Super Bowl XVII: 1984 and 4th and 1 on the 43


On January 30, 1983, the Washington Redskins met the Miami Dolphins in a rematch of Super Bowl VII when the Dolphins completed their 17-0 season.

Only a year earlier, the Redskins started the season 0-5 under new coach Joe Gibbs in my first year in Washington.    In a strike-shortened season, the Redskins had the best record in the NFC at 8-1 with their only loss being to hated rival Dallas.

To get to the Super Bowl the Redskins would have to beat Dallas in the NFC Championship at RFK Stadium.  I remember the Friday before the game, downtown Washington was in a frenzy over the Skins.

The Redskins beat Dallas in the NFC Championship 31-17, with Dexter Manley making a key sack of Cowboys QB Danny White that knocked him out of the game.

But it was John Riggins who was the big hero at the Super Bowl.  On 4th and 1 at the Miami 43 yards-line, Riggins powered his way to the end zone on a slant play giving the Skins at 20-17 lead they would not relinquish.  I was in a packed bar in Georgetown and it was pure pandemonium.


During the game, one of the most memorable Super Bowl ads in history premiered hailing the new Macintosh from Apple that had been released only 2 days earlier.  Both are forever etched in my mind.

With the win, the Redskins and Joe Gibbs signaled to the league they had arrived and would remain a dominant force in the NFC over the next decade – returning to the Super Bowl three times and winning two additional titles.

Oh and that Apple Company didn’t do too bad either.

Afterwards, there may have been a wee bit of celebrating . . .



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