Super Bowl VII
The Miami Dolphins capped off the only undefeated season in NFL history with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins, redeeming themselves for their previous loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI. The game was played before a sold out crowd on January 14, 1973 at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the second time. (The inaugural Super Bowl, then known at the time as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, was held at the LA Coliseum in 1967.) The Dolphins finished the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record and then defeated the Cleveland Browns in the divisional playoff and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Conference Championship to up their record to 16-0. Miami's squad included future Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer Larry Little and Paul Warfield and head coach Don Shula were eager to avenge the loss from the previous Super Bowl. They also had All-Pro quarterback Earl Morrall, 1972 AP Comeback Player of the Year, who guided the team through starter Bob Griese's ankle injury. The Washington Redskins, the NFC's top team, posted an 11-3 record in the regular season before eliminating former champions the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys – reigning Super Bowl champions. Not without their talent, Washington had the NFL's AP Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year running back Larry Brown leading the charge out of the backfield as well as future HOFers Chris Hanburger, Sonny Jurgenson, Charley Taylor and head coach George Allen.
Despite Miami's flawless record, they were a three-point underdog to the Redskins, but the Dolphins had a plan. Buoniconti, nose tackle Manny Fernandez and the rest of the Dolphins defense, dubbed the "No-Name Defense", neutralized MVP Larry Brown, forcing Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer to go to the air. Upon doing so, the defense forced Miami to commit three turnovers including two Jake Scott interceptions and rushed Kilmer for two sacks. On their third possession, the Dolphins scored on a 28-yard pass from Bob Griese to wide receiver Howard Twilley followed by a Garo Yepremian extra point. When Buoniconti intercepted a Kilmer pass late in the second quarter, running back Jim Kiick scored on a one-yard rush two plays later. The Dolphins took a 14-0 lead into the half. Miami continued to dominate the Redskins in the second half, but Washington cornerback Mike Bass collected a blocked Yepremian field goal attempt and retuned it for the Redskins only score cutting the lead to seven. Unfortunately, Bass' touchdown was a little too late as the Dolphins stifled the Redskins final drive and ended the game by sacking Kilmer as time ran down. From his two interceptions, which he returned for 63 yards, defensive back Jake Scott was named Super Bowl VII's Most Valuable Player becoming the second straight defensive player to earn the award. This was the second straight year that the losing team captured the Super Bowl.