1976 Cowboys: Becoming America’s Team
1975 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Cowboys. In 1974 they had missed the playoffs for the first time since 1965 and when the smoke cleared at the end of training camp in 1975, twelve rookies had made the team (this doesn’t include Mike Hegman, who joined the team in 1976 and Jim Zorn who was cut at the end of camp). This “Dirty Dozen” rookie class included future All-Pros Thomas Henderson, Pat Donovan, Bob Bruenig, and Herbert Scott plus Hall of Famer Randy White.
After finishing in second place to the 11-3 Cardinals, the 10-4 Cowboys squeaked into the playoff as a wild card and surprised even themselves with a last second desperation pass to beat the Vikings in the Divisional Playoff Game – forever to be known as the Hail Mary game. Then they went out to Los Angeles and killed the heavily favored Rams 37-7 in the NFC Championship game. By the time the Cowboys got to the Super Bowl, they had already overachieved and were just happy to be there. The Steelers and their stifling defense manhandled the Cowboys finesse offense in a competitive contest where the Steelers won their second Super Bowl in a row 21–17.
This RetroCards set looks at that 1975 team and some new faces for 1976. Players include: Billy Joe Dupree, Doug Dennison, Charlie Waters, Butch Johnson, Ralph Neely, Benny Barnes, Larry Cole, Jethro Pugh, Thomas Henderson, Rolly Woolsey, Charles Young, Scott Laidlaw, Kyle Davis, Clint Longley, Mark Washington, Danny White, Duane Thomas, and a playoff card commemorating the Hail Mary pass to beat the Minnesota Vikings. Order yours here!