If you’re as old as me or older (and if so, my deepest condolences), you likely still recall the 1975 divisional playoff between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.
The game has come back into focus some 34 years later because the Cowboys are heading back to Minnesota for another win-or-go-home contest against the Vikings.
The man who caught the game-winning pass on December 28, 1975 — and whom many believe paid advance homage to another No. 88 for the Cowboys by pushing off — recently appeared on Dan Barreiro’s radio show at KFAN in Minneapolis to revisit the latter moments of the game. (You can listen to the whole thing right here.)
Receiver Drew Pearson insists that he didn’t commit pass interference against Vikings cornerback Nate Wright on that fateful play, though Pearson realizes that Vikings fans will forever believe that Pearson committed a penalty that wasn’t called by the official who thereafter had a backward Seagram logo embedded in his skull.
Indeed, so many Vikings fans hold a grudge that Pearson for a while used the name “Al Smith” when flying to Minnesota.
Pearson also explained the lack of over-the-top help for Wright on the fateful play. Quarterback Roger Staubach used a pump fake to Golden Richards, which sucked safety Paul Krause toward the other side of the field. Staubach then looked right and found Wright in single coverage, with Krause unable to arrive in time to break up the play.
Then again, maybe Pearson would have pushed Krause, too.
Pearson also talked about another compelling moment that occurred earlier in the drive, a pass on fourth down and 16, which was punctuated by a security guard kicking Pearson on the sideline. (And Pearson is accurate — check out the video.)
Eventually, former Vikings tailback Chuck Foreman joined the discussion between Pearson and Barreiro, insisting that Pearson pushed off on the fateful play.
Regardless of how Sunday’s rematch turns out, here’s hoping that the folks doing the security patdowns at the Metrodome are prepared to ask Vikings fans who still think more than three decades later that they were screwed, “Is that a whiskey bottle in your pants or are you just happy to be at a playoff game?”