“The Over the Hill Gang” reclamation project of the late George Allen, was built on the heels of the turnaround ushered by the late Vince Lombardi in 1969. The Redskins had been losers for nearly 20 years. Allen was named his successor after Lombardi’s death in June of 1970. He had a disdain for rookies and young players which drove Allen into bringing in old vets. Many of which he brought over from the LA Rams where he served as Head Coach in the mid to late 60s.


superbowlvii2He brought in Billy Kilmer to be his quarterback and the subsequent QB battle between he and Sonny Jurgenson tore at the Redskins fan base yet they won in spite of all that. A defense with Jack Pardee and feisty cornerback Pat Fischer, who should be in the Hall of Fame, held most teams down with conservative mistake proof defense.

super-bowl-logo-1972Meanwhile a transplanted Baltimore Colt WR Roy Jefferson teamed with Hall of Fame wideout Charlie Taylor, and the late Jerry Smith to form a decent receiving combination.

However the engine that powered this team was RB Larry Brown, the first Redskin in history to rush for 1,000 yards and a man who ran so violently he burned out after a short career. Yet in 1972, he was one of the finest running backs in the NFL and if there was a yard to get he’d give his all to get it. He really reminded me of Walter Payton in that regard.

After a hard fought win from the shutting down of RB John Brockington and the Green Bay Packers 16-3. This team gave the Redskin faithful one of the team’s landmark wins when they beat the defending champion Cowboys to win the NFC Championship 26-3.  Having outscored their NFC playoff opponents 42-6 this apparently was enough for the Redskins to be favored by 3 in Super Bowl VII over the undefeated Miami Dolphins.  Really??

This was the ring for capturing the NFC Championship for 1972.


Undefeated season…17-0 and a win in Super Bowl VII 14-7 over the Washington Redskins and still regarded by many as the best team of all time.  They have the argument in their favor…1 season everyone vanquished…no one else can make that claim.

superbowlviiYet going into Super Bowl VII the Dolphins were a 3 pt underdog. Why? George Allen was completing a rebuilding with old veterans and hadn’t won any big games as a head coach. His Rams couldn’t leapfrog the Packers in the western conference in 1967. He was the Defensive Coordinator for George Halas’ last champion in 1963, but how does that rate better than Shula’s club who had just gone to the Super Bowl a year before?

Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris (both 1,000yd rushers), Kiick ran solidly and Manny Fernandez dominated the Super Bowl from his defensive tackle spot. Back in 1989 NFL Films came up with a fictitious playoff of the greatest teams ever and the last game was the ’72 Dolphins v. the ’78 Steelers. Could the 72 Dolphins handle the ’78 Steelers? Would Terry Bradshaw outsmart Jake Scott or Dick Anderson?  After further review, The Chancellor doesn’t think so.

super-bowl-logo-1972Under the same systems in 1973 when the Steelers played Miami, S Dick Anderson picked off the Steelers 4 times returning them for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was the signature game of a Defensive Player of the Year campaign for Anderson. The No Name Defense was rarely out of position and would make even a more mature Bradshaw make some mistakes. In Super Bowl VII, Jake Scott fooled veteran Billy Kilmer into 2 ints as he went on to become the MVP.

During the 1972 season, they were masterful with 3 shutouts and allowing 10 points or less in 6 games.

visideThe 78 Steelers were giving up some candy to running games and I think the Dolphins would move the ball on them. They gave up 192 yards rushing to the Rams, 181 to Kansas City, 169 to Houston and 155 to the New York Jets. So to think 2 – 1,000 yard rushers would be able to run on the Steel Curtain isn’t far fetched. Csonka was a Hall of Famer.

I think the 72 Dolphins would beat them. Bob Griese wouldn’t turn the ball over either.  By the way in 1973 Pittsburgh was a playoff team and to make it to Super Bowl VII a season prior, Miami beat Pittsburgh in Three Rivers to get to the Super Bowl.  Don’t look now but Miami doesn’t get the respect their due. Are there stronger teams…its debatable…but I think they would handle Pittsburgh in a mythical match-up.

Further evidence to this would be the ’72 AFC Championship game where the Dolphins had to win in Pittsburgh to make it to Super Bowl VII. Or in court terms – Exhibit A:

By the way, I used the 78 Steelers instead of the 79 Steelers because in 1979 the Steelers led the NFL with 52 turnovers. That team doesn’t beat the mistake proof 72 Dolphins. No way.