Super Bowl V was the first NFL Championship game following the merger of the NFL and the American Football League, and was a matchup between the two newly realigned American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. Though the game pitted the Baltimore Colts, who had the second best record in the NFL, against the Dallas Cowboys, who won the NFC East but had a history of underachieving in big games. The game took place, once again, at the newly renovated Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida on January 17, 1971. It was the first Super Bowl, of NFL Championship game for that matter to be played on artificial turf. Each team had battled worthy opponents to reach the title game as Baltimore toppled the Cincinnati Bengals and the Oakland Raiders and Dallas defeated the Detroit Lions and San Francisco Giants. This was the first appearance for the Cowboys in the league title game as they had fallen to the eventual World Champion Green Bay Packers in the 1966 and 1967 NFL Championship Games. Baltimore, on the other hand, with so many veteran players on their squad, were eager to avenge the loss the suffered at the hands of the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.

Unfortunately, the much-anticipated contest left much to be desired and was anything but "super" as the two teams made mistake after mistake, turning the ball over and allowing the opposition to capitalize. However, too often the opposition was not up to the task. Baltimore quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas, Earl Morrall, as well as wide receiver Sam Havrilak, went 11-for-25 for 260 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Dallas' Craig Morton matched them with one touchdown and three interceptions, but only threw for 127 yards on 12 completions in 26 attempts. Baltimore committed a Super Bowl record seven turnovers and Dallas added another four for a total of 11 – a record of combined turnovers in a Super Bowl. (The Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys also committed 11 in Super Bowl XXVII.) Dallas took a 13-6 lead into the locker room at the half having tallied two field goals and a touchdown while Baltimore scored once, but missed the extra point. The second half was again riddled with turnovers and penalties and neither team scored in the third quarter. The Colts finally took advantage of the Dallas mistakes and tied the game with minutes left in the final quarter. With seconds left in the game, Baltimore added a field goal to close out the scoring 16-13. Baltimore head coach Don McCafferty became the first rookie head coach to win the Super Bowl. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley became the first non-quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP and was the only recipient from the losing team in history. He refused the award because of the loss.