The Cowboys had to overcome many obstacles during the regular season. FullbackCalvin Hill, the team's second leading rusher with 577 yards and 4 touchdowns, was lost for the year after suffering a leg injury late in the regular season. And wide receiverBob Hayes was benched by head coach Tom Landry for poor performances on several occasions.
Most significantly, the Cowboys had a quarterback controversy between Craig Morton and Roger Staubach. Morton and Staubach alternated as the starting quarterback during the regular season, but Landry eventually chose Morton to start Super Bowl V because he felt less confident that Staubach would follow his game plan (Landry called all of Morton's plays in Super Bowl V). Also, Morton had done extremely well in the regular season, throwing for 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, earning him a passer rating of 89.8. In contrast, Staubach, although a noted scrambler and able to salvage broken plays effectively, threw for 542 yards, and only two touchdowns with eight interceptions, giving him a 42.9 rating.
Hayes was the main deep threat on the team, catching 34 passes for 889 yards (a 26.1 yards per catch average) and 10 touchdowns, while also rushing 4 times for 34 yards and another touchdown, and adding another 116 yards returning punts. On the other side of the field, wide receiverLance Rentzel recorded 28 receptions for 556 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The Cowboys had their lowest regular season (6–2 vs. Cleveland Browns) and playoff (5–0 vs. Detroit Lions) scoring games in franchise history. The playoff victory over Detroit on December 26 remains the lowest scoring postseason game in NFL history. Through the 2018 season, they are the only games to finish with those scores.