Super Bowl XIII (13): Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1978 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 35–31. The game was played on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, the fifth and last time that the Super Bowl was played in that stadium.
This was the first Super Bowl that featured a rematch of a previous one (the Steelers had previously beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, in Super Bowl X), and both teams were attempting to be the first club to ever win a third Super Bowl. Dallas was also the defending Super Bowl XII champion, and finished the 1978 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams. Pittsburgh entered the game after posting a 14–2 regular season record and playoff wins over the Denver Broncos and the Houston Oilers.
Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who was named Super Bowl MVP, completed 17 out of 30 passes for Super Bowl records of 318 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes. Bradshaw eclipsed Bart Starr's Super Bowl record for passing yards in the first half with 253 yards in the air as the Steelers led 21–14 at intermission. His 75-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter also tied Johnny Unitas in Super Bowl V for the longest pass in a Super Bowl. The Cowboys were able to stay close, only trailing 21–17 at the end of the third quarter, but Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in a span of 19 seconds in the fourth period. Dallas also could not overcome turnovers, drops, and a controversial penalty during the second half. The Cowboys were eventually able to score two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game, but still ended up being the first defending champion to lose in the Super Bowl and the first losing Super Bowl team to score 30 points or more.
The NFL awarded Super Bowl XIII to Miami on June 14, 1977 at the owners meetings held in New York.
For the 1978–79 season, the NFL extended its schedule from 14 regular season games to 16 (which remains in place today, although the playoffs have since been expanded), and increased the playoffs from an 8-team tournament to 10, creating two extra playoff games. The three division winners from each conference would be ranked first through third and be given a week off, and two wild card teams from each conference, seeded fourth and fifth, would play a playoff game with the winner going on to play the first seeded team (or, if they were in the same division, the second seed).
In Super Bowls past the designated home team wore their colored jerseys, while the "visiting" team wore white. This was a rule implemented by the NFL and the teams had no choice in this matter. Super Bowl XIII was the first time the "home team" had the choice of which uniform to wear. Subsequently the Cowboys chose to wear their white jerseys, and Pittsburgh were forced to wear their colored since they were the designated visiting team. Home team designation have been kept the same since the beginning, thus the NFC being designated the home team in the odd years, while the AFC being designated the home team in the even years.
Dallas marched through the playoffs, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 27–20, and the Los Angeles Rams, 28–0. Meanwhile, the Steelers easily demolished the Denver Broncos, 33–10, and the Houston Oilers, 34–5.
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