NFL – Throwback Thursday: Hadl Heats Up

12 Oct

For this week’s Throwback Thursday feature, we’ll highlight the Dallas Cowboys for the second week in a row, this time with a game played against a team they meet on the week 6 NFL schedule, the Los Angeles Chargers. It was played on November 5, 1972 at the Chargers’ old home in San Diego and was a match between the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys and the sad sack Chargers, who were 2-5-1 under coach Harland Svare at that point. The new realignment of the merged leagues, the NFL and AFL, was only in it’s third year in ’72, so this was the first ever meeting between the 2 franchises.

There were no surprises for the first 2 1/2 quarters, as the Cowboys scored early. Mike Montgomery scooped up a fumble and returned it 54 yards for the opening touchdown. Then, after a Toni Fritsch field goal, Dallas’ offense took over. Walt Garrison rumbled 9 yards for a score, quarterback Craig Morton found Mike Ditka open from a yard out for another, then, early in the third quarter, Morton scrambled 7 yards to paydirt to give his club a commanding 31-0 lead over the overmatched Chargers.

It was at this point that San Diego signal caller John Hadl, one of the AFL’s top stars in the 1960s, regained some of that old AFL magic. He got his team on the board to wrap up the third quarter scoring with a 46 yard TD pass to Chuck Dicus, and carried that momentum into the final quarter. Hadl and the Chargers mounted a furious comeback as the balding QB fired 3 scoring passes, 42 yards to Gary Garrison, a second one to Dicus from 20 yards out and a 47 yard bomb to Dave Williams. Although the Charger comeback struck a little fear in the Cowboys, they did manage to sneak in another Fritsch field goal among the onslaught, and eventually extinguished the fire to pull out a 34-28 win. Amazingly, Hadl’s 4 scoring passes came on only 11 completions for the day, and he also was victimized for 3 interceptions. The Chargers outgained Dallas in both rushing and passing yards, but 4 turnovers sealed their fate. 1972 would be Hadl’s last year with the Chargers, as they traded him to the Los Angeles Rams prior to the ’73 season. He would earn All Pro honors with the Rams that year.


Walt Garrison churns out yardage (James Flores photo/Getty Images)


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