- 1972–73 NFL playoffs
The NFL playoffs following the 1972 NFL season led up to Super Bowl VII. Like the previous NFL seasons, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly divisional rotation, excluding the wild card teams who would always play on the road.
- 1 Bracket
- 2 Divisional playoffs
- 3 Conference championships
- 4 Super Bowl
- 5 References
- Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl VII December 24 - Miami Orange Bowl Cleveland Browns 14 December 31 - Three Rivers Stadium Miami Dolphins 20 Miami Dolphins 21 December 23 - Three Rivers Stadium Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Oakland Raiders 7 January 14 - L.A. Coliseum Pittsburgh Steelers 13 Miami Dolphins 14 December 23 - Candlestick Park Washington Redskins 7 Dallas Cowboys 30 December 31 - RFK Stadium San Francisco 49ers 28 Dallas Cowboys 3 December 24 - RFK Stadium Washington Redskins 26 Green Bay Packers 3 Washington Redskins 16
December 23, 1972
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Raiders 0 0 0 7 7 Steelers 0 0 3 10 13 Game information
- PIT - field goal Gerela 18 PIT 3-0
- PIT - field goal Gerela 29 PIT 6-0
- OAK - Stabler 30 run (Blanda kick)OAK 7-6
- PIT - Harris 60 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) PIT 13-7
Steelers running back Franco Harris scored the winning touchdown on what became known as the Immaculate Reception. In a game that was mostly dominated by defense, the contest remained scoreless until Pittsburgh kicker Roy Gerela kicked an 18-yard field goal in the third quarter. He added a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to increase Pittsburgh's lead, 6-0. But then Raiders backup quarterback Ken Stabler, who had replaced starter Daryle Lamonica, ran for a 30-yard touchdown to give Oakland a 7-6 lead with 1:13 left in the game.
Facing fourth and ten on their own 40-yard line with 22 seconds remaining, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw the ball toward fullback John "Frenchy" Fuqua. But the pass bounced off Raiders safety Jack Tatum and was caught by Harris, who then ran the rest of the way downfield to score a touchdown that gave the Steelers a 12-7 lead with five seconds remaining in the game.
NFC: Dallas Cowboys 30, San Francisco 49ers 28
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Cowboys 3 10 0 17 30 49ers 7 14 7 0 28 Game information
- SF - V. Washington 97 kickoff return (Gossett kick) SF 7-0
- DAL - field goal Fritsch 37 SF 7-3
- SF - Schreiber 1 run (Gossett kick) SF 14-3
- SF - Schreiber 1 run (Gossett kick) SF 21-3
- DAL - field goal Fritsch 45 SF 21-6
- DAL - Alworth 28 pass from Morton (Fritsch kick)SF 21-13
- SF - Schreiber 1 run (Gossett kick) SF 28-13
- DAL - field goal Fritsch 27 SF 28-16
- DAL - Parks 20 pass from Staubach (Fritsch kick) SF 28-23
- DAL - Sellers 10 pass from Staubach (Fritsch kick) DAL 30-28
Backup quarterback Roger Staubach led the Cowboys to score 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 28-13 San Francisco lead. The 49ers jumped to a 7-0 early lead when Vic Washington returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Dallas cut the deficit to 7-3 with kicker Toni Fritsch's 37-yard field goal, but a fumble by Cowboys starting quarterback Craig Morton set up Larry Schreiber's 1-yard run. Schreiber scored another touchdown after a Morton interception, making it a 21-3 deficit. The Cowboys cut the deficit to 21-13 at halftime with Fritsch's 45-yard field goal and Lance Alworth's 28-yard touchdown reception.
However, Schreiber scored his third touchdown of the game to increase San Francisco's lead, 28-13, in the third period. Staubach replaced Morton and led the Cowboys to Fritsch's 27-yard field goal. Then with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Staubach threw a 20-yard touchdown to Billy Parks. Mel Renfro recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Ron Sellers scored the winning touchdown on a 10-yard reception with 52 seconds left.
December 24, 1972
AFC: Miami Dolphins 20, Cleveland Browns 14
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Browns 0 0 7 7 14 Dolphins 10 0 0 10 20 Game information
- MIA - Babb 5 blocked punt return (Yepremian kick) MIA 7-0
- MIA - field goal Yepremian 40 MIA 10-0
- CLE - Phipps 5 run (Cockroft kick) MIA 10-7
- MIA - field goal Yepremian 46 MIA 13-7
- CLE - Hooker 27 pass from Phipps (Cockroft kick) CLE 14-13
- MIA - Kiick 8 run (Yepremian kick) MIA 20-14
An 8-yard rushing touchdown by Jim Kiick in the fourth quarter kept the Dolphins' hopes alive for an undefeated season. Miami scored first in the opening quarter when Charlie Babb blocked a Cleveland punt, picked it up, and returned it for a touchdown. The Dolphins then increased their lead to 10-0 with kicker Garo Yepremian's 40-yard field goal. But in the third quarter, Cleveland's Mike Phipps scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. Then after Yepremian added another field goal, Phipps threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Fair Hooker to give the Browns the lead, 14-13. The Dolphins then marched 80 yards to set up Kiick's winning touchdown, aided by a Paul Warfield's 15- and 15-yard receptions, and a pass interference penalty. Miami intercepted 5 of Phipps' passes.
NFC: Washington Redskins 16, Green Bay Packers 3
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Packers 0 3 0 0 3 Redskins 0 10 0 6 16
at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
- GB - field goal Marcol 17 GB 3-0
- WAS - Jefferson 32 pass from Kilmer (Knight kick) WAS 7-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 42 WAS 10-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 35 WAS 13-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 46 WAS 16-3
Using a five-man defensive line, the Redskins limited the Packers to only a field goal and held Green Bay running back John Brockington (who rushed for 1,027 yards during the season) to just 9 yards on 13 carries. Meanwhile, Washington kicker Curt Knight scored 3 field goals, while running back Larry Brown rushed for 101 yards.
The Packers scored first on Chester Marcol's 17-yard field goal in the second quarter. But then Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Roy Jefferson. With 33 seconds left in the first half, Knight kicked a 42-yard field goal to give Washington a 10-3 halftime lead. The Redskins then dominated the second half, with Knight adding two more field goals.
December 31, 1972
AFC Championship: Miami Dolphins 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Dolphins 0 7 7 7 21 Steelers 7 0 3 7 17 Game information
- PIT - Mullins recovered fumble in end zone (Gerela kick) PIT 7-0
- MIA - Csonka 9 pass from Morrall (Yepremian kick) 7-7
- PIT - field goal Gerela 14 PIT 10-7
- MIA - Kiick 2 run (Yepremian kick) MIA 14-10
- MIA - Kiick 3 run (Yepremian kick) MIA 21-10
- PIT - Young 12 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) MIA 21-17
The Dolphins continued their unbeaten streak by scoring two touchdowns in the second half. The Steelers scored first after Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw's fumble rolled into the Miami end zone, and was recovered by offensive lineman Gerry Mullins. Unfortunately for the Steelers, Bradshaw was injured on play and did not return until the fourth quarter. The Dolphins tied the game after punter Larry Seiple 37-yard run on a fake punt set up Larry Csonka's 9-yard touchdown catch. In the third quarter, kicker Roy Gerela's 14-yard field goal gave Pittsburgh a 10-7 lead. Quarterback Bob Griese, who had been sidelined with a broken leg for 10 weeks, replaced starter Earl Morrall, and threw a 52-yard pass to Paul Warfield to set up a Jim Kiick 2-yard touchdown run. Griese led the Dolphins on a 49-yard drive to score on a Jim Kiick 3-yard touchdown run. While Bradshaw returned with about 7 minutes left the game and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass, he also threw two interceptions to Miami linebackers Nick Buoniconti and Mike Kolen.
NFC Championship: Washington Redskins 26, Dallas Cowboys 3
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Cowboys 0 3 0 0 3 Redskins 0 10 0 16 26
at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
- WAS - field goal Knight 18 WAS 3-0
- WAS - Taylor 15 pass from Kilmer (Knight kick)WAS 10-0
- DAL - field goal Fritsch 35 WAS 10-3
- WAS - Taylor 45 pass from Kilmer (Knight kick) WAS 17-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 39 WAS 20-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 46 WAS 23-3
- WAS - field goal Knight 45 WAS 26-3
Charley Taylor led the Redskins to the victory by recording 7 receptions for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Washington limited Dallas to only a field goal, and prevented the Cowboys from crossing midfield during the entire second half. However, the game seemed close before the final period. After the first quarter was scoreless, the Redskins jumped to a 10-0 lead with kicker Curt Knight's 18-yard field goal and Taylor's 15-yard touchdown. However, the halftime score was 10-3 and neither team scored in the third quarter. But Taylor's 45-yard touchdown and Knight's three field goals in the fourth period broke the game open.
Game summary 1 2 3 4 Total Dolphins (AFC) 7 7 0 0 14 Redskins (NFC) 0 0 0 7 7
- Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
- The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995 (ISBN 0-89204-523-X)
National Football League playoffsConference TiebreakersNFL Playoff Tournament System AFL Championship Game broadcasters · AFC Championship Game broadcasters
NFC Championship Game broadcasters · NFL Championship Game broadcasters
Playoff Bowl broadcasters · Super Bowl broadcasters
NFL playoff results
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