1972 Miami Dolphins

This hub is about what I believe is the greatest team in professional football history. Sure, I'm a "homer" having lived in south Florida for most of my life, but it really doesn't matter where you live, perfection is perfection.

As every NFL football fan knows, the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to go undefeated for an entire season and win the Super Bowl.

There have certainly been a lot of really great teams, but none have done what the Miami Dolphins did in 1972.

The first honorable mention is the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. They went 18-1 and were 6-0 before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was a super team, led by hall of fame QB, Joe Montana.

The 1985 Chicago Bears went 18-1 and were 12-0 when they came to Miami on a Monday night in December. In one of the most memorable Monday Night Football games of all time, Dan Marino and the Dolphins hung 31 points on one of the best defenses in history by half time and coasted to a 38-24 win.

The 2007 New England Patriots were also a great team with an explosive offense and one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady. They did go 16-0 during the regular season, but their drive for perfection ended when Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLII with about 35 seconds to play.

Plaxico Burress' catch in Super Bowl XLII

1972 Miami Dolphins Perfectville Commercial

The Greatest Team in NFL History

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There's no argument that all of these teams were great, but only the 1972 Dolphins were perfect. But it goes beyond that. They didn't just win them all, they also dominated in virtually every category.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins ended the season ranked number 1 in offense and number 1 in defense in terms of yards gained and yards allowed. They also led the league in most points scored and least points allowed.

They were the first team to have two 1,000-yard runners in the same backfield (accomplished in a 14 game season) with both runners (Larry Csonka & Mercury Morris) averaging over 5 yards per carry for the year.

The Dolphins as a team averaged 4.8 yards per carry for the entire year and set a record at that time by rushing collectively for 2,960 yards for the season. This is an average of over 200 yards per game!

The Dolphins were known as a running team, but they could throw when they had to. Paul Warfield, Howard Twilley and Marlin Briscoe were the 1972 Miami Dolphins' top 3 receivers. Howard Twilley and Marlin Briscoe each averaged over 18 yards per catch while hall of fame wide out Paul Warfield averaged over 20 yards per catch.

Probably the most unbelievable stat about the 1972 undefeated season was the fact that after Dolphins starting quarterback, Bob Griese, was hurt in game 5 against the San Diego Chargers, ten straight wins were reeled off by 38 year old back-up quarterback Earl Morrall.

Earl was a very good quarterback, but ten straight by anyone is a great accomplishment. Ask yourself how good the 1984 49ers would have been had they lost Joe Montana, or how good the 2007 Patriots would have been without Tom Brady.

I was at that San Diego game when Bob Griese got hurt and being the prognosticator that I was, I remember looking at my Dad and saying, "We're done." I'm glad I was wrong. Credit Don Shula for picking up Earl Morrall as an insurance policy and having him ready for just such an occasion.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins had one of the best defenses ever and it was the best in 1972 allowing an average of just 12.2 points per game. The No-Name defense as they were called, (a nickname given to them by Dallas coach Tom Landry) intercepted 26 passes, recorded 33 sacks and allowed an NFL low in points with 171.When NFL fans talk about the great defenses in the history of the league, the 1985 Chicago Bears almost always come up. What those fans don't know is that the '72 and '73 Dolphins gave up fewer points per game those '85 Bears.

There was no home field advantage in 1972, (home field being given to the team with the best record), so the 15-0 Miami Dolphins had to travel to Pittsburgh to face the 12-3 Steelers in the second playoff game.

At halftime of a tough game, Shula made the decision to go back to a healthy Bob Griese for the second half and the Dolphins went on to 16-0.

Remarkably, the Dolphins were underdogs to the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. The final score was Miami 14, Washington 7, but it was never that close. The Dolphins ball control offense was so strong that quarterback Bob Griese only had to attempt 11 passes, completing 8.

The final score should have been 17-0 (and would have been the first shut out in Super Bowl history) and would have matched a 17-0 season, but when kicker Garo Yepremian lined up to kick a field goal late in the game, it was blocked and Mike Bass of Washington scooped it up and ran it in for Washington's only score.

Safety Jake Scott was the MVP, but Manny Fernandez played an unbelievable game with 17 tackles, 11 of them solo.

The 1973 Miami Dolphins weren't bad either, going 12-2 in the regular season and winning Super Bowl VIII. In fact, many knowledgeable fans, sportswriters and players have said they felt the 1973 team was even better than the undefeated 1972 team.

Either way going 32-2 and winning back-to-back Super Bowls over a two-year span ain't bad.

Will there ever be another undefeated championship winning NFL team? Who knows, but one that leads the league in offense and defense and does it with a back-up quarterback? Highly unlikely.

1972 Miami Dolphins

1972 Miami Dolphins Schedule

Week
Opponent
Score
1
@ Kansas City Chiefs
20-10
2
Houston Oilers
34-13
3
@ Minnesota Vilings
16-14
4
@ New York Jets
27-17
5
San Diego Chargers
24-10
6
Buffalo Bills
24-23
7
@ Baltimore Colts
23-0
8
@ Buffalo Bills
30-16
9
New England Patriots
52-0
10
New York Jets
28-24
11
St. Louis Cardinals
31-10
12
@ New England Patriots
37-21
13
@ New York Giants
23-13
14
Baltimore Colts
16-0
Playoffs
 
 
15
Cleveland Browns
20-14
16
@ Pittsburgh Steelers
21-17
17
Washington Redskins
14-7

Hall Of Famers From The 1972 Miami Dolphins

Number
Player
Year Inducted
42
Paul Warfield
1983
39
Larry Csonka
1987
62
Jim Langer
1987
12
Bob Griese
1990
66
Larry Little
1993
 
Don Shula
1997
85
Nick Buoniconti
2001

1972 Miami Dolphins Roster

Number
Player
Position
1
Garo Yepremian
K
7
Billy Lothridge
P
11
Jim Del Gaizo
QB
12
Bob Griese
QB
13
Jake Scott
S
15
Earl Morrall
QB
20
Larry Seiple
P-TE
21
Jim Kiick
RB
22
Mercury Morris
RB
23
Charles Leigh
RB
25
Tim Foley
CB
26
Lloyd Mumphord
CB
28
Ed Jenkins
RB
32
Hubert Ginn
RB
39
Larry Csonka
RB
40
Dick Anderson
S
42
Paul Warfield
WR
43
Mike Howell
S
45
Curtis Johnson
CB
48
Henry Stuckey
CB
49
Charles Babb
S
51
Larry Ball
LB
53
Bob Matheson
LB
54
Howard Kindig
C-T
56
Jesse Powell
LB
57
Mike Kolen
LB
59
Doug Swift
LB
60
Al Jenkins
G-T
62
Jim Langer
C
65
Maulty Moore
DT
66
Larry Little
G
67
Bob Kuechenberg
G
68
Mike Kadish
DT
70
Jim Riley
DE
72
Bob Heinz
DT
73
Norm Evens
T
75
Manny Fernandez
DT
77
Doug Crusan
T
78
Jim Dunaway
DT
79
Wayne Moore
T
80
Marv Fleming
TE
81
Howard Twilley
WR
82
Otto Stowe
WR
83
Vern Den Herder
DE
84
Bill Stanfill
DE
85
Nick Buoniconti
LB
86
Marlin Briscoe
WR
88
Jim Mandich
TE
89
Karl Noonan
WR

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Comments 4 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

They certainly had it going on back then. Great Hub.


Juggergnost profile image

Juggergnost 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Suziecat!


Tammy L profile image

Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

Nowadays with free agency the way it is and the NFL contemplating an 18 game regular season, it would be hard pressed to find any team with the staying power of their talent and coaches to repeat what the '72 Dolphins did that incredible year. Even coaches today don't have the same workout ethics the coaches did back then. I may be wrong here but I seem to remember reading somewhere the reason Tom Landry called the Dolphins defense "No-Name". The Cowboys were dubbed "The Doomsday Defense" and when asked about the '72 Dolphins defense, he said something like "there's no name appropriate for their defense."


Juggergnost profile image

Juggergnost 5 years ago Author

Tammy:

Thanks for your comments. You're close on the Tom Landry quote. According to Manny Fernandez, the quote was something close to, "They're just a bunch of no names that I don't know much about."

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