51 for LI: Fins Resurface in Super Bowl VIII
[lead align=”default”]Just eight days remain until Super Bowl LI. There won’t be a repeat in this year’s game, but in Super Bowl VIII, it happened for the Miami Dolphins.[/lead]
The 1973 season wasn’t the 1972 season for Miami. For starters, they actually lost some games, but we’re talking about them in this article, so it couldn’t have been bad. Following up a season such as that is a tall order for any team, but the Dolphins did it in the best way possible.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings faced them in this contest. They were a team of stout defense, but to this day, no Super Bowl-era championships. (They were the last NFL champions right before the merger, if that counts.) Sorry if we ruined the ending for you.
Super Bowl VIII: 1973 Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota posted a 12-2 record in 1973, winning the NFC Central. This season was to start a stretch of three Super Bowls in four season for Minnesota, with three losses. It’s not quite the level of futility experienced by the early 1990s Buffalo Bills, but close.
These Vikings teams had excellent players. Alan Page, Carl Eller, Fran Tarkenton, and Paul Krause ranked amongst them, helping Minnesota to the division title. The “Purple People Eaters” did their thing, holding the opposition to 168 points over the year.
Minnesota had a home game against Washington in the first round, but beat Dallas on the road in a 27-10 thrashing to make Super Bowl VIII.
Super Bowl VIII: 1973 Miami Dolphins
This Dolphins team went 12-2, two more losses than their 1972 edition. It still meant an AFC East championship and a favorable path back to the Super Bowl.
Bob Griese was back from injury, having a Pro Bowl season with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He only threw for 1,422 yards in the regular season, but he also had Larry Csonka in the backfield with him. Csonka also made the Pro Bowl thanks to 1,003 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Big-time offense wasn’t the thing back in the day. Defense was, the the ‘73 Dolphins allowed just 150 points.
Miami routed the Bengals and Raiders to get to the Super Bowl once again.
Super Bowl VIII: The Game
The Dolphins used all sorts of trickery to help them in their game against Minnesota, hoping to persevere in a defensive battle. Don Shula’s team struck early and all but put it away in the first quarter. Larry Csonka got it started with a touchdown run on the opening drive, while Jim Kiick scored late in the quarter. It was 14-0 and that was all Miami needed.
For good measure, they tacked on a field goal before the half and scored mid-way through the third to take a 24-0 lead. The latter was on another Csonka touchdown run. Minnesota didn’t score until the fourth on a Fran Tarkenton keeper, but it was too little, too late. Miami was a back-to-back Super Bowl champion.