Super Bowl VII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1972 season. The Dolphins defeated the Redskins by the score of 14–7, and became the first and still the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect undefeated season. They also remain the only Super Bowl team to be shut out in the second half and still win. The game was played on January 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. At kickoff the temperature was 84 °F (29 °C), making the game the warmest Super Bowl ever.
This was the Dolphins’ second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl VI. They posted an undefeated 14–0 regular season record before defeating the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Redskins were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–3 regular season record and playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite being undefeated, the Dolphins were actually one point underdogs, largely based on the weakness of their regular season schedule.
Super Bowl VII was largely dominated by the Dolphins, and remains the lowest-scoring Super Bowl to date with a total of only 21 points (3 touchdown and 3 extra points). The only drama was during the final minutes of the game, in what was later known as “Garo’s Gaffe”.Miami attempted to cap off their 17–0 perfect season with a 17–0 perfect score shutout with a 42-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian,but instead the game and the season was jeopardized when his kick was blocked. Instead of falling on the loose ball, the Dolphins kicker picked it up, attempted a forward pass, but batted it in the air, and Redskins’ cornerback Mike Bass (who was Garo’s former teammate on the Detroit Lions years earlier) caught it and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. This game also remains as the longest period in a Super Bowl for one team to be shut out, as Washington was held scoreless until 2:07 remained in the fourth quarter.
Dolphins safety Jake Scott was named Most Valuable Player. He recorded two interceptions for 63 return yards, including a 55-yard return from the end zone during the 4th quarter. Scott became the second defensive player in Super Bowl history (after linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V) to earn a Super Bowl MVP.