The best thing about this Sunday's Miami-Washington Super Bowl is that we won't have to live with that hatred angle the way we did last week. You remember—the Dolphins said, "Oh, they think we'll be easy, huh?" and the Jets said, "We have a score to settle," and the Redskins said, "We want Dallas, bad," and Dallas said, "You've got us."
It was like those wrestling promos on TV: "Well, let his manager tell me that to my face, see!"
There is no natural rivalry between the Dolphins and the Redskins. Even little Garo Yepremian, who threw the fish-arm pass that gave the Skins their only touchdown in Miami's 14-7 win 10 Super Bowls ago, harbors no bitterness. "At halftime," he said last week, "I'll be ready to go out and reenact my pass at midfield."
A Super Bowl prediction: Miami 17, Washington 10. I find it impossible to pick against Bill Arnsparger's defense, a unit that's peaking at exactly the right time. At least half a dozen of the Miami defenders are at the top of their careers—Inside Linebacker A.J. Duhe, who intercepted those three passes against the Jets, cornerbacks Gerald Small and Don McNeal, the Blackwood brothers at the safeties, defensive ends Doug Betters and Kim Bokamper.
I like bump-and-run cornerbacks against receivers who are used to a steady diet of NFC-style, seven-yards-off coverage. I think the Skins' Charlie Brown and Alvin Garrett are going to have trouble.
I think John Riggins will get his yards, though. The Redskins have changed in Joe Gibbs's two years at the helm. He came in loaded with the complexities of the Air Coryell, San Diego system, but he has gradually cut back so that the dominant feature is now the 230-pound Riggins plowing behind those massive Hogs up front. I think a muscle team like that has the best chance against Miami. The Dolphins eat up the fancy Dans.
But do you want to know the real reason why I like the Dolphins? Here it is. Last week the Dolphins gave their main game ball to Duhe. The Skins awarded one to the owner. Jack Kent Cooke. That's a matchup that favors Miami all the way. An out bet.