Dallas Cowboys fans are nuts, leave their greatest game off DVD set

dallas-cowboys-greatest-games-01

Network broadcasts of ten Dallas Cowboys games are now available on DVD from Warner Home Video.  They are as follows: 

 

Disc 1  01/16/1972     Super Bowl VI Cowboys vs. Dolphins

Disc 2  12/28/1975     The Hail Mary Game Cowboys vs. Vikings

Disc 3  01/15/1978     Super Bowl XII Cowboys vs. Broncos

Disc 4  01/04/1981     NFC Playoff   Cowboys vs. Falcons

Disc 5  01/17/1993     1992 NFC       Championship Game Cowboys vs. 49ers

Disc 6  01/31/1993     Super Bowl XXVII    Cowboys vs. Bills

Disc 7  01/23/1994     1993 NFC Championship Game Cowboys vs. 49ers

Disc 8  01/31/1994     Super Bowl XXVIII Cowboys vs. Bills

Disc 9  01/14/1996     1995 NFC Championship Game Cowboys vs. Packers

Disc 10 01/28/1996     Super Bowl XXX Cowboys vs. Steelers

 

I just received the ten disc set and I am disappointed to discover a notable omission, the 1972 NFC Divisional Playoff Game versus the San Francisco 49ers.  The fans chose five of these games through a voting process and it makes me wonder:  Are these people insane?  This was the best comeback in Cowboys playoff history.  Better than the 81 Falcons game.  Way better than the Hail Mary Game. 

 

It was Saturday December 23rd 1972, and the Cowboys traveled to Candlestick Park to play the Western Division Champion 49ers.  Sixty one thousand two hundred and fourteen ticket holders traveled to the western shore of San Francisco Bay to see these teams play for the third consecutive year in the playoffs. 

 

The 49ers raced out to a 28-13 lead so with 1:48 left in the third period, Dallas quarterback Craig Morton was replaced by Super Bowl VI MVP Roger Staubach because Coach Tom Landry felt the team needed a spark. 

 

Staubach was initially rusty, fumbling once and missing some easy passes.  But a forty eight yard run from scrimmage by Calvin Hill, set up Toni Fritsch’s third field goal of the day, a 27 yard chip shot making the score 28-16, San Francisco. 

 

Now with a little over two minutes remaining in the game, San Francisco punted and the Cowboys went to work on their own 45.

 

Roger Staubach, needing two touchdowns to win and calling his own plays in the two minute offense, started the comeback by dumping a pass to running back Walt Garrison.  The fullback was run out of bounds at the San Francisco 47. 

72-03-staubach

 

The two minute warning stopped play.

 

The game resumes and it is second and two.  Staubach looks deep but settles for short yardage and throws to Garrison again.  He runs out of bounds at the 39 yard line.

 

With a fresh new set out downs, Staubach, who threw only twenty passes in the regular season due to a shoulder injury sustained in the preseason, splits wide receivers Billy Parks left and Bob Hayes right.  The former naval officer fires a ball to Parks for nineteen more yards.  Parks is tackled at the San Francisco 20. 

 

First and ten with one minute and thirty five seconds remaining, the Cowboys take their second time out.  During the timeout Staubach and Landry talk it over on the sidelines, and feel Parks to the post will be open. 

 

First and ten, Staubach takes a seven step drop and Parks puts an inside move on corner Bruce Taylor.  The Cowboys signal caller zips a pass by Taylor’s outstretched hands to Parks for a touchdown.  The point after is added 28-23, San Francisco. 

 

It took four plays and covered 45 yards.

 

One minute and thirty seconds remain.  Toni Fritsch, an Austrian soccer player and the Cowboys place kicker, squibs an onside kick along the Astroturf.  49ers backup wide receiver and three year veteran Preston Riley moves to his right and cradles the ball, but as he hits the hard turf the ball is squirts out.  Cowboy cornerback Mel Renfro pounces on the loose ball and the Cowboys are back in business.  

 

From the 50 yard line, the Cowboy quarterback looks downfield but under a heavy rush, he sees an opening and begins to run.  Darting and shoulder juking his way downfield, Staubach finds his way to the San Francisco 29 for a twenty one yard gain. 

 

With one minute and three seconds remaining the Cowboys use their final time out.

 

When the Cowboys break the huddle, Parks is split left and Bob Hayes is split right.  Staubach hits Parks again for 19 more yards.  He is run out of bounds by Bruce Taylor stopping the clock. 

 

First and goal from the San Francisco 10 yard line.

 

Only fifty seven ticks of the clock remain.  Dallas wide receiver Ron Sellers, acquired from the New England Patriots in a trade earlier in the year, checks in at tight end because Landry wanted more speed on the field due to this being a passing situation.   

 

The Cowboys are only ten yards away from the go ahead score so the 49ers blitz.  Facing a heavy rush and throwing off his front foot, Staubach finds the 6’4 Florida State graduate Ron Sellers running a hook pattern near the goal line.  Sellers gathers in the ball in front of rookie free safety Windham Hall for a touchdown.  The point after is added.  The Cowboys have their first lead of the day 30-28.  Miraculously in a minute and half, the Cowboys have run seven plays and scored two touchdowns!

 

72-02-sellers

Following the kickoff the 49ers eventually reach the Cowboys 39 yard line with seventeen seconds showing on the scoreboard.  However, a holding penalty on tackle Cas Banaszek would bring them all the way back to their own 30.  All that remained was a Charlie Waters interception of a John Brodie desperation throw, and a Cowboys kneel down play. 

 

Final Score: Dallas 30 San Francisco 28. 

 

The Cowboys advanced to the NFC Championship Game but were soundly beaten by a great Redskins team 26-3.  But they would be back. 

 

The 49ers would not be so fortunate.  This was their last good team of the 70s.  They would have to wait nine long years to make the playoffs again.

 

The 1972 Divisional Playoff game has simply been lost to time.  In all likelihood it does not exist in the CBS Sports archives. 

 

Attempts to contact the NFL, the NFL Network and CBS have been met with silence. 

 

Scorecard

                                    1          2          3          4         

Dallas                          3          10        0          17        30

Sand Francisco            7          14        7          0          28

 

1)      SF        Vic Washington 97 yard kickoff return (Gossett kick)          SF 7-0

1)      Dal      Fritsch 37 yard field goal                                                        SF 7-3

2)      SF        Schreiber 1 yard run (Gossett kick)                                        SF 14-3

SF        Schreiber 1 yard run (Gossett kick)                                        SF 21-3

            Dal      Fritsch 45 yard field goal                                                        SF 21-6

            Dal      Alworth 28 yard pass from Morton (Fritsch kick)                  SF 21-13

3)      SF        Schreiber 1 yard run (Gossett kick)                                        SF 28-13

Dal      Fritsch 27 yard field goal                                                        SF 28-16

4)      Dal      Parks 20 yard pass from Staubach (Fritsch kick)                    SF 28-23

Dal      Sellers 10 yard pass from Staubach (Fritsch kick)                  Dal 30-28

 

Individual Statistics

 

Dallas passing

Staubach         12 of 20           174 yards        2 TD    0 INT

Morton            8 of 21             96 yards         1 TD    2 INT

 

San Fransico passing

Brodie             12 of 22           150 yards        0 TD    2 INT

 

Dallas Rushing

Hill                              18 carries         125 yards        0 TD

Garrison                      9 carries           15 yards          0 TD

 

San Francisco Rushing

Schreiber                     26 carries         52 yards          3 TD

V. Washington            10 carries         56 yards          0 TD

Jimmy Thomas            1 carry             3 yards            0 TD

 

Dallas Receiving

Hill                              1 reception      6 yards             0 TD

Parks                           7 receptions     125 yards        1 TD

Alworth                       2 receptions     50 yards          1 TD

Garrison                      3 receptions     24 yards          0 TD

Sellers                          2 receptions     21 yards         1 TD

Montgomery               2 receptions     19 yards          0 TD

Hayes                          1 reception      13 yards          0 TD

Ditka                           1 reception      9 yards            0 TD

Truax                           1 reception      3 yards           0 TD

 

San Francisco Receiving

G. Washington            3 receptions     76 yards          0 TD

Schreiber                     3 receptions     20 yards         0 TD

V. Washington            1 reception      8 yards             0 TD

Riley                            4 receptions     41 yards         0 TD

Kwalick                       1 reception      5 yards           0 TD

 

Team Statistics            Dallas                          San Francisco

 

First Downs                22                                13

Rushing                       5                                  7

Passing                        15                                6

Offensive Plays           77/402                         59/255

Rushes / yards             31/165                         37/105

Passes / yards              41/20                           22/12

Sacked yards loss        5/33                             0/0

Interceptions / yards   2/12                             2/4

Fumbles / lost              4/3                               5/1

Penalties / yards          3/35                             7/56

 

 

 

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One Response to Dallas Cowboys fans are nuts, leave their greatest game off DVD set

  1. Winston Smith says:

    Unfortunately, the original CBS-TV broadcast of the ’72 playoff game between Dallas and San Francisco no longer seems to exist. It is not in the CBS archive, nor can it be found on the “gray market” of game traders (in fact, among game traders it is considered one of the “holy grail” games that everyone is seeking). Unless or until a copy is found on a dusty archive shelf or in a vault or under someone’s bed, that broadcast (along with so many others from that era) has, for all intents and purposes, vanished into history.

    During that era, the networks did not value every piece of footage transmitted over their air. With tape stock a considerable expense for networks producing 24 hours of broadcast content, the networks routinely erased and reused their tapes of broadcasts they didn’t deem significant, historic, or profitable to re-air. It seems incomprehensible now, but the network heads apparently did not foresee how their old programming would have value to them and audiences just a couple of decades later.

    As bad as I feel about not having another opportunity to watch a game I thoroughly enjoyed as a teenager, I feel worse knowing that NASA is all but certain that it erased and reused its tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing video. How the powers that be let that happen is completely beyond understanding–the record of the greatest achievement in human history lost by the very agency that was responsible for achieving it.

    As for the 10-volume set, I have no idea how those games were actually chosen (I never saw a fan ballot), but they certainly did miss out on one of the all-time great games that is known to exist, namely the 1979 season finale between the Cowboys and Redskins, often known as the “Double Comeback” game. It was Roger Staubach’s last great comeback (and the second-to-last game of his career), and it should make any fan’s Top 10 list of great Cowboys games. In fact, it usually does. That’s a huge miss for this set, and I’m still waiting for a second volume to rectify that omission and add a few more great Cowboys performances that we know are out there, such as the 1977 NFC Championship victory over Minnesota.

    The NFL has done a poor job of preserving and celebrating its history, and it seems to be doing worse at this with every passing year. The NFL Network has all but abandoned its “NFL Classic Games” series, and the NFL hasn’t released any new collections of older games in several years. I’ve heard (but haven’t been able to confirm) that the league is content to let the past disappear in favor of promoting the modern game. If that’s true (and it is consistent with their general disrespect and disregard of the older players), it’s very short-sighted and arrogant on their part. Those old games and players deserve to be seen and celebrated, and the game traders are the only ones keeping them alive. It’s a shame.

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