The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl, 24-17, over Dallas. Struck by linebacker Jack Lambert, the Cowboys' Tony Dorsett will fumble early. That head start and Terry Bradshaw's scrambling passing will put the Steelers up, 17-0. Although intercepted three times, Roger Staubach will find Drew Pearson deep late. Then the best Super Bowl will end with the Steelers covering the Cowboys' desperate onside kick.
Thomas Henderson, the Cowboys' volcano-mouth linebacker, will...
Oh, you ought to know first about the pregame pancakes.
Mike Wagner says pancakes are important in this Super Bowl. The Steelers' defensive back began his pro football life as a muffin junkie but has converted to pancakes for his pregame fix of carbohydrates and superstitious reassurance. The Miami News broke the story today.
"Pancakes are a touchy thing," Wagner told the News' investigative reporter. "They're not to be taken lighly. You never know if they're going to be hot or cold (the best are at the Pittsburgh Sheraton, he revealed).... If they're real good, I'll eat two or three. If they're no good, I'll grind them in there somehow. That's part of the sacrifices of football for the good of the team."
Wagner's face, the news reported, was semi-straight.
Anyway, we were saying Thomas Henderson will control Pittsburgh's tight end, Randy Grossman; and effectively limit the running of Franco Harris. In years past, that would have rendered Pittsburgh helpless, for Harris was their money man in big games. Now it is Bradshaw, who will...
Oops, you need to know about the quarterback's toupee.
Quarterbacks always are hereoes in the Super Bowl, especially if they wear jersey No. 12. For the last seven years, the winning quarterback has worn No. 12 -- Bradshaw, Staubach and Bob Griese twice each and Ken Stabler once.
So that streak will continue another year. The only question will be tonsorial, as Staubach disclosed in another of those journalistic coups that make Super Bowl week so memorable.
Speaking of Bradshaw, Staubach said, "He's stronger than I am and faster than I am, but I have more hair."
Bradshaw not only agrees; he makes money for being bald by endorsing a certain hairpiece. "Why am I doing it?" he said. "Because my hair's been balding for nine years and I have no inhibitions about wearing a hairpiece. When I put on my wig, I feel young. This week. I'm wearing my blond piece. When I wear it I get the feeling I had when I was 20 years old."
At 30 to Staubach's 36, Bradshaw is out of senility's reach but if he is a frisky-kid 20 under his golden rug, the Cowboys are in trouble. Because, as we were saying before we interrupted, Bradshaw is the game's best quarterback today, unwavering under blitzes and able to run profitably if, in some strange circumstance, Lynn Swann isn't open for one of Bradshaw's guided-missile passes. It should be so exciting that...
Wait a second. A colleague just came by to extract some expertise. You can listen in.
"Marc Antony's speech -- you know, the one with 'Friends, Romans, countrymen' -- what was the line about good and evil?" the colleague asked.
"'The good men do is oft interred with their bones, the evil lives after,' or something," came the answer, followed quickly by a quizzical tilt of the head that said, "Has Tex Schramm brought Caesar back for one more conquest?"
"I'm having Chuck Noll and Tom Landry meet at midfield of the Orange Bowl at midnight," the colleague said. "I'm using the Shakespeare because I want it as Pompous as I can make it."
Noll, the Steelers' coach, and Landry of the Cowboys are journalists' worst dreams realized. They give dull a bad name. "Best quotes from Noll press conference," read a headline on a bulletin-board paper, and below the headline was a blank.
It matters not. Most Super Bowls have induced coma in TV viewers because one team was so off its psychic balance, out of fear or an adrenalin overdose, that it could be beaten by a team taking no risks. Not this time, because this is Noll's third Supie and Landry's fifth. As surely as Coach Shakespeare moved Birnam Wood to Dunsinane when logic said it couldn't be done, Noll and Landry have come to praise this Super Bowl, not bury it.
Their teams are so evenly matched from quarterback through cornerback that, as we were saying before that literary detour, pieces of brilliant individual work will decide this game. That work will be done boldly, most likely by Bradshaw to Swann or John Stallworth operating against the savage Dallas backs, Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters.
Although Dorsett will fumble, he also will make a big run. Staubach will move the ball in the air most of the time, using Tony Hill early, Drew Pearson late and Billy Joe DuPree all day.
The suspicion is, however, that Dallas can not score much against a Steeler defense that was mighty in 33-10 and 34-5 playoff victories last month. The burden, then, falls on the Dallas defense of Too Tall Jones, Harvey Martin & Accomplices. To win, those meanies must...
Hey, did you hear about the mystics?
Nine of 12 mystics interviewed by the Miami News at a "psychic fair" in town chose Dallas to win (at last count, 68 of 104 sportswriters liked Pittsburgh in a $1 pool).
One mystic looked at a ring that held a dead red spider and warned of a "strong possibility" that Staubach would sprain his left ankle. Another studied birthdates and divined that Bradshaw would not complete the game. "He will either be injured or pulled off the field after a fight," the mystic said.
Anyway, to win, the Dallas meanies must put unrelenting pressure on Bradshaw. Should Harris be neutralized by Thomas Henderson, the Steelers still can score bunches if Bradshaw is allowed to stand and wait for Swann to get open. The man most likely to apply that pressure is Randy White, the Cowboy tackle who put two Rams in casts two weeks ago.
Mystics and hairpieces aside, forgetting even the pancakes, this game will be won by the Pittsburgh defensive line of L. C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Steve Furness and John Banaszak. In Super Bowl 13, as the NFL and Caesar call it, Staubach will not have the reconnoitering time available to Bradshaw.
Stop the presses. A news release just dropped on the desk.
It had an item about next years' Supie. The NFL leaves nothing to chance. The item said, "Fourteen, in Roman numerals, is XIV."