Super Bowl XXII

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Super Bowl XXII
Super Bowl XXII Logo.svg
DateJanuary 31, 1988 (1988-01-31)
Stadium Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California
MVP Doug Williams, quarterback
FavoriteBroncos by 3 [1] [2]
Referee Bob McElwee
Attendance73,302 [3]
Hall of Famers
Redskins: Bobby Beathard (general manager), Joe Gibbs (head coach), Darrell Green, Russ Grimm, Art Monk
Broncos: Pat Bowlen (owner), John Elway
National anthem Herb Alpert
Coin toss Don Hutson
Halftime show Chubby Checker and The Rockettes
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf
Nielsen ratings 41.9
(est. 80.14 million viewers) [4]
Market share62
Cost of 30-second commercial$645,000
Radio in the United States
Network CBS Radio
Announcers Jack Buck and Hank Stram

Super Bowl XXII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins and American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) 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, California, which was the first time that the Super Bowl was played there. It was the second consecutive Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, who had lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl the year before.


This Super Bowl came at the end of a season that was shortened by a players' strike. Each team only missed one regular season game due to the labor dispute, but three games were played mostly with replacement players until the dispute was settled. This proved particularly costly for the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who lost all three of their "replacement player games" and failed to make the playoffs. The Broncos were making their second consecutive (and third overall) Super Bowl appearance, after posting a 10–4–1 regular season record, largely 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, and was 0–2 as a starter during the regular season. He ended up leading Washington to their two playoff victories. In doing so, he was the first African American quarterback ever 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 the game, the Redskins scored 42 unanswered points, including a record-breaking 35 points in the second quarter, setting several other Super Bowl records. Williams, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, completed 18 of 29 passes for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. He also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half. Williams was the first African American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. [5] [6]


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 of three Super Bowls played at Jack Murphy Stadium (the others being XXXII and XXXVII, both of which occurred after it was renamed Qualcomm Stadium).

Fourteen cities were part of the bidding process, which was scheduled to award four Super Bowls (XXI, XXII, XXIII, and XXIV). [7] The bidding cities included: Anaheim, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pasadena, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, and Phoenix/Tempe. [7] 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. [8] Tempe and Jacksonville had no NFL team at the time; the Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Tempe in 1988, and the Jaguars were awarded as an expansion team in 1993, starting play in 1995.

The balloting for XXI took over two hours to complete. [8] XXII was also voted on, but the voting for XXIII and XXIV was postponed. San Diego was awarded XXII, marking the second time that consecutive Super Bowls were played in the same state, with Pasadena selected for XXI. This has now happened three times in NFL history; Super Bowls II and III were both played at the Miami Orange Bowl and Super Bowls XLIII and XLIV were played in Florida (at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens) and then repeated eleven years later with the roles reversed with Miami receiving Super Bowl LIV and Tampa receiving Super Bowl LV.

Washington Redskins

The primary storyline surrounding Super Bowl XXII was that Washington's Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback ever to start in a Super Bowl. This was even more meaningful given that the Redskins had been among the last teams to sign a black player after they reentered the league.

Redskins cornerback Barry Wilburn was a key player in Washington's defensive unit, who snagged two interceptions during Super Bowl XXII. 1988 Redskins Police - 15 Barry Wilburn (crop).jpg
Redskins cornerback Barry Wilburn was a key player in Washington's defensive unit, who snagged two interceptions during Super Bowl XXII.

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 (including a trip to the NFC championship game in 1979), a contract dispute caused him to leave the team and sit out the entire 1983 season before signing with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the newly formed USFL. When that league folded a few years later, 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, and 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 extremely 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 also 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 later forced him into early retirement. Rookie running back Timmy Smith started in his place. Fullback Kelvin Bryant also was a big contributor, rushing for 406 yards, and catching 43 passes for 490 yards during the 1987 season. The Redskins offensive line was anchored by tackle Joe Jacoby, a 4-time pro bowl selection, and future Hall of Fame Center Russ Grimm.

The Redskins also had an excellent defensive unit, led by defensive backs Barry Wilburn, who recorded nine interceptions for 135 return yards and one touchdown; Todd Bowles, who intercepted four passes; and Darrell Green. Their line was anchored by defensive ends Charles Mann, who led the team with 9.5 sacks and recovered a fumble; and Dexter Manley, who recorded 8.5 sacks.

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.

Denver Broncos

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 3,198 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was also the team's second leading rusher with 304 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receivers Vance Johnson and Ricky Nattiel, and tight end Clarence Kay, combined for 104 receptions and 1,754 yards. Running back Sammy Winder was the leading rusher with 741 yards and six touchdowns, while fullback Gene Lang rushed for 304 yards and caught 17 receptions. Denver's offensive line was led by guard Keith Bishop, who earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection. The Broncos also possessed a solid defensive unit, led by outside linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, who recorded 7 sacks and picked off three passes, and defensive back Mike Harden with four interceptions. Defensive end Rulon Jones led the line with 7 sacks.

The Broncos finished the strike-shortened 1987 season winning the AFC West with a 10–4–1 record and the number one seed in the AFC playoffs. Dan Reeves was the head coach.


The Broncos routed the Houston Oilers in the Divisional round of the playoffs, 34–10, jumping to a 14–0 first-quarter lead off of two quick Oilers turnovers, with Elway completing 14 of 25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Vance Johnson recorded four catches for 105 yards, including a 55-yard reception to set up Elway's second touchdown pass. However, Johnson was injured during the game; he ended up missing AFC Championship game, and played only sparingly in the Super Bowl. Denver also lost safety Mike Harden for the rest of the season with a broken arm. [9]

Denver then won the AFC Championship Game in exciting fashion over the AFC Central champion Cleveland Browns, 38–33 for the second consecutive year. The Broncos seemed to be in control of the game during the first half, taking a 21–3 lead. However, with quarterback Bernie Kosar, Cleveland rallied back and tied the score 31–31 in the fourth quarter. Elway responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Winder, taking the lead back with less than five minutes left in regulation. The Browns took the ball back and drove to the Denver 8-yard line, but the drive ended with a play that became known as The Fumble, resulting in more bad luck in Cleveland professional sports lore: Denver defensive back Jeremiah Castille stripped the football from Browns running back Earnest Byner and recovered the ensuing fumble as Byner was rushing in for the potential tying touchdown, securing the Broncos' win.

Meanwhile, the Redskins had narrow wins in the playoffs. First, they won at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, 21–17, ending Walter Payton's career. The key play was a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown by Redskins defensive back Darrell Green for the go-ahead touchdown. The Bears' Kevin Butler kicked a field goal to close the deficit to 21–17, but the Bears could get no closer. Noteworthy was the Redskins trailed 14–0 early in the game.

The Redskins won a defensive battle against the surprising Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, 17–10. The Vikings barely made the playoffs with an 8–7 record during the strike-shortened regular season, but advanced to the NFC championship by winning on the road against the teams with the best records in the NFL, defeating the 12–3 New Orleans Saints 44–10, and the 13–2 San Francisco 49ers 36–24. The experienced Redskins, who had narrowly defeated Minnesota in a 27–24 overtime game during Week 15 of the season, put an end to the Vikings' string of upsets, aided by Williams' go-ahead touchdown pass to wide receiver Gary Clark with five minutes remaining to lead 17–10. Then they sealed the victory with 56 seconds left when Green knocked a pass out of the hands of running back Darrin Nelson at the one yard line on a fourth down and four play from the Redskins 6-yard line.

Super Bowl pregame news

Coming into Super Bowl XXII, the Broncos were favored to win (−3 as noted on the NFL Today show by Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder) because most experts thought both teams were equal in terms of talent with Elway presumed to be the superior quarterback to Williams. Elway had won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and was selected to start for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, while Williams had played just five regular season games in the 1987 season.

Before the game, it was announced that Williams underwent emergency root canal treatment for an abscessed lower right molar the previous night. Team dentist Barry Rudolph said there were no complications, and Williams then was pronounced fit to start. [10]

As the designated home team in the annual rotation between AFC and NFC teams, the Broncos opted to wear their home orange uniforms and white pants. The Redskins, as the road team, countered with white uniforms and burgundy pants that they typically wore during home games and which they also wore in their two previous Super Bowl appearances during the 1980s.


The game was broadcast in the United States by ABC with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentators Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. Keith Jackson hosted the pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage for ABC, joined by analysts Lynn Swann and Mike Adamle as well as then Cleveland Browns head coach Marty Schottenheimer and then Minnesota Vikings head coach Jerry Burns. (Bob Griese was originally supposed to co-host with Jackson, but had to bow out due to a family illness, as his wife Judi was in the late stages of breast cancer, from which she died on February 15, 1988. [11] ) Also helping with ABC's coverage were Jack Whitaker, Jim Hill and Becky Dixon. This was the first Super Bowl broadcast on ABC with the broadcast team of Michaels, Gifford, and Dierdorf in the booth (as the 1987 season was the first year the trio was together, with Dierdorf moving to ABC from CBS; Gifford was the only holdover from ABC's Super Bowl XIX telecast). The trio went on to man the booth for ABC's Monday Night Football from 1987 to 1997 and called Super Bowls XXV and XXIX.

It was simulcast in Canada on CTV and in the United Kingdom on Channel 4. It was also the first Super Bowl in which Mexico's Televisa brought a team of its own (instead of relying on the U.S. signal with comments made from Mexico City), airing on its Canal de las Estrellas.

The game was broadcast nationally on radio by CBS, with Jack Buck handling the play-by-play duties and color commentator Hank Stram in the broadcast booth, and Jim Hunter reporting from the sidelines. Brent Musburger anchored the Super Bowl XXII pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage with analysis from Will McDonough and Jimmy Snyder for CBS. Locally, Super Bowl XXII was broadcast on WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C. by Frank Herzog, Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgenson, and on KOA-AM in Denver, Colorado by Bob Martin and Larry Zimmer.

Locally, Super Bowl XXII was shown on WJLA-TV, the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate and on KUSA-TV, the Denver, Colorado ABC affiliate.

The Wonder Years premiered on ABC immediately following the game. This was only the second successful series to debut following a Super Bowl up to that time ( The A-Team , which had premiered following Super Bowl XVII, was the first). The Wonder Years was a late switch by ABC; which had initially scheduled the two-hour premiere of China Beach for the post Super Bowl slot, but concerns about the game running long and potentially pushing the premiere episode's conclusion after midnight contributed to the program change. [12] The NFL Films NFL's Greatest Games highlight film was titled Ambush at Super Bowl XXII; and was the first such highlight film to feature former Boston and Buffalo radio personality Jeff Kaye as its narrator.


The pregame festivities featured a tribute to entertainer Bob Hope, who was approaching the age of 85. Members representing the military service branches marched out onto the field in full dress uniforms, and in unison saluted Bob Hope for his dedication to helping the troops. Trumpeter Herb Alpert performed "The Star-Spangled Banner", while Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Hutson participated in the coin toss ceremony (the game happened to coincide with Hutson's 75th birthday). Alpert's performance was the last non-vocal performance of the National Anthem in a Super Bowl to date.

The halftime show, produced by Radio City Music Hall, was titled "Something Grand" and featured performances by vocalist Chubby Checker, The Rockettes, and 88 grand pianos. Among the 44 Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, American performer Jennifer Jones made her national debut as its first African American Rockette. Checker's performance marked the first time a major artist performed during the show.

This was the final Super Bowl to feature the football-style logo at the 35-yard-line which had been in use since Super Bowl XIV.

Game summary

Redskins guard Raleigh McKenzie covering an opponent on the Broncos during Super Bowl XXII. 1988 Redskins Police - 10 Raleigh McKenzie (crop).jpg
Redskins guard Raleigh McKenzie covering an opponent on the Broncos during Super Bowl XXII.

First quarter

Super Bowl XXII started out very well for the Denver Broncos. After forcing Washington to go three-and-out, the Broncos scored on their first play from scrimmage, when quarterback John Elway threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ricky Nattiel, giving Denver a 7–0 lead after just 1:57 had elapsed in the game. It was the earliest touchdown any team had ever scored in Super Bowl history to that point (the record was later broken by Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIX, and again by Devin Hester in Super Bowl XLI). The Broncos quickly forced Washington to punt, and once again Elway displayed his superb scrambling skills. On the second play of Denver's ensuing possession, Elway completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Jackson. Then, he caught a 23-yard pass from halfback Steve Sewell, becoming the first quarterback ever to catch a pass in the Super Bowl (Elway had scored a touchdown on that play during opening day the previous year against the Raiders). The Redskins managed to halt Denver's drive on the 6, but kicker Rich Karlis kicked a field goal to increase the Broncos' lead to 10–0.

After yet another Redskins punt, Denver managed to drive to the Washington 30 on their third possession with two runs by Gene Lang for a total of 24 yards and an 18-yard reception by Sewell. But this time they failed to score because Washington safety Alvin Walton sacked Elway for an 18-yard loss on third down, pushing the Broncos out of field goal range.

Meanwhile, the Redskins could not generate any offensive momentum in the first quarter, with the Broncos' defense forcing a punt on every drive. To make matters worse, late in the period, quarterback Doug Williams twisted his back leg while planting to make a throw and had to leave the game. Williams was untouched by a Bronco defender before he dropped the ball while falling to the ground; the referee, however, inadvertently blew his whistle, stopping the play & costing Denver a fumble recovery and an almost certain fumble return touchdown and a 17–0 lead. Backup quarterback Jay Schroeder was sacked by Denver's Karl Mecklenburg on his first snap, continuing the Redskins' offensive woes. By the time the quarter ended, the Broncos had more than twice as many total yards of offense (142) as the Redskins (64). In the previous 21 Super Bowls, no team had ever overcome a 10-point deficit to win.

Second quarter

Williams returned with 14:17 left in the second quarter, and the Washington offense began to click. And much like they had in the second half of Super Bowl XXI against the New York Giants, the Broncos defense collapsed.

On the Redskins' first play of the second quarter, receiver Ricky Sanders got behind defensive back Mark Haynes (who tried to jam him at the line of scrimmage) and safety Tony Lilly, and caught a pass from Williams, and took it 80 yards for a touchdown. After forcing the Broncos to punt on their next possession, Washington advanced to the Denver 27. Facing third-and-one, Williams connected with receiver Gary Clark who made a diving catch in the end zone to give Washington a 14–10 lead.

After the ensuing kickoff, Denver drove to the Washington 26, aided by running back Sammy Winder's 27-yard reception and Elway's 21-yard run. But left tackle Dave Studdard, blocking defensive end Dexter Manley, went down with a knee injury. After Elway threw an incomplete pass on third down, Karlis missed a 43-yard field goal attempt. On the first play of the Redskins' ensuing drive, Williams threw a 16-yard completion to Clark. Then on the next play, running back Timmy Smith, a rookie in his first NFL start, took off for a 58-yard touchdown run, with blocking from guard Raleigh McKenzie and tackle Joe Jacoby, making the score 21–10. [10] Washington's offensive line featuring McKenzie and Jacoby figured greatly in a play known as the Counter Gap, which the Skins ran repeatedly in the game. [13]

The Redskins increased their lead to 28–10 on their next possession with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Sanders, making him the first player in Super Bowl history to catch two touchdowns in one quarter. Four plays after the ensuing kickoff, Washington defensive back Barry Wilburn intercepted a pass from Elway on the Redskins 21, and once again, the Redskins stormed down the field to score. First, Smith broke loose for a 43-yard run, then Williams completed a pair of passes to Sanders to reach the Denver 7. Two plays later, Williams threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clint Didier to make the score 35–10. On Denver's next drive, Elway completed three consecutive passes for 40 total yards to advance to the Redskins 36. However, Washington rookie defensive back Brian Davis intercepted Elway's next pass at the 21 with seven seconds left in the half.

In the second quarter alone, Williams completed 9 of 11 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns; Smith rushed five times for 122 yards and a touchdown; and Sanders caught five passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. The Redskins scored 35 points and gained 356 yards in total offense, both Super Bowl records, and scored five touchdowns on 18 total offensive plays.

During the regular season, the Broncos had allowed 35 points for the entire game only once—and it was in that game, a 40–10 loss to the Houston Oilers in Week 4, that they fielded replacement players, with the regular players having gone on strike.

Washington's 25-point lead at the half surpassed the previous record of 20 points set by San Francisco in Super Bowl XVI.

Second half

By the end of the game, Elway was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, and Washington scored another touchdown on a 68-yard fourth-quarter drive featuring a 25-yard run by Clark on a reverse and three runs by Smith for 43 yards, the last a 4-yard touchdown to bring the game to its final score of 42–10.

Smith finished the game with a Super Bowl record 204 rushing yards, and scored two touchdowns. Sanders caught nine passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns, and returned three kickoffs for 46 yards. His 193 receiving yards and his 235 total offensive yards were both Super Bowl records, and his 80-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter also tied a Super Bowl record. Clark caught three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing once for 25 yards. Wilburn recorded two interceptions, while Walton had two sacks. Meanwhile, running back Gene Lang was the Broncos' leading rusher, with only 38 yards on five carries. Elway finished the game with 14 out of 38 pass completions for 257 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He was also Denver's second-leading rusher with 32 yards on three carries; this was the only Super Bowl in which Elway played without scoring a rushing touchdown. Jackson was Denver's top receiver with four catches for 76 yards.

In 2015, on the occasion of Super Bowl 50, Slate writer Justin Peters watched all the games over a two-month period. He considered Super Bowl XXII to be the best Super Bowl ever, declaring it was, "The most significant Super Bowl ever played. The most unlikely comeback from the most unlikely quarterback, Doug Williams, who led his team to score 35 points in the second quarter: a single-quarter Super Bowl scoring record that still stands!" [14]

Box score

Super Bowl XXII: Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10
Redskins (NFC)0350742
Broncos (AFC)1000010

at Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: January 31, 1988
  • Game time: 3:20 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 61 °F (16 °C), partly cloudy [15]
Scoring summary
QuarterTime Drive TeamScoring informationScore
Plays Yards TOP WASDEN
113:031560:08DEN Ricky Nattiel 56-yard touchdown reception from John Elway, Rich Karlis kick good07
19:097612:05DEN24-yard field goal by Karlis010
214:071800:10WAS Ricky Sanders 80-yard touchdown reception from Doug Williams, Ali Haji-Sheikh kick good710
210:155642:44WAS Gary Clark 27-yard touchdown reception from Williams, Haji-Sheikh kick good1410
26:272740:51WAS Timmy Smith 58-yard touchdown run, Haji-Sheikh kick good2110
23:423600:52WASSanders 50-yard touchdown reception from Williams, Haji-Sheikh kick good2810
21:047791:10WAS Clint Didier 8-yard touchdown reception from Williams, Haji-Sheikh kick good3510
413:094682:03WASSmith 4-yard touchdown run, Haji-Sheikh kick good4210
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football.4210

Final statistics

Sources: Super Bowl XXII, Super Bowl XXII Play Finder Was, Super Bowl XXII Play Finder Den

Statistical comparison

Washington RedskinsDenver Broncos
First downs2518
First downs rushing136
First downs passing1110
First downs penalty12
Third down efficiency9/152/12
Fourth down efficiency0/00/0
Net yards rushing28097
Rushing attempts4017
Yards per rush7.05.7
Passing – Completions/attempts18/3015/39
Times sacked-total yards2–185–50
Interceptions thrown13
Net yards passing322230
Total net yards602327
Punt returns-total yards1–02–18
Kickoff returns-total yards3–465–88
Interceptions-total return yards3–111–0
Punts-average yardage4–37.57–36.1
Penalties-total yards6–655–26
Time of possession33:1526:45

Individual statistics

Redskins Passing
Doug Williams 18/2934041127.9
Jay Schroeder 0/100039.6
Redskins Rushing
Timmy Smith 222042589.27
Kelvin Bryant 8380154.75
Gary Clark 12502525.00
George Rogers 517053.40
Keith Griffin 12022.00
Doug Williams2–201–1.00
Ricky Sanders 1–40–4–4.00
Redskins Receiving
Ricky Sanders919328011
Gary Clark3551279
Don Warren 215094
Art Monk 1400401
Kelvin Bryant1200203
Timmy Smith19091
Clint Didier 18181
Broncos Passing
John Elway 14/382571336.8
Steve Sewell 1/12300118.8
Broncos Rushing
Gene Lang 5380137.60
John Elway33202110.67
Sammy Winder 8300133.75
Steve Sewell 1–30–3–3.00
Broncos Receiving
Mark Jackson 4760326
Steve Sewell4410189
Ricky Nattiel 26915611
Clarence Kay 2380273
Sammy Winder1260263
John Elway1230231
Gene Lang17072
Vance Johnson 00003
Tony Boddie 00001

1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted

Records set

The following records were set in Super Bowl XXII, according to the official boxscore [16] and the ProFootball game summary. [17]

Player Records Set [17]
Most passing yards, game340Doug Williams (Washington)
Most touchdown passes, half [18] 4
Most touchdown passes, quarter [18]
Most rushing yards, game204Timmy Smith (Washington)
Most receiving yards, game193Ricky Sanders (Washington)
Most combined yardage gained, game235
Most (one point) extra points, game6 Ali Haji-Sheikh (Washington)
Records Tied
Longest pass80 yards (TD)Doug Williams (Washington)
Most touchdown passes, game4
Most rushing touchdowns, game2Timmy Smith (Washington)
Longest Reception80 yards (TD)Ricky Sanders (Washington)
Most receiving touchdowns, game2
Most kickoff returns, career8Ken Bell (Denver)
Most field goals attempted, career6 Rich Karlis (Denver)
Team Records Set [17]
Most points scored, first half35Redskins
Most points scored in
any quarter of play
35 (2nd)
Most points, second quarter35
Largest halftime margin25 points
Largest deficit a team overcame to win10 points
Most touchdowns, quarter5
Most touchdowns, game6
Most (one point) PATs, game6
Most net yards,
rushing and passing
Most rushing yards (net)280
Total offensive yards in a quarter [20] 356
Records Tied
Most passing touchdowns4Redskins
Most consecutive Super Bowl losses2Broncos
Fewest rushing touchdowns0
Fewest points, second half0
Records Set, both team totals [17]
Most points scored, first half453510
Most points, second quarter35350
Fewest points scored, second half770
Most net yards,
rushing and passing
Most rushing yards (net)37728097
Records tied, both team totals
Fewest fumbles lost000

Starting lineups

Source: [21]

Hall of Fame‡

Gary Clark WR Mark Jackson
Joe Jacoby LT Dave Studdard
Raleigh McKenzie LG Keith Bishop
Jeff Bostic C Mike Freeman
R. C. Thielemann RG Stefan Humphries
Mark May RT Ken Lanier
Clint Didier TE Clarence Kay
Ricky Sanders WR Ricky Nattiel
Doug Williams QB John Elway
Don Warren TEFB Gene Lang
Timmy Smith RB Sammy Winder
Charles Mann LE Andre Townsend
Dave Butz LTNT Greg Kragen
Darryl Grant RTRE Rulon Jones
Dexter Manley RELOLB Simon Fletcher
Mel Kaufman LLBLILB Karl Mecklenburg
Neal Olkewicz MLBRILB Ricky Hunley
Monte Coleman RLBROLB Jim Ryan
Darrell GreenLCB Mark Haynes
Barry Wilburn RCB Steve Wilson
Alvin Walton SS Dennis Smith
Todd Bowles FS Tony Lilly


Following this game, Johnny Grier was promoted to referee, becoming the first African-American to lead an NFL officiating crew.

In addition to Grier, Dale Hamer was promoted to referee in 1989. Don Wedge was a referee from 1976 to 1978 before becoming a side judge in 1979 (he was a back judge from 1972 to 1975).

Jack Fette retired following this game and became a replay official.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Elway</span> American football player and executive (born 1960)

John Albert Elway Jr. is an American professional football executive and former quarterback who is a consultant for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Champ Bailey</span> American football player (born 1978)

Roland "Champ" Bailey Jr. is an American former professional football player who was a cornerback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Georgia Bulldogs, where he earned consensus All-American honors, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rich Gannon</span> American football player (born 1965)

Richard Joseph Gannon is an American former football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Subsequently, he was a sports commentator with CBS Sports for 16 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Fumble</span> Notable NFL play in 1987

In American football, The Fumble is a play that occurred during the 1987 AFC Championship Game between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos on January 17, 1988, at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The fumble occurred late in the fourth quarter of the game and cost the Browns a chance to tie the contest; the Broncos went on to win the game and the AFC Championship, advancing to Super Bowl XXII.

The National Football League playoffs for the 1991 season began on December 28, 1991. The postseason tournament concluded with the Washington Redskins defeating the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, 37–24, on January 26, 1992, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1987–88 NFL playoffs</span> NFL seasonal playoff games

The National Football League playoffs for the 1987 season began on January 3, 1988. The postseason tournament concluded with the Washington Redskins defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, 42–10, on January 31, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.

The National Football League playoffs for the 1986 season began on December 28, 1986. The postseason tournament concluded with the New York Giants defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, 39–20, on January 25, 1987, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1984–85 NFL playoffs</span> Seasonal NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs for the 1984 season began on December 22, 1984. The postseason tournament concluded with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX, 38–16, on January 20, 1985, at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California.

The National Football League playoffs for the 2005 season began on January 7, 2006. The postseason tournament concluded with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, 21–10, on February 5, at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

The 2005 season was the Denver Broncos' 36th in the National Football League (NFL) and their 46th overall. The Broncos closed out the 2005 regular season with a 13–3 record, the franchise's second-best number of wins of all time and their third best win percentage ever. They won their first playoff game since their 1998 Super Bowl-winning season. Although they eliminated the defending back-to-back Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to end their hopes of becoming the first NFL team to three-peat, they failed to get to the Super Bowl, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the eventual champions, in the AFC Championship game. The Broncos were expected by many to make the Super Bowl for the first time in the post-John Elway era. Denver would not make the postseason again until 2011 under Tim Tebow's leadership or another Conference championship until 2013, under the leadership of Peyton Manning whom the Broncos acquired in 2012.

The 1986 season was the New York Giants' 62nd in the National Football League (NFL) and their fourth under head coach Bill Parcells. The New York Giants, who play in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL), won their fifth championship—and first Super Bowl—in franchise history during the season. Led by consensus league Most Valuable Player (MVP) linebacker Lawrence Taylor and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Phil Simms, the Giants posted a 14–2 record during the regular season, tied for the best record in the league with the defending Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears and the best in team history. The Giants improved on their 10–6 record from 1985, won their first division championship since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, and won Super Bowl XXI against the Denver Broncos.

The 1991 Buffalo Bills season was the 32nd season and 22nd in the National Football League (NFL). The Buffalo Bills finished the National Football League's 1991 season with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses, the same record as their previous season, and finished first in the AFC East division. The Bills qualified for their second Super Bowl appearance but lost to the Washington Redskins, 24–37.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2013 Denver Broncos season</span> NFL team season

The 2013 season was the Denver Broncos' 44th in the National Football League (NFL) and their 54th overall. It also marked their 30th season under the ownership of Pat Bowlen, the second with Peyton Manning as the team's starting quarterback and the third under head coach John Fox.

The Broncos–Steelers rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The rivalry stemmed from the eight playoff matchups between the two teams, some of which featured upset victories. Of the eight meetings, six resulted in the winner eventually advancing to the Super Bowl.


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