Super Bowl X was the first real battle between the AFC and NFC Champions and two of the most popular team in the NFL as the reigning Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers faced "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams featured a renowned defense as the "Steel Curtain" and Dallas "Doomsday Defense" were focused on shutting down the dynamic offense that their opponents also possessed. Pittsburgh lost the second game of the 1975 season against the Buffalo Bills before rattling off 11 consecutive wins to clinch the AFC Central title with a 12-2 record. The Steel Curtain allowed only 4,019 yards and the rushing attack dominated the opposition during the regular season before they bettered their record knocking off the Baltimore Colts 28-10 and then bested the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Conference Championship 16-10. In the NFC, the Cowboys finished second behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFC East and faced the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional playoff. The Cowboys annihilated the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams 37-7 in the NFC Conference Championship Game to become the first ever Wild-Card team to reach the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl X was played on January 18, 1976 at Miami's Orange Bowl for the fourth time in front of a crowd of more than 80,000. It was one of the first of many Bicentennial themed events to occur in the United States in 1976 and both teams donned patches commemorating the country's 200-year anniversary. The Cowboys started the scoring in the first quarter with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson. The Steelers answered with a 7-yard TD pass from Terry Bradshaw to Randy Grossman to tie the game in the first, but a Toni Fritsch field goal put the Cowboys ahead 10-7 going into halftime. Defenses held both teams scoreless in the third quarter, but Pittsburgh took over in the fourth as they scored on three of their next four possessions. Two field goals by Steelers kicker Roy Gerela and a 64-yard touchdown play from Bradshaw to future Hall of Famer Lynn Swann closed out Pittsburgh's scoring and giving them the lead 21-10. The Cowboys mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter scoring a touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Roger Staubach to Percy Howard cutting the lead to 21-17. The ‘Boys had one more drive that ended on an interception by safety Glen Edwards in the end zone on a Staubach "Hail Mary Pass." The Steelers became the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowls along with the Miami Dolphins (VII and VIII) and the Green Bay Packers (I and II). Prior to game time, it was speculated that Pittsburgh's star wide receiver Lynn Swann would be on the bench due to a severe concussion he suffered in the AFC Championship Game, but Swann decided to play after Cowboys safety Cliff Harris remarked that the All-Pro flanker might be afraid of getting hit. Swann not only played, but also proceeded to set a Super Bowl record with 161 receiving yards and one touchdown on four receptions. Lynn Swann was named Super Bowl X's Most Valuable Player.