You can watch the game at NFL.com
The Steelers look like the better team on both sides of the ball, but not special teams. The Cowboys ST is keeping them in the game. They had a handoff on the opening kickoff that lead to a big return (but the Steelers stopped them); they sacked the Steelers punter, which lead to a TD on the next play. The Steelers run game is doing well.
By the way, I don’t know if Randy White was hurt, but he wasn’t starting–which surprised me.
Cowboys have a nice drive at the end of the 1st.
Staubach threw a bad pass, that probably should have been intercepted. The Cowboys were fortunate. The end the drive with the field goal.
This is a real clean game so far, only one penalty.
By the way, Stallworth makes an incredible catch, although it’s debatable whether he caught the ball. What was refreshing was not having a challenge on the call. The announcers really didn’t make a fuss. I kinda wish there were more of that in today’s game, and less of the angst over calls.
Will try to watch the rest of the game later.
Shoot, I think NFL.com took the game down. Or I’m having great difficulty finding it. Dang. Anyway, just some other general thoughts:
1. One thing that stands out is how simple the game looks compared to today. The impression I got was that both offenses ran almost 80% out of a two-back set. Personally, I liked that set, as it was a formation that allowed the offense to do so many things, creating greater unpredictability for defenses. They could run right or left, or up the middle. The QB could hand the ball off in different ways to create misdirection. And of course, the QB could pass from this formation as well. To this day, I’m not sure why this formation and plays from it have gone extinct. My only guess is that the 46-0 style tactics have made it obsolete.
In addition to fewer formations, there is also very little pre-snap movement.
2. When you watch this game, and I suspect most games from the 70s, I think Bill Walsh and the west coast offense really stands out more–specifically for how innovative it was. I would probably have to add Don Coryell as well. I would guess that those two did more to dramatically change the way game is played at least going into the 80s.
The next innovator/innovation I would point to is the run-and-shoot offense. The NFL we see is heavily based on these three innovations.
In the late 2000s, and 2010s, I think the way the option style running QB has been incorporated as well as misdirection plays, particularly from the shot gun, are the other big innovation.
On the defensive side of the ball, I would point to the blitzing style popularized by Buddy Ryan or even Jerry Glanville (the “Grits Blitz”), and then developed even more by Dick LeBeau and his disciples with their zone blitz. LeBeau and Jimmy Johnson, the Eagles DC under Andy Reid, (and Belichick, too, maybe) took that approach to its peak in the mid-2000s. From that point, the crazy blitzing, as a way of defending, has really, really diminished. (Todd Bowles might be one of the few guys employing that, but even his current approach is much more restrained.)
Interestingly, I wonder if the spread offense became more prevalent precisely as a way to neutralize this type of defense. Eh, maybe the change is rules was a bigger factor. Whatever the case may be, the spread offense is part of every NFL offense, at least to some degree. And my guess is that this has really gone a long way to neutralize the all-out blitzing style.
Isn’t the NFL giving everyone Game Pass for free for a few weeks? I thought I read that somewhere.
They are, but game pass only has games going back to the 2009. Oh wait, I take that back–they have old Super Bowls, too, but not all of them. I don’t think Super Bowl 10 was one of them.
It’s back on (or easier to find).
End of the 2nd quarter–Roy Gerella missed a FG, and he would miss another in the 3rd (30 yarders I’d say).
Staubach throws an INT in early part of the 3rd. I must both QBs have thrown bad throws, either getting picked off or quite close to it.
End of the 3rd–only 2 penalties
We all know that Bradshaw had a strong arm–I can definitely see it in this game.
The Steeler defense started turning it up in the second half. Steelers also got a blocked punt and a safety.
Staubach throws a pick on their side of the field, putting the Steelers in the red zone. But the Cowboys defense holds the Steelers to a FG.
Steelers get the ball with about 4:00 minutes left in the game. On 3rd, the Cowboys blitz, nailing Bradshaw (which knocked Bradshaw out of the game), but not before Bradshaw hit Swann deep. It was a heck of a throw. This play and Staubach’s INT before that were probably the two biggest plays of the game. (Staubach redeems himself by driving the Cowboys down the field quickly scoring a TD, making the game 21-17.)
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