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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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