Controlling the football


Great players defined by Great Games

A big-time performance in a playoff game is just one unit of measure that helps a player earn a bronze bust in Canton. Our coverage of the 2009 NFL Playoffs includes weekly flashbacks to spectacular games recorded by members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The running of Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka epitomized the effectiveness of the Miami Dolphins balanced attack in the early 1970s. The team dominated the NFL as illustrated by a 26-2 regular season record in 1972 and 1973.

Larry Csonka rushed for 333 yards and scored 6 TDs in the 1973 playoffs.

A big reason for Miami’s success was Csonka’s powerful running that produced three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 1971 to 1973. He, however, kept the best for last especially in the 1973 postseason as the Dolphins rolled through the playoffs. Csonka was named the Super Bowl VIII MVP after rushing for a then-record 145 yards in Miami’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

The Dolphins advanced to the Super Bowl thanks to Csonka’s running in the championship game two weeks earlier. He had a memorable performance in the 1973 AFC Championship Game as Miami downed the Oakland Raiders 27-10 to earn a repeat trip to the Super Bowl.

Csonka pounded the Raiders defense that day. It began early as Csonka scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Dolphins out in front, 7-0, and also set the tone for the day. It was one of three TDs he had that game as he became the first player in AFL/AFC championship game history to score three times in the same game.

He wrapped up the day with 29 carries for 117 yards.

1973 AFC Championship Game (Oakland at Miami)
Gamebook | Larry Csonka's HOF Bio

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