Dallas Cowboys: Bob Griese

Cowboys' top play winner: The Hail Mary

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:00
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Roger Staubach and Drew PearsonAP Photo/Bill Kostroum
Score: Cowboys 17, Vikings 14
Date: Dec. 28, 1975 Site: Metropolitan Stadium

With nearly 40,000 votes cast, Roger Staubach’s Hail Mary pass to Drew Pearson was voted as the most memorable play in Dallas Cowboys' history by the ESPN.com readers.

Troy Aikman’s fourth-quarter pass to Alvin Harper in the 1992 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers that set in motion the 1990s dynasty finished second. Bob Lilly's sack of Bob Griese in Super Bowl VI was a distant third even if it propelled the Cowboys to their first championship.

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Which is the most memorable play in Cowboys' history?

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    57%
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    36%
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    7%

Discuss (Total votes: 38,414)

The voters got this one right. Staubach is the most iconic player in franchise history, and that play is frozen in time. It was one of the most iconic plays in NFL history and introduced “Hail Mary,” into the league’s lexicon. You cannot write the history of the NFL without that play.

To recap the play: With time running out in a 1975 divisional playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys had the ball at midfield and needed a miracle. They had dominated statistically, but the Vikings had a 14-10 lead.

Staubach pumped to his left after taking the shotgun snap, in hopes of moving safety Paul Krause away from the sideline. As he pumped, Staubach said he nearly lost the ball and as a result the pass was underthrown.

Subsequently, Pearson had to pull up and either knocked Nate Wright down (Minnesota's version) or made an excellent adjustment to the ball (Dallas' version) to score the winning touchdown, pinning the ball against his right hip.

Some of you wondered why Tony Dorsett's 99-yard run, Emmitt Smith's carry in which he broke Walter Payton’s rushing record or his stiff-arm of Lawrence Taylor playing with a separated shoulder, Clint Longley's Thanksgiving Day heave against the Redskins or even Leon Lett's miscue in Super Bowl XXVII didn’t make the list.

Two of my personal favorites: Marion Barber’s run out of the end zone against the New England Patriots breaking seven tackles and Tony Romo's first-down scramble vs. the St. Louis Rams after a shotgun snap sailed over his head didn’t make the list either.

There needed to be some historic value to the play. The Hail Mary had that, so did Aikman-to-Harper and Lilly’s sack.

But there’s no question which play had the most value.

Cowboys' top plays: Bob Lilly's sack

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
10:00
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Bob Lilly and Bob GrieseAP Photo
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is one of three finalists for the most memorable plays in Cowboys history. We already discussed the Troy Aikman-to-Alvin Harper pass in the 1992 NFC Championship Game and the Hail Mary from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson.

Please vote for your choice as the Cowboys’ most memorable play.

Score: Cowboys 24, Dolphins 3
Date: Jan. 16, 1972 Site: Tulane Stadium

The Cowboys were known as "Next Year's Champions" after losing the 1966 NFL championship to the Green Bay Packers, the ’67 title game (better known as the Ice Bowl) to the Packers and Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts.

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Which is the most memorable play in Cowboys' history?

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    57%
  •  
    36%
  •  
    7%

Discuss (Total votes: 38,414)

But the Cowboys quickly put to rest any doubt that they would win Super Bowl VI against the Miami Dolphins.

After taking a 3-0 lead, the Cowboys forced Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese into retreat mode. Larry Cole had the first chance at Griese but jumped in the air, allowing the quarterback to escape. Briefly. And in reverse. Eventually, Bob Lilly, Mr. Cowboy, was able to bring Griese down for a 29-yard loss.

Doomsday had dominated, and with their 24-3 victory, the Cowboys were “This Year’s Champions,” becoming the first team to win a Super Bowl the year after losing one.

The Cowboys lost Super Bowl V to the Colts on a Jim O’Brien field goal that led Lilly to flinging his helmet in disgust. A year later, Lilly had his championship moment.

The sack remains the largest negative play in Super Bowl history. The Cowboys are the only team not to allow a touchdown in a Super Bowl. A Miami offense built around Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield and Jim Kiick was shut down. Csonka and Kiick had 40 yards rushing each. Warfield had 39 receiving yards, with 23 coming on one play.

Roger Staubach was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI with two touchdown passes, completing 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards. But it was the defensive dominance, highlighted by Lilly’s sack, that brought Tom Landry and the Cowboys their first championship.

Tony Romo-led offense was off again

October, 27, 2013
10/27/13
7:33
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DETROIT -- Tony Romo had three touchdown passes in a game for the 31st time in his career as the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback.

It might have been an historic day for Romo, passing Craig Morton and Ken Stabler for 51st in NFL in passing yards (27,953) and Bob Griese and Stabler in touchdown passes (195), but it might have been the least impressive three-touchdown game of his career.

Romo completed only 14 of 30 passes for 206 yards in the Cowboys’ 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions, and 110 of those passing yards came on touchdowns to Terrance Williams (60) and Dez Bryant (50) in the fourth quarter.

“That was a very good front we just played against,” Romo said. “It felt eerily similar to the Minnesota game up in the dome in the playoffs (in 2009), scheme-wise and a little bit with the way they were able to rush the passer. If you can rush the passer like that in this environment it’s going to be a very tough place to play. You’re not going to be able to get to your progressions and you’re not going to be able to get the ball to certain spots. I thought the guys did a good job as the game went on, giving us a little more time to get to the second and third reads. We were able to exploit that a little bit more.”

Romo completed only 46.6 percent of his passes, the third-worst of his career when he has started and finished a game. For the third time this season he was not able to throw for more than 210 yards in a game. After completing at least 69.4 percent of his passes in each of the first five games, Romo has completed 60 percent, 59.6 percent and 46.6 percent of his passes in the last three games.

He wasn’t sacked for the first time in a game this season, but according to ESPN Stats & Information he was under duress 38 percent of his total drop backs. In the first seven games, he was under duress on 22 percent of his drop backs.

“I thought they did a good job of pressuring the quarterback and winning on the line of scrimmage,” coach Jason Garrett said. “They’ve got some good players up front and Tony had to get the ball out of his hands. We didn’t have the rhythm we wanted in the passing game and they had a lot to do with it.”

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