Super Bowl XVII
Super Bowl XVII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League champion for the 1982 season. The Redskins defeated the Dolphins 27–17 to win their first Super Bowl championship; the game was played on January 30, 1983 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This Super Bowl came at the end of a season, shortened by a players' strike. Teams ended up only playing nine regular season games, the league conducted a special 16-team, four-round playoff tournament where divisions were ignored in the seeding; the Redskins had an NFC-best 8–1 regular season record, while the Dolphins finished at 7–2. Both teams advanced through the first three postseason rounds to Super Bowl XVII; the game became a rematch of Super Bowl VII played in the Los Angeles area at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ten years before, where the Dolphins completed their 17–0 perfect season at the Redskins’ expense by a score of 14–7.
This was the second Super Bowl to rematch teams, the first being Super Bowl XIII. The Redskins scored 17 unanswered points in the second half and gained a Super Bowl record 276 yards on the ground, while holding the Dolphins to just 47 offensive plays for 176 total yards, 76 of which came on a single play. Miami built a 17–10 halftime lead with Jimmy Cefalo's 76-yard touchdown catch and Fulton Walker's 98-yard kickoff return; the turning point in the game came with 10:10 remaining: facing fourth down and 1-yard to go at the Dolphins' 43-yard line, trailing 17–13, Washington running back John Riggins broke through the Miami defense and ran into the end zone for a touchdown to take the lead. Wide receiver Charlie Brown added an insurance touchdown with his 6-yard scoring reception. Riggins was named Super Bowl MVP, finishing the game with 2 Super Bowl records: the most rushing yards in a Super Bowl game, the most rushing attempts, he was the first player from an NFC team to rush for 100 yards in a Super Bowl.
Riggins recorded a reception for 15 yards, giving him more total yards than the entire Miami team. The NFL awarded Super Bowl XVII to Pasadena on March 1979 at the owners meetings in Honolulu; this was the first Super Bowl. A temporary Sony Diamond Vision screen was installed in northeast corner of the stadium just above the last row seats. A 57-day-long players' strike reduced the 1982 regular season from a 16-game schedule to 9; because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament. Division standings were ignored. Eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records; the modified schedule forced the league to extend the regular season into January for the first time. After the 57-day strike, the NFL extended the regular season one weekend, moving back the start of the playoffs and eliminating the week off for the first time since Super Bowl IV; the strike-shortened season impacted 4 teams. The San Francisco 49ers, winners of Super Bowl XVI, suffered a 3–6 record.
The Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles did not qualify for the playoffs either. The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions qualified for the playoffs despite 4–5 records, the only sub-.500 teams to reach the NFL playoffs until the 7–9 Seattle Seahawks reached the playoffs following the 2010 season. The Dolphins finished the strike-shortened regular season with a 7–2 record, ranking them second in the AFC; the club's main strength was their defense, nicknamed the "Killer Bees" because 6 of their 11 starters had last names that began with the letter "B". The "Killer Bees", anchored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Bob Baumhower, led the league in fewest total yards allowed and fewest passing yards allowed. Linebacker A. J. Duhe was effective at blitzing and in pass coverage, and the Dolphins' secondary, consisting of defensive backs Don McNeal, Gerald Small and brothers Lyle and Glenn Blackwood, combined for 11 interceptions. However, the Dolphins' passing attack, led by quarterback David Woodley, ranked last in the league with 1,401 total yards, 8 touchdowns, 13 interceptions.
One of the few bright spots in the Dolphins' passing attack was wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo, who gained 356 yards off of just 17 receptions, an average of 20.9 yards per catch. Wide receiver Duriel Harris provided a deep threat with 22 receptions for 331 yards, but Miami's strength on offense was ranking 3rd in the league with 1,344 yards. Pro Bowl running back Andra Franklin was the team's top rusher with 7 touchdowns. Running back Tony Nathan rushed for 233 yards, caught 16 passes for another 114 yards. Woodley himself recorded 207 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. One reason for the Dolphins' rushing success was the blocking of their offensive line, led by future Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson, along with Pro Bowlers Bob Kuechenberg and Ed Newman. Super Bowl XVII was the Redskins' first Super Bowl victory, their second Super Bowl appearance, since they were defeated by the Dolphins, 14–7 in Super Bowl VII; this was the second rematch in Super Bowl history. Washington finished the strike-shortened regular season with an 8–1 record, the best in the NFC, led the NFL in fewest points allowed
Fox NFL is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League games produced by Fox Sports and televised on the Fox Broadcasting Company. Game coverage is preceded by the pre-game shows Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday and is followed on most weeks by post-game show The OT; the latter two shows feature the same studio hosts and analysts for both programs, who contribute to the former. In weeks when Fox airs a doubleheader, the late broadcast airs under the brand America's Game of the Week; the network aired its inaugural NFL game telecast on August 12, 1994, with a preseason game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Coverage formally began the following month on September 4, with the premiere of Fox NFL Sunday, followed by a slate of six regionally televised regular season games on the first Sunday of the 1994 season. Though Fox was growing as a network, had established itself as a presence, it was still not considered a major competitor to the more-established "Big Three" broadcast networks.
Fox management, having seen the critical role that soccer programming had played in the growth of British satellite service BSkyB, believed that sports, professional football, would be the engine that would turn Fox into a major network the quickest. To this end, Fox had bid aggressively for football broadcast rights from the start, it notably passed on the United States Football League, which had hoped to move to fall in 1986, the same time Fox was to debut, was seeking a broadcast contract. In 1987, Fox's first full year on the air, ABC hedged on renewing its contract to carry Monday Night Football – the league's crown-jewel program – as was in the middle of negotiations to reach a new contract, due to an increased expense of the rights. Fox made an offer to the National Football League to acquire the Monday Night Football contract for the same amount ABC, paying to carry the package, about US$1.3 billion at the time. However, the NFL, in part because Fox had not established itself as a major network, chose to renew its contract with ABC.
Meanwhile, after the Fox Broadcasting Company was launched, David Dixon, founder of the United States Football League, proposed the creation of the "American Football Federation", a spring league that would be made up of ten teams and draft high school graduates who were declared academically ineligible to play College Football by the NCAA. The league would never play a single game. Despite having a few successful shows in its slate, the network did not have a significant market share until the early 1990s when Fox parent News Corporation began to upgrade some of its local affiliates – and purchased additional stations from other television station groups, such as New World Communications and Chris-Craft Industries' BHC Communications and United Television, making it the largest owner of television stations in the United States; the time now filled by Fox NFL on Sunday afternoons during the fall and winter months was in the control of the stations themselves, which filled the timeslots with either syndicated television series and/or movie blocks.
The Sunday afternoon timeslot in the spring is filled by Fox NASCAR's coverage of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series. Six years after its first attempt, the league's television contracts for both conferences and for the Sunday and Monday prime time football packages came up for renewal again in 1993. Many expected that the NFL would receive less money than the $3.6 billion for four years that ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, ESPN had paid in 1990. Fox wanted the NFL to build credibility for its network. Knowing that it would need to bid more than the incumbent networks, Fox bid $1.58 billion to obtain a four-year contract for the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference, exceeding CBS's bid by more than $100 million per year. The NFC was considered the more desirable conference due to its presence in most of the largest U. S. markets, such as New York City, Chicago and Dallas-of which the Cowboys were gaining a national following in the 90's. Despite having a few successful shows like The X-Files, Fox still lacked credibility among viewers.
The network was known for blue-collar family sitcoms like The Simpsons and Married... with Children. Despite so much skepticism about Fox that it had to assure the NFL and reporters that Bart Simpson would not be an announcer, to the surprise and shock of many in the sports and media industries, on December 17, 1993, the NFL selected the bid offered by Fox, in the process stripping CBS of football for the first time since 1956. Fox's coverage, in addition to being able to televise NFC regular season and playoff games included the exclusive U. S. television rights to Super Bowl XXXI under the initial contract, which took effect with the 1994 season. The unexpectedly high bids from Fox and other networks increased the NFL salary cap, new in 1994, to $34 million from the predicted $32 million. CBS's Laurence Tisch had underestimated the value of its NFL rights with respect to its advertising revenues and
Super Bowl XIX
Super Bowl XIX was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference champion San Francisco 49ers to decide the National Football League champion for the 1984 season. The 49ers defeated the Dolphins by the score of 38 -- 16; the game was played on January 20, 1985, at Stanford Stadium, on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, the first Super Bowl played in the San Francisco Bay Area. This became the second Super Bowl after Super Bowl XIV where the game was coincidentally played in the home market of one of the participants; the game was hyped as the battle between two great quarterbacks: Miami's Dan Marino and San Francisco's Joe Montana. The Dolphins entered their fifth Super Bowl in team history after posting a 14–2 regular season record; the 49ers were making their second Super Bowl appearance after becoming the first team to win 15 regular season games since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
With Marino and Montana, the game became the first Super Bowl in which the starting quarterbacks of each team both threw for over 300 yards. In addition, the two teams combined for 851 total offensive yards, which at that time was a Super Bowl record, but after trailing 10–7 in the first quarter, the 49ers would end up taking the game in dominating fashion, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter, 10 unanswered points in the second half. Montana, named the Super Bowl MVP, completed 24 of 35 passes for a Super Bowl-record 331 yards and three touchdowns, he broke the Super Bowl record for most rushing yards gained by a quarterback with his 5 rushes for 59 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. This was the first Super Bowl to be televised in the United States by ABC, joining the annual broadcasting rotation of the game with CBS and NBC, it was the first time that the sitting U. S. president participated in the coin toss ceremony. This Super Bowl was unique in that it fell on the same day that he was inaugurated for a second term.
NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XIX to Stanford University Stadium in Stanford, California on December 14, 1982 at an owners meeting held in Dallas. It became the fourth college stadium to host a Super Bowl, following Tulane Stadium the home of the New Orleans Saints, Rice Stadium and the Rose Bowl; as the Dolphins advanced to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in franchise history, much of the media focus was on Miami's young quarterback, Dan Marino. In just his second year in the league, he broke nearly every NFL single-season passing record. Marino set a record for the most completions in a season and became the first quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards, reaching a total of 5,084, he set the record for the most games throwing for at least 300 passing yards and the most games with 400 yards. Marino's 48 touchdown passes broke the previous record of 36, held by both George Blanda for the Houston Oilers in 1961 and Y. A. Tittle for the New York Giants in 1963, and he had the most games with at least 4 or more touchdown passes and the most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes.
Thus going into Super Bowl XIX, many sports writers predicted that it would be the first of many Super Bowls that Marino would play in during his career. Marino had a unique ability to read the defenses before setting up to throw, his skill of releasing the ball made it difficult for defenders to sack him. In addition, he had protection given to him by an offensive line led by All-Pro center Dwight Stephenson and Pro Bowl guard Ed Newman. Coming into Super Bowl XIX, Marino had only been sacked 13 times in the regular season and not once in the playoffs; the Dolphins had a number of offensive threats for Marino to use. Wide receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper became the first teammates to each gain over 1,300 receiving yards in one season, while Clayton's 18 touchdown catches broke the NFL single-season record of 17 set by Don Hutson in 1942. Receiver Nat Moore caught 43 passes for 574 yards and 6 touchdowns, while tight end Dan Johnson contributed 34 receptions for 426 yards. While Miami's main offensive attack was passing, they still had a trio of great running backs: Tony Nathan, Woody Bennett, Joe Carter.
Both Nathan and Bennett finished the season with over 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards, while Carter contributed 495 rushing yards. Despite Miami's superb offense, punter Reggie Roby still made the Pro Bowl, averaging 44.7 yards per punt with a net gain average of 38.7. However, the Dolphins' defense was a little suspect, they tied the Houston Oilers and the Minnesota Vikings for the most rushing yards allowed during the regular season, ranked just 19th in fewest yards allowed. The main bright spots on the defense were safeties, brothers Lyle and Glenn Blackwood, along with Pro Bowl inside linebacker A. J. Duhe, Pro Bowl nose tackle Bob Baumhower, defensive end Doug Betters. Glenn Blackwood had picked off 6 passes during the season and returned them for 169 yards, while Betters recorded 14 sacks and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Charles Bowser was a big contributor, recording 9 sacks and one fumble recovery. Despite their defensive flaws, the Dolphins' powerful offense led the NFL in scoring and total yards gained, helped the team reach an AFC best
Super Bowl III
Super Bowl III was the third AFL–NFL Championship Game in professional American football, the first to bear the trademark name "Super Bowl". The game, played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in both American football history and in the recorded history of sports; the 18-point underdog American Football League champion New York Jets defeated the National Football League champion Baltimore Colts by a score of 16–7. This was the first Super Bowl victory for the AFL. Before the game, most sports writers and fans believed that AFL teams were less talented than NFL clubs, expected the Colts to defeat the Jets by a wide margin. Baltimore posted a 13–1 record during the 1968 NFL season before defeating the Cleveland Browns, 34–0, in the 1968 NFL Championship Game; the Jets finished the 1968 AFL season at 11–3, defeated the Oakland Raiders, 27–23, in the 1968 AFL Championship Game. Jets quarterback Joe Namath famously made an appearance three days before the Super Bowl at the Miami Touchdown Club and guaranteed his team's victory.
His team backed up his words by controlling most of the game, building a 16–0 lead by the fourth quarter off of a touchdown run by Matt Snell and three field goals by Jim Turner. Colts quarterback Earl Morrall threw three interceptions before being replaced by Johnny Unitas, who led Baltimore to its only touchdown, during the last few minutes of the game. With the victory, the Jets were the only winning team to score only one touchdown until the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Namath, who completed 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards, was named as the Super Bowl's most valuable player, making him the first player in Super Bowl history to be declared MVP without achieving a touchdown; the game was awarded to Miami at the owners meetings held in Atlanta. The National Football League had dominated professional football from its origins after World War I. Rival leagues had crumbled or merged with it, when the American Football League began to play in 1960, it was the fourth to hold that similar name to challenge the older NFL.
Unlike its earlier namesakes, this AFL was able to command sufficient financial resources to survive. The junior league proved successful enough, in fact. After the 1964 season, in fact, there had been a well-publicized bidding war which culminated with the signing, by the AFL's New York Jets, of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath for an unprecedented contract. Fearing that bidding wars over players would become the norm increasing labor costs, NFL owners, ostensibly led by league Commissioner Pete Rozelle, obtained a merger agreement with the AFL, which provided for a single draft, interleague play in the pre-season, a championship game to follow each season, the integration of the two leagues into one in a way to be agreed at a future date; as the two leagues had an unequal number of teams, realignment was advocated by some owners, but was opposed. Three NFL teams agreed to move over to join the original AFL franchises of 1960 in what became the American Football Conference. Despite the ongoing merger, it was a held view that the NFL was a far superior league.
This was confirmed by the results of the first two interleague championship games, in January 1967 and 1968, in which the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi defeated the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. Although publicized as the inter-league championship games, it was not until that the moniker for this championship contest between the now two conferences began having the nickname of "Super Bowl" applied to it by the media and began being counted by using Roman numerals, the creation of the term being credited to the founder of the AFL, Lamar Hunt; the Baltimore Colts had won the 1959 NFL championships under Coach Weeb Ewbank. In the following years, the Colts failed to make the playoffs, the Colts dismissed Ewbank after a 7–7 record in 1962, he was soon hired by New York's new AFL franchise, which had just changed its name from the Titans to the Jets. In Ewbank's place, Baltimore hired an untested young head coach, Don Shula, who would go on to become one of the game's greatest coaches.
The Colts did well under Shula, despite losing to the Cleveland Browns in the 1964 NFL Championship Game and, in 1965, losing in overtime to the Green Bay Packers in a tie-breaking game to decide the NFL Western Division championship. The Colts finished a distant second in the West to the Packers in 1966, in 1967, with the NFL divided into four divisions of four teams each, went undefeated with two ties through their first 13 games, but lost the game and the Coastal Division championship to the Los Angeles Rams on the final Sunday of the season—under newly instituted tiebreakers procedures, L. A. won the division championship as it had better net points in the two games the teams played. The Colts finished 11–1–2, out of the playoffs. In 1968, Shula and the Colts were considered a favorite to win the NFL championship again, which carried with it an automatic berth what was now becoming popularly known as the "Super Bowl" against the champion of the younger AFL; the NFL champion, in both cases the Green B
National Football League
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the highest professional level of American football in the world; the NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, held in the first Sunday in February, is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC; the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League in 1966, the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that season. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U. S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner; the players in the league belong to the National Football League Players Association. The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with thirteen; the current NFL champions are the New England Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII for their sixth Super Bowl championship. On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio; this meeting resulted in the formation of the American Professional Football Conference, a group who, according to the Canton Evening Repository, intended to "raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules".
Another meeting was held on September 17, 1920 with representatives from teams from four states-Akron, Canton and Dayton from Ohio. The league was renamed to the American Professional Football Association; the league elected Jim Thorpe as its first president, consisted of 14 teams. The Massillon Tigers from Massillon, Ohio was at the September 17 meeting, but did not field a team in 1920. Only two of these teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, remain. Although the league did not maintain official standings for its 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the APFA awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 record; the first event occurred on September 26, 1920 when the Rock Island Independents defeated the non-league St. Paul Ideals 48–0 at Douglas Park. On October 3, 1920, the first full week of league play occurred; the following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans.
On June 24, 1922, the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. In 1932, the season ended with the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first in the league standings. At the time, teams were ranked on a single table and the team with the highest winning percentage at the end of the season was declared the champion; this method had been used since the league's creation in 1920, but no situation had been encountered where two teams were tied for first. The league determined that a playoff game between Chicago and Portsmouth was needed to decide the league's champion; the teams were scheduled to play the playoff game a regular season game that would count towards the regular season standings, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but a combination of heavy snow and extreme cold forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which did not have a regulation-size football field. Playing with altered rules to accommodate the smaller playing field, the Bears won the game 9–0 and thus won the championship.
Fan interest in the de facto championship game led the NFL, beginning in 1933, to split into two divisions with a championship game to be played between the division champions. The 1934 season marked the first of 12 seasons in which African Americans were absent from the league; the de facto ban was rescinded in 1946, following public pressure and coinciding with the removal of a similar ban in Major League Baseball. The NFL was always the foremost pro
Super Bowl XXII
Super Bowl XXII was an American football game between the National Football Conference champion Washington Redskins and American Football Conference champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League champion for the 1987 season. The Redskins defeated the Broncos by the score of 42–10, winning their second Super Bowl; the game was played on January 31, 1988 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, the first time that the Super Bowl was played in that city. This Super Bowl came at the end of a season, shortened by a players' strike; each team only missed one regular season game due to the labor dispute, but three games were played with replacement players until the dispute was settled. The Broncos were making their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, after posting a 10–4–1 regular season record through the strength of their quarterback, John Elway; the Redskins, who were making their fourth Super Bowl appearance, posted an 11–4 regular season record. Washington was led by quarterback Doug Williams, who entered the season as a backup, was 0-2 as a starter during the regular season.
He ended up leading Washington to their two playoff victories. In doing so, he became the first African American quarterback to start in an NFL league championship game, let alone a Super Bowl. After trailing 10–0 at the end of the first quarter of Super Bowl XXII, the Redskins scored 42 unanswered points, including a record-breaking 35 points in the second quarter, setting several other Super Bowl records. Williams, named the Super Bowl MVP, completed 18 of 29 passes for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception, he became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, four in a half. And thus Williams became the first African American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXII to San Diego on May 24, 1984 during their May 23–25, 1984 meetings in Washington, D. C; this was the first Super Bowl played at Jack Murphy Stadium in California. Fourteen cities were part of the bidding process, scheduled to award four Super Bowls.
The bidding cities included: Anaheim, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Tempe. The Philadelphia host committee assembled what was considered a strong, but long-shot bid, hoping to win the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather city. Jacksonville and Tempe had no NFL team at the time. After the balloting for XXI took over two hours to complete, XXII was voted on, but the voting for XXIII and XXIV was postponed. San Diego was awarded the game, marking the second time consecutive Super Bowls were played in the same state, with Pasadena hosting Super Bowl XXI; this has now happened three times in NFL history. The primary storyline surrounding Super Bowl XXII was that Washington's Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback to start in a NFL league championship game, let alone a Super Bowl; this was more meaningful given that the Redskins had once been among the league's most racist teams, being the last team to sign a black player after they reentered the league.
Williams had taken a rather unconventional route to the Super Bowl. He began his career as the first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. After five seasons, a contract dispute caused him to leave the team and sign with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the newly formed USFL; when that league folded a few years Williams found himself out of a job until Redskins coach Joe Gibbs asked him to join the team to be the backup for quarterback Jay Schroeder. Williams played just one game in 1986, spent most of the 1987 season on the bench, but injuries and inconsistent play from Schroeder made Gibbs promote Williams to starting quarterback. Williams had played well in his five regular season games, passing for 1,156 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions; the Redskins' main receiving threat was wide receiver Gary Clark, who caught 56 passes for 1,066 yards, an average of 19 yards per catch. Wide receivers Ricky Sanders and Art Monk were deep threats, combining for 80 receptions and 1,130 yards.
Running back George Rogers was Washington's leading rusher with 613 yards. However, Rogers saw limited action in Super Bowl XXII due to injuries that forced him into early retirement. Rookie running back Timmy Smith started in his place. Fullback Kelvin Bryant was a big contributor, rushing for 406 yards, catching 43 passes for 490 yards during the 1987 season; the Redskins had an excellent defensive unit, led by defensive backs Barry Wilburn, who recorded nine interceptions for 135 return yards and one touchdown. Their line was anchored by defensive ends Charles Mann, who led the team with 9.5 sacks and recovered a fumble. The Redskins finished the 1987 strike-shortened regular season as NFC East champions with an 11–4 record and the third seed in the NFC playoffs; the Broncos advanced to their second consecutive Super Bowl, overall the third appearance in team history. Quarterback John Elway had another excellent season, passing for 19 touchdowns, he was a
Super Bowl XXXV
Super Bowl XXXV was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League champion for the 2000 season. The Ravens defeated the Giants by the score of 34–7, tied for the seventh largest Super Bowl margin of victory with Super Bowl XXXVII; the game was played on January 2001 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Ravens, who posted a 12–4 regular season record, became the third wild card team to win the Super Bowl and the second in four years; the city of Baltimore had its first Super Bowl title since the Baltimore Colts' triumph thirty years prior and became the first city to win major professional football championships with four franchises, the others being the Colts, the 1985 Baltimore Stars of the United States Football League and the 1995 Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League. The Giants entered the game seeking to go 3–0 in Super Bowls after finishing the regular season with a 12–4 record.
Baltimore allowed only 152 yards of offense by New York, recorded 4 sacks, forced 5 turnovers. All 16 of the Giants' possessions ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of the last one, which ended when time expired in the game. New York's lone touchdown, a 97-yard kickoff return, was answered by Baltimore on an 84-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff; the Giants became the first team since the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII to not score an offensive touchdown and the fifth overall Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, who made 3 solo tackles, 2 assists, blocked 4 passes, was named Super Bowl MVP. NFL owners awarded Super Bowl XXXV to Tampa during their 1996 meeting in New Orleans. Tampa became the fourth metropolitan area to host the game at least three times, joining New Orleans and Los Angeles. Other cities under consideration at the meeting were Miami and Los Angeles. Owners planned on selecting only two hosts, but decided to name three after strong showings by the respective delegations.
Tampa was promised a Super Bowl after committing to the construction of a new stadium. Miami and Tampa were selected to host XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV, respectively; the Ravens entered the game with the second-best defense in allowing yards in the league, with the fewest points allowed and the fewest rushing yards allowed during the regular season. At the time, they were the only team to hold the opposition to under 1,000 yards rushing in a season since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. Baltimore's 165 points allowed broke the record set by the 1986 Chicago Bears, who had given up 187 points; the Ravens' defense had held their opponents to 10 or fewer points in 11 games, including four shutouts. The defense was led by a trio of outstanding linebackers: Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, Ray Lewis. During the regular season, Boulware recorded 7 sacks, while Sharper forced 5 fumbles and made one interception. Lewis was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by recording 3 sacks, making 138 tackles, intercepting 2 passes.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams and veteran Tony Siragusa anchored the defensive line, along with defensive ends Rob Burnett and Pro Bowler Michael McCrary. Baltimore had an outstanding corps of defensive backs led by Pro Bowl veteran safety Rod Woodson, who along with Kim Herring, Duane Starks, Chris McAlister combined for 17 interceptions. On offense, the Ravens' main strength was led by rookie Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes. Tight end Shannon Sharpe recorded 67 receptions for 810 yards and 5 touchdowns. Receiver Qadry Ismail added 49 receptions for four touchdowns; the offensive line was anchored by tackle Jonathan Ogden, named to the Pro Bowl for the 4th consecutive season. On special teams, Jermaine Lewis ranked second in the NFL with 36 punt returns for 578 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 19 passes for 161 yards and another score. Kicker Matt Stover led the NFL in field goals made and attempted, while ranking 7th in field goal percentage and second in scoring. However, the Baltimore offense was mediocre, ranking only 13th in the league in scoring, 16th in total yards, 23rd in passing yards.
The team had a lot of trouble scoring, at one point they went through five games without scoring an offensive touchdown. But they managed to regroup, as head coach Brian Billick forbade anyone to use the "P-word" until the team played in it; the Ravens' outspoken defensive lineman, Tony Siragusa, did utter the word "playoffs" on two separate occasions and was fined, albeit a measly sum of $500. Since the fine were symbolic and playful, Billick explained himself by saying, "He got a $400 fine for doing it on national television and $100 for doing it on his radio show; the reason being because no one listens to his show anyway." In place of the "P-word", the word "Festivus" was used, the December 23 secular holiday featured in an episode of the popular American television sitcom Seinfeld (the Ravens organization played along with this theme for that year's playoffs by showing a clip