Tom Landry may not be the only stoic among the Dallas Cowboys.
Late in Dallas' 27-10 Super Bowl annihilation of the Denver Broncos Sunday, Cowboy quarterback Roger Stauback fell and crunched his index finger into the hard artificial turf. He didn't let out a whimper. He calmly rose, walked off the field and went into the locker room, leaving spectators and the Broncos to wonder whether he was hurt.
But behing closed doors he let out a piercing shriek. He was injected with a pain-killer in the fractured fingertip of his throwing hand and he then returned to the fray after having missed only five plays.
The equally imperturbable Landry was asked if he was surprised at Stauback's forbearance. "He could have had anything broken and I couldn't have kept him off the field," the coach said. "A couple of his passes were off or he would have had a fantastic game."
That is why Landry sent out the bad news to the rest of the National Football League: "I don't expect Roger to slow down. Danny White won't challenge him for the quarter-back job unless Roger tapers off."
Landry walked a tightrope in complimenting Denver and also adhering to the truth: "Denver has a fine defense and excellent special teams. The Broncos will be back . . . in the race." He conveniently did not mention the Denver offense.
Yet, he was forthright when asked if he were pleased that the Cowboys played Denver in the Super Bowl rather than Oakland or Pittsburgh. "No," he said, "I thought Denver was the best team in the AFC. The Broncos beat oakland two out of three games and Pittsburgh twice."
If he had known beforehand that the Cowboys would fumble six times (and lose two), have 12 penalties to Denver's eight, and that Staubach would have been sacked five times, would he have expected to win?
"No. Obviously our defense played a great game.The pass rush was exceptional . . . our overall movement on defense, the four interceptions, the fumble recoveries (of all four Denver fumbles), two by reserve defensive back Randy Hughes . . . (who also had an interception.
"I think the only thing that helped us from our former association with (Craig) Morton was that our deftnsive linemen knew he could not run. They knew he would be there when they got there.
"I've always respected and liked Morton. No one was more delighted that he was so successful this year. I felt sorry for him yesterday. I feel that way for people I care about."
Landry was asked if he expected the 3-4 defense, such as used by Denver, would become more popular. "I don't think you get the pressure on the quarterback like you do with the 4-3," he said.
The Broncos were rendered so ineffective on first-down plays that only twice did they have second-and-one in 19 challenges. Nine times they needed 10 yards on second down; twice 11 yards; twice eight yards; once 20 yards, once 15, once nine, and once five.
"We did not blitz Morton more than about four times in the first three quarters he played," said Dallas defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner."We figured we had to get pressure up the middle with a lineman, so we sent either Randy White or Bill Gregory or Larry Cole from the tackle position. Craig is not that active and in addition he was hurt previously. We knew he couldn't scramble.