LOS ANGELES -- Super Bowl VII marked the end of the Miami Dolphins' unprecedented march to glory and the beginning of their legend. No team before produced a championship and an unbeaten, untied season and none has since.
The Dolphins secured their place in history on Jan. 14, 1973, defeating the Washington Redskins 14-7 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The victory stretched their record 14-0 and firmly etched them in the nation's mind as the dominant team of the day.
They were in the middle of a three-season skein of Super Bowl appearances, having lost to the Dallas Cowboys the previous year. After the triumph over the Redskins, coach Don Shula's Dolphins would come back in 1974 to go 11-3 and beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII in Houston.
"I've always felt what we did in 1972 was unique and set a standard of excellence for everyone else to shoot for," said Bob Griese, the Dolphins' Hall of Fame quarterback. "I'd like to think that if another team goes undefeated, it will take the same combination of talent, coaching, intelligence and dedication that personified our '72 team."
Other than one peculiar play, not much stands out about Super Bowl VII.
The Redskins and Dolphins played superb defensive football and neither offense generated much. The Redskins crossed midfield only once in the first half and they did not score a touchdown until 2:07 remained. That touchdown came from the special teams.
The Dolphins built a 14-0 lead in the first half and essentially sat on it. On their third possession, they drove 67 yards for the game's first score, with Griese passing 28 yards to Howard Twilley.
They doubled the margin just before halftime after linebacker Nick Buoniconti intercepted Billy Kilmer's pass and returned it 32 yards to the Redskins 27. Five plays later, Jim Kiick scored from a yard out.
The Redskins got on the board when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian, on to try a field goal, wound up trying to throw a pass after recovering the ball after his attempt had been blocked.
Yepremian, a soccer player from Cyprus, attempted to run to his right and cocked his arm. The ball floated out of it before his arm fluttered harmlessly forward and the Redskins' Mike Bass captured this airborne fumble and ran 49 yards to get the Redskins within a touchdown.
They would not, however, get any closer.
The Miami defense intercepted Kilmer three times, once in the end zone by safety Jake Scott, who would be named MVP. Kilmer passed for 104 yards, Griese 88, completing eight of 11 passes. The Redskins gained 228 total yards, the Dolphins 253. Twilley's touchdown catch was his only reception of the game.
This was George Allen's only Super Bowl trip with the Redskins, whom he coached from 1971-77. The Redskins made the playoffs three of the next four years but did not win again in the postseason.