Switzer gets last laugh, wins 'Grapefruit Bowl'

By Monty Phan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 29, 1996

TEMPE - For the Dallas Cowboys, the third time was indeed the charm.

For the American Football Conference, the 12th time wasn't.

And for Dallas coach Barry Switzer - well, it was as sweet as... a grapefruit.

Switzer, who coached the Oklahoma Sooners in more than a few lesser bowl games got the biggest one of all after a pressure-filled year at the Dallas helm, his second since replacing Jimmy Johnson.

"Where's the next one? I might want to go there, too," Switzer said. "This is bigger than the Orange Bowl. This is like a grapefruit. This is the Grapefruit Bowl."

Dallas, which lost to Pittsburgh in Super Bowls X and XIII, extended the NFC's Super Bowl winning streak to 12 straight. The Los Angeles Raiders were the last AFC team to win it, in Super Bowl XVIII.

Switzer had taken a lot of heat from media and fans during the season, especially after a controversial fourth-and-1 call during a loss to Philadelphia last month. But was this victory vindication?

"No, I don't care," he said. "I just reload when I stumble. We did it and we did it my way. Let the players tell you about that."

Indeed they did.

Wide receiver Michael Irvin: "Imagine coming in and the only way you can back it up is by winning a championship. On any level, a championship is hard to win. Barry has won on this level - a Super Bowl - so let's give him his pops and props."

Cornerback Deion Sanders: "We've got to give Barry some love. Barry Switzer is a great coach, a great man, to put up with all that crap that you guys have given him."

Running back Emmitt Smith: "This one is for Coach Switzer, who took all that abuse."

After being presented with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in a ceremony after the game, Switzer turned to Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones and proclaimed, "We did it our way, Jerry! We did it!"

He reiterated that sentiment later.

"A couple years ago when I first got the Dallas Cowboy head job, I said we're going to do it my way, baby," he said. "We did it that way tonight."