Computer Picks Dallas to Win Again in 1978

0904_large.jpgThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The 1978 NFL season brought about several changes, including two more regular season games to bring the total to 16. The league increased the number of playoff teams in each conference by one by adding a wildcard playoff game.

In its preview of the 1978 season, Sports Illustrated relied on a computer prediction from Bud Goode, who used his Univac 1106 to analyze each game of the 1978 season. The results looked good for Dallas fans: a 15-0-1 regular season record and another Super Bowl win. The Cowboys’ predicted opponents? The computer thought that the hometown team in 1978– the Miami Dolphins– would make it to Super Bowl XIII.

Here’s the story: Big D by Three (Sept. 4, 1978).

The story concluded that Dallas could win the NFC East by playing only its reserves. The team had an apparent weakenss at kicker with the loss of All-Pro Efren Herrera, whom the Cowboys traded to Seattle after the kicker demanded a new contract. Dallas picked up Rafael Septien from the Rams, though, and most quickly forgot about Herrera.

Offensively, Dallas traded troubled receiver Golden Richards to Chicago early in the 1978 season, but due to the emergence of Tony Hill, Dallas could afford the loss. Tom Landry also believed he has possibly the his defense ever (no, not quite).

As for other predictions, Pittsburgh was considered “potentially powerful,” while the Dolphins’ offense was supposed to be so strong that it could even survive the loss of Bob Griese for half of the 1978 season.

As for the Dallas quarterback, he was the subject of A Do-gooder Who’s Doing Good.