Super Bowl VI
Super Bowl VI marked the first time a losing team from the previous year's Super Bowl captured the NFL Championship when the Dallas Cowboys won their first league title in franchise history. Dallas had unfortunately built a reputation for being unable to win the big game, having lost the 1966 and 1967 NFL Championship to the eventual World Champion Green Bay Packers and losing Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts. Once again the Cowboys were tops in the NFC East with an 11-3-0 record, beat the Minnesota Vikings and then the San Francisco 49ers to reach the NFL title game. The Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs tied for the best records in the AFC with 10-3-1, but the Dolphins outlasted the Chiefs 27-24 on the Christmas Day divisional playoff. They then shut out the defending champion Baltimore Colts 21-0 to reach Super Bowl VI. The NFL's highest scoring Dallas Cowboys (406) faced Miami's stifling defense that allowed the second fewest points in the NFL (174). However, the Dolphins offense also ranked among the league's elite and boasted future Hall of Famers Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield.
The game was once again played in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 16, 1972 on the coldest day in Super Bowl history to date (34 degrees). Dallas head coach Tom Landry designed a plan to shut down the Dolphins offensive threat by double-teaming Warfield and also double-teaming future Hall of Fame pass-rusher Nick Buoniconti. Miami devised a plan of their own to neutralize the scrambling Roger Staubach thereby opening up offensive options for the Cowboys. On the second play of the game, Dolphins running back Larry Csonka fumbled for the first time all season and it was recovered by Dallas linebacker and reigning Super Bowl MVP Chuck Howley. Howley would also intercept a pass in the fourth quarter, his third INT in Super Bowls V and VI. The Cowboys began the scoring with a Mike Clark field goal in the first quarter and then a 7-yard touchdown pass from Staubach to wide receiver Lance Alworth in the second quarter. The Dolphins also scored in the second on a Garo Yepremian field goal giving Dallas a 10-3 lead heading into the half. The Cowboys dominated the Dolphins during the second half as running back Duane Thomas scored on a three-yard run and then Roger Staubach hit tight end Mike Ditka with his second 7-yard touchdown pass of the game to cap off the scoring. The Dallas Cowboys rushed for a Super Bowl record 252 yards and had the most first downs (23) while holding their opponent to the fewest points (3) in the history of the championship. Staubach went 12-for-19 for 119 passing yards and two touchdowns to earn the Super Bowl VI MVP award.