A lot of things happened on January 22 in the past.
Three of those came before I was born.
On January 22, 1973, the following occurred:
- The Supreme Court of the United States legalized abortion in Roe v Wade. Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion, although much of it was crafted by William Brennan, the leading progressive on the court for over 30 years. Byron White and William Rehnquist dissented. If you’re looking for my opinion on this case, keep waiting. Not here. Not now.
- Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, died of a massive heart attack at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas. LBJ was in poor health throughout his post-presidential life, and it was only a matter of time before his bad habits caught up with him.
- George Foreman battered Joe Frazier in Jamaica, winning by TKO in the second round to claim the World Heavyweight Championship. Referee Arthur Mercante, also in charge of Frazier’s epic 15-round unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali in 1971 in New York City, mercifully stopped the fight after Frazier was knocked down for the sixth time. Howard Cosell shouted “DOWN GOES FRAZIER” after the first knockdown, the most iconic line uttered by the man who always bragged he “Tells It Like It Is”.
January 22 just happened to be one busy day in one of the most hectic months of the last 50 years. To wit:
- January 7–Mark James Robert Essex went full commando in downtown New Orleans, killing seven–including three members of the New Orleans Police Department–and wounding 19 others in a siege at the Downtown Howard Johnson’s Hotel. It was discovered later that Essex killed two other NOPD members on New Year’s Eve and also was the probable culprit for the Rault Center fire of November 29, 1972, which killed six.
- January 14–The Dolphins defeated the Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII to complete their 17-0 season. Also that day, Elvis Presley performed in Honolulu to a worldwide audience over over one billion (none in the United States and Canada; the concert was not aired until April in those countries).
- January 27–The Paris Peace Accords were signed, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Two events of January 22 in the 1980s I remember much better.
The first Super Bowl I recall watching from beginning to end was Super Bowl XVIII, January 22, 1984 in Tampa.
The Redskins were the defending champion, having beaten the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. Washington went 14-2 in 1983, scoring a then-NFL record behind a dynamic offense led by quarterabck Joe Theismann, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, and running back John (The Diesel) Riggins, who scored a then-NFL record 24 touchdowns. Theismann had one of the NFL’s best receivers in Art Monk, who would be healthy for Super Bowl XVIII after missing the 1982 playoffs with a leg injury. Washington’s defense was overshadowed by its offense, but the Redskins had a stout unit, led by tackle Dave Butz, end Dexter Manley, linebacker Neal Olkewicz, and safety Mark Murphy, as well as a rookie cornerback from Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) named Darrell Green.
The Raiders were in their second season in Los Angeles. They had a superstar running back of their own in Marcus Allen, as well as speedy receiver Cliff Branch and sure-handed tight end Todd Christensen. Jim Plunkett did not have the big numbers Theismann had, but he was a fearless leader who had survived terrible stints in New England and San Francisco. Oakland’s defense was powered by a secondary led by cornerback Lester Hayes and safety Mike Haynes, acquired from the Patriots during the season. Up front, Oakland had a pair of studs at end, Lyle Alzado and Howie Long, while linebacker Ted Hendricks was still going strong in his 15th–and final–NFL season.
Washington defeated the Raiders 37-35 at RFK Stadium in week five, rallying from a 35-20 deficit in the fourth quarter to do so. The Redskins’ only losses were each by one point on Monday Night Football, at home vs. the Cowboys in the opener and at Green Bay two weeks after the game with the Raiders.Washington blew away the Rams 51-7 in the divisional playoffs, but barely beat the 49ers 24-21 in the NFC championship. San Francisco coach Bill Walsh (he will be mentioned later in this post, and with good reason) was incensed over two very marginal penalties called against the 49ers on the drive which led to the Redskins’ game-winning field goal, and he would use those calls as a rallying point for 1984, when San Francisco tore apart the league by going 15-1 in the regular season and winning Super Bowl XIX.
Los Angeles lost twice to division rival Seattle and suffered an inexplicable December loss at home to the Cardinals, but came on strong in the playoffs, routing Pittsburgh 38-10 and Seattle 30-14.
Many of the scribes who considered themselves experts on professional football felt Super Bowl XVIII had the potential to be one of the best Super Bowls ever.
Instead, it was a super rout.
The Raiders scored following Washington’s first possession when Derrick Jensen blocked a Jeff Hayes punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. A touchdown pass from Plunkett to Branch early in the second quarter made it 14-0. The Redskins got a field goal later in the period, but one of the most disastrous plays in the history of championship football was about to occur.
The Redskins had the ball inside their own 20 with 12 seconds to go in the first half. The smart play would be for Theismann to take a knee and for Joe Gibbs and his players to regroup during the long halftime.
Instead, Gibbs sent in a play called Rocket Screen.
During the October game with the Raiders, Theismann and Joe Washington executed it to perfection. Theismann dumped off to Washington in the right flat, and the ex-Oklahoma speedster took it for 67 yards to set up a Redskin touchdown as part of the Redskins’ 17-point rally in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles defensive coordinator Charlie Sumner believed Gibbs might call the play even though very little time remained in the half, and made an important substitution.
Sumner sent in 6-foot-4 reserve linebacker Jack Squirek, a second-year player from Illinois, in for Matt Millen (yes, THAT Matt Millen). Millen was angry that Sumner removed him, but Squirek was a better pass defender than Millen, who was a defensive tackle at Penn State before becoming a linebacker when he was drafted by the Raiders in 1980.
Squirek was asked to play man-to-man coverage against Joe Washington. If Washington caught the screen pass and broke contain, he would have a chance to gain enough yardage to set up Moseley for a field goal attempt to end the first half.
Rocket Screen did lead to a score.
Theismann dropped back and looked left for Joe Washington. Instead, Squirek caught the ball in stride at the 5 and pranced into the north end zone of Tampa Stadium.
Game, set, match, Raiders. It was 21-3 at halftime, and the Redskins’ reign as champion had 30 minutes to run.
Washington scored a touchdown on its first drive of the second half, but it was far too little, too late.
Later in the third quarter, Allen gobbled up huge chunks of real estate on his way to a then-Super Bowl record 191 yards. He scored two touchdowns during the stanza, the second on a remarkable 74-yard run on the final play of the period.
On the play, 17 Bob Trey O, Allen started out as if he would sweep left end, but reversed his field when confronted by Redskins strong safety Ken Coffey. Allen found a crease up the middle and avoided a diving tackle attempt by Olkewicz near midfield. Green and Anthony Washington gave chase, but were hopelessly behind the 1981 Heisman Trophy winner from USC.
The 74-yard jaunt sewed up MVP honors for Allen and was the icing on the cake of the Raiders’ 38-9 victory.
However, to many who watched, Super Bowl XVIII is not remembered for Allen, Squirek or Theismann, but instead for a commercial which aired during the third quarter.
In honor of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, published in 1949, Apple Computers aired a commercial where its new product, the Macintosh, would free the human race from the sinister grip of Big Brother and allow for the continued free will of man and the free exchange of ideas.
The commercial, created by famous movie director Ridley Scott, never aired again, but it is remembered by many not only as the greatest Super Bowl ad ever, but the greatest ad ever, period, regardless of air time or air date.
Five years later, the second–and last–Super Bowl played on January 22 produced one of the great championship games in NFL annals.
Super Bowl XXIII, played on January 22, 1989, marked the return of the big game to South Florida after a ten-year absence. This was the first Super Bowl played in the Dolphins’ palatial new facility, known then as Joe Robbie Stadium, in honor of the Miami owner, who built the $115 million stadium without a dime of taxpayer assistance.
The stadium now known as Hard Rock Stadium is a much better facility for football today than it was when it opened in 1987.
Robbie built the stadium with baseball in mind as well, thinking the area would receive a Major League Baseball expansion team in the near future, which it did when the Marlins joined the National League in 1993.
When the Marlins received their own stadium in 2012 (that’s another story for another post), the NFL required the Dolphins to make major renovations to the facility in order to host another Super Bowl. Current owner Stephen Ross complied, and the Super Bowl returns to South Florida in February 2020.
Super Bowl XXIII was a rematch of Super Bowl XVI, with the Bengals taking on the 49ers.
Some of the same players who were part of the 49ers’ first championship team in 1981 were still with the squad seven years later, most importantly Joe Montana. However, Montana had gone through a dip in his career following the victory over Miami in Super Bowl XIX after the 1984 season. He had a major back injury in 1986 which required surgery, and although he led the 49ers to an NFL-best 13-2 record in 1987, he struggled in a divisional playoff loss to the Vikings and was pulled from the game in favor of Steve Young, who had been acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay before the 1987 draft.
In 1988, Walsh could not make up his mind between Montana and Young through the first half of the season. San Francisco was wildly inconsistent, one week defeating Minnesota when Young scored the game-winning touchdown on a 49-yard scramble around left end on which Young somehow kept his balance, then losing the next week to the Cardinals by blowing a 23-0 lead and losing 24-23.
With the Niners 6-5 and two games behind the Saints in the NFC West, Walsh made Montana the full-time starter. The move paid off, as San Francisco won its next five games, including a 30-17 victory over New Orleans in week 15, to clinch the division championship.
In the playoffs, the 49ers blasted the Vikings 34-9, then went to Chicago and pummeled the Bears 28-3 despite a minus-18 wind chill factor.
This would be the first Super Bowl appearance for Jerry Rice, who had already established himself as one of the NFL’s all-time great receivers in just his fourth season. The Mississippi Valley State product set the league on fire in 1987 when he caught a record 22 touchdown passes in only 12 games. That record would stand for 20 years, when Randy Moss took advantage of the full 16-game slate to haul in 23 scoring passes from Tom Brady.
San Francisco’s underrated defense still featured Ronnie Lott in the secondary, but had a new star in pass rushing ace Charles Haley, who had the freedom to roam and line up at either end or linebacker. 0
The Bengals were a vastly different bunch from the 1981 team which lost to the 49ers in the Pontiac Silverdome, save for veterans Cris Collinsworth, Eddie Edwards and Reggie Williams.
In 1984, Boomer Esiason took over the quarterback duties from all-time Bengals passing leader Ken Anderson. By 1988, the left-hander from Maryland was the NFL’s leading passer, triggering a no-huddle attack which featured fleet receivers Eddie Brown and Tim McGee, plus bruising tight end Rodney Holman. Esiason was protected by an offensive line anchored by Anthony Munoz, one of the NFL’s all-time best offensive tackles.
The Bengals’ running game was led by the versatile James Brooks and a tough fullback from UNLV named Elbert Woods, who became famous as Ickey Woods. The Ickey Shuffle, Woods’ dance after touchdowns, became a national fad as the Bengals began the season 6-0 and went on to a 12-4 record, a far cry from the 4-11 mark of 1987.
Cincinnati defeated Seattle and Buffalo to win its second AFC championship and send coach Sam Wyche, a former Bengals quarterback, into a matchup against his mentor. Wyche was an assistant to Walsh in 1981. Walsh was also a longtime Bengals assistant under Paul Brown before becoming the coach at Stanford in 1977.
The expected offensive explosion didn’t happen in the first half. Each team could muster only a field goal, and each team saw a player suffer a horrific injury.
First to go was 49ers offensive tackle Steve Wallace, who suffered a broken ankle. A few plays later, Bengals nose tackle Tim Krumrie also broke an ankle, but his injury was even more gruesome than Wallace’s.
The first touchdown did not come until late in the third quarter, and it was on a kickoff return by the Bengals’ Stanford Jennings. The 49ers went to the final period down 13-6.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Montana hit Roger Craig for 40 yards to the Bengal 14. Monata’s next pass was almost disastrous for San Francisco, for it hit Cincinnati defender Lewis Billups in the hands.
Had Billups hung on, it might have been curtains for the 49ers.
Instead, Montana made the Bengals pay dearly. He found Rice in the left flat, and #80 did the rest, battling his way past the Bengals secondary to the pylon for the touchdown which tied the game at 13.
With 3:20 to go, Jim Breech nailed a 40-yard field goal which put Cincinnati up 16-13. The 49ers could only return the ensuing kickoff to their own 15, but were further backed up by an illegal block in the back.
With 3:10 remaining, San Francisco was at its own 8-yard line. It would take at least 60 yards to get into field goal range, but that was no sure thing, as Mike Cofer shanked a 19-yard attempt in the second quarter.
Before the first play of the drive, Montana added some levity to the situation when he pointed to the big television screen in the west end of the stadium and said “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?”.
Montana led the 49ers on a drive for the ages, as 10 plays moved the ball 82 yards to the Cincinnati 10 with 39 seconds to play. Now the Bengals had to stiffen and hope they could force the 49ers to try a field goal.
With everyone expecting Montana to look for Rice, who finished with 11 receptions for 215 yards, both Super Bowl records, Joe Cool instead found the other wideout, John Taylor, in the middle of the end zone.
Montana’s dart nestled snugly in Taylor’s hands as the clock showed 34 seconds to play.
San Francisco was Super Bowl champion for the third time, 20-16. Walsh announced his retirement in the locker room immediately after the game. Rice, of course, was named MVP.
It’s almost January 23, so that’s it for now.
Okay, I dropped the ball Thursday by not pontificating on a pair of Super Bowls played on January 22. However, since no Super Bowl has ever been played on January 23–and none will ever be played on that date unless the NFL pushes the start of its season into August, and that’s not happening–I still have some time to be relevant.
First up: Super Bowl XVIII. January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium (aka “The Big Sombrero”).
This was not only the first Super Bowl to be contested on January 22, it was the first to be played in Tampa. The city was awarded the Buccaneers in 1974, and they began play in 1976. The city was awarded Super Bowl XVIII by the owners in 1980, becoming the second city in Florida and sixth metropolitan area overall to host the game, joining Los Angeles, MIami, New Orleans, Houston and Detroit.
At the time Tampa was awarded Super Bowl XVII, there was legitimate hope the Bucs would be playing in the game. Under coach John McKay, who won four national championships coaching at the University of Southern California, Tampa Bay reached the 1979 NFC Championship game, won the NFC Central division again in 1981, and reached the playoffs in the strike-shortened season of 1982.
In early 1983, the Bucs unraveled.
Starting quarterback Doug Williams refused to sign a new contract, feeling owner Hugh Culverhouse was lowballing him.
In most cases, i would side with the owner, but in this case, Williams was 100 percent dead on. Culverhouse was a cheap bastard who never played his players truly what they were worth. As long as he owned the franchise, the Bucs would be a laughingstock, not only in the NFL, but among all the major professional sports. The Tampa Bay Bucs were synonymous with losing and gross mismanagement. In the 1980s, the Bucs were one of the sorriest teams in any sport. In fact, about the only parallel I can draw in any of the major sports is with the NBA’s Clippers under Donald Sterling.
Ironically, a former assistant under McKay had built the NFL’s most powerful team in 1983.
Joe Gibbs was a 40-year old unknown when he was tabbed by Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke to bring Washington the championship it had not won on the gridrion since 1942. Gibbs worked under some of football’s biggest names: Frank Broyles at Arkansas, Don Coryell with the Cardinals and Chargers, and McKay in Tampa Bay.
Gibbs convinced John Riggins to return to the Redskins after he sat out the 1980 season in a contract dispute. In fact, Gibbs flew to Centralia, the tiny Kansas town where Riggins and his brothers became high school legends. Gibbs also built a powerful offenisve line, led by massive tackle Joe Jacoby, guard Russ Grimm, and center Jeff Bostic, which became known as “The Hogs”.
At first, the Redskins implemented the Air Coryell offense Gibbs helped design in San Diego. Washington scored points in bunches, but they also gave up points in droves, and Washington began the 1981 season 0-5.
Gibbs adjusted his offensive focus, shifting from the pass-happy attack to a more balanced game plan, one which featured heavy doses of John Riggins.
Washington won 8 of its final 11 games in 1981, and then became the NFL’s powerhouse of 1982, winning 8 of 9 games in the strike-shortened campaign. Mark Moseley set an NFL record by making 23 consecutive field goals and earned the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Moseley would become the last straight-ahead kicker to play in a Super Bowl.
Behind Riggins, The Hogs, quarterback Joe Theismann, a fleet but tiny group of receivers known as “The Smurfs”, and a defense led by All-Pros Dave Butz, Dexter Manley, Mark Murphy and Jeris White, the Redskins steamrolled through the playoffs, routing Detroit, Minnesota and Dallas to reach Super Bowl XVII, where RIgigins ran for 166 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown with 10 minutes remaining to subdue the Dolphins, 27-17, and exact revenge for the 14-7 loss Washington suffered to MIami’s undefeated team in Super Bowl VII.
The Redskins’ offense was unstoppable in 1983. RIggins scored a then-NFL record 24 touchdowns. Theismann threw for over 3,700 yards and earned NFL Most Valuable Player honors. Rookie Darrell Green began what would become a 20-year career in the secondary. Butz was the league’s premier defensive tackle. Jacoby, Grimm and Bostic were road graders up front, blowing wide holes in opposing defenses.
Washington went 14-2, falling TWO points short of an undefeated regular season. The Redskins lost 31-30 in week one to the Cowboys at home on Monday Night Football, blowing a 23-3 lead. The other loss also came on Monday Night, a 48-47 shootout in Green Bay, when Lynn Dickey outdueling Theismann.
The Redskins routed the Cowboys at Texas Stadium in the week 15 rematch, 31-10. They annihilated the Rams 51-7 in the divisional playoffs, but the NFC Championship vs. the 49ers was nowhere near as easy.
Washington led 21-0 early in the thrid quarter, but Joe Montana flashed his comeback magic, leading San Francisco to three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
Just when it appeared Bill Walsh’s team would pull it out and head to Tampa, the 49ers were done in by the zebras.
The officials, led by referee Jerry Markbreit, called pass interference against 49er cornerback Eric Wright on a play where the ball was clearly uncatchable. The NFL Rule Book clearly states pass interference is not to be called on an uncatchable pass, and as Walsh said afterward, “The ball could not have been caught by a 10-foot Boston Celtic”.
Ronnie Lott, the Hall of Fame safety, was the next to feel the wrath of the zebras. He was flagged for holding receiver Charlie Brown far, far away from the ball.
The Redskins gleefully accepted the gifts, trading them in for a Moseley field goal to win the game 24-21.
Heading into the 1983 playoffs, the experts unanimously favored the Redskins to win the NFC. That wasn’t the case in the AFC.
The Raiders, playing their second season in Los Anglees following 22 seasons in Oakland, and Dolphins each finisehd 12-4. The Silver and Black, champions of Super Bowls XI and XV, had home field advantage thanks to a 27-14 victory in week three.
At the time of the regular season meeting, the Dolphins’ quarterback situation was highly unstable. Don Shula stuck with David Woodley at the beginning of the 1983 campaign, despite Woodley’s putrid performance in Super Bowl XVII, save for a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Cefalo; and the presence of a rookie from the University of Pittsburgh who would change the Dolphins, and the NFL, forever.
Dan Marino enjoyed spectacular success during his first three seasons at Pitt under the leadership of coach Jacke Sherrill. However, Marino had a down year in 1982, when Sherrill left for Texas A&M and Foge Fazio succeeded to the top spot.
Marino was ranked second among quarterbacks available in the 1983 NFL Draft, trailing only John Elway. However, many teams were not enamored with Marino, believing ridiculous rumors that he was on drugs during the ’82 season.
Team after team passed on Marino. Shula didn’t, taking him 27th (next to last) in the first round.
In week five, the Dolphins’ offense was horrid in a loss at New Orleans. Woodley, a Shreveport native who played collegiately at LSU, was yanked in favor of Marino. Woodley would never play another down fro the Dolphins.
The Raiders had no such offensive worries. Their vertical passing game featured the aging but effective Jim Plunkett, throwing to the still speedy Cliff Branch and the tough Todd Christensen, the free agent tight end who surpassed Kellen Winslow as the game’s most dangerous target at that position. The Raider running game, usually an afterthought to the vertical passing game favored by Al Davis, had a stud in 1981 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen. The defense featured grizzled veterans Ted Hendricks and Lyle Alzado, complemented by young stars Howie Long and Matt Millen, plus a secondary featuring All-Pros Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes, the latter acquired in an October trade with New England.
The Raiders suffered their first loss in week five, blowing a 35-20 lead with six minutes to go and falling 37-35 to the Redskins in Washington. Little did anyone know these two teams were destined to meet again.
The Seahawks, which never made the playoffs in its first seven seasons, swept the two-game season series from the Raiders. In the second meeting, a 34-21 victory at Los Angeles, Seattle coach Chuck Knox made the difficult decision to replace Jim Zorn, the only starting quarterback the franchise had known up until that point, with Dave Krieg, who had a goofy motion but an uncanny knack for finding the open man.
After the second loss to Seattle in week nine, the Raiders got rolling until they tripped up in week 15 at home to the Cardinals. Say what?
The Cardinals were 6-7-1 going into the L.A. Coliseum. They fell behind 17-0, but did the unthinkable and scored 34 unanswered points.
The Raiders bounced back from the loss to the Cards very well. After defeating the Chargers in the regular season finale, the Silver and Black destroyed Pittsburgh 38-10 in what would be the last NFL games for Mel Blount and Terry Bradshaw (the latter was injured and did not play), and the last game in a Steelers uniform for Franco Harris.
Seattle came to the Coliseum for the AFC Championship game and found out beating the Radiers in the playoffs is a far more difficult task than it is in the regular season. The Raiders won 30-14 in a game which wasn’t that close.
The majority of experts favored the Redskins going into Super Bowl XVIII, although a sizable minority liked the Raiders, sensing they were hungry for revenge after blowing the October game.
I expected Washington to win. I certainly didn’t expect what happened following the Redskins’ first possession.
Washington was forced to punt. The snap to Jeff Hayes was on the money, but Derrick Jensen was in his face before he kicked the ball.
Jensen blocked the punt and ran it down int he end zone for a stunning touchdown. Just like that, the Raiders were up 7-0.
Gibbs and defensive coordinator Richie Pettitbon made the grave mistake of assigning Anthony Washington, and not Green, to cover Branch one-on-one. Plunkett picked apart Anthony Washington twice early in the second quarter, first for 50 yards to the Redskin 15, and then again for a 12-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The Redskins could only muster a field goal in the first half. A 14-3 deficit would be the largest the Redskins had faced at halftime in over two years, but it was by no means insurmountable, thanks to a Redskin offense which set a then-NFL record by scoring 541 points in 1983.
Too bad the Redskins didn’t go to halftime trailing 14-3.
With 12 seconds left, Gibbs sent in “Rocket Screen”, Theismann would roll either right or left and throw a short pass to Joe Washington. The former Oklahoma All-American would hopefully use his speed to pick up enough yards to allow Moseley to attempt a field goal on the final play of the first half.
In the regular season game at Washington, Theismann and Joe Washington ran the play to perfection, gaining 67 yards to lead to a Redskin touchdown.
Raiders assistant coach Charlie Sumner felt the Redskins might break out Rocket Screen. To combat this, he sent in reserve linebacker Jack Squirek, a second-year man out of Illinois who excelled at pass coverage. Matt Millen was taken out of the game, fuming to Sumner.
In one stroke, Charlie Sumner became a genius.
Squirek shadowed Joe Washington. Theismann dropped back and lobbed the ball towards No. 25, only to see it stolen out of the air by No. 58 in the black jersey. Squirek sauntered into the end zone from five yards out.
Raiders 21, Redskins 3.
It was bad enough for Gibbs and company, but it would get worse. Much worse.
The Redskins scored on their first possession of the second half, but the Raiders came right back, with Allen scoring on a 5-yard run to make it 28-9.
Washington was stopped on downs at the Radier 26 with under 30 seconds remaining in the period.
Raider coach Tom Flores sent Plunkett into the huddle with 17 Bob Trey O.
Allen took the handoff and went left, but he was encountered by Redskins safety Ken Coffey. Allen cut back to his right and found a gaping hole up the middle.
Redskins middle linebacker Neil Olkewicz dove at Allen, but came up empty. Green and Anthony Washington gave futile chase.
Allen’s 74-yard touchdown removed any remaining doubt as to the game’s outcome.
Final: Raiders 38, Redskins 9.
Allen rushed for 191 yards, a Super Bowl record, and was the game’s MVP. Riggins gained only 64 yards on 26 attempts, and Theismann was sacked six times.
The most memorable feature of this Super Bowl was the highlight film produced by NFL Films.
It was the last NFL Films feature narrated by John Facenda. He passed away eight months after Super Bowl XVIII from lung cancer.