Traveling back in time, 40 years ago, the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets faced a pivotal showdown in the AFC East where a late field goal lifted Miami to a win.
The 1982 NFL season was marred by a midseason labor stoppage, but the year — though shortened — ultimately finished on time.
The Miami Dolphins went on to win the AFC East before reaching Super Bowl XVII. That, however, may not have come to fruition without the victory that took place on this day 40 years ago.
With just three seconds on the clock, kicker Uwe von Schamann’s 47-yard field goal lifted Miami to a 20-19 victory over the New York Jets in a pivotal AFC East showdown.
The Jets led the AFC East at 5-1 while Miami was 4-2 as the teams took the field at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 18, 1982. Miami won the season opener between the teams, 45-28. To that point in the season, it had served as the Jets’ lone loss.
Miami had not scored since the early parts of the second quarter when it took over at its own 17-yard-line with less than two minutes to go. David Woodley started the game at quarterback for the Dolphins and threw a touchdown pass to Duriel Harris early on. Late in the game, head coach Don Shula made the switch to Don Strock.
Trailing 19-17, Strock was masterful on the game’s decisive drive. Completing passes to four different receivers, Strock went 6-for-7 for 53 yards. The Dolphins had marched from their own 17 to the Jets’ 30-yard-line.
With just seven seconds left, von Schamann came on to try a 47-yard field goal. His kicked stayed just inside the left upright with plenty of room to spare as Miami prevailed in a thriller.
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Prior to von Schamann’s make, New York kicker, Pat Leahy’s field goal earlier in the quarter had accounted for all the second-half scoring. Richard Todd threw two touchdown passes for the Jets. Andra Franklin led Miami with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown.
The Dolphins won their final two games to clinch the AFC East and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The 1-point win would prove critical as the teams met again for the AFC Championship in Miami. It was a contest the Dolphins would win on a mud-drenched field, 14-0.
Including the playoffs, the Jets lost just four times in 1982 with three coming at the hand of the Dolphins. The closest of those was decided by a long von Schamann field goal on this day four decades ago.