This week marks the 30 year anniversary of the Washington Redskins claiming their first Lombardy Trophy, a prize that had eluded the team for years.
The game pitted the Redskins against annual powerhouse, the Miami Dolphins.
The 1982 season was memorable for the Redskins, as the team finished the strike-shortened season with an 8-1 record. The team would steamroll through the NFC portion of the playoff bracket as they overpowered the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings by a combined scored of 52-14 in the first two rounds, advancing to the NFC Championship Game.
In the NFC Title Game, the Redskins squared off against division rival, the Dallas Cowboys. In their only matchup of the strike-shortened campaign, the Cowboys handed the Redskins their lone loss, a 24-10 defeat at RFK Stadium.
The Redskins would extract revenge on their rivals from Texas, knocking them off 27-17 to advance to Super Bowl XVII against Miami.
Relive the history-making day here:
In the 1970’s and early 1980’s Miami built a historical dynasty, winning games at a record-breaking pace. In Super Bowl VII, the two teams squared off in Los Angeles. During that game, Miami was looking to seek retribution for their performance in the Super Bowl VI, where they were run off the field in a bitter 24-3 loss to Dallas. More importantly, Miami was undefeated going into the game against Washington.
The Dolphins would claim their spot in the record books, beating the Redskins 14-7 and become the only team in NFL history to finish a season undefeated, a feat that still stands today.
Super Bowl VII was held once again in Los Angeles. The Redskins had the fourth-rated defense in the league during the regular season, giving up a measly 284.4 yards per game. Miami, however, struck quickly to open up the scoring.
On the Dolphins second drive of the game, quarterback David Woodley connected with receiver Jimmy Cefalo for a 76-yard bomb to go up 7-0.
Washington would go scoreless in the first quarter as Miami’s top-ranked defense was able to contain the potent Redskins offense. Early in the second quarter, the Dolphins appeared destined to extend their lead as they drove down the field with relative ease. However, Dexter Manley halted the drive as he came up with a key turnover, knocking the ball out of Woodley’s hands. Washington, however, was only able to generate three points off the turnover.
Miami would match the Redskins field goal with three points of their own, increasing their lead to seven, 10-3.
Washington would answer back, however, storming down the field for a four-yard touchdown pass from Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Thiesmann to Alvin Garrett, tying the affair at 10 apiece.
On the ensuing kickoff, Miami returner Fulton Walker, known for his big-play potential, burst open the game as he returned the kick 98 yards to the endzone. The Dolphins would head to halftime with the momentum in hand and a seven point cushion over the Redskins.
The second half, however, showed fans why Washington ended the season with 11 wins to one loss.
Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins dug deep into their bag of tricks as Garrett came up big once again with a 44-yard reverse that would set up a Mark Moseley field goal to pull Washington to within four, 17-13.
The turning point of the game came early in the fourth quarter. The Redskins drove down the field and entered Miami territory. The drive quickly stalled and the Redskins were forced to make a crucial decision on fourth and one with 10:10 left in the contest. If the team failed to convert, it could put a clamp on the Redskins chances of victory. The Redskins were unafraid of the consequences and decided to go for it.
Running back John Riggins was able to convert the fourth down and then some, as he put the Redskins up for good with a stunning 43-yard touchdown run. Moseley would tack on the extra point and Washington led for the first time, 20-17.
The offense capped over their explosive second half performance on their next possession with a six-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Brown for a 27-17 victory.
Not to be outdone by the epic display of offense, the defense had one of its stingiest performances of the season, holding the Dolphins to zero second half points.
The Super Bowl victory would be the first for the franchise and sparked a decade of dominance as the team would claim two more Lombardi Trophies under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
Congratulations once again to the 1982 Super Bowl winning squad and Hail to the Redskins!
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