The Dallas Cowboys began the 1972 season as LAST YEARS Champions instead of NEXT YEARS Champions for the first time in their history. They had cast off the ‘Can’t win the big one’ label and were determined to defend their Super Bowl Crown. But 1972 would test the Cowboys metal early and often. Before the season began the Cowboys lost 2 of their top players from 1971. Duane Thomas, the Cowboys best RB, was traded to the San Diego Chargers and this time the trade stuck. Super Bowl VI MVP, Roger Staubach, separated his shoulder before the season began and appeared in only 4 games during the regular season.
Despite these two missing pieces, the Cowboys were able to secure a playoff spot for the 7th season in row but this time, they were not NFC East Champions but rather Wild Card entrants. The Cowboys finished the regular season with a 10-4 regular, 1 game behind the NFC East Champion Washington Redskins. The Cowboys offense scored 319 points which was 10th in the league. They were led by Pro Bowl RB Calvin Hill who became the 1st Cowboy to rush for over 1,000 yards. Walt Garrison was named to the Pro Bowl as well with over 700 yards rushing. The Cowboys defense allowed 240 points which was 6th in the league and was led by All Pro Bob Lilly.
The Cowboys won 4 of their first 5 games with their only loss coming in Green Bay to the Packers. They lost to the Redskins in Washington 20-24 after leading 20-7 in the 3rd quarter. The Cowboys won their next 4 in a row before a loss to the 49ers 10-31. The Cowboys won their next 2 games including a 34-24 win over the Redskins at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys laid an egg on the season’s finale vs the Giants, losing 23-3 at home.
The Cowboys opened the 1972 Playoffs in San Francisco against the 49ers. The Cowboys were outplayed for 3 quarters and trailed the 49ers 28-13 early in the 4th quarter. Tom Landry replaced Craig Morton with Roger Staubach. Staubach rallied the Cowboys to 17 4th quarter points and an improbably 30-28 win. They got an early field goal in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to 28-16 and then didn’t score until 2 minutes left when Staubach hit Billy Parks for a 20 yard TD. Mel Renfro then recovered the onside kick and Staubach then hit Ron Sellers on a 10 yard TD to take the lead with only 52 seconds left. It was the first of many Staubach engineered miracle comebacks and it was also the 3rd year in a row that the Cowboys had knocked the 49ers out of the playoffs.
The Cowboys traveled to Washington for the NFC Championship game but were manhandled 23-3. The Redskins scored 16 points in the 4th quarter to put the game away.
The Cowboys had another lack luster draft in 1972. The only pick that made any noise for the team was 2nd round pick Robert Newhouse who starred for the Cowboys over the next 12 seasons.
1972 Dallas Cowboys draft picks
|1||Bill Thomas||RB||Boston Col.|
|4||Tim Kearney||LB||Northern Michigan|
|4||Robert West||WR||San Diego St.|
|4||Charlie Zapiec||LB||Penn St.|
|8||Ralph Coleman||LB||North Carolina A&T|
|10||Richard Amman||DE||Florida St.|
|11||Lonnie Leonard||DE||North Carolina A&T|
|12||Jimmy Harris||WR||Ohio St.|
1972 Dallas Cowboys schedule and results
|1||September 17||W||Philadelphia Eagles||28||6|
|2||September 24||W||New York Giants||23||14|
|3||October 1||L||Green Bay Packers||13||16|
|4||October 8||W||Pittsburgh Steelers||17||13|
|5||October 15||W||Baltimore Colts||21||0|
|6||October 22||L||Washington Redskins||20||24|
|7||October 30||W||Detroit Lions||28||24|
|8||November 5||W||San Diego Chargers||34||28|
|9||November 12||W||St. Louis Cardinals||33||24|
|10||November 19||W||Philadelphia Eagles||28||7|
|11||November 23||L||San Francisco 49ers||10||31|
|12||December 3||W||St. Louis Cardinals||27||6|
|13||December 9||W||Washington Redskins||34||24|
|14||December 17||L||New York Giants||3||23|
|Division||December 23||W||San Francisco 49ers||30||28|
|ConfChamp||December 31||L||Washington Redskins||3||26|
1972 Dallas Cowboys roster