Days Until Super Bowl LIII From December 21: 44
The Miami Dolphins were absolutely sick of the sight of John Riggins’ No. 44 jersey as he rushed for a record 166 yards at Super Bowl XVII. The Diesel always sprang to life in the postseason and he gained an impressive 444 yards in victories over the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. The Dolphins were well aware of the threat he posed, but they could do nothing to stop him.
Riggins walked off with the Super Bowl MVP award after delivering the turning point of the game. The Redskins trailed 17-13 with 10:10 left on the clock and they were fourth and one, so they snapped to their running back for a desperate attempt to gain the yard they needed. Miami cornerback Don McNeal charged at him, but Riggins swatted him aside and embarked on his run to glory.
It remains one of the most famous touchdown runs in history and it broke the Dolphins’ resolve, while emboldening the Redskins to go on and clinch their first-ever Super Bowl with a 27-17 victory. Washington was the clear underdog in this game as it has 26 players signed as free agents, including 14 who had never been drafted by an NFL team, and only 10 players had any prior playoff experience.
The Redskins lost Super Bowl VII 14-7 to the Dolphins, but they gained sweet revenge in this game. Riggins made the difference and he also recorded a reception for 15 yards, giving him more total yards in the game than the entire Miami team. Redskins fans voted his run to glory as the team’s greatest ever moment. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and he made the 1980s All-Decade team.