Super Bowl VII (7): Washington Redskins vs Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl VII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1972 season. The Dolphins defeated the Redskins by the score of 14–7, and became the first and still the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect undefeated season. They also remain the only Super Bowl team to be shut out in the second half and still win. The game was played on January 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. At kickoff the temperature was 84 °F (29 °C), making the game the warmest Super Bowl ever.
This was the Dolphins' second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl VI. They posted an undefeated 14–0 regular season record before defeating the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Redskins were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–3 regular season record and playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite being undefeated, the Dolphins were actually one point underdogs, largely based on the weakness of their regular season schedule.
Super Bowl VII was largely dominated by the Dolphins, and remains the lowest-scoring Super Bowl to date with a total of only 21 points (3 touchdown and 3 extra points). The only drama was during the final minutes of the game, in what was later known as "Garo's Gaffe". Miami attempted to cap off their 17–0 perfect season with a 17–0 perfect score shutout with a 42-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian, but instead the game and the season was jeopardized when his kick was blocked. Instead of falling on the loose ball, the Dolphins kicker picked it up, attempted a forward pass, but batted it in the air, and Redskins' cornerback Mike Bass (who was Garo's former teammate on the Detroit Lions years earlier) caught it and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. This remains the longest period in a Super Bowl for one team to be shut out, as Washington was held scoreless until 2:07 remained in the fourth quarter.[note 1] Because of Garo's Gaffe, what was a Miami-dominated game became close, and the Dolphins ended up having to stop Washington's final drive for the tying touchdown as time expired.
Dolphins safety Jake Scott was named Most Valuable Player. He recorded two interceptions for 63 return yards, including a 55-yard return from the end zone during the 4th quarter. Scott became the second defensive player in Super Bowl history (after linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V) to earn a Super Bowl MVP award.
The Dolphins went undefeated during the season, despite losing their starting quarterback. In the fifth game of the regular season, starter Bob Griese suffered a fractured right leg and dislocated ankle. In his place, 38-year-old Earl Morrall, a 17-year veteran, led Miami to victory in their nine remaining regular season games, and was the 1972 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Morrall had previously played for Dolphins head coach Don Shula when they were both with the Baltimore Colts, where Morrall backed up quarterback Johnny Unitas and started in Super Bowl III.
The Dolphins' undefeated, untied regular season was the third in NFL history, and the first of the post-merger era. The previous two teams to do it, the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears, both lost those years' NFL Championship Games. The Cleveland Browns also completed a perfect season in 1948, including a Championship victory, when they were part of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), but this feat is only recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the NFL does not officially recognize any AAFC records).
Following the death of Vince Lombardi 17 days prior to the start of the 1970 season, Washington finished 6-8 under interim coach Bill Austin. Shortly after the conclusion of the 1970 season, the Redskins hired George Allen as their head coach, hoping he could turn the team's fortunes around. Allen's philosophy was that veteran players win games, so immediately after taking over the team, he traded away most of the younger team members and draft choices for older, more established players. His motto was "The future is now." Washington quickly became the oldest team in the NFL and earned the nickname "The Over the Hill Gang." The average age of starters was 31 years old. However, Allen's strategy turned the Redskins around as the team improved to a 9–4–1 record in 1971, and finished the 1972 season with an NFC-best 11–3 record.
Washington was led by 33-year-old quarterback Billy Kilmer, who completed 120 out of 225 passes for 1,648 yards and a league leading 19 touchdowns during the regular season, with only 11 interceptions, giving him an NFL best 84.8 passer rating.
Read more... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_VII
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