From Riggins to Allen to Elway, the best Super Bowl runs

The Associated Press
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Last year's Super Bowl is best remembered for a team's unsuccessful decision to throw on what appeared to be an obvious running down near the goal line, the sort of thing that maybe shouldn't surprise anyone, given the emphasis on passing in today's NFL.

Instead of handing the football to Marshawn Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks told Russell Wilson to toss it toward the end zone, and Malcolm Butler's interception sealed the New England Patriots' victory.

There was a time when relying on a rushing game was not as unheard-of as it is now, and a few of the most memorable Super Bowl plays over the past half-century really did come on the ground.

Here is a look at three of the best runs in Super Bowl history:

FOURTH-AND-RIGGO: In the 1983 Super Bowl, everyone in the Rose Bowl - on the field, on the sidelines, in the stands - and everyone watching on TV knew what was going to happen when Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Miami Dolphins 43. There were about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins led 17-13, and the no-doubt-about-it play call was to have quarterback Joe Theismann stuff the ball in running back John Riggins' gut and behind the superb offensive line known as “The Hogs.” Riggins pulled away from Don McNeal's attempt at a tackle and rumbled all the way to the end zone, helping Washington win 27-17.

ALLEN REVERSES COURSE: A year later, Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen broke Riggins' record for most yards rushing in a Super Bowl (191 to 166), including one highlight-worthy TD - all against Riggins' club. At the end of the third quarter, Allen headed forward toward a mass of defenders, then suddenly stopped and changed directions, eventually going all the way for a 74-yard score in the Raiders' 38-9 victory over the Redskins.

HELICOPTERING ELWAY: Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway made the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of his arm, not his legs, but one of the enduring images of his playing career came on a run in the 1998 Super Bowl. Wasn't exactly a long one: just 8 yards. Riveting, nonetheless. At the end of a crucial third-down scramble, Elway was hit by a couple of defenders from different angles and spun around in the air sideways - exactly like a helicopter's propeller. He earned a first down, extending a drive that resulted in a tiebreaking touchdown to help Denver beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24. After losing the first three Super Bowls he played in, Elway won this one - and added a second title the next year, too.

Honourable Mention:

Willie Parker, 2006 Super Bowl: 75-yard run for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the longest in a Super Bowl.

Timmy Smith, 1988 Super Bowl: 58-yard run for the Washington Redskins, part of his Super Bowl-record 204-yard day.

William “Refrigerator” Perry, 1986 Super Bowl: 1-yard TD plunge by the 300-or-so-pound defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears of “Super Bowl Shuffle” fame.

Larry Csonka, 1973 Super Bowl: 49-yard run for the Miami Dolphins as they completed their 17-0 season.

Organizations: Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, NFL Seattle Seahawks New England Patriots Los Angeles Raiders Denver Broncos Green Bay Packers Pittsburgh Steelers Chicago Bears

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