Iconic Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope, who died January 19, covered the first 47 Super Bowls. This column from Super Bowl VII, in which the Miami Dolphins became the first — and only — NFL team to finish off a perfect season, originally ran on Jan. 15, 1973.
LOS ANGELES — Washington, a three-point favorite? Ho ho ho ha ha ha he he he.
Are you jiving me?
Redskins over Dolphins?
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Piece of cake, that's what it was.
Bill Kilmer over Bob Griese, eh? C'mon fellas. Wake up and live. This was a clog-dancer against Nureyev, a hog-caller against Caruso.
If that's gloating, it's only high time. Hard times will make a monkey eat red pepper, and the Dolphins and their loyalists have been tasting it a good bit of the time since 1966.
Sunday the Redskins ate the pepper dish. They were in on the meal but never in Super Bowl VII except for a few wacky moments near the last.
The Dolphins won by 14-7. It could have been 24-0, almost the biggest Super Bowl cushion ever.
* * *
CALIFORNIA CUSTOMERS in the Coliseum were ape for the Redskins because LA is represented by the Rams, who also are in the National Football Conference.
Angelenos also are slightly nuts over Washington Coach George Allen from his days with the Rams, and over the number of ex-Rams now playing for the Redskins.
By halftime the Redskin backers who live here were ready to change leagues and allegiances.
They began to get the idea when Howard Twilley left cornerback Pat Fischer sucking air on a 28-yard touchdown catch from Griese at the end of the first quarter. Twilley caught it like Twilley, and ran it over like Larry Csonka might have, hauling Fischer on his back.
That was the first touchdown scored in the first quarter of a Super Bowl since Green Bay hung it on Kansas City, 35-10, in the original Super Bowl in 1967.
Back then the Dolphins had just finished their first season with a 3-11 record.
Now they're 14 victories better than the '66 record, and without a loss. You may wonder what Don Shula will do for an encore. So does he: "I don't what to tell them in training camp next year."
* * *
President Nixon had said he wanted Washington to win.
After two quarters, the Redskins were ready to sue for peace. But Nixon said he wouldn't be making anymore phone calls to either coach until maybe Monday.
The president had better get to George Allen quick before George goes into a catatonic state. I don't think he could believe what was happening to the Redskins.
Basically the Dolphins did to the Redskins what the Cowboys did to the Dolphins a year ago. They cut off the slant-in pass which Kilmer throws best. And since Kilmer hasn't the arm to whip the ball on sideline patterns, it was like emptying the biggest bullets from Kilmer's gun.
Meanwhile Griese did all the things he couldn't do in Super Bowl VI. The "rust" everybody seemed to be afraid would bother the kid wasn't visible Sunday.
Manny Fernandez was Larry Brown's policeman. The 250-pound Dolphin defensive tackle hugged the Redskin runner so often I thought they were engaged, except a guy doesn't usually try to break his gal's ribs before their married. Besides, Fernandez is getting hitched next month. His $23,500 postseason payoff will put some bread on the table.
Fernandez was Super. So was Jake Scott. Maybe I'd have voted for Fernandez for MVP instead of Scott. What does Scott need with that new car, with the wheels he's got now?