Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry said today that running back Preston Pearson's status was "probable" for Sunday's Super Bowl game in the Orange Bowl and announced that Robert Newhouse would start at fullback.
"We don't think Pearson's hand is broken," Landry said. "My feeling is that it's okay. It scared him (the fall in Thursday's practice that resulted in a jammed bone in his ring finger). He thought he was out of the game with a broken wrist.
"If Preston is not available on third-down plays (his specialty), Scott Laidlaw or Larry Brinson will be in there. It won't hurt, us, except that Preston is so good at it.
"As to Newhouse, our custom is that if a player like Newhouse is having a good year and is injured, his job is open for him when he recovers.Laidlaw (who replaced Newhouse when he was out with a fractured leg) knows that and accepts it. He will play a lot."
The significance of the change at running back is related to the feeling that, "If you can't run on the Steelers, you can't beat them."
Landry described Newhouse as "the type of runner who improvises if there is no hole. He's a jerky runner. Laidlaw is more disciplined, a smart runner who leans into a hole."
Coach Chuck Noll of the Steelers said, "You win with veterans. L. C. Greenwood (defensive end) and Joe Greene (defensive tackle) had their best years."
Noll once more was queried about his kicking game and said, "Craig Colquitt is a strategic punter. He doesn't lead the league in gross yards, but he did lead the NFL in net yards. Of course, our coverage people help in that department. That'll be a key in Sunday's game.
"Fortunately, we didn't have to try many field goals this season (Roy Gerela made good on 12 of 26 attempts). Gerela has a strong leg and he can put them through."
Noll apparently had other things on his mind at his last pregame news conference as he said, "The Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the AFC (American Football Conference)."
Asked about Noll's slip, Landry said, "I hope it's true."
Super weather is expected for the game. The National Hurricane Center today forecast temperatures of 70 degrees at kickoff time, 4 p.m.
George Halas, owner of the Chicago Bears, is going to use a $20 gold piece in the coin-flip ceremony.
Halas, 83, purchased the gold piece for $317 and said, "The winner gets the choice (of kicking or receiving) and the loser gets the gold coin. I chose a 1920 coin, the year we started the league."
Pat Haggerty, a 14-year NFL official, will be the referee Sunday. He is a Colorado State graduate and a teacher and coach in the Denver public school system.
The other officials will be umpire Art Demmas, head linesman Jerry Bergman, line judge Jack Fette, back judge Pat Knight, side judge Dean Look and field judge Fred Swearingen. Chuck Heberling and Al Sabato are the alternates.