Denver Broncos 10
Craig Morton had spent nine years as a Dallas Cowboy quarterback, but he was on the opposite sideline for Super Bowl XII between the Denver Broncos and those Cowboys. Morton was now the starting quarterback for the AFC champion Broncos, while Roger Staubach, the man who had replaced Morton in Dallas, would start at quarterback for the Cowboys.
Red Miller was in his first year as head coach of the Broncos and he led them to a 12-2 record behind the strength of their "Orange Crush" defense. Denver defeated Pittsburgh, 34-21, before slipping past Oakland, 20-17, in the AFC playoffs.
The Cowboys also ended the season 12-2 under Tom Landry, including a 14-6 win over the Broncos in the regular-season finale. In the playoffs, they easily defeated Chicago, 37-7, and Minnesota, 23-6, for the NFC championship.
Super Bowl XII was the first to be played indoors. The Louisiana Superdome was packed and a crowd of 75,804 witnessed a mistake-filled first quarter as the Cowboys fumbled three times. Unfortunately for Denver, Dallas recovered all three fumbles. The Broncos made a habit of taking the ball away from the opposition, but the bounces were not going their way early in the game.
The Broncos committed the first turnover of the game when a Morton pass was picked off by safety Randy Hughes on the Denver 25. After five plays, Tony Dorsett ran the last three yards for the first score of the game. After another interception of a Morton pass, Efren Herrera kicked a 35-yard field goal to put Dallas up, 10-0.
After a controversial call on an apparent Staubach interception, the Cowboys stretched the lead to 13-0 with a 43-yard Herrera field goal. One of the officials ruled Staubach had stepped out of bounds before releasing the football. An overhead replay seemed to indicate different.
Before the half was over, the Broncos had turned the ball over seven times while picking up just three first downs. They fumbled the ball away three times, and Morton was picked off four times.
The Broncos got on the scoreboard on their first possession of the second half thanks to a 47-yard field goal by Jim Turner, but the Cowboys came right back. Staubach hooked up with Butch Johnson on a diving 45-yard touchdown pass that put the Cowboys ahead, 20-3.
The Broncos hopes were sparked again on the ensuing kickoff which Rick Upchurch returned 67 yards, to the Dallas 26. Four plays later Rob Lytle plowed in from the one-yard line, making the score 20-10.
Denver was down ten going into the final quarter, but they had become accustomed to winning games late, so they still believed they could win. But those hopes came crashing down when Robert Newhouse connected with Golden Richards on the half-back option for a 29-yard touchdown, making the final score, 27-10.
The Dallas Cowboys were once again Super Bowl champions!