Golden Richards, Super Bowl champion, dies at 73

By Thomson Reuters Feb 24, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Golden Richards, part of a trick play that helped the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bowl XII, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Murray, Utah. He was 73.

His nephew, Lance Richards, confirmed in a Facebook post that his uncle died Friday.

“I will forever remember going hunting and talking Dallas Cowboy football. He was a kind and sweet soul and I’m so happy he’s not suffering anymore,” the younger Richards wrote.

A speedy wide receiver, John “Golden” Richards was a multisport athlete at Granite High School in Salt Lake City before playing at BYU and then Hawaii as a college senior. The Cowboys selected him in the second round of the 1973 draft, and he played in Dallas for five-plus seasons before concluding his career with the Chicago Bears (1978-79).

The Richards play etched in Cowboys lore came in the Super Bowl in 1978 — a 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos — when Richards caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from running back Robert Newhouse on a trick play.

“People always think of that game as the highlight of my career but it wasn’t,” Richards told the Los Angeles Times in 1993.

“Every game I played was the highlight. Having my mates hold me up in the huddle when I had just gotten nailed and the wind knocked out of me, that was the highlight. The camaraderie of the game, every game, that was the highlight.”

Post-retirement, however, Richards was plagued by addiction and illness. His brother, Doug Richards, told the Deseret News in Utah that the wide receiver had been sober for 10 years after struggling with alcoholism and a reliance on pills he started taking to relieve the pain from football injuries.

In 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And on Christmas Day in 2022, Richards broke his hip in a fall and had been in failing health since.

“Seven or eight years of wear and tear on the football field for a 175-pound wide receiver who was concussed several times, too,” Doug Richards said. “That obviously took its toll.”

Golden Richards finished his career with 122 catches, 2,136 yards and 17 touchdowns in 86 regular-season games (67 starts). He added 501 yards as a punt returner.

–Field Level Media