 20 or so invited guests did whatever they were doing behind me.
The Steelers stopped the Cowboys on their next drive and forced a punt, and with 4:15 left in the game Pittsburgh was set up at their own 32-yard line ready to drive for the win. You could feel Dallas was back on their heels and that everything was slipping away. Then, on second down, a miracle happened.
The second [interception] is remembered as a bigger gift. Once again, the Cowboys blitzed, and O’Donnell expected a Steelers receiver to break off his route. Brown beat him to the spot and returned the pick 33 yards to set up a second Smith touchdown.
”I was really taking a chance, and fortunately I won and made a play,” Brown said. “I just jumped and went to go get it.”
Brown returned the ball to the Steelers six-yard line and Smith would again scored a touchdown to make the final score 27-17. The Steelers had outplayed the Cowboys that day, they held statistical advantages in many of the important categories. But thanks to Larry Brown’s two interceptions (special shoutout to Pittsburgh QB Neil O’Donnell), my Super Bowl party ended on a very successful note!
Where were you when Larry Brown sealed the Cowboys last Super Bowl win?
If you said I wasn’t born yet, or you were just a wee toddler, here’s a bonus “where were you when.”
Where were you when the refs called pass interference on Anthony Hitchens in a Wild Card game against the Lions, then picked up the flag, and the Cowboys went on to victory?
The Cowboys definitely looked liked they were on their way to a loss in the 2015 Wild Card game against the Lions, trailing 20-17 with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter. On third-and-1 just inside Cowboys territory, the Lions surprised Dallas with a pass to Brandon Pettigrew and it looked like pass interference on Anthony Hitchens. A flag was thrown, but one ref overruled the other, the flag was picked up and the Lions decided to punt.
Later, the Cowboys faced a fourth-and-6 when Tony Romo hit Jason Witten on another Y-option play. This is the play that Jason Garrett detailed during Jason Witten’s retirement press conference.
Dallas went on to win the game 24-20. You should do yourself a favor and re-live the absolute crazy ending to this game by reading this detailed breakdown from SB Nation.
So where were you when this game happened?