Honoring the 1971 Cowboys title team

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
2:30
PM ET
Super Bowl VI AP PhotoForty years ago, Pete Rozelle handed Tom Landry and the Cowboys their first Super Bowl trophy.


Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the Dallas Cowboys' first Super Bowl title.

An event was held at Studio Movie Grill in Dallas to honor the team and promote a book written by former Associated Press sportswriter Jaime Aron, "Breakthrough Boys."

The core of that team was labeled a bunch of underachievers for their failure to win big games in previous seasons, including losing Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts.

"We just came back and committed to work harder and be better," said Lee Roy Jordan, a Cowboys linebacker. "After we lost in Super Bowl V, I tell people we didn't lose it, we gave it to them. We had five turnovers, three in the last five minutes or so, but we still lost. But we were committed to come back and do it and we did. We had a lot of ups and downs."

The 1971 season had its share of problems. The season started with a quarterback controversy surrounding Roger Staubach and Craig Morton.

Star running back Duane Thomas was upset he was sent back to the Cowboys after a failed trade with New England. Thomas didn't speak with coach Tom Landry or his teammates for the bulk of the 1971 season.

Of course, there was the season itself. Somehow, the Cowboys managed to turn things around after a team meeting following a loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Cowboys won their final seven games to win the NFC East and then allowed just nine points in the postseason, capped with a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

"When things started to get bad, you forget about your personal issues," Staubach said. "You start thinking about the team issues and we really got it together and started playing together and it had a lot to do with we were 4-3, and if we didn't have the talent we wouldn't have gotten it turned around. Our personal issues became secondary."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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