Super Bowl X. January 18, 1976. Steelers vs. Cowboys. Miami Florida, 56 degrees and bright sunny skies. $15,000 to the winner. $7500 to the loser. CBS legendary broadcasting duo of Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier. It had a different feel and a different look right from the start. The previous 9 Super Bowls had all been rather dull.
As the players lined up for the opening kickoff CBS Announcer Pat Summerall stated:
“I have got a feeling we’re going to see one helluva football game”
Summerall was right. This Super Bowl would be one for the ages. Dallas won the coin toss and from the opening kickoff to the final play this Super Bowl was electrifying, intense, dramatic, hard hitting, non stop excitement, big play after big play with just about every element of a game that no other Super Bowl has ever offered before or since.
On the opening kickoff Dallas’s Thomas Hollywood Henderson took a reverse from Preston Pearson and raced 56 yards down the sidelines to the Steelers 44. Henderson had a clear shot at a touchdown only to get blindsided by a diving Steelers kicker Roy Gerela. Gerela injured his ribs which affected his performance the entire game. On the first play from scrimmage Dallas’s Roger Staubach was stripped sacked by the Steelers L.C. Greenwood but Dallas recovered. Staubach then escaped an Ernie Holmes sack. Dallas loses 2 yards on the drive and punts.
The Steelers ran the ball from inside their own 20 out past the 40 but was forced to punt. Bobby Walden fumbled the snap and was swarmed by Dallas special teams at the Steelers 29. One the next play Staubach run faked to the right hitting a wide open Drew Pearson over the middle who outran the Steelers into the end zone, 7-0 Dallas. This was a bad omen for Pittsburgh for 2 reasons:
- The Steelers Defense had not given up a touchdown in the first quarter all year.
- In the prior 9 Super Bowls the team that scored the first touchdown won.
During Pittsburgh’s second possession they continued to run for large chunks into Dallas territory. From the Dallas 47 Bradshaw’s first pass of the game was Lynn Swann’s spectacular 32 yard sideline catch over Dallas’s Mark Washington who was draped all over him. The brilliance of Swann’s artistry was not lost on CBS color analyst Tom Brookshier who, in a delayed reaction as if he wasn’t sure what he saw just happened, excitedly proclaimed the catch:
“One of the great catches Pat! (Summerall)”
From their 15 Pittsburgh ran to the Dallas 7 where Rocky Bleier and linebacker DD Lewis engaged in the game’s first skirmish. It wouldn’t be the last. From the 7 Bradshaw, who called his own plays, out smarted the Dallas Doomsday defense by throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Randy Grossman from a formation Pittsburgh always ran from. On Roy Gerela’s extra point conversion he hooked a line drive to the left barely over
the crossbar inside the left upright foreshadowing the problems Gerela would have the rest of the game from his rib injury. Pat Summerall talked about the criticism of how dull the past Super Bowls have been and stated such is not the case in X.
On Dallas’s next possession they continued to run through the vaunted Steelers defense deep into Pittsburgh territory. Steelers cornerback J.T. Thomas and Dallas Wide receiver Drew Pearson got into skirmish #2 which led CBS announcer Tom Brookshier a former Philadelphia Eagle from 1953-1961 and pro bowl defensive back to proclaim:
“If there has ever been a harder hitting secondary (than the Steelers) in pro football, I’ve never seen it. By far the most belligerent and over combative (secondary) and I really appreciate it.”
On the next play Jack Lambert wasted Preston Pearson in a thundering hit. Pat Summerall spiritedly proclaimed:
“Lambert laid the wood”
and Brookshier said:
“Lambert is certainly the new Dick Butkus. He is quite a brawler.”
End of the 1st quarter 7-7.