TB25 - A History of Football
About This Show
Tom Leyden and Butch Stearns guide you through the history of professional football, year by year, starting with the pre-merger era, welcoming key guests along the way to provide first-hand stories from their days in the NFL.
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TB25 - A History of Football: Episode III: 1971 (Bob Lilly)
Tom Leyden and Butch Stearns are joined by Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Lilly as they tell the story of the 1971 NFL season.
The Cowboys finally broke through to win their first championship after knocking on the door so many times in the late 60s and early 70s. Dallas had lost two NFL Championship Games to the Packers, two playoff games to the Browns and then Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts.
The 1971 season also featured the longest game ever played, when the Dolphins beat the Chiefs 27-24 on Christmas Day in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Butch has vivid memories of Ed Podolak's effort not only that day, but throughout the season.
The Dolphins benefited from an upset win by the Patriots over the Colts in the final week of the regular season to clinch home field advantage in the playoffs. Baltimore and Miami, fierce division rivals, met the the AFC Championship Game.
In the NFC, the Minnesota Vikings once again finished with the best record, this time tied with Dallas, only to suffer bitter and familiar disappointment in the playoffs. Alan Page was named MVP in 1971, the first time a defensive player had ever earned the honor.
After the Super Bowl V loss, Dallas’ GM Tex Schramm did everything in his power to make sure the Cowboys wouldn’t lose in the Super Bowl the next year. He added future Hall of Famers Forrest Gregg and Lance Alworth to a team that already boasted the likes of Lilly, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Rayfield Wright, Bob Hayes, Herb Adderley and Mike Ditka.
Add to that group the leadership of legendary coach Tom Landry and you had the makings of a fantastic squad, which is what the Cowboys were in 1971. You can argue the 1971 Cowboys are among the best teams to ever play in the NFL. They only surrendered one touchdown in the postseason and to this day, remain the only team not to surrender a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
The Doomsday Defense stymied the Miami Dolphins in a 24-3 win in Super Bowl VI.
Bob Lilly, now age 77 and still living in Texas, shares great perspective on the Cowboys run to the title:
- The commitment the Cowboys players made to each other after losing to Baltimore in Super Bowl V
- The Flex defense, how and why it worked for so long
- What veteran players like Forrest Gregg, Herb Adderley and Lance Alworth added to the team that made a difference
- The impact Roger Staubach had on the offense after he was named the full-time starting quarterback when the Cowboys were 4-3
- The game plan to be