By Mike Richman
It was 40 years ago today that the Redskins appeared in the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl, squaring off against the undefeated AFC Champion Miami Dolphins.
The sun shined bright in the Los Angeles Coliseum on the fish, who scored two first-half touchdowns and relied on their no-name defense to stifle the Redskins’ offense. It was a maddening day for the burgundy and gold, who failed to capitalize on scoring chances and once saw a sure TD pass by quarterback Billy Kilmer carom off the goal post.
From Redskins Historian Mike Richman’s book, The Redskins Encyclopedia:
“The Dolphins had a perfect defense and we didn’t adjust to it quickly enough offensively,” Kilmer recalled. “They stopped our running game cold. We came out in the second half and went up and down the field, but our offense couldn’t get into the end zone.”
For head coach George Allen, the extra time in sunny Southern California was a detriment to the team, and he later lamented that he would have liked to have flown out to Los Angeles the Friday before the game.
According to Richman, Allen kept the players’ wives from visiting and mingling with the team until after the Super Bowl, for fear of further distraction (also from The Redskins Encyclopedia):
That the Redskins appeared out of sync perhaps stemmed from their coach, George Allen, being so uptight in the days preceding the game. The coach made his players feel stressed out by confining them to meeting after meeting.
“The guys never really had a chance to relax,” safety Brig Owens recalled. “We had a group of guys who were pretty wild. You can’t corral the types of guys we had and keep them in meetings. So we went into the game flat.”
Miami won, 14-7, to improve to 17-0 and become the only team in NFL history to finish a season, including playoffs, undefeated and untied – a feat that stands.