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Super Bowl XVII

January 30, 1983 - The Rose Bowl


Washington Redskins 27
Miami Dolphins 17

The 1982 NFL regular season fell victim to a 57-day players' strike that shortened the schedule from 16 weeks to nine. At the end of the regular season, the NFL conducted a 16-team playoff with eight teams from each conference seeded based on their records during the regular season.

The Miami Dolphins, ten years removed from their undefeated championship, put up a 7-2 record in the regular season, then rolled through the playoffs by beating New England 28-13, San Diego 34-13, and the New York Jets 14-0.

The Washington Redskins featured the strong running of John Riggins and the accurate passing of Joe Theismann behind an offensive line affectionately known as the Hogs. They ran over teams on their way to an 8-1 regular-season record, and the playoffs were no different. They were barely challenged, knocking off Detroit 31-7, Minnesota 21-7, and Dallas 31-17.

And when the whistle blew on Super Bowl Sunday, it was Riggins behind that portly offensive line that assured the Redskins of victory.

The Dolphins opened the scoring with a touchdown pass from quarterback David Woodley to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo 6:49 into the first period. Woodley hit Cefalo on a little sideline pattern on Miami’s second offensive series and the wide receiver was able to turn it upfield for 76 yards and the score.

Washington got on the board late in the first quarter when Mark Moseley connected on a 31-yard field goal, but the Dolphins got it back on a 20-yarder by Uwe von Schamann with 6:00 left in the half.

As halftime approached, the Redskins went on a ten-play drive that included a 12-yard scramble by Theismann and ended with a four yard pass to Alvin Garrett. Washington had tied the score at 10-10 with 1:51 left in the half, but the Redskins didn’t enjoy it long.

Backup cornerback Fulton Walker returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown with 1:38 remaining, giving the Dolphins a 17-10 lead. Walker’s return was the first scoring kickoff return in Super Bowl history.

The Redskins got the ball back with 1:34 remaining on the clock and proceeded to march down the field, finding themselves on the Miami 16 with 14 seconds remaining and no timeouts. On the final play of the half, Theismann hit Garrett in the flat, but the Redskins receiver failed to get out of bounds and the clock ran out with the Dolphins still holding the lead.

Midway through the third period, the Redskins used a 44-yard reverse to Garrett to set up a 20-yard Moseley field goal to pull the Redskins within four. Riggins gave Washington its first lead of the game with 10:01 left in the fourth when, on a fourth-and-one situation, he ran 43 yards off tackle for a touchdown. Moseley’s kick put the Redskins up 20-17.

The Redskins defense thoroughly shut down the Dolphins in the second half allowing just 34 yards and two first downs in the final two quarters. Woodley, who completed just four passes all day, was 0-for-8 in the second half, and backup Don Strock was 0-for-3.

Theismann completed 15-of-23 passes for 143 yards, with two touchdowns, including a six-yard strike to wide receiver Charlie Brown with 1:55 left to complete the scoring and lock up a 27-17 Super Bowl XVII victory.

Fullback John Riggins, who ran for a Super Bowl-record 166 yards on 38 carries, was voted the game's most valuable player.

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