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CIVIL WAR II -- History of the Super Bowl Part 8
When we left off, it was the middle to late 70s, and parents were fighting back against coolness under the guise of being concerned parents.
Now let's take a quick look at 1998, for it matters.
The New Orleans Saints were LOUSY.
They were 1-15 and the posterchilds of sloth.
And so Mike Ditka would take over, after six years of masturbating to the want ads.
Ditka goes and makes the most outrageous business deal...to ever WORK OUT.
He trades 8 of their draft picks for the rights to running back Ricky Williams.
Now granted, the Saints wouldn't get the benefit of Williams, nor would the Dolphins to a degree, but there was no doubt that Ditka had noticed -- rightly so -- that this unheralded dude had the talent of EIGHT PLAYERS.
Williams, for the time that he AGREED to play...would be phenomenal.
This is the benefit of being in the coach's carousel, particularly under the tutelege of Tom Landry.
Dan Reeves...same story. A Landry assistant, and the man who built both the 80s Broncos and the 1998 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.
Tom Landry throughout his time in the 60s (we're back), as well as their lifelong president Tex Scramm, would show off their drafting skills.
The shitty Dallas team that never made it...was better then most teams today.
At running back was one of the only black men ever initiated by the same Skull N Crossbones set as George Bush Jr. -- Calvin Hill.
Calvin Hill went to Yale and dominated. He went to the NFL and played 5 seasons, then decided on his own to play in Hawaii, and then returned to the NFL like nothing.
He's the reason why Grant Hill and later Shane Battier...would prove to be the kinds of guys who really, really liked the perks of amateur ball.
People think Grant and Shane were heroes for staying throughout their senior years.
It's fun to be the big dog on campus.
It's fun to be the only star athlete in paradise like Hawaii.
Who else did Landry get in the 60s...let's see...
Well Staubach would suck for many years.
Drafted in 63 as he was, he had to compete with Dandy Meredith at quarterback, and then when Meredith retired, Staubach REMAINED BENCHED...in favor of Craig Morton.
Rayfield Wright the left tackle would block for everyone stupendously.
Too Tall Jones wouldn't come until the 70s. Until then, the star pass rusher was Harvey Martin and his friend at nose tackle was Randy White.
Meredith and Morton would have a guy to pass to who would be the very first famous speedy reciever in football...Bob the Bullet Hayes.
The Doomsday defense would have a secondary consisting of Herb Adderly from the Packers, Cliff Harris, and Charlie Waters. All three are Hall-of-Famers.
Outside of Calvin Hill, Meredith, Morton and Hayes...the Cowboys from 77 on would also be without their first big defensive star LeRoy Jordan the middle linebacker #55.
After Superbowl XII, they would also lose Mel Renfro to retirement.
The season itself would be all about the Dallas Cowboys.
They were the only team that was even competitive in the NFC anymore.
Everybody who you'd know of was at the bottom, getting ready to assemble their first round draft picks for a rise in the 80s, such as Washington, New York...and San Francisco...
The drama in the NFC had been completely sucked dry, as the establishment would mold and loot the one conference it still could.
The real story was what was happening in the AFC.
Broncomania started because to win the AFC crown in the late 70s was like Northwestern winning the Rose Bowl in the same conference as Eddie George, Tim Biakabatuka, and Joe Paterno.
Denver was the bitch of the AFC forever. Yes I made it sound like the AFC was dominant, but that didn't mean ALL of them were good.
Denver would launch coach and general manager Lou Saban whose genetics passed on to even more college prominence just a week ago.
Saban would resign after three years. Even HE couldn't fix this civil embarrassment.
It was then that the Broncos did something that explains what they did in the 90s --
The changing of the uniform.
These new orange uniforms were stylish in the 70s (look at the orange on Tampa).
They would also change the name of the stadium from Bears Stadium to "Mile High."
Or Mile Heil...depending on how you felt about Colorado.
The South Park creators thought they were tools.
But who are we to judge? We're just football fans here.
So how did Denver become the 1977 AFC Champions?
Because of their Orange Crush defense.
Lyle Alzado is a man who becomes a huge huge star in movies and television.
Before dying of steroid abuse following a heartfelt 60 minutes interview in the early 90s.
Alzado at this time was the big pass rusher of the Orange Crush.
His linebacker and best friend was Randy Gradishar the rightside linebacker who was even more legendary.
And there was Tom Jackson the other left-side linebacker, primarily playing outside while Grandishar had the running backs.
Denver would also have Craig Morton, who was making a habit of being very cool...it was Morton who anchored the Cowboys through the sloth and into their first Superbowl. He would literally stand there and watch Don the Dandy screw up and look at his watch and go...come on now...
Denver also had a guy in his prime who would go on to be pretty good with the 80s Jets and Vikings -- Lonnie Perrin.
Otis Armstrong outgained him with Denver.
There was also Rob Lytle and Jon Keyworth to round out the backs.
Denver would glide through the first 13 games of the season.
Their rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers were enduring a slump following their back to back championships and loss to Oakland in the playoffs.
The Steelers would be 2-3 and continue to drop.
The Broncos beat them in Denver 21-7.
The Broncos would be 12-1 until it was time to play in Dallas.
The genie was looking in the bottle, as Dallas won 14-6.
The Broncos then beat Pittsburgh at home in a game that was tied 21-21 until the 4th quarter when a field goal broke it, and then Morton put them ahead. It was 34-21 when it was over and Denver was going crazy.
But now came the defending champion Raiders.
Here was the test.
And guess what?
The Orange Crush limited them to 3 points until the 4th quarter. By then the Broncos had put up 21.
The Broncos were in the Super Bowl, beating the two best teams in the land.
Broncomania it most definitely was.
And now for the great Craig Morton, he would get to be Bill Fitch and play the 86 Celtics.
His old friends.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys of 77 were indeed the 86 Celtics.
Staubach and his offense were showing off in the early going of Superbowl XII, and got a few passes picked off.
A few of their showboating recievers got robbed mid-run.
But Staubach threw bombs to Butch Johnson and Golden Richards, each making incredible touchdown catches IN THE ENDZONE.
Craig Morton couldn't do anything.
It was 16-0 and the Broncos played a futile game of "stay-behind".
Tom Landry had finally put his dynasty on the map. His second world title.
Dallas lost in 70, they won in 71, they lost in 75, and now they won again in 77.
The establishment had gotten its' champion against the 86 Houston Rockets while the Lakers from Pittsburgh loomed in the distance...
In a way, what we're talking about here...was Fort Sumter...as the Cowboys would defeat the Union in a tiny battle, and against a small, small, small fraction of the Union's true strength.