Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins 27 Miami Dolphins 17 - MVP Redskins RB John Riggins
Super Bowl XVII: Redskins 27 Dolphins 17 - MVP Redskins RB John Riggins

In front of a 100,000-plus crowd at the Rose Bowl in the Redskins 27-17 win over the Dolphins, Riggins turned in one of the most memorable rushing performances in NFL championship history. Highlighted by a bruising 43-yard touchdown run on a fourth and one situation, Riggins carried the ball a Super Bowl record 38 times for 166 yards.

In the process of wearing down a tough Miami defense, Riggins put an exclamation point on one of the most prolific postseason performances ever; the bruising back rushed for over 100 yards in each of Washington's four playoff victories.

The win marked Washington's first NFL title since 1942, and was only the second time in Super Bowl history NFL/NFC teams scored consecutive victories (Green Bay did it in Super Bowls I and II and San Francisco won Super Bowl XVI).

The Redskins, under second-year head coach Joe Gibbs, used a balanced offense that accounted for 400 total yards (a Super Bowl-record 276 yards rushing and 124 passing), second in Super Bowl history to 429 yards by Oakland in Super Bowl XI.

The Dolphins built a 17-10 halftime lead on a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Woodley to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo 6:49 into the first period, a 20-yard field goal by Uwe von Schamann with 6:00 left in the half, and a Super Bowl-record 98-yard kickoff return by Fulton Walker with 1:38 remaining.

Washington had tied the score at 10-10 with 1:51 left on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Joe Theismann to wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Mark Moseley started the Redskins' scoring with a 31-yard field goal late in the first period, and added a 20-yard kick midway through the third period to cut the Dolphins' lead to 17-13.

Riggins, who was voted the game's most valuable player, gave Washington its first lead of the game with 10:01 left when he ran 43 yards off left tackle for a touchdown in a fourth-and-1 situation.

Wide receiver Charlie Brown caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Theismann with 1:55 left to complete the scoring.

The Dolphins managed only 176 yards (142 in first half).

Theismann completed 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. For Miami, Woodley was 4 of 14 for 97 yards, with one touchdown, and one interception. Don Strock was 0 for 3 in relief

Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins 27 Miami Dolphins 17 - MVP Redskins RB John Riggins
Super Bowl XVII Logo

Super Bowl XVII MVP: Redskins RB John Riggins

Super Bowl XVII MVP: Redskins RB John Riggins
Super Bowl XVII MVP: Redskins RB John Riggins

Down 17-13 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XVII and needing a big play, the Redskins turned once again to running back John Riggins, who had been making big plays for them all season. Washington faced a fourth-and-1 from the Miami 43. After taking a handoff, Riggins broke through the line and rumbled all the way for a touchdown to give Washington its first lead of the game. The Redskins went on to win 27-17.

The 43-yard run by Riggins, the game's Most Valuable Player, was immortalized in one of NFL Films's most memorable images. Coming straight toward the camera, the rugged running back fills the screen for several seconds as he chugs to a place in Super Bowl history. While helping Washington win its first NFL title since 1942, Riggins set a Super Bowl record with 166 yards on 38 carries.

The Super Bowl marked the end to one of the finest postseason rushing performances in NFL history. Riggins had rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Redskins' four postseason victories.

Super Bowl XVII Scoring

Teams Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Source: NFL
Miami Dolphins7100017
Washington Redskins01031427


1st Quarter

Dolphins: Cefalo 76-yard TD pass from Woodley (Von Schamann PAT), 6:49

2nd Quarter

Redskins: Moseley 31-yard Field Goal, 0:21

Dolphins: Von Schamann 20-yard Field Goal, 9:00

Redskins: Garrett 4-yard TD pass from Theismann (Moseley PAT), 13:09

Dolphins: Walker 98-yard TD kick return (Von Schamann PAT), 13:22

3rd Quarter

Redskins: Moseley 20-yard Field Goal, 6:51

4th Quarter

Redskins: Riggins 43-yard TD run (Moseley PAT), 4:59

Redskins: Brown 6-yard TD pass from Theismann (Moseley PAT), 13:05


Super Bowl XVII: Miami Dolphins Team Statistics

Source: NFL
Total First Downs9
Rushing First Downs7
Passing First Downs2
Penalty First Downs0
Total Net Yardage176
Total Offensive Plays47
Avg. Gain per Offensive Play3.7
Yards Gained Rushing (Net)96
Average Yards per Rush3.3
Passes Attempted17
Passes Completed4
Had Intercepted1
Tackled Attempting to Pass1
Yards Lost Attempting to Pass17
Yards Gained Passing (Net)80
Average Distance37.8
Punt Returns2
Punt Return Yardage22
Kickoff Returns6
Kickoff Return Yardage222
Interception Return Yardage0
Own Fumbles Recovered1
Opponent Fumbles Recovered0
Yards Penalized55
Total Points Scored 17
Touchdowns 2
Extra Points 2
Field Goals1
Fields Goals Attempted1
Third-Down Efficiency3/11
Fourth-Down Efficiency0/1
Time of Possession23:45


Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins Team Statistics

Source: NFL
Total First Downs24
Rushing First Downs14
Passing First Downs9
Penalty First Downs1
Total Net Yardage400
Total Offensive Plays78
Avg. Gain per Offensive Play5.1
Yards Gained Rushing (Net)276
Average Yards per Rush5.3
Passes Attempted23
Passes Completed15
Had Intercepted2
Tackled Attempting to Pass3
Yards Lost Attempting to Pass19
Yards Gained Passing (Net)124
Average Distance42.0
Punt Returns6
Punt Return Yardage52
Kickoff Returns3
Kickoff Return Yardage57
Interception Return Yardage0
Own Fumbles Recovered0
Opponent Fumbles Recovered1
Yards Penalized36
Total Points Scored 27
Touchdowns 3
Extra Points 3
Field Goals2
Fields Goals Attempted2
Third-Down Efficiency11/18
Fourth-Down Efficiency1/1
Time of Possession36:15


Super Bowl XVII: Miami Dolphins Player Stats

Source: NFL
PassingComp / AttYardsTDINT
Woodley 4/149711
Woodley 41607
Vigorito 1404
Harris 1101
Cefalo 282176t
L. Blackwood 1000
Duhe 1000
Orosz 637.8460
Punt Returns#/FCYardsLongTD
Vigorito 2/122120
Kickoff Returns#YardsLongTD
Walker 419098t1
L. Blackwood232170


Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins Player Stats

Source: NFL
PassingComp / AttYardsTDINT
Theismann 15/2314322
Riggins 38166143t
Harmon 940012
Theismann 320012
Walker 1606
Brown 660126
Warren 528010
Garrett 21319
Walker 127027
Murphy 1000
Hayes 442.0540
Punt Returns#/FCYardsLongTD
Nelms 6/052120
Kickoff Returns#YardsLongTD
Nelms 244240
Wonsley 113130

January 30, 1983

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)

Attendance: 103,667

National Anthem: Leslie Easterbrook

Coin Toss: Elroy Hirsch

Halftime Show: Bob Jani Productions presents "KaleidoSUPERscope" with the Los Angeles Super Drill Team and the Los Angeles Unified School District All City Marching Band

Network: NBC

Announcers: Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen

Nielsen ratings: 48.6 (est. 81.77 million viewers)

Cost of 30-second commercial: $400,000

Super Bowl XVII: Redskins vs. Dolphins Highlights


Super Bowl XVII: Ticket & Championship Ring

Super Bowl XVII Championship Ring and Game Ticket

NFL Football: "Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins 27 Miami Dolphins 17 - MVP Redskins RB John Riggins"