The 6’-0”, 185-pound receiver went from an unknown rookie free agent, to the Cowboys’ go-to receiver. Pearson, who was also a part-time quarterback at the University of Tulsa, made numerous game-winning catches in his time with the Cowboys. The Staubach-Pearson combo not only helped defeat many teams during the 1970s but also was an important fixture in turning the Cowboys into one of the most popular sports teams around.
While every Cowboy fan will have their favorite Pearson memory, none could stand out more than his “Hail Mary” touchdown reception from Staubach to beat the Vikings in the 1975 NFC Divisional Playoffs. With Dallas trailing 14-10 and under 30 seconds to play, Staubach launched a pass from midfield and Pearson out-muscled the cornerback and came up with a remarkable catch and walked into the end zone for the winning score. Two years before, in the 1973 Playoffs against the Rams, Pearson came up with an 83-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to win the game and advance Dallas to the NFC Championship Game.
Pearson even proved he could make the play without Staubach. Against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day in 1974, Staubach was knocked out of the game and his replacement, Clint Longley, an unknown rookie with no playing experience, was sent in to try to bring Dallas back from a 9-3 deficit in the fourth quarter. With 28 seconds to play, Longley knew who to go to and delivered a dazzling 50-yard touchdown pass to Pearson to knock off the Redskins at Texas Stadium. And who could forget Pearson catching two touchdowns in the final 3:40 against the Falcons on the Cowboys way to a 30-27 comeback win in the 1980 NFC Playoffs?
With his quarterbacking background, Pearson completed six-of-eight passes during his NFL career, including a key 49-yard pass to Tony Hill that set up a fourth-quarter touchdown against Green Bay in the 1982 Playoffs. In his 11 seasons, Pearson left enough lasting memories that always stand out in the minds of Dallas Cowboys fans across the country.
Over the course of his career, Drew Pearson caught 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection and led the NFC in 1976 with 58 catches. He was named to the 1970’s NFL Hall of Fame’s All-Decade Team. He played in Super Bowls X, XII and XIII and is a proud member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
- An Afternoon/Evening with Drew Pearson