Cliff Harris is a former safety who played for the Cowboys for 10 seasons. He signed on in 1970, just ten years after the Cowboys joined the NFL and just one year before their very first Super Bowl win. This week on A Cowboy Life, Cliff sits down with us to take us back to Super Bowl VI and the Doomsday Defense that defeated Miami, explain the origins of his nickname “Captain Crash,” and take us on the field for the game that immortalized the Hail Mary play.
Cliff’s story begins in Arkansas, where he cut his teeth playing Defensive Back at Ouachita Baptist University. He got signed by the Cowboys as a free agent and played in only 5 games before getting drafted by the U.S. Army to go to Vietnam. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were America’s Team, and it only took a little coercing (and a couple of favors) to convince Uncle Sam to let Cliff continue to play on Sunday’s, but soon he was back on the team and crushing offenses with the likes of fellow Cowboys Charlie Waters and Duane Thomas.
But it’s only one year before the Cowboys find themselves heading to Super Bowl VI against the Miami Dolphins, and it wasn’t just because of faster players and harder helmets. Coach Tom Landry was a quiet guy, and Cliff was no stranger to his character. And his Doomsday Defense was unstoppable in the League- not to mention Cliff, who’s uncanny safety play earned him the name “Captain Crash.
But the Cowboys had help. The team had just purchased it’s very first computer, and they got themselves a new stadium, too. And quarterback Roger Staubach was a big believer in The Landry System. So it’s no coincidence when The Cowboys throw the pass heard ‘round the world in the play that created the phrase “Hail Mary.”
Cliff’s journey through the NFL as a Cowboy is an experience unlike any other. He changed the way free safety was played, and he did it with the help of one of the greatest defenses in football history. His reputation on the gridiron speaks for itself. So what’s he got to say about it? Tune in to find out.
Show Notes & Links:
- Want to know more about Cliff Harris? Check out his Wikipedia Page.
- Can I go back and watch Super Bowl VI? Totally – courtesy of the NFL!
- What about Charlie Waters? Sure! Here’s his info too.
- Wait, Cliff and Charlie wrote a book together? They did, and it’s tremendous! Check it out on Amazon.
- I just gotta see this Hail Mary pass! We know how you feel. Check it out here!
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