Redskins 27, Dolphins 17
The Rose Bowl Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan. 30, 1983
Fourth and one at Miami 's 43-yard line, 10 minutes left in the game. Joe Theismann called the play in the huddle: "Goal line, goal line. I-left, tight wing, 70 chip on white." It was a hand-off to John Riggins, the Redskins' 6-2, 240-pound running back. Riggins headed for a huge hole on the left side created by H-back Otis Wonsley and two of the celebrated Hogs, 300-pound tackle Joe Jacoby and 275-pound guard Russ Grimm.
Only Dolphins' cornerback Don McNeal stood in Riggins' way. The 5-11, 185-pound McNeal hit Riggins on the side, but "the Diesel" unceremoniously shook off McNeal and steamrolled into the Southern California sunset for a touchdown and a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Theismann connected with Charlie Brown on a 6-yard touchdown pass later in the fourth quarter, closing out a 27-17 Redskins victory and Washington 's first NFL championship since 1942. It was the first championship for Joe Gibbs, then in just his second season as head coach.
In the pandemonium of the post-game locker room, it was easy to forget that Miami had built a 17-10 halftime lead. The Dolphins opened the scoring with a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Woodley to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo midway through the first quarter.
After kickers Mark Moseley and Uwe von Schamann traded field goals, Theismann hit Alvin Garrett on a four-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter. But the Dolphins' Fulton Walker returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and a 17-10 lead at the half.
Moseley's 20-yard field goal was the only score of the third quarter, eventually leading to Riggins' heroics in the final frame.
Theismann was an efficient 15-of-23 for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Charlie Brown led the receiving corps with six catches for 60 yards. The Redskins' defense, led by Dave Butz, Darryl Grant, Dexter Manley, Neal Olke
wicz and Mark Murphy, among others, limited the Dolphins' offense to 176 total yards and nine first downs.
It was Riggins who earned the most valuable player award, of course. In four post-season games that year, he rushed for an astounding 610 yards on 136 carries. The renowned "Riggo Drill"–which took the form of Riggins right, Riggins left and Riggins up the middle–was at its best during the Redskins' post-season run.
After Gibbs received a congratulatory call from President Ronald Reagan in the Redskins' post-game locker room, Riggins chimed in with one of his outrageous yet comical remarks: "Ron may be president, but for tonight I'm king."