Super Bowls X and XIII are considered still today after 50 Super Bowls…..to be two of the best games ever played in Super Bowl history….and certainly two of the most stirring games ever played.between two outstanding championship teams of the decade of the 1970’s…..as both were played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
Super Bowl X was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1975 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 21–17 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. They were the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. (The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowls VII and VIII….and the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowls I and II.) It was also the first time two Super Bowl champions met in the final….as Pittsburgh were the defending champions….and Dallas were winners of the Super Bowl four years prior.
Super Bowl X featured a contrast of styles between the Steelers and the Cowboys….which were the two most popular teams in the league. The Steelers dominated teams with their “Steel Curtain” defense and running game….finishing the regular season with a league best 12–2 record….defeating the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs. The Cowboys were masterful with their offense and “flex” defense….becoming the first NFC wild-card team to advance to the Super Bowl after posting a 10–4 regular season record….with postseason victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams.
Trailing 10–7 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl X….the Steelers rallied to score 14 unanswered points….including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Pittsburgh wide receiver Lynn Swann. The Cowboys cut the score, 21–17 late in the game with wide receiver Percy Howard’s 34-yard touchdown reception….but Pittsburgh safety Glen Edwards halted Dallas’ rally with an end zone interception as time expired. Swann caught four passes for a Super Bowl record 161 yards and one touchdown….becoming the first wide receiver to be named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player.
In Super Bowl XIII….the Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 35–31. This was the first Super Bowl that featured a rematch of a previous one (the Steelers had previously beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, in Super Bowl X)….as both teams were attempting to be the first club to ever win a third Super Bowl. Dallas was also the defending Super Bowl XII champion….finishing the 1978 regular season with a 12–4 record….posting playoff victories over the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams….while Pittsburgh entered the game after posting a 14–2 regular season record….with playoff wins over the Denver Broncos and the Houston Oilers.
Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP….having completed 17 out of 30 passes for Super Bowl records of 318 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes. Bradshaw eclipsed Bart Starr’s Super Bowl record for passing yards in the first half with 253 yards in the air….as the Steelers led 21–14 at intermission. His 75-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter also tied Johnny Unitas in Super Bowl V for the longest pass in a Super Bowl. The Cowboys were able to stay close….trailing only 21–17 at the end of the third quarter….but Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in a span of 19 seconds in the fourth period. Dallas also could not overcome turnovers, drops, and a controversial penalty during the second half. The Cowboys were eventually able to score two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game….but still ended up being the first defending champion to lose in the Super Bowl….and the first losing Super Bowl team to score 30 points or more….but save for a dropped Roger Staubach pass in the end zone by TE Jackie Smith…the outcome would have been different.