23. Super Bowl VII, 1973: Miami 14—Washington 7
The Dolphins returned to the championship game for a second consecutive season, this time capping it off with a win to preserve what remains the only undefeated season in the Super Bowl era. George Allen’s Washington team actually came in as slight favorites against 16-0 Miami, but failed to generate any offense in what was a strange game featuring some of the most unusual plays to date.
Competitiveness: 6 out of 10. The Dolphins scored on long drives in both the first and second quarter to take a 14-0 halftime lead. In the second half, Washington moved the ball repeatedly into Dolphins territory but were undone by three interceptions by Billy Kilmer. Turnovers were the key difference between two evenly matched teams.
Star Power: 7 out of 10: Washington brought coaching legend Allen along with all time great receiver Charley Taylor, while the Dolphins’ familiar group of Don Shula-led Hall Of Famers would become Super Bowl mainstays.
Controversy/Intrigue: 8 out of 10. In arguably the Super Bowl’s most memorable moment, the Dolphins turned a late field goal try into potential catastrophe when kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to pick up a botched snap and throw a pass. It was a very bad attempt at throwing and the resulting special teams touchdown brought Washington back into the game. Washington had nearly scored earlier in the game when a pass from Miami’s 10 yard line to wide open tight end Jerry Smith bounced off the cross bar, because for some reason the goal posts used to be in the middle of the end zone.
Aftermath: 10 out of 10. The Dolphins’ undefeated season has never been equaled, as they will happily tell you. Four and a half decades later it remains a remarkable achievement. They would go on to win the following year’s Super Bowl, capping an epic run.
Aggregate Score: 31 out of 40.
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