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Super Bowl V, Also Known as The Zany Bowl (And Other Names) January 17, 1971

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Colts Beat Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V – January 17, 1971

Super Bowl V was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami on January 17, 1971. This was arguably the sloppiest Super Bowl ever played. The headline in the Chicago Tribune read, “Colts Win Zany Super Bowl, 16-13. The Boston Globe called it “Strong Theater, Weak Football”. The LA Times said it was the “Not So Super Super Bowl”. Not to be outdone by the competition, the Washing Post dubbed it “The Embarrassment Bowl”.

The Tribune’s Cooper Rollow wrote, “Super Bowl V would have challenged the Imaginations of Barnum and Baily. It would have disturbed the daydreams of Walter Mitty. It would have taxed the patience of Job. It was the wildest, weirdest, wackiest exhibtion in the short history of pro footballs’s premier event, and in the end, the capacity crowd of 80,035 didn’t know whether to applaud, giggle or collapse.

If you were a Cowboys fan this game had to be a painful experience. For Colts fans it was nerve racking, but at least it had a happy ending. For the rest of America; they enjoyed some good laughs while chomping on chips and dips.

Interceptions, Fumbles, and Penalties Galore

The game featured twenty-eight incomplete passes, five interceptions, four fumbles, and fourteen penalties. And Johnny Unitas was injured before the end of the second half putting the game in the hands of Baltimore’s backup quarterback, “old” Earl Morrall.

This was the first Super Bowl where the two combatants faced each other as representatives of the NFC and the AFC. At the start of the 1970 season three NFL teams, the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Baltimore Colts; joined the ten teams from the AFL, to form the AFC. The Colts got to exorcise the demons that had been attached to them since their humiliating 1969 loss to Joe Namath and the New York Jets. The Cowboys on the other hand, were a long way from becoming America’s team. This was the third time they would blow a title a game, and they would have to one wait more year before winning their first championship.

Baltimore Wins on a Field Goal with Five Seconds On the Clock

Super Bowl V was decided on a 32-yard field with five seconds left on the clock. Just before the the two minute warning, with game tied 13-13, Baltimore was forced to punt. Dallas took possession at the Colts 48 yard line. On first down, Duane Thomas ran right and got thrown for a 1-yard loss. On second down Craig Morton got sacked for a 9-yard loss. On top of that, Dallas got called for holding. That put the Cowboys back at their own 27-yard line, second down and 35 yards to go for a first down. Then Morton attempted a pass to Dan Reeves. Mike Curtis intercepted it and ran with the ball to the Dallas 27. Two plays later Jim O’Brien made a perfect kick (about the only thing anybody did right in this game.) to finish off the Cowboys.

President Richard Nixon watched the game at Camp David while working on the State of the Union Address.


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