In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
The Miami Dolphins win their second straight Lombardi Trophy beating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston. The game is total domination by the Dolphins, as Larry Csonka sets a Super Bowl record with 145 yards rushing on 33 carries with two touchdowns to earn MVP honors. The Dolphins run game has controlled the game so much that Bob Griese attempted just seven passes.
After going 17-0 and winning Super Bowl VII, the question was what could the Miami Dolphins do for an encore in 1973. Naturally, they would see their winning streak end with a 12-7 loss to the Oakland Raiders in Berkley. They also suffered 16-3 loss to the Baltimore Colts coached by Howard Schnellenberger who was the Dolphins offensive coordinator under Don Shula in 1972. At 12-2, Miami again won the AFC East, beating out the Buffalo Bills by three games. In the playoffs, the Dolphins beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round 34-16 and avenged their Week 2 loss by beating the Raiders 27-10 in the AFC Championship.
The Minnesota Vikings also went 12-2 with coach Bud Grant. The Vikings we were given a big boost with the return of Fran Tarkenton at quarterback. Tarkenton had been Minnesota’s quarterback in their first six seasons before being traded to the New York Giants. After five seasons in New York, the Vikings reacquired him and drafted Chuck Foreman to rebuild a struggling offense as they already had one of the league’s best defenses with Purple People Eaters. Foreman would be named Offensive Rookie of the Year. In the playoffs, the Vikings took out the Washington Redskins 27-20 and the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 to reach the Super Bowl for the second time.
After the first seven Super Bowls, were either held in Los Angeles, Miami or New Orleans, Super Bowl VIII was played at Rice Stadium in Houston. The Dolphins got the ball first and wasted no time moving down the field, as Larry Csonka set the tone early, with runs of 16, five, and eight before a five-yard run for the game’s first score. The Vikings were unable to do anything on their first possession, going three and out. The Dolphins again pounded the ball down the field, with Zonk again carrying much of the load. Miami would get the ball to the end zone, again as Jim Kiick scored on a one-yard plunge. The Dolphins first quarter domination was complete on both sides of the ball, gaining 158 yards total offense, with Bob Griese completing all four passes for 40 yards, while Larry Csonka rushed for 64 yards on eight carries. In the second quarter, the Dolphins No-Name Defense continued to shut down the Vikings offense, as they extended their lead to 17-0 on a 28-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian.
In the third quarter, the Dolphins continued to ground down the Vikings, as Bob Giese attempted just one pass, a 27-yard completion to Paul Warfield. The Dolphins would eventually score on the drive with Larry Csonka diving head first into the goal post to make it 24-0. This would mark the end of the goal posts being at the front of the end zone, as they were moved into the back after the season. The Vikings meanwhile were clearly frustrated and began showing it. The Vikings would finally get on the board early in the fourth quarter on a four-yard scramble by Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings appeared momentarily to be in business after recovering an on-side kick, but the play was nullified by a offsides penalty. Despite the call, Minnesota got the ball back quickly as the Dolphins had their only three and out of the game. With a chance to make it closer the Vikings drove down to the Miami 32 before Tarkenton was picked off by Curtis Johnson. The Vikings would not see the ball again, as Miami ran the final six and half minutes off the clock with a steady diet of Larry Csonka running the ball down the Vikings’ throats to finish the 24-7 victory.
Larry Csonka was named the MVP of Super Bowl, setting a new record for 145 yards rushing with two touchdowns as the Dolphins as a team ran for 196 yards, with Mercury Morris adding 34 yards, while Jim Kiick had ten yards with a touchdown.