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Super Bowl XVII

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Title: Super Bowl XVII  
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Subject: List of Super Bowl records, Super Bowl, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XVIII, Super Bowl VII
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Super Bowl XVII

Super Bowl XVII
1 2 3 4 Total
MIA 7 10 0 0 17
WSH 0 10 3 14 27
Date January 30, 1983 (1983-01-30)
Stadium Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California
MVP John Riggins, Running back
Favorite Dolphins by 3
Referee Jerry Markbreit
Attendance 103,667
Future Hall of Famers
Redskins: Joe Gibbs (coach), Russ Grimm, Art Monk, John Riggins.
Dolphins: Don Shula (coach), Dwight Stephenson.
National anthem Leslie Easterbrook
Coin toss Elroy Hirsch
Halftime show Bob Jani Productions presents "KaleidoSUPERscope" with the Los Angeles Super Drill Team
TV in the United States
Network NBC
Announcers Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen
Nielsen ratings 48.6
(est. 81.77 million viewers)[1]
Market share 69
Cost of 30-second commercial US$400,000
 < XVI Super Bowl XVIII > 

Super Bowl XVII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1982 season. The Redskins defeated the Dolphins by the score of 27–17 to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 30, 1983 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

This Super Bowl came at the end of a season that was significantly shortened by a players' strike. Teams ended up only playing nine regular season games, and the league conducted a special 16-team, four-round playoff tournament where divisions were ignored in the seeding. The Redskins had an NFC-best 8–1 regular season record, while the Dolphins finished at 7–2. Both teams advanced through the first three postseason rounds to Super Bowl XVII. The game then became a rematch of Super Bowl VII, also played in the Los Angeles area at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ten years before, where the Dolphins completed their 17–0 perfect season at the Redskins' expense by a score of 14–7. This was also the second Super Bowl to rematch teams, the first being Super Bowl XIII.

The Redskins scored 17 unanswered points in the second half and gained a Super Bowl record 276 yards on the ground, while holding the Dolphins to just 47 offensive plays for 176 total yards, 76 of which came on a single play.[2] Nevertheless, Miami built a 17–10 halftime lead with Jimmy Cefalo's 76-yard touchdown catch and Fulton Walker's 98-yard kickoff return.[3] The turning point in the game came with 10:10 remaining: facing fourth down and 1-yard to go at the Dolphins' 43-yard line, and trailing 17–13, Washington running back John Riggins broke through the Miami defense and ran into the end zone for a touchdown to take the lead. Wide receiver Charlie Brown then added an insurance touchdown with his 6-yard scoring reception.[4]

Riggins was named Super Bowl MVP.[5] He finished the game with 2 Super Bowl records: the most rushing yards in a Super Bowl game (166), and the most rushing attempts (38). His performance was also his fourth 100-yard rushing game in a row in a postseason game, a postseason record.[6] Riggins also recorded a reception for 15 yards, giving him more total yards than the entire Miami team.[7][8][9]


The NFL awarded Super Bowl XVII to Pasadena on March 13, 1979 at the owners meetings in Honolulu. [1]

NFL players' strike

A 57-day long players' strike reduced the 1982 regular season from a 16-game schedule to 9. Because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament. Division standings were ignored. Eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records.

The modified schedule forced the league to extend the regular season into January for the first time. After the 57-day strike, the NFL extended the regular season one weekend (pushing the end of the regular season back from December 26 to January 2), moving back the start of the playoffs and eliminating the week off for the first time since Super Bowl IV.

The strike-shortened season impacted 4 teams that made the playoffs during the 1981 regular season. The San Francisco 49ers, winners of Super Bowl XVI, suffered a 3–6 record. The Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants, and the Philadelphia Eagles did not qualify for the playoffs either. The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions qualified for the playoffs despite 4–5 records, the only sub-.500 teams to reach the NFL playoffs until the 7–9 Seattle Seahawks reached the playoffs following the 2010 season; however, the Seahawks were the first to accomplish this in a non-strike shortened season.

Washington Redskins

Super Bowl XVII was the Redskins' first Super Bowl victory (third NFL championship overall), and their second Super Bowl appearance, since they were defeated by the Dolphins, 14–7 in Super Bowl VII. This was the second rematch in Super Bowl history. Washington finished the strike-shortened regular season with an 8–1 record, the best in the NFC, and led the NFL in fewest points allowed (128).

Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann finished the season as the top rated passer in the NFC, completing 161 out of 252 (63 percent) of his passes for 2,033 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also rushing for 150 yards. The main weapons in the passing game were wide receivers Charlie Brown (32 receptions, 690 yards, and 8 touchdowns) and Art Monk (35 receptions, 447 yards, and 1 touchdown). Running back John Riggins led the Redskins' running game, rushing for 553 yards and 3 touchdowns during the regular season. Much of Washington's success on offense was also attributed to their offensive line, affectionately known as "The Hogs".

Washington also had impact players on their special teams. Mark Moseley became the first placekicker ever to win the NFL Most Valuable Player Award, making 20 out of 21 field goals and all 18 of his extra point attempts. Kick returner Mike Nelms also gained a combined total of 809 yards returning kickoffs and punts.

The Redskins' defense was led by 6'7", 296-pound defensive tackle Dave Butz, who anchored the line, along with defensive ends Dexter Manley and Tony McGee, who each recorded 6.5 sacks. Washington's secondary was led by defensive backs Vernon Dean and Jeris White, who each recorded 3 interceptions.[10]

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins finished the strike-shortened regular season with a 7–2 record, ranking them second in the AFC.

The Dolphins' main strength was their defense, nicknamed the "Killer Bees" because 6 of their 11 starters had last names that began with the letter "B". The "Killer Bees", anchored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Bob Baumhower, led the league in fewest total yards allowed (2,312) and fewest passing yards allowed (1,027). Linebacker A.J. Duhe was extremely effective at blitzing and in pass coverage. And the Dolphins' secondary, consisting of defensive backs Don McNeal, Gerald Small and brothers Lyle and Glenn Blackwood, combined for 11 interceptions.

However, the Dolphins' passing attack, led by quarterback David Woodley, ranked last in the league with 1,401 total yards, 8 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. One of the few bright spots in the Dolphins' passing attack was wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo, who gained 356 yards off of just 17 receptions, an average of 20.9 yards per catch. Wide receiver Duriel Harris also provided a deep threat with 22 receptions for 331 yards.

But Miami's strength on offense was their running game, ranking 3rd in the league with 1,344 yards. Pro Bowl running back Andra Franklin was the team's top rusher with 701 yards and 7 touchdowns. Running back Tony Nathan rushed for 233 yards, and caught 16 passes for another 114 yards. Woodley himself also recorded 207 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. One reason for the Dolphins' rushing success was the blocking of their offensive line, led by future Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson, along with Pro Bowlers Bob Kuechenberg and Ed Newman.[11]


The Dolphins advanced through the special 16-team playoffs by defeating the New England Patriots, 28–13, the San Diego Chargers, 34–13, and the New York Jets, 14–0, to earn a trip to their fourth Super Bowl in team history.

Meanwhile, the Redskins beat the Detroit Lions, 31–7, the Minnesota Vikings, 21–7, and the Dallas Cowboys, 31–17.

Before the playoffs, the 33-year old Riggins told coach Joe Gibbs "I'm really getting down the road. I don't have many of these left. I've been out two weeks and I'm ready. Give me the ball."[2] Gibbs did just that, and Riggins ended up rushing for a combined total of 444 yards and 3 touchdowns during those playoff victories.

Another key contributor in the playoff games was backup wide receiver Alvin Garrett, who replaced Monk after he suffered a leg injury that kept him out of the entire postseason. Although he only recorded one reception during the entire regular season, Garrett caught a combined total of 13 receptions for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns in Washington's three playoff games.

Super Bowl pregame news

Entering Super Bowl XVII, the Dolphins were favored to win the game, primarily because of their "Killer Bees" defense, which had recorded 12 interceptions in their three playoff games, including 5 each in the final two. Another reason why the Redskins were the underdogs was because they had 26 players on their 45-man roster who had been signed by the team as free agents, including 14 who had never even been drafted by an NFL team. Only 10 players on the Redskins roster had any prior playoff experience.[12]

Television and entertainment

The game was televised in the United States by NBC, with Dick Enberg handling the play-by-play duties and color commentator Merlin Olsen in the broadcast booth. Len Berman and his NFL '82 castmates, Mike Adamle (who also covered the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation ceremony), Ahmad Rashad and Pete Axthelm anchored the pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. NBC's national Nielsen rating of 48.6 was the second-highest for a Super Bowl broadcast, trailing only the 49.1 garnered by Super Bowl XVI on CBS the year before. NBC introduced a new theme for the game; a brass-based piece that would see usage in various forms (as game introduction; pregame introduction or bumper music) for most of the remainder of the decade.[13]

Super Bowl XVII was dedicated to University of Alabama Coach Bear Bryant, who died on January 26, 1983. A moment of silence was held in his memory during the pregame ceremonies. Dolphins Dwight Stephenson, Bob Baumhower and Don McNeal were All-Americans for Bryant at Alabama.

The Los Angeles Unified School District All-City Band played during the pregame ceremonies. Later, actress Leslie Easterbrook performed the national anthem.

The coin toss ceremony featured Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Elroy Hirsch. Dolphins captain Bob Kuechenberg called "tails," and the coin came down "tails." However, referee Jerry Markbreit became confused by the similar design of both sides of the coin and incorrectly thought "heads" had landed. After a short discussion with his head linesman, Dale Hamer, Markbreit corrected his mistake before the kickoff.

The halftime show was produced by Bob Jani Productions and titled "KaleidoSUPERscope", and featured the Los Angeles Super Drill Team.

Following the game, NBC aired the premiere episode of The A-Team, beginning the tradition of the game's host network airing programming after the game. As a way to hype the show for NBC, Mr. T was in attendance for the game.

Locally, Super Bowl XVII was shown on WRC-TV, the Washington, D.C. NBC affiliate and on WCKT-TV, the Miami, Florida NBC affiliate.

The game was shown live in the UK for the first time when Channel 4, Britain's newest channel (launched November 2, 1982) covered it.[14] Additionally, the Super Bowl was shown live in Canada on CTV, which also simulcasted NBC's coverage.


The game was broadcast nationally on radio on CBS, with Jack Buck handling the play-by-play duties and color commentator Hank Stram in the broadcast booth. Brent Musburger anchored the Super Bowl XVII pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage with analysis from Irv Cross and Jimmy Snyder for CBS. Locally, Super Bowl XVII was broadcast on WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C. by Frank Herzog, Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgenson, and on WIOD-AM in Miami, Florida by Rick Weaver and Hank Goldberg.

Game summary

Miami scored first on their second possession when faced with 2nd down and 6 on their own 24. David Woodley froze hard-charging lineman Dexter Manley with a pump fake before throwing the ball to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo, who caught the ball ahead of single coverage by safety Tony Peters at the Redskins 45 and raced untouched down the right sideline for a 76-yard touchdown completion. Then after forcing the Redskins to punt, Woodley attempted a deep pass again, but was hit by Manley, causing him to fumble, and defensive tackle Dave Butz recovered the ball. The turnover led to Redskins kicker Mark Moseley's 31-yard field goal to cut the Dolphins' lead to 7–3, two plays into the second quarter.

Miami kick returner Fulton Walker returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to the Dolphins 47-yard line. From there, the Dolphins advanced to the Redskins 3-yard line. But Woodley's pass fell incomplete on third down, so Miami had to settle for kicker Uwe von Schamann's 20-yard field goal to increase their lead to 10–3 with 6 minutes left in the half. Although the drive was only 50 yards long, it consisted of 13 plays and took 8:39 off the clock.

Aided by a 27-yard completion from quarterback Joe Theismann to tight end Rick Walker, four runs and a 15-yard reception by running back John Riggins, and a 12-yard run from Theismann himself, the Redskins marched 80 yards in 11 plays to score on wide receiver Alvin Garrett's 4-yard touchdown reception.

Garrett's touchdown tied the game 10–10 with less than 2 minutes left in the half, but the tie did not last long; Fulton Walker returned the ensuing kickoff a Super Bowl-record 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 17–10 lead. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Super Bowl history, and the longest kickoff return in postseason history, breaking the prior record of 97 yards by Vic Washington in 1972.

A penalty on the ensuing kickoff forced Washington to start their next drive at their own 7-yard line, but they managed to get to the 28 after their first four plays. Then a pass interference penalty on defensive back Lyle Blackwood on the next play moved the ball to the Miami 42-yard line. Immediately after Blackwood's penalty, wide receiver Charlie Brown's 24-yard reception advanced the Redskins to the Dolphins 16-yard line. After calling their final timeout with 14 seconds left, Washington made one last attempt to score a touchdown before trying a field goal. Theismann's subsequent pass was caught by Garrett, but he was tackled at the 9-yard line by defensive back Glenn Blackwood, preventing any possible field goal attempt as the Redskins were unable to stop the clock before time expired in the half.

Both teams opened the second half trading punts. But after driving to their own 47-yard line on their second possession of the third quarter, the Redskins managed to fool the Dolphins with a reverse play. Riggins took a handoff from Theismann, who then handed the ball off to Garrett, who was running in the opposite direction. The play worked perfectly, as Garrett ran the ball 44 yards to Miami's 9-yard line before being tackled. But the Dolphins' defense only allowed Washington to advance to the 3-yard line on their next three plays, and so the Redskins had to settle for another field goal from Moseley to cut their deficit to 17–13.

Later in the third quarter, Theismann was intercepted by Miami linebacker A.J. Duhe at the Redskins 47-yard line. After the turnover, the Dolphins reached the 37-yard line, and Woodley tried to pass the ball deep to Cefalo again. But Washington defensive back Vernon Dean deflected the ball, and safety Mark Murphy made a one-handed interception at the 5-yard line as he was falling to the ground. After the Redskins got a first down, Theismann had a pass blocked at the line of scrimmage by Kim Bokamper. Bokamper nearly intercepted the pass in the Redskins' end zone, but Theismann prevented the score with a timely move, knocking the ball out of Bokamper's hands. The Redskins then drove to Miami's 43-yard line, and once again tried to fool the Dolphins with a trick play, this time a flea flicker. Riggins took a pitch from Theismann, ran up to the line of scrimmage, and then pitched the ball back to Theismann, who then attempted to pass it. But this time Miami was not fooled, and Lyle Blackwood made a diving interception at the 1-yard line (this was the first Super Bowl ever to have 3 consecutive drives end with interceptions).

However, Blackwood's interception turned out to be somewhat beneficial for the Redskins, as it pinned Miami back at their own 1. The Dolphins could only gain 3 yards with their next three plays, and Washington ended up getting the ball back with great field position on their own 48-yard line. The Redskins ran three plays to reach Miami's 43-yard line, but then faced a fourth down and one to go. Instead of punting, the Redskins decided to gamble and attempt to get the first down with a run from Riggins. But Riggins did a lot more than pick up the first down. Coach Joe Gibbs called his trademark play I-Right 70 Chip, starting tight end Clint Didier in motion towards the right, then reversing motion back to the left. Theismann handed to Riggins, who broke a tackle from Miami cornerback Don McNeal and took off for a 43-yard touchdown run, giving Washington their first lead of the game, 20–17, with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game. McNeal, who was assigned to cover Didier on the play, slipped briefly as Didier changed direction. The Redskins ran the play to the left, behind Didier and fullback Otis Wonsley, and Riggins ran over McNeal to score the touchdown. Although McNeal did indeed slip briefly while following Didier across the formation, it would have made little difference in the outcome of the play. Despite a valiant effort by McNeal, the 185-pound cornerback could do little more than hold on briefly as he met the 240-pound Riggins running with a full head of steam, hit him high, and slid down his body as "The Diesel" pulled away towards the end zone and the Redskins' first Super Bowl victory.

Washington quickly forced Miami to punt on their next possession, and punt returner Mike Nelms's 12-yard return gave the Redskins great field position at the Dolphins 41-yard line. The Redskins then ran five consecutive running plays by Riggins, consuming a lot of time off the clock and moving the ball to the 23-yard line. Then on third down, Theismann made a key pass completion to Brown to the 9-yard line. Riggins then advanced the ball to the 6-yard line with two more runs. Then after the 2-minute warning, Brown caught a touchdown pass on the next play, increasing the Redskins' lead to 27—17 and putting the game away. Walker returned the ensuing kickoff 36 yards to the 35-yard line, but Miami could only advance to the 39 before turning the ball over on downs.

Washington had completely dominated Miami in the second half, allowing only two first downs and no pass completions. Overall, the Dolphins gained just 9 first downs and 4 completions in the entire game. "Their way is what we called Dolphin football," said left guard Bob Kuechenberg, one of only two holdovers from Miami's three previous Super Bowl teams in the 1970s (the other was defensive end Vern Den Herder). "They controlled the second half and they're fitting world champions.[15]

Woodley finished the game with just 4 out of 14 completions for 97 yards. Receiver Duriel Harris, who recorded 2 receptions for 15 yards, was the only other Dolphins player to catch a pass in the game besides Cefalo. And after catching a 76-yard pass in the first quarter, Cefalo caught just 1 more pass for 6 yards in the entire game. Walker finished the game with 4 kickoff returns for 190 yards and a touchdown, setting Super Bowl records for most kickoff return yards and highest single game yards per return average (47.5).

Meanwhile, Theismann, the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl while wearing a single digit number (7), finished 15 out of 23 for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions. He also added 20 rushing yards on 3 carries. Brown was the Redskins leading receiver with 6 receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. Nelms returned 6 punts for 52 yards, both Super Bowl records, and returned 2 kickoffs for 44 yards.

Overall, Washington gained 400 yards of offense, including a Super Bowl-record 276 rushing yards, while limiting Miami to only 176, with just 34 yards in the second half.

Box score

Final statistics

Source: Super Bowl XVII

Statistical comparison

Washington Redskins Miami Dolphins
First downs 24 9
First downs rushing 14 7
First downs passing 9 2
First downs penalty 1 0
Third down efficiency 11/18 3/11
Fourth down efficiency 1/1 0/1
Net yards rushing 276 96
Rushing attempts 52 29
Yards per rush 5.3 3.3
Passing – Completions/attempts 15/23 4/17
Times sacked-total yards 3–19 1–17
Interceptions thrown 2 1
Net yards passing 124 80
Total net yards 400 176
Punt returns-total yards 6-52 2-22
Kickoff returns-total yards 3-57 6-222
Interceptions-total return yards 1–0 2–0
Punts-average yardage 4–42.0 6–37.8
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2–1
Penalties-total yards 5-36 4–55
Time of possession 36:15 23:45
Turnovers 2 2

Individual leaders

Redskins Passing
Joe Theismann 15/23 143 2 2
Redskins Rushing
Car2 Yds TD LG3
John Riggins 38 166 1 43
Alvin Garrett 1 44 0 44
Clarence Harmon 9 40 0 12
Joe Theismann 3 20 0 12
Rick Walker 1 6 0 6
Redskins Receiving
Rec4 Yds TD LG3
Charlie Brown 6 60 1 26
Don Warren 5 28 0 10
Alvin Garrett 2 13 1 9
Rick Walker 1 27 0 27
John Riggins 1 15 0 15
Dolphins Passing
David Woodley 4/14 97 1 1
Don Strock 0/3 0 0 0
Dolphins Rushing
Car2 Yds TD LG3
Andra Franklin 16 49 0 9
Tony Nathan 7 26 0 12
David Woodley 4 16 0 7
Tommy Vigorito 1 4 0 4
Duriel Harris 1 1 0 1
Dolphins Receiving
Rec4 Yds TD LG3
Jimmy Cefalo 2 82 1 76
Duriel Harris 2 15 0 8

1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions

Starting lineups

Miami   Washington
Duriel Harris #82 WR Alvin Garrett #89
Jon Giesler #79 LT Joe Jacoby #66
Bob Kuechenberg #67 LG Russ Grimm #68
Dwight Stephenson #57 C Jeff Bostic #53
Jeff Toews #60 RG Fred Dean #63
Eric Laakso #68 RT George Starke #74
Bruce Hardy #84 TE Don Warren #85
Jimmy Cefalo #81 WR Charlie Brown #87
David Woodley #16 QB Joe Theismann #7
Tony Nathan #22 RB John Riggins #44
Andra Franklin #37 RB/TE Rick Walker #88
Doug Betters #75 LE Mat Mendenhall #76
Bob Baumhower #73 NT/LDT Dave Butz #65
Kim Bokamper #58 RE/RT Darryl Grant #77
Bob Brudzinski #59 LOLB/RE Dexter Manley #72
A.J. Duhe #77 LILB/LLB Mel Kaufman #55
Earnie Rhone #55 MLB-RILB Neal Olkewicz #52
Larry Gordon #50 ROLB/RLB Rich Milot #57
Gerald Small #48 LCB Jeris White #45
Don McNeal #28 RCB Vernon Dean #32
Glenn Blackwood #47 SS Tony Peters #23
Lyle Blackwood #42 S Mark Murphy #29
Special Teams
Uwe von Schamann #5 K Mark Moseley #3
Tom Orosz #3 P Jeff Hayes #5



  1. ^ "Historical Super Bowl Nielsen TV Ratings, 1967–2009 – Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ """Redskins Riggins shows "I am the king. The Day (page 12). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Redskins’ daring play breaks Dolphins’ backs". Lakeland Ledger (page 19). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Rallying Redskins are simply superb 27 – 17". St. Petersburg Times (page 22). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Riggins choice for MVP". Youngstown Vindicator (page 7). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Redskins find their fire in an underdog role". The Miami News (page 22). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ This was the second time a single player (In this case Riggins) gained more total yards than his oponnent's entire team in a Super Bowl. Franco Harris also gained more yards than the entire Minnesota offense in Super Bowl IX.
  8. ^ "Redskins put it all together". The Milwaukee Journal (page 23). January 31, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Magic '70 Chip' Ends Four Decades of Trying". Washington Post. July 27, 1996. Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  10. ^ "1982 Washington Redskins". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ "1982 Miami Dolphins". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Attner, Paul (June 13, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ "Super Bowl XVII Open". Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "TV Listings 30 January 1983 Channel 4". Glasgow Herald (page 10). January 29, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Hail to the Redskins !". Sports Illustrated. February 7, 1983. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 

Popular Culture

A fictionalized version of this game - incorrectly changing the date to 1985 and the Miami's opponent to the San Francisco 49ers (consistent with Super Bowl XIX) - was featured in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective as the game in which Dolphins kicker Ray Finkle misses the crucial field goal.

External links

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