That same year the Denver Broncos had a great season and their Defense was given a nickname “The Orange Crush.” Dallas and Denver were meeting for the last game of the season. Dallas was 11-2 at the time. The Broncos were 12-1. This same classmate made it a point to tell me before the game that the Orange Crush was going to destroy the Cowboys. I said, “I thought you were a Cowboys fan.” He replied, “Broncos baby.”
Super Bowl XII remains the most satisfying Super Bowl to me because it was clearly the two best teams in the NFL, and Craig Morton was the Broncos QB that day. Doomsday II, led by “Beautiful” Harvey Martin and The Manster absolutely destroyed Craig Morton that day. In truth, Ed “Too Tall” Jones could have joined them as co-MVP of that game. The Cowboys battered and beat the crap out of the Broncos and their legions of Orange Crush fans. I suppose the play most people remember from that game was the diving TD by Butch Johnson. It has been debated by many whether that should have been a catch or not. It wouldn’t have mattered. Denver was not going to beat the Cowboys under any circumstance. Suddenly my school chum was a Cowboys fan again.
The next year the same guy was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I learned from that there are bandwagon fans who can only root for a winner. That was the Cowboys opponent in Super Bowl XIII. Well, the Steelers and the referees. Many Cowboys fans remember Jackie Smith’s sure TD drop in the end zone, but I remember the Bennie Barnes penalty most of all. Steelers Wide Receiver Lynn Swann ran into Barnes and pushed him to the ground and a heave by Terry Bradshaw flew harmlessly by. But Referee Fred Swearingen threw a penalty flag for interference on Barnes. If there was interference, it was by Swann, not Barnes. I still believe it was incidental contact.
Regardless, the penalty set Pittsburgh up and they scored, after some more help from the Officials. On a critical 3rd and long Pittsburgh clearly opted to set up for a Field Goal and ran the ball with Franco Harris. An Official got right in the way of Charlie Waters and instead of a clean stop Franco scored from 22 yards out, virtually untouched. That touchdown, aided by two officiating faux pas, was the true difference in the game’s final score.