Pearson’s version of Jonckowski’s boot: ‘He got me in the ribs’

·3 min read

Drew Pearson, the Hall of Fame receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, returned a message requesting an interview late on Saturday afternoon.

This was based on his visit last Monday with Dick Jonckowski, at Dick's home in Shakopee, to look back at the events of Dec. 28, 1975, when Pearson made a pair of clutch receptions in the final minute to give Dallas a 17-14 playoff victory over the Vikings at Met Stadium.

Jonckowski has spent more than four decades as the "Polish Eagle,'' certainly the most-popular emcee of sports gatherings, social clubs and many other banquets in Minnesota.

Before that, Jonckowski gained a following as a showboating Sims security guard working the open sideline at Met Stadium starting in 1962.

You can read Dick's version of those days and what happened with Pearson on that fateful day in Bloomington here.

Pearson's first game-turning catch came on fourth-and-17, took the Cowboys to midfield, and kept them alive to give quarterback Roger Staubach a long-shot chance to come up with a game-winner.

That came two plays later, when he hit Pearson on a "Hail Mary'' reception after Drew's tangle with cornerback Nate Wright.

Pearson landed out of bounds on the first of those; he says forced, and Vikings say, he wasn't going to come down in-bounds in any instance. He came down next to where Jonckowski was stationed.

Dick's version: He took a kick toward the ground in anger and struck Pearson "in the foot'' by chance.

On Saturday, Pearson said, "No, he got me in the ribs. Didn't hurt. But that's where he got me.''

Jonckowski and Pearson had an amiable meeting at the card show in the Twin Cities in 2013. Dick also said they had a brief "bygones be bygones'' exchange when the Cowboys were at Met Stadium in 1977.

Last Monday's meeting was set up by NFL Films for an ""A Football Life'' segment.

Pearson became a Hall of Fame inductee in 2021, and I said, "So, I take it, NFL Films is including your moment in time with Dick in 'A Football Life' segment on you?''

Pearson laughed and said: "No, it's on him; it's on Dick, the security guard. I was on the East Coast first, for an 'A Football Life' they are doing on Joe Theismann – I went to high school with Joe – and then they had me stop in Minnesota.

"I don't know if it's a full segment on him, but they had on video a lot of Dick's sideline antics that I saw Monday. He was doing stuff that a sideline security person wouldn't last 15 seconds trying to do today.

"There's one, where he caught a field goal, and wouldn't give the ball back to the official. The ref kept reaching for the football and he was pulling it away.

"He was doing it in fun … but what a different time that was in the NFL. Meeting him a couple of times, I can see Dick getting carried away and taking that kick.

"He's a good guy, though. He's funny. And that memorabilia he has … I wouldn't call it a collection. It's more hoarding.''

Pearson and his podcst partner wanted to fly in Jonckowski for a live appearance next Wednesday on the Drew Pearson Podcast in Dallas.

"He can't make it, so we'll get Dick on Zoom in a week or two,'' Pearson said. "That will be a conversation people should enjoy.''

Me, signing off: "Congratulations on getting in the Hall at last, Drew. Can you help us get in the missing Viking, Jim Marshall, while he can still go home to Ohio and accept it?''

Pearson: "Thank you. And I can't believe Jim's not in. I think I'd take him for a new 'A Football Life,' over my friend the security guard.''