A super rematch

January 21, 1979
Super Bowl XIII
Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Steelers and Cowboys met in Super Bowl XIII marking the first rematch in Super Bowl history. And the game lived up to the hype.

The Steelers jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth. The Cowboys answered, and then took a 14-7 lead when Cowboys’ linebacker Mike Hegman intercepted Bradshaw and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. Bradshaw got right back at it, and immediately countered with a 75-yard touchdown to Stallworth to tie the game. The Steelers went into halftime up 21-14 after Rocky Bleier pulled in a seven-yard touchdown catch.

The Cowboys appeared poised to tie the game in the third quarter when Roger Staubach found a wide open Jackie Smith in the end zone, but Smith slipped and fell and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal to pull within 21-17. The Steelers scored two fourth quarter touchdowns, looking like they were going to put the game away up 35-17. The Cowboys wouldn’t quit and answered with 14 points, but time ran out on the comeback and the Steelers won their third Super Bowl.

Steelers official Super Bowl XIII recap:

This was more than just the first rematch in Super Bowl history: It re-staged what many still consider the most enjoyable and dramatic Super Bowl battle to that point. Opportunity—recognizing it and capitalizing on it—was the theme. Failure to embrace it would play a hand too. It was the Steelers, though, who managed a 35-31 victory.

Dallas had its chances. The Cowboys took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter when linebacker Mike Hegman simply took the ball away from Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw and ran 37 yards to score. But Bradshaw countered immediately with a 75-yard touchdown strike to John Stallworth.

In the third quarter, trailing 21-14, Dallas marched from its 42 to the Steelers’ 10. On third-and-three, Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach saw tight end Jackie Smith alone in the end zone. Smith slipped and fell reaching for Staubach’s pass and Dallas settled for a 27-yard field goal.

Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter—a 22-yard run by Franco Harris and an 18-yard pass from Bradshaw to Swann. Harris’ score followed a pass-interference call against Dallas cornerback Benny Barnes, who was covering Swann. The mistake cost the Cowboys 33 yards. Dallas did score touchdowns with 2:27 and 22 seconds to play, on passes from Staubach to tight end Billy Joe Dupree and Butch Johnson, but Pittsburgh held on to win, 35-31.

With the victory, the Steelers became the first team to win three Super Bowls. The two teams set a Super Bowl record for points scored.

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