Super Bowl XVII came at the end of a shortened 1982/1983 season caused by players’ strike. Only nine regular season games were played. The Redskins ended the regular season with the best record of 8–1, while the Dolphins finished at 7–2. Both teams advanced through the first three postseason rounds to Super Bowl XVII.
For the Redskins, this was payback time. Ten years earlier, in Super Bowl VII, played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum the Dolphins completed their 17–0 perfect season by beating the Redskins 14–7.
Dolphins lead 17–10 at halftime: 7 points in the first quarter, then Jimmy Cefalo’s 76-yard touchdown catch and Fulton Walker’s 98-yard kickoff return.
The Redskins came swinging in the second half and scored the last 17 points of the game. They gained a Super Bowl record 276 yards running, while the Dolphins managed only 47 offensive plays for 176 total yards, 76 of which came on a single play. in the fourth quarter facing fourth down and 1-yard at the Dolphins’ 43-yard line, and trailing 17–13, Redskins’ running back John Riggins broke through the Miami defense and ran into the end zone for a touchdown to take the lead. Wide receiver Charlie Brown scored the final points of the game.
John Riggins was named Super Bowl XVII MVP with 2 Super Bowl records: the most rushing yards in a Super Bowl game (166), and the most rushing attempts (38). He was the first NFC team player to rush for 100 yards in a Super Bowl.
Points To Note:
The Redskins were the underdogs going into Super Bowl XVII for two reasons:
- Dolphins “Killer Bees” defense, recorded 12 interceptions in their three playoff games, including 5 each in the final two.
- 26 of the 45 Redskins players had been signed as free agents, 14 of whom had never even been drafted by an NFL team. Only 10 players on the Redskins roster had any prior playoff experience.