In 1970 coach Tom Landry and his team reached heights that hadn’t reached before. This season they exercised some ghosts from seasons past but still failed on the attempt to get over the final hurdle in their quest for a championship. They finally got to a Super Bowl after disappointing heartbreaking playoff defeats over the previous four seasons. During that time two narrow losses to Green Bay and two blowout losses to Cleveland the previous two seasons. After defeating San Francisco in the NFC Championship game they fell short to Baltimore in Super Bowl V. Here is a look at five exciting games from the 1970 season.
October 25, 1970 Dallas 27 Kansas City 16 at Kansas City: One week after getting hammered in Minnesota (54-13) the Cowboys faced a crucial game in Kansas City against defending Super Bowl Champions. Although this game wasn’t as close as the score indicated it was special for another reason. Between 1960 and 1962 Dallas and Kansas City shared a city and a stadium for three seasons. During that time the Chiefs where known as the Dallas Texans. In fact the Texans won the AFL Championship in the final season in Dallas before going to Kansas City in 1963.
The Chiefs got on the board early after a Duane Thomas fumble and Willie Lanier recovery. After a Len Dawson to Gloster Richardson 26 yard pass it was time for Ed Podolak to run it in from the 5 for an early 7-0 lead. Two Mike Clark field goals from 34 and 38 yards out along with a Duane Thomas score from a yard out made the score 13-7 Dallas. Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud kicked a 25 yard field goal to cut the Dallas lead to 13-10 before the half.
In the third quarter the Cowboys put the game away after running back Duane Thomas scored from a yard out and quarterback Craig Morton hit Bob Hayes on a 89 yard touchdown pass putting the Cowboys up 27-10 going into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter all the Chiefs could manage was two Jan Stenerud field goals of 32 and 22 yards to make it more respectable. The running game for the Chiefs was non-existent as Ed Podolak and Wendell Hayes gained 18 yards each. While Chiefs quarterback had a rough day passing 38 times and throwing two interceptions.
December 12, 1970 Dallas 6 Cleveland 2 at Cleveland: Dallas traveled to Cleveland in a key late season matchup for two teams fighting for the playoffs. In addition for Dallas it was a chance to avenge two playoff defeats the previous two seasons on a wet muddy day in December, Cleveland took a 2-0 lead in the first half when Chuck Reynolds tackled Bob Hayes in the end zone for a safety. In the second half Dallas took the on a Mike Clark 39 yard field goal. This was setup after Richmond Flowers blocked a Don Cockroft punt. Early in the fourth quarter Clark hit another field goal from 31 yards out. Cleveland missed several scoring chances over the course of the game such as when Gary Collins fumbled at the Dallas 10 and Chuck Howley recovered in the end zone. Linebacker Dave Edwards late interception of a Bill Nelson pass helped preserve the win.
December 20, 1970 Dallas 52 Houston 10: Entering the game in a must win situation and needing help everything ended up roses for the Cowboys. As New York lost to Los Angeles and St. Louis failed against the Redskins again to allow Dallas to win the NFC East. In the first ever regular season with their downstate rivals they took no prisoners in the 52-10 shellacking. Craig Morton threw five touchdown passes including four to Bob Hayes and one to Reggie Rucker. Calvin Hill and Claxton Welch had the other two scores for Dallas. The only Houston score came on a Johnny Peacock 41 yard fumble return on a Hill fumble. The Dallas defense got five Houston turnovers and sacked Oilers quarterbacks seven times in the rout.
December 26, 1970 Dallas 5 Detroit 0 NFC Divisional Playoffs: In a classic defensive battle between two stout defensive teams in which neither team scored s touchdown. The only scoring came when Dallas kicker MIke Clark booted a 26 yard field goal in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter George Andrie and Jethro Pugh sacked Lions quarterback in the end zone for a safety. In the final minute Mel Renfro of Dallas intercepted a Bill Munson pass in Dallas territory to preserve the victory. The Cowboys defense extended their touchdown streak to 21 quarters and had three takeaways against the Lions. In addition this was the lowest scoring playoff game in NFL history.
January 3, 1971 Dallas 17 San Francisco 10 NFC Championship Game at San Francisco: In the final game at Kezar Stadium Dallas escaped with their first trip to the Super Bowl. In a defensive battle in the first half as each team could only manage field goals as the score was 3-3 going into the third quarter. The third quarter Dallas finally got going as Duane Thomas scored from a yard out and Craig Morton hit Walt Garrison on a 5 yard scoring pass. The second touchdown was setup by Mel Renfro interception of a John Brodie pass. The subsequent drive was moved along when 49ers defensive back Mel Phillips was called for pass interference. The 49ers struck back late in the third quarter when Brodie hit Dick Witcher on a 26 yard scoring pass. San Francisco failed to do anything in the fourth quarter on offense which included a missed field goal by kicker Bruce Gosset.
It was a great season for the Cowboys but not as successful as it could’ve been when then lost Super Bowl V to Baltimore 16-13.
!970 Dallas Cowboys John Shcaefer
1970 Dallas Cowboys www.profootballreference.com