ABSOLUTE PERFECTION: THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS.

By: Randy Campbell (Old Dolfan)

GAME #5: OCT. 15, 1972 – SAN DIEGO at MIAMI

The Chargers franchise was the brain child of hotel heir Barron Hilton, the team’s original owner and son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, one of the richest men in the World.  In 1959 Hilton made the decision to place his team in the potentially lucrative Los Angeles market.  He signed former L. A. Rams head coach Sid Gillman, an offensive minded innovator and future Hall of Famer, to be his head coach.  Star players for the inaugural 1960 AFL season included quarterback Jack Kemp (from tiny Occidental College) and future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Ron Mix, from USC.  Unfortunately, only 17,724 persons paid to see the opening game against Dallas in the mammoth Los Angeles Coliseum (a game the Chargers won 21-20).  A few months later, when the Chargers clinched the AFC Western Division crown with a 41-33 win over the Denver Broncos, only 9,928 souls were present.  On January 1, 1961, the Chargers lost the very first AFL Champioship Game to George Blanda’s Houston Oilers 24-16.  Soon after the title game, Barron Hilton announced his team was leaving Los Angeles and moving to tiny Balboa Stadium in San Diego.  Famous San Diego sportswriter Jack Murphy convinced Hilton to make this move.  (When San Diego eventually built a new modern football stadium, they named it “Jack Murphy Stadium” in the sportwriter’s honor.)  A year later, the Chargers hosted the Oilers in the second AFL Championship Game.  29,000 fans in Balboa Stadium left disappointed as, once again, the Oilers prevailed, this time by a 10-3 score. After a poor 1962 season, the Chargers rebounded in 1963 with new quarterback Tobin Rote.  A 58-20 blowout win over Denver put San Diego in their third AFL title game in January of 1964.  Halfback Keith Lincoln recorded 349 yards of total offense pacing the Chargers to a 51-10 pounding of the Boston Patriots in the AFL Championship Game played in front of 30,000 delirious fans at Balboa Stadium.  That game produced the City of San Diego’s LAST professional sports title in any major sport!

1972-300x154

In 1970 and 1971 the Chargers struggled.  The 1970 team went 5-6-3; the 1971 squad was 6-8. By ’72, San Diego boasted star players like future bob_griese_1972_10_15-207x300Hall of Famer David “Deacon” Jones, quarterback John Hadl and running back Mike Garrett.  Charger fans hoped 1972 would see their team return to the positive side of the ledger.  After losing their opener to the ’49ers, San Diego defeated Denver 37-14, tied the Raiders 17-17 and beat the Colts 23-20.  Nobody expected an easy win for the Dolphins.  But absolutely NO ONE could foresee the catastrophic injury that would impact Miami the day they played the Chargers in the historic Orange Bowl.  Fourteen plays into the game, Bob Griese rolled out to his left, searching for an open receiver.  Jim Kiick broke free as Griese’s pass headed downfield.  Most eyes followed the ball.  Behind the play, “Deacon” Jones and Ron East simultaneously crushed Griese.  “I didn’t need to see the 140stretcher to know I was going out,” said the Dolphin’s All-Pro quarterback.  The diagnosis was a dislocated right ankle and a broken bone in the same ankle.  GRIESE WAS DONE for the rest of the regular season, at a minimum!One TV network commentator said, “Well there goes the Perfect Season now!  There’s no way Miami goes undefeated without Bob Griese!”

Back-up quarterback Earl Morrall trotted onto the field.  Morrall and Don Shula had been through this before.  Back in 1968, Shula chose Morrall to replace the injured John Unitas as the Colts starting quarterback.  All Morrall did was win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award as he guided Baltimore to a date with destiny in Super Bowl III versus the underdog Jets.

 

But this situation was different.  From 1969 through early 1972 Morrall played sparingly.  In April of ’72, Morrall was released by Baltimore.  Shula picked-up Morrall for the $125 waiver wire price in one of the greatest bargains in NFL history!Could the 38 year old crew cut Morrall shake-off the rust and still produce at the highest level?  On his first drive Morrall guided Miami into San Diego territory.  Yepremian’s 37-yard field goal gave the ‘Fins a 3-0 lead.  San Diego’s Dennis Partee countered with a field goal, tying the game 3-3.

 

Early in the second quarter safety Dick Anderson grabbed a fumble by the Charger’s Mike Garrett and scampered 35 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.  Later in the quarter, fifth defensive back Lloyd Mumphord intercepted a John Hadl pass, returning it to the San Diego 34.  Two Larry earl-morrall-240x300Csonka runs produced 14 yards. After a short run by Jim Kiick, Morrall threw a perfect pass to reliable Howard Twilley, good for an 18-yard touchdown.  It was 17-3 Miami at halftime.  Shula warned his players NOT to ease-off the gas pedal in the second half.  “We’ve got a point to prove and we’re going to prove it,” said the Don of Miami.  Methodically, Earl Morrall took the Dolphins on a 65-yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter.  A 23-yard bullseye to Twilley got Miami into San Diego territory.  The drive concluded when Morrall arched a gorgeous 19-yard touchdown strike to Paul Warfield.  Yepremian’s PAT gave the inspired Dolphins an insurmountable 24-3 lead.  A late fourth quarter Charger’s score made the final 24-10, Miami.  But the game was not that close.  On the day, Miami’s “No Name Defense” limited Hadl to just 110 yards passing.  It would be his lowest yardage total for any game the entire season!  More importantly, Earl Morrall had steadied the ship.  His near-perfect 8 for 10 passing effort was good for two touchdowns and no interceptions.  He walked off the Orange Bowl field with the confident smile of a winner.

 

Appreciative Dolphin fans, and Dolphin players, roared their approval as Earl Morrall strode into the Dolphins’ locker room, his arms raised in victory!  Next up: a date with the Buffalo Bills in what would prove to be the most bizarre game of the season.

 

The 1972 Dolphins, minus Bob Griese, were now 5-0.

Aside | This entry was posted in Absolute Perfection and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

445 Responses to ABSOLUTE PERFECTION: THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS.

  1. Silly Tim says:

    Mike E, I just log into and connect to my actual work computer and see my exact desktop and have access to all software and servers.

  2. getterdone says:

    Mike, a young NT/DT Paea had 33 tkls, 6 sacks, 2 FF, 3 PD’s in 2014, his best season out of 4. Think we could use that on our DL at a reasonable cost?

  3. Silly Tim says:

    So let’s say this is the team’s focus, to sign Suh, not to debate it, it’s a done deal. Could the thought be we want to make a run and to do that we sign one of the best DTs there is to pair with Mitchell (who never stops playing), and draft one of the top WRs. Kind of my thought about trading up instead of down to acquire ready to go talent, just in a different way.

    We can still add a FA guard to compete as a starter with Turner, Thomas and Smith etc. We can still look for OT depth as well. Maybe we target OL in the 1st and like other WRs in the 2nd and 3rd. That wouldn’t surprise me either. When you dominate in the trenches and you have talented skill players, you become a good team.

  4. Mike E. says:

    GDP

    He already did more than Odrick, so yeah, I’ll take him. Odrick is always around the QB, but that’s just because he sits next to Tannehill on the bench. lol

    • Silly Tim says:

      He actually does make an impact, but he’s not a finisher enough of the time. I would not be surprised if he has a couple of good years elsewhere in a 3-4 DEF like SF. He’s not a bad replacement for Justin Smith who is winding down.

    • getterdone says:

      LOL, C’mon, stinky is gonna have a good year with new DL coach and Coyle getting his ass chewed! 😉

  5. Silly Tim says:

    Mike E, Odrick is really versatile and durable since his rookie season. I don’t think he’s missed a game since, maybe one or two. I consider him a solid player D-lineman, not an $8M man though. LOL

    I don’t see him as any different than Mitchell at 4 years/$16M. Though they’re different types of players.

    • Mike E. says:

      OK, but that’s where we’re at right now. Odrick isn’t special, but is asking for special money.

      • Silly Tim says:

        I’d rather pay Suh than Odrick. Signing Suh means we release Starks and let Odrick walk. Suh teams up with Mitchell and Johnson, Francis etc. compete for depth. Fede takes over the role of Odrick but probably at less snaps with Suh aboard.

        Just thinking out loud here. LOL

  6. olddolphan says:

    TOMORROW is the day I am supposed to select my seats for the coming Dolphins football season. So I gave it a “dry run” tonight. Got on the web, punched in my assigned number and guess what happened?? NOTHING!!!!!! I could NOT move on to step #2, step #3, etc., etc.,—IIS ANYBODY SURPRISED THAT THIS STEVE ROSS INSPIRED SYSTEM DOESN’T WORK????
    ————-
    WHEN MY Brother-in-law picked his tickets, he was told he’d have to by AT LEAST 3 season tickets or move to a less desirable location. Since he’s now got ONLY 1 season ticket, he was FUCKED!!–He’s been moved from the 40 yard line, upstairs, to the 30 yard line. __And this is a guy who’s only missed 3 Dolphin home games in their 49 year history!! –SO, DOLFANS, IF YOU DID NOT ALREADY KNOW, all those who choose to renew will be moved to LESS DESIRABLE LOCATIONS so the super rich can sit between the 30’s on Miami’s side for $1,000-$2,000 and up PER TICKET PER GAME!!!! – – This is Steve Ross’s way of saying “Thank you” to all the loyal fans who’ve stuck with this team for several decades!! AND, this year, your season ticket does NOT include a parking pass!!!! –Little Stevie Blunder and his merry men will come up with some kind of system at some moment in the future, NO DOUBT AT A MUCH HIGHER PRICE!!!
    ————-
    I’M EXPECTING NOTHING BUT TROUBLE when I call in tomorrow to renew my tickets. POORER LOCATION IS GUARANTEED!! I’VE taken a rare full day off because of two factors; 1) I’ll no doubt be in a foul mood after dealing with the ticket office and 2) Mrs. OD is having a serious medical test tomorrow, and I want to be with her. –Got a feeling it’s going to be a really rough day.
    —————
    The Old Dolfan is OUT.

  7. Silly Tim says:

    LDE Wake/Fede
    DT Suh/Francis
    DT Mitchell/Johnson
    RDE Vernon/Jordan

    SOLB McCain/Tripp/Misi
    MLB Misi/Tripp/Rookie
    WOLB Jenkins/Tripp/Rookie

    CB Grimes/Davis
    CB Taylor/?
    S Jones/?
    S Aikens/?

    The secondary is actually thinner than the front 7.

  8. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I bet we’ll end up over paying for suh because philbin and hickey are on their last leg. We’ll end up 8-8 again and pay for this mistake for the next few years. Dolphins are always the off-season champion. Same thing happened with albert last year and wallace the year before.

    • Silly Tim says:

      Bro, you need some sunshine or something, LOL

      We’ll see what happens. NFL markets have changed.

      • BoulderPhinfan says:

        we paid big for wallace and albert and we ended up 8-8. What makes you think next year will be different? The problem with this team is not talent. Sorry its not.

        The problem is leadership.

  9. BoulderPhinfan says:

    How about tackling. Like tackle jordi nelson on 4th down.
    .
    The Finsiders @TheFinsiders
    Grimes on off-season mentality: “Try to get better, know what you did last year (& find) what can you improve on and never get complacent.”

    • Silly Tim says:

      You lack respect for the competition there – 6-3 215 vs. 5-9 190. That’s why we want to add a WR like that. LOL

      Grimes is a good corner. He’s not the problem.

  10. Silly Tim says:

    This Suh hype reminds me off Wallace in 2013. Same time frame – 6 or so days before FA starts. He’s going to Miami and it happened. Part of the business end of it is, no state income tax for at least 8 games, sometimes 9 or 10 with JAC and TB on the schedule. It is what it is. I don’t think these rumors are all hype. I think there is something to it.

    Tannehill has said there have been no real discussions on an extension for him and stated; I still have one more year left and a 5th year option. He likely gets a new deal in 2016. More cuts will happen then.

    It’s a big investment for Suh if it happens. We already cleared space for it. Others will have to re-negotiate or be let go if this is the plan.

  11. Silly Tim says:

    Boulder, leadership is overrated. It’s about talent. Watch how FA works and then the draft.

  12. jetsssuck says:

    wow miami found its center of the future. Whiteside had 25 rebounds with 5 blocks and Wade dissed the ball to whiteside for easy dunks during the final 2 scores.

    • jetsssuck says:

      he even scored 18 points despite his horrible free throws percentage . He even had a airball from freethrow and he laughed about it.

  13. Mike E. says:

    Silly Tim says:
    March 4, 2015 at 9:50 pm (Edit)

    “The secondary is actually thinner than the front 7.”
    __________________________________________

    Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article . . .

  14. Mike E. says:

    Wow – Tim is totally buying in to Suh in MIA. I still don’t believe any of it, but that’s me. I’m a skeptical mofo

    • Try Pod says:

      My hope is your feeling is right, for the reasons I have stated. I will be psyched to have him, but if we continue mediocrity I will add his contract to the list of reasons why.

  15. The Flying Pig says:

    Silly Tim says:
    March 4, 2015 at 9:50 pm (Edit)
    LDE Wake/Fede
    DT Suh/Francis
    DT Mitchell/Johnson
    RDE Vernon/Jordan

    SOLB McCain/Tripp/Misi
    MLB Misi/Tripp/Rookie
    WOLB Jenkins/Tripp/Rookie

    CB Grimes/Davis
    CB Taylor/?
    S Jones/?
    S Aikens/?

    The secondary is actually thinner than the front 7.
    Reply
    *****
    Don’t rule out resigning Delmas if we sign Suh

    I wouldn’t mind going cb early

    I would like 2 LBs, a bc and a S in the draft

    I think we have defense covered

    In the other side of the ball
    We need to address WR, OG and maybe an extra RB

    If we sign guys like Suh and Albert and resign Tanny to a bug contract we need to draft well and play our younglings

  16. The Flying Pig says:

    If you guys are pessimistic about signing Suh I don’t know what to say

    This guy is one of the most dominant players in football
    You don’t get shots at players like this very often
    It flat out an incredible opportunity

    Don’t compare it to Wallace
    I told you at the time that Wallace was a one trick pony and not that good
    He is not elite and never was

    Suh is
    And for that matter Albert is an elite LT and was a great signing

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s