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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cocky Cowboys Face Steelers in Super Bowl

COMBINED REPORTS


TEMPE, Arizona -- "When we win, oops, I mean, if we win." -- Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboy wide receiver.


Such comments among the players and an owner with an ego the size of Texas has turned the Cowboys into the team many football fans love to hate headed into Sunday's Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


"I have the research to prove it," said Dallas owner Jerry Jones. "We're the most loved team in the league and the most loathed."


Dallas disappointed thousands of football fans across the United States by beating the sentimental favorites from Green Bay for the NFC Championship.


Now it falls to the Steelers to take the swagger out of the Cowboys.


The Steelers take a proud championship tradition into the big game -- a 4-0 Super Bowl record, including victories over Dallas in 1976 and 1979.


Dallas is in a record eighth Super Bowl (four wins, three losses) and these Cowboys, huge 13 1/2-point favorites, stand poised to win an unprecedented third Super Bowl in a four-year span.


While the oddsmakers give Pittsburgh little chance, a superior defense -- ranked third in the league compared to ninth for Dallas -- makes the Steelers a legitimate threat.


"It's no secret the Cowboys have lost some top players over the years," said Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green. "That has created the opportunity to get better matchups against them. The Steelers have a better chance than some people may think for an upset."


Two of Dallas' four losses were to the Washington Redskins.


If anyone has the Cowboys' number, it's Redskins coach Norv Turner, who was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994.


"No. 1, I would say you have to limit their scoring opportunities," said Turner.


"They're going to score some points, but you have to take some time off the clock. Run the ball.


"No. 2, play the field-position game with them. If they beat you, make them have those long, time-consuming drives, but don't give up the big play."


The Cowboys biggest play is usually Troy Aikman to Irvin, who may be almost as good as he thinks he is.


The other man to watch for is Emmitt Smith, who led the league in rushing yardage and touchdowns.


Green says Pittsburgh won't be a pushover.


"It's really crucial for Pittsburgh to have a good offensive day, run the ball to take time off the clock and have a methodical passing game," said Green.


Quarterback Neil O'Donnell has keyed Pittsburgh's offense since it was opened up after a 3-4 start to the season.


"The Steelers run a lot of passes down the middle and quick traps, and one of their strengths is using defensive stunts. They have some key matchups with Dallas."


Dallas "has excellent pursuit, so you're not going to outrun them," said Turner. "Go straight at them. Their strength played into ours because we like to run the ball between the tackles."


Among all the other distractions, Dallas spent Thursday dealing with reports of racism on the team.


The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that John Blake, the Cowboys' former defensive line coach, once accused Aikman of picking on black players.


Defensive end Charles Haley laughed when told that Aikman supposedly yells only at black players.


"Look at our offensive huddle," he said, noting that there are only two white players on the starting offense other than Aikman. "When he yells, he doesn't have a lot of choice about what kind of person he yells at."


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