Super Bowl XXX was played in the Sun Devil Stadium at Tempe, Arizona on January 28, 1996 between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of 76,347 people.
After Dallas' first three possessions, they came away with a 13-0 lead, scoring on each drive. Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman's 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Novacek and kicker Chris Boniol kicking two field goals contributed to this lead. Just before halftime (13 seconds to be exact), Pittsburgh quarterback Neil O'Donnel threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Yancy Thigpen to bring the Steelers within 6 points of the Cowboys.
The score was 13-7 to begin the second half. The Steelers were driving, and midway through the third quarter, they were near midfield. But on a third down, O'Donnell threw an interception to the Cowboys' defensive back Larry Brown, whose 44-yard return placed the ball on Pittsburgh's 18-yard line.
On the next play from scrimmage, the Cowboys' quarterback, Troy Aikman, threw a 17-yard completion to receiver Michael Irvin to carry the ball to the one-yard line. Running back Emmitt Smith then easily ran it in from a yard away to increase the lead to 20-7.
Now, seeming that the Steelers were on the verge of defeat, they rallied. Their kicker Norm Johnson kicked a 46-yard field goal which preceded a successful surprise onside kick. The result of the onside kick? Running back Byron Morris scored a one-yard toucdown with only 6:36 to play in the game. The score was now 20-17 in favor of Dallas.
On Dallas' next possession, the Steelers' defense forced a punt, and Pittsburg took the ball at their own 32-yard line trailing by only three points with 4:15 seconds left. But then, on second down, the Cowboys' Larry Brown intercepted Neil O'Donnell's pass again. This time, he returned it 33 yards to the six-yard line.
Two plays later, running back Emmitt Smith ran it in from four yards out to ice the game with 3:43 to go. The Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX by a score of 27-17. The NFC continued its dominance over the AFC by winning its twelfth Super Bowl in a row.
Pittsburgh's defense limited Dallas' powerful running game to only 56 yards. Despite that and their 201-61 advantage in total yards in the second half, the Steelers' were unable to overcome the three interceptions thrown by Neil O'Donnell (two of them came from Larry Brown, and the last one came on the game's final play).
Surprisingly, O'Donnell is the NFL's career leader for fewest interceptions per pass attempt. I guess he was due for a bad day. O'Donnel completed 28 out of 49 passes for a total of 239 yards. The Cowboys' quarterbak Troy Aikman completed 15 out of 23 passes for 209 yards.
MVP Honors and the Pete Rozelle Trophy went to cornerback Larry Brown whose two interceptions led to 14 second-half points. Thanks to his efforts, the Cowboys' won their third Super Bowl in four years, and a record tying five Super Bowl victories in total.