This Day In Sports: The Dallas Cowboys’ first Super Bowl title

January 16, 1972: After years of frustration, the Dallas Cowboys win their first Super Bowl, crushing the Miami Dolphins, 24-3. MVP Roger Staubach completed 12 of 18 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cowboys rushed for 252 yards. A nearly-unstoppable Duane Thomas rolled up 95 of them. Having ended every season since 1966 with a loss in the playoffs until falling in the Super Bowl the previous year, Dallas started the season badly but ended with 10 straight victories after coach Tom Landry settled on Staubach as his starting quarterback. The Dolphins were just getting started—Shula led them to the next two Super Bowl crowns.

Staubach had joined the Cowboys as a 27-year-old rookie in 1969. He won the 1963 Heisman Trophy at Navy and graduated from the academy in 1965, but he spent the next four years serving in the U.S. Navy, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. Once Staubach got the Dallas starting job, he didn’t let go, calling the signals all the way through the 1970s. Amazing factoid: Staubach is the only Heisman-winning QB ever to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Landry is in the conversation when you talk about the best coaches in NFL history. (He won two Super Bowls—the other came following the 1977 season—Bill Belichick won six.) Landry was the first coach of the Cowboys when they were born in 1960. They didn’t even have a winning season the first six years, but Landry turned them into a long-term juggernaut in 1966 when he was named NFL Coach of the Year. Dallas was one Bart Starr dive and Jerry Kramer block from making Super Bowl II at the Ice Bowl in Green Bay in 1967. The Cowboys finally played in the big one three years later.

For two decades, the Cowboys were a fearsome team under Landry as he stoically roamed the sidelines in his suit, tie and fedora. In addition to the two wins in the Super Bowl, he led Dallas into three others. Landry’s career record over 29 seasons was 270-178-6, but his team began a slow fade in the mid-1980s. The slide culminated with a 3-13 record in 1988. One day after closing on the purchase of the Cowboys in early 1989, new owner Jerry Jones fired Landry. Thirty-five years later, does Jones have the same urge to pull the plug on Mike McCarthy after the 48-32 playoff pummeling at the hands of the Packers on Sunday? And does he have Belichick on his mind?

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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