Cowboys vs. Steelers fails to get juices flowing

Primarily a young pup back in January of 1979, I first phoned the relatives, then flew to Miami, paid $35 (face value) and witnessed my first Super Bowl.

Regarded as a true matchup of the NFL’s top two teams, that Dallas-Pittsburgh classic lived up to and actually exceeded the hype. This was Super Bowl XIII and the sport at its absolute finest.

Played at the historic (and no longer standing) Orange Bowl, the NFL’s ultimate game featured a splendid quarterback dual between Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Cowboys’ great Roger Staubach. Final: Steelers 35, Cowboys 31.

Somehow, this Sunday’s regular season encounter between the two fails to generate such high expectations.

Sure, Dallas and Pittsburgh are striving to remain alive for postseason berths, though both appear prime candidates for potential one-and-done scenarios at playoff time.

The 7-6 Black & Gold managed to catch a break last Sunday when the Bengals fell to Dallas on a game-ending field goal.

Cincinnati and the Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, kick off week 15 tonight on the NFL Network.

Cleveland’s Browns, following a 0-5 start, have since gone 5-3 and bring a three-game win streak into Sunday’s home encounter vs. RG III and the Redskins.

The AFC North frontrunning Ravens, losers of two straight, host Peyton Manning and the 10-3 Broncos.

Last week, this column resembled Pittsburgh’s futile output against San Diego, compiling a sorry 7-9 ledger. No guarantees things improve anytime soon.


CINCINNATI AT PHILADELPHIA. Good chance Philly gets back to the basics. More importantly, this is one Cincy doesn’t want to let slip away. BENGALS, 24-17.


DENVER AT BALTIMORE. Sense of urgency edge goes to the Dirty Birds who are out to avoid a three-game losing streak. RAVENS, 21-17.

JACKSONVILLE AT MIAMI. The battle between north and south Florida will not be enough to fill the joint. DOLPHINS, 34-14.

WASHINGTON AT CLEVELAND. Nice to see faithful fans along the lakefront with a team opponents can no longer take lightly. The house should be rocking for this one. BROWNS, 24-20.

NEW YORK GIANTS AT ATLANTA. Among weekend’s top matchups between pair of playoff-bound teams. FALCONS, 30-27.

GREEN BAY AT CHICAGO. NFC North Division could feature two-way tie at the top providing Monsters of Midway prevail. However, PACKERS, 23-17.

MINNESOTA AT ST. LOUIS. Comparative records would indicate a one possession outcome here. VIKINGS, 28-21.

TAMPA BAY AT NEW ORLEANS. Bucs suffered damaging last-play loss last week and have likely still not recovered. SAINTS, 34-23.

INDIANAPOLIS AT HOUSTON. Hard to imagine Texans not regrouping following Monday night disaster at New England. TEXANS, 33-20.

SEATTLE vs. BUFFALO (at Toronto). That’s right. Bills’ fans need official passport to make two-hour trek north of the border. Expect Seahawks to be grounded following last Sunday’s 58-0 whitewash of Arizona. In our Upset Special: BILLS, 24-21.

DETROIT AT ARIZONA. Pair of 4-9 outfits with Redbirds riding nine-game loss skein. LIONS, 34-27.

CAROLINA AT SAN DIEGO. Pittsburgh managed to make 5-8 Chargers look like playoff contenders last week. That was then. PANTHERS, 38-35.

PITTSBURGH AT DALLAS. Considering they’ve beaten Bengals, Giants and Ravens on the road, Cowpokes should be next in line for hard-to-figure Black & Gold. COWBOYS, 27-23.

KANSAS CITY AT OAKLAND. NFL would do well to make this one a mandatory blackout. RAIDERS, 28-17.


SAN FRANCISCO AT NEW ENGLAND. 10-3 Patriots obviously hitting their stride and currently being tabbed as Super Bowl favorite. Thus, 49ERS, 20-17.


NEW YORK JETS AT TENNESSEE. Jets can climb back to .500 with road triumph. Only, we’re off the Rex Express. TITANS, 30-13.


Gibson may be reached at