#NFL100Memories – 14/100

The greatest second quarter ever By Lawrence Vos @NFLFANINENGLAND


It seems like a dream now.

I was 13 years old, had been an NFL fan since 1985, and in only the second ever Super Bowl I was watching live, I was staying up in the middle of the night to watch my team, the Washington Redskins, as they took on the favourites the John Elway led Denver Broncos. It’s a game I will never forget, and over 30 years later the memories are still vivid.

This was the Super Bowl that saw the first African American starting quarterback, Doug Williams, who had endured racism, lack of faith and a career with lots more lows than highs.
Williams took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an NFC Championship wearing the creamsicle uniform long before he wore the burgundy and gold.

I recall having my tray of goodies with me (a Marathon bar chopped into slices, peanut M and M’s, and a can of Pepsi) and I knew that unlike the year before I would remain wide
awake to see every play of Super Bowl XXII.

I can remember Redskins head-coach Joe Gibbs running onto the field with his knitted jumper and big glasses. This was during an era where Super Bowl starting line-ups were individually announced, before the Patriots ‘one-team’ ethos ruined the ceremony and drama of the individual announcements as players ran out the tunnel.

The game began as a disaster for my Redskins, after going three and out John Elway hit rookie Ricky Nattiel on a bomb on the Broncos first play from scrimmage and boom we were 7-0 down. Then to rub it in Elway caught a pass himself, again many, many years before the Philly Special. The drive stalled but the Broncos kicked a field-goal and it was 10-0 Denver going into the second quarter.

Fans in the stadium, fans around the world, and me sitting on my sofa in a block of flats on a council housing estate in Surrey (yes they have council estates in Surrey) had no idea what was about to happen….the single greatest offensive explosion in a quarter of NFL football,
which happened to be in the second quarter of a Super Bowl, by a team that looked outmatched and out classed in the first fifteen minutes.

From the moment the quarter began the Redskins went absolutely wild. The first play saw Doug Williams hit Ricky Sanders on an 80-yard bomb, then on the next drive Gary Clark
caught a game-changing score. Technically the 14-10 lead was enough to win the game
there and then, but Williams and Coach Gibbs could not stop.
Absolutely unknown rookie running back Timmy Smith, who was only told he would make his first NFL start hours before the game, then scored a 50 plus yard touchdown, and
Williams then added two more scores through the air, a second to Sanders and his fourth to tight-end Clint Didier.

As this was only my second Super Bowl I thought this was normal, but I pretty soon realised that scoring 35 points in a quarter, in what turned out to be only 18 total offensive plays, was historic.
The Redskins went on to run the ball and play solid defense in the second half to win 42-10.
This game was the first time a team had come back from a 10-point deficit in a Vince Lombardi trophy contest, and Doug Williams was named an incredibly worthy MVP.

Records get broken every year, including Super Bowl specific ones, but I have a feeling this is one record that will stand the test of time.
It’s possible that Patrick Mahomes can somehow break this record one day, but he has to lead his team to the big dance first, something easier to say than do.

That incredible quarter will be my favourite fifteen minutes of NFL watching as long as I live.

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