January 14

This Day in History

Sports

Jan 14, 1973:

Undefeated Dolphins beat Redskins in Super Bowl VII

On January 14, 1973, the Miami Dolphins defeat the Washington Redskins 14-7 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Super Bowl VII, becoming the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to finish with an undefeated season.

Despite their perfect regular season record, Coach Don Shula’s Dolphins were three-point underdogs in the game, according to the bettors. The Redskins came into Super Bowl VII with an 11-3 regular-season record and playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, who had defeated Miami in the previous year’s Super Bowl. Washington was led by quarterback Bill Kilmer, while Shula gave the starting nod to quarterback Bob Griese over the 38-year-old Earl Morrall, who had led the Dolphins to nine consecutive victories after Griese broke his ankle in the fifth game of the season.

On their third possession of the game, Miami scored on a pass from Griese at the Washington 28 to wide receiver Howard Twilley at the five-yard line. Cutting inside and then outside, Twilley faked his Redskins defender, Pat Fischer, and ran the ball in for a score. By halftime, Miami led 14-0 after Kilmer threw an interception to set up the Dolphins’ second touchdown on a one-yard run by Jim Kiick.

A measure of excitement entered the game late in the fourth quarter, when the Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian botched a field goal attempt, then tried to throw a 42-yard pass after his kick was blocked. Redskins cornerback Mike Bass intercepted the pass and ran 49 yards into the end zone for his team’s only touchdown, with 2:07 left in the game. In general, however, the Miami defense, despite lacking any big-name stars, remained impenetrable throughout the game, harassing Kilmer and holding the Redskins to a total of only 228 yards. Miami safety Jake Scott, who caught two of three Dolphins interceptions, was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, as his team wrapped up their 17th straight victory and the first-ever undefeated season in the NFL.

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