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Rewarding Moments In Redskins History: John Riggins Runs Redskins To First Super Bowl


In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at when legendary running back John Riggins carried the Redskins to a win in Super Bowl XVII on Jan. 30, 1983.

Thirty-eight years ago to the day, quarterback Joe Theismann stood in the huddle with his Washington Redskins teammates. Super Bowl XVII was basically decided, as the Redskins led the Miami Dolphins, 27-17, in the final moments.

All that was left to do was run out the remaining seconds.

"I looked at every guy in the huddle, I went right around and looked at every one of those faces and said, 'Winning Super Bowl formation on two,'" Theismann recalled from Radio Row at Super Bowl LIV on Wednesday. "I get goosebumps just telling you the story now."

The franchise's first Super Bowl championship came during the strike-shortened 1982 season. The Redskins finished the regular season 8-1, while the Dolphins were 7-2. A pair of future Hall of Famers -- Job Gibbs for the Redskins, Don Shula for the Dolphins -- roamed the sidelines. The game was played on Jan. 30, 1983, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Miami opened the scoring with a touchdown in the first quarter and increased its lead to 10-3 early in the second. Washington then tied the game in the second frame behind a 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a four-yard reception from wide receiver Alvin Garrett.

Trailing, 17-10, to begin the second half, the Redskins added a field goal in the third quarter and then took their first lead on an iconic run from John Riggins with about 10 minutes left in the game. Riggins took a handoff to the left, bounced off a tackler and was off to the races down the sidelines for a 43-yard score.

Riggins had 38 rush attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown for the game.

With less than two minutes to play, the Redskins sealed the victory with a six-yard pass from Theismann to Charlie Brown, increasing their lead to 27-17.

For the first time, the Lombardi Trophy was coming to the nation's capital.

"I remember Terry Bradshaw holding up the football when he won the Super Bowl, and I remember Joe Namath waving the finger No. 1," Theismann said. "In sort of a tribute to both of them, I held the football up, I waved the finger ... and now I was part of that fraternity. It was just exciting."

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