I can never quite understand women who say they “hate football” but then, perhaps they didn’t grow up like I did. At our house, every Sunday during football season was spent in front of the TV watching the Miami Dolphins. I realize I am going to date myself here but…during what I will call the “Golden Age” of Miami Dolphins football (not to denigrate the years that Dan Marino – who I love – quarterbacked) I was at that impressionable age of 11 to 12 years. The Golden Age of Dolphins football encompassed the 1972 and 1973 seasons when the Dolphins won back-to-back Super Bowls AND became the only professional football team that went undefeated through the post-season (the Patriots had an undefeated regular season in 2007 but lost the Super Bowl).
There are a lot of sour grapes out there concerning the World Champion undefeated Miami Dolphins of 1972. Legend has it that the surviving members of the team gather every year to celebrate when the last undefeated team, of any particular season, loses but – according to Snopes – this is not true. In addition, because the season is longer now, the Dolphins undefeated season seems to be less meaningful. Okay, whatever.
I still remember those days and those players. It may surprise you to learn that my favorite player on the team was Larry Csonka. I loved the way he would rush for extra yards dragging along a half dozen players with him. Kind of reminds me of pictures of hermit crabs with “hitchhikers” hanging off of them.
There were so many other great players: Jim Kiick, Larry Little, Mercury Morris, Paul Warfield, Jim Langer, Manny Fernandez…
Naturally, Bob Griese deserves a lot of credit but my hero is Earl Morrall who stepped in for Griese in Week 5 of the 1972 (undefeated) season after Griese’s ankle was broken. Morrall carried the Dolphins the rest of the regular season and must remain enshrined in every true Dolphin lover’s heart.
The Dolphins went 12-2 in the 1973 season and defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl 24 to 7. Critics have said that this season was actually more impressive than the 1972 team because of the caliber of teams they played against. That may be true but whatever is said, you cannot take away the fact that the Miami Dolphins played in three Super Bowls in a row (’71-’73 seasons) winning two of them back-to-back with an undefeated season right smack in the middle of it all.
Miami lost in the playoffs in the 1974 season and afterward had their offense decimated by the departure of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield to the World Football League. At the time, average salaries of NFL players were among the lowest in the four major sports (Wikipedia). The three players were guaranteed $1,000,000 each whether the WFL ever took off or not (newsflash: it didn’t). I don’t know how their fellow players felt, but I know it was a sad day for me. Still, it was understandable and frankly, salaries quickly began to rise in the NFL after this so…you’re welcome, Peyton Manning.
The Miami Dolphins have eight players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Don Schula, head coach during the Golden Age and beyond, is enshrined there also (and his restaurants make a killer steak). From 1966 to 1968 they had a live dolphin (Flipper of TV fame) at their games. The Dolphins had the “No-Name Defense” and the “Killer B’s.” Oh, and in case I didn’t mention it, they are still the only team to have an undefeated season. Deal with it.
Guest Post by Anne Galivan
Her blog is a great Home Schooling Resource.