Six unsung plays from Washington Redskins history
By Jonathan Eig
JERRY SMITH AND THE GOAL POST, 1-14-73
If Redskins’ fans recall anything from the Super Bowl game played two weeks after the victory against Dallas, it is likely to be the most awkward play in Super Bowl history. Garo Yepremian, the Dolphins’ 5’7” kicker from the island of Cyprus, attempted to salvage a botched fourth-quarter field goal, and ended up tossing the ball straight into the air where Redskins’ cornerback Mike Bass snatched it and ran for a touchdown. It cut the lead to 14-7 and gave the Redskins some late hope.
But it should have already been 14-7. Earlier in the quarter, Billy Kilmer had finally mounted a drive that took the Redskins deep into Dolphins’ territory. He had tight end Jerry Smith open in the middle of the end zone. His pass was right on target.
But for some reason, in the 1972 season and all that preceded it, the goal posts were not set up where there are today on the end line at the back of the end zone (Indeed, where they have been since that Super Bowl game), but were aligned with the goal line itself. A stanchion stood a couple yards into the zone and the crossbar and uprights were in the field of play.
There was no Dolphin in the vicinity to make a play on the ball. But there was the crossbar. Kilmer’s pass deflected off the crossbar and fell incomplete. Safety Jake Scott intercepted the next pass and the Redskins did not score.
The Dolphins totally outplayed the Redskins that day, and in truth, Washington was fortunate not to become the first, and only, team to be shut out in a Super Bowl. Then again, if not for the goal post, Washington may have been in position to end the Dolphins’ perfect season.