ABSOLUTE PERFECTION: THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS

By: Randy Campbell (OLD DOLFAN)

GAME #10: Nov. 19, 1972 – NEW YORK JETS at MIAMI

By late 1972 the Jets-Dolphins rivalry already had become one of the most intense, bitter, outrageous rivalries in the history of professional football.  The players for the two different squads genuinely disliked each other.  The fans of the two teams absolutely despised each other.  A “combat zone mentality” definitely existed in the stadium when these two teams met.  It was NOT an exaggeration to say “the best hits were in the stands!”

 Orange_Bowl1

Conditions were especially nasty in the historic Orange Bowl.  Large numbers of ex-New Yorkers moved to South Florida during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Many of these transplanted New Yorkers were hard core Jet fans, or became bandwagon Jet fans when the Jets shocked the world by winning Super Bowl III.  The Dolphins hosted the Jets in week #2 of their inaugural season in 1966.  To nearly everyone’s surprise, Miami nearly upset New York before falling 19-14.  Jets fans, who may have outnumbered Dolphin fans at that game, celebrated their unimpressive win over an expansion team.  There were fights, bottles thrown, and more than a few arrests.  News of the misdeeds spread throughout the region.  “Next time, I’ll be ready for those jerks,” said an acquaintance of mine.  Others made their own plans for “next time.”  Culture clash was a major cause of this mutual dislike by fans of the two teams.  In the 60’s, Dolphin fans were viewed as Southern Baptists, rednecks, ultra-conservative, dentally challenged and heavy drinkers by their Jet adversaries.  Conversely, Some Dolphin fans viewed Jet fans as Jewish, liberal, obnoxious snooty and heavy drinkers.  (Note that fans of BOTH teams said,”the other guys drink too much.”)  Quite often, these characterizations were prejudicial and just plain wrong.  But there’s no doubting the fact that these perceptions fueled an intense dislike among fans of the two teams.  They REALLY hated each other!

New York won the first 8 meetings between the two rivals.  After their initial 19-14 loss, the Dolphins suffered a series of embarrassing defeats to Joe Namath and the Jets: 30-13; 29-7; 33-14; 35-17; and 31-7.  Most Miami fans had headed home by the 4th quarter of these games.  Those who remained were subjected to incredible abuse by New York fans.  Fights were common, especially in the cheap seats in the upper deck.  It was during this time that a major ruckus in the upper deck deteriorated to the point that a large cooler was tossed over the edge and landed a few rows away from me in the lower deck!  I actually considered wearing a helmet to the next Jets-Dolphins game!  Dolphins’ head coach George Wilson never defeated the Jets in his four seasons at the helm.  His successor, Don Shula, promised big changes immediately.  Shula delivered.  His first Dolphin team beat the Jets twice in 1970.  In 1971, each team won at the other’s stadium.  From 1972 through 1977 Shula’s Dolphins took control of the rivalry, winning 11 0f 12 contests against the Jets.  Since then, there have been many ebbs and flows in this series.  But one thing has NEVER changed.  These two franchises still HATE each other!

The November 12, 1972, game between the Jets and the Dolphins was one of the most important games in this series.  Since losing to the Bob Griese led Dolphins in week #4, the Jets had gone 4-1.  A win over the Dolphins would keep New York’s playoff hopes alive.  More importantly, a win would put the Jets in the books as the team that ruined Miami’s dreams of a PERFECT SEASON.  Many observors predicted a Jets victory in this game.  Halfback Emerson Boozer was leading the NFL in touchdowns.  Rookie fullback John Riggins would 46959457_GeorgeBeregi_500-300x180end the season with almost 1,000 yards rushing.  And Joe Namath was leading the NFL in touchdown passes.  Before years’ end, ace wide receiver Don Maynard would surpass Raymond Berry and become pro football’s all-time leading pass receiver.  Eventually, Riggins, Namath and Maynard would all be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  A week earlier, the Jets destroyed the Buffalo Bills 40-3.  And most Jet players believed Miami was a weaker team with Earl Morrall at quarterback.  Morrall, for his part, avoided his long simmering feud with Namath.  To Morrall, Namath’s playboy wild sex image contradicted the traditional American standard of settling down, getting married and raising a family.  “Namath’s lifestyle is NOT my lifestyle,” said Morrall a few days before Super Bowl III in 1969.

Sunday, Nov. 9, 1972, the stage was set for history.  Requests for media passes to cover this game were at an all-time high.  Alligator Alley, from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples (about a 120 miles) was packed with Dolfans driving across the state to the west coast to see the game on TV.  Similarly, I-95 north was jammed with fans heading north to Fort Pierce (about 125 miles away from Miami) to avoid the TV blackout.  After the 1972 season  the NFL changed its blackout policy and allowed games to be shown locally if sold out 72 hours  before kick-off.  But, in ’72, ALL games, even those that were sold out, were locally blacked-out, including the Super Bowl.  80,010 people were ready for the biggest game of the year in the historic Orange Bowl.  Most fans already were “well lubricated” by the 1:00 PM kick-off.  A thunderous roar greeted the Dolphins as they ran on to the field from the west end zone.  A sign said “80,000 reasons why the Jets can’t win!”  Indeed, the home field advantage in the Orange Bowl was the greatest in the history of professional football!

The upper deck literally swayed as Miami’s Garo Yepremian approached the football for the kick-off!  It was “Game On!”  About one minute intothe game, Namath threw a pass intended for Don Maynard.  Dick Anderson stepped in front of Maynard and returned the interception all the way to the Jets’ 33 as the home crowd went crazy!  Larry Csonka garnered 14 yards on a run and a pass reception.  Morris carried twice for 10 yards.  Then Morrall found reliable Howard Twilley with a 9-yard touchdown strike and the Dolphins had a quick 7-0 lead.  The Jets responded immediately.  Namath led an up-tempo drive that took New York to Miami’s 1-yard line.  From there, John Riggins roared into the end zone tying the game at 7-7.  After a Mercury Morris fumble, the Jets took over.  Namath tossed a gorgeous 29-yard TD pass to speedy tight end Richard Caster and the Jets had a 14-7 advantage early in the second stanza.  Midway through the period, New York’s Bobby Howfield connected on a 33-yard field goal, extending the Jets’ lead to 17-7.  Thoughts of obnoxious Jet fans celebrating the end of Miami’s perfect season were dancing in my mind.

Earl Morrall would not let this game get out of hand.  Again, he sought out reliable Howard Twilley.  From Miami’s 20, Morrall connected with Twilley for 22 yards and a first down,  The Jets continued to double cover Paul Warfield so Morrall threw again to Twilley, this time for 44 yards!  Mercury Morris’ 1-yard TD plunge brought Miami back to a 17-14 deficit at halftime, to the delight of the Orange Bowl faithful.

Halftime TV commentators noted that the Jets controlled the game for most of the first half.  Namath had found success against the “No imagesCAT1AU3RName Defense.”  Unless Morrall had a really big second half, the Dolphins likely would lose.  Miami took the second half kick-off and moved steadily into New York territory.  Earl Morrall stepped back to pass, but found no one open.  He rolled left, then bolted downfirld near the sidelines.  Mercury Morris said “I was shocked!  I didn’t want anyone messing him up!”  31 yards later, Morrall stood in the Jets end zone having completed THE LONGEST MIAMI RUN FOR A TOUCHDOWN at that point in the season!  It was 21-17, Miami, thanks to Morrall’s 38-year old legs.  The lead was short lived.  Namath brought the Jets back on an 80-yard drive, meeting little resistance from the “No Name Defense.”  His four yard TD pass to reserve player Wayne Stewart put the Jets back on top 24-21 at the end of the 3rd quarter.  Only one quarter separated Miami from their first defeat of the season.  The Jets stuffed Miami’s first drive of the final quarter.  Dick Anderson, pressed into punting when Larry Seiple got hurt, kicked the ball deepinto Jets territory.  A few plays later, “Captain Crunch,” Mike Kolen, caused Jets runner Cliff McClain to fumble.  Dick Anderson recovered the loose ball at New York’s 27!  The “No Names” had come through when imagesCAHKI5YCit mattered the most.  Two Larry Csonka carries produced 9 yards.  Morrall scampered for 4 more yards and a first down at the 14.  Everyone was standing!  From there, Mercury Morris picked his way through the Jets defense, scoring the go-ahead touchdown!  The Orange Bowl erupted with an ear-splitting celebration!  As Yepremian was kicking the extra point, defensive coach Bill Arnsparger was huddled with key members of the “No Name Defense.”  Adjustments were made.  Assignments were altered.  Arnsparger was determined to protect this 28-24 Miami lead.  The new defensive strategies worked.  The “No Names” completely shut down New York’s high octane offense for the last 11 minutes of the game.  Bodies were being dragged-off the field.  Kolen and Buoniconti hit everything that moved! Even a side judge got accidentally clipped by a Dolphin defender.  Namath was running for his life as he tried in vain to rally his team.  “It was a war – – – a war,” said cornerback Steve Tannen of the Jets.  By games’ end, 9 New York Jets had been knocked out of the game!  And the Jets had been knocked out of the playoffs!  Dolphin fans roared as the final seconds ticked off the clock!!  –3 –2 –1 –BOOM!  Firecrackers and foghorns exploded around the biggest game of the year in front of a national TV audience and 80,010 delirious fans!  Horns could be heard blaring outside the stadium.  The celebration had begun!

On the day, Namath passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.  John Riggins ran for 83 yards and a touchdown.  But it wasn’t enough.  Miami’s ground attack produced 214 yards and three touchdowns.  Morrall hit Howard Twilley with a TD pass.  Dick Anderson not only filled-in as an emergency punter; he also came uo with two crucial takeaways, the final one setting up the winning score.  When it mattered most, the “No Name Defense” stepped-up and preserved this incredibly important win!

The Perfect Season was still alive!  The 1972 Miami Dolphins were now 10-0.

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318 Responses to ABSOLUTE PERFECTION: THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS

  1. steveccnv says:

    James Walker, ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

    The Miami Dolphins are hosting free-agent receiver Wes Welker for a visit on Wednesday, according to a team source.

    Welker began his career with the Dolphins in 2004. However, Miami traded Welker to the AFC East rival New England Patriots in 2007. It was one of the worst mistakes the Dolphins have made in the past decade.

    ——-

    what a Tard!

  2. son of a son of a shula says:

    Welker has been on ZERO Super Bowl winning teams. People act like he’s this great Champion, he played like shit in the big games he was in even drawing Gizell’s ire.

  3. The Flying Pig says:

    The Ravnes need DBs
    and there are a lot to choose from!

  4. son of a son of a shula says:

    Piggs I see DGB with the lead now

  5. jahndoh says:

    So the team that just let Greg Hardy walks drafts DGB? Funniest one yet.

    • son of a son of a shula says:

      Hey you sound like me

    • The Flying Pig says:

      They just played an entire season without Hardy
      The recievers on the baord were too good to pass up for a team that needs a receiver

      I think it makes perfect sense

      • jahndoh says:

        I didn’t question the position I questioned the player. If you don’t see the irony in the fact they took a hard line stance on Hardy, and let him walk without an offer than them drafting DGB, I can’t help ya.

      • son of a son of a shula says:

        LOL, Jahn I hadn’t connected those dots, that’s funny, chalk another one up to us screwing up. Ooops

  6. The Flying Pig says:

    Oh

    Now I get it Jahn

    Actually good point
    Its is pretty absurd
    I would have voted Perriman if I thought of that

  7. The Flying Pig says:

    We just Irelanded the Panthers with that pick

    oops

  8. son of a son of a shula says:

    Oh and it looks like Miami has traded up into the #26 spot from Baltimore
    The pick is in with the 26th pick in the 2015 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins select Breshad Perriman WR UCF.

  9. The Flying Pig says:

    I was thinking WR
    Strong is the highest rank
    But Strong is too similiar to Benjamin
    So I went with DGB

    • jahndoh says:

      Strong should probably come off the board before either of those guys, but I get the allure of Perriman’s speed.

  10. jahndoh says:

    Glad I made some sense to you guys. I actually just got back right before you made the pick final. I refreshed and was going to vote Perriman, but it was a done deal. I’m sure someone will take a chance at Beckham in that range, I just don’t think it’ll be the Panthers.

  11. The Flying Pig says:

    Okay
    I’m out for now

    Vote for the Ravens PICK!!!

  12. son of a son of a shula says:

    Thanks for the info on who visited D good stuff.

  13. The Flying Pig says:

    I’m going to go ahead and predict that of the final 7 picks left in the first round
    at least 5 will be defensive players

    I expect to see Goldman, Peters, Thompson and at least one other CB come of the baord

  14. Brian in NY says:

    Jahn,
    That’s exactly why I voted for Perriman over DGB.

  15. Tim Knight says:

    Brian, yeah that shooting by the cop was bad. Made me sick to my stomach actually. That was murder.

  16. Tim Knight says:

    I’m not sure DGB goes in the 1st round.

    • Brian in NY says:

      Maybe not. He’ll go before we pick in the 2nd though. I think it all depends on how many WR’s get picked early. That will push him up the board a bit. It wouldn’t shock me to see him go in the 1st though; teams are suckers for talent.

      • Tim Knight says:

        True but I wouldn’t be surprised if he feel. Moss fell to #21 and he was a much better prospect than DGB.

  17. olddolphan says:

    GOOD NEWS FROM ALEX RODRIGUEZ STADIUM (A.K.A. “A-ROID STADIUM) in Coral Gables.–Florida Atlantic’s Brendon Sanger cannected for a 2-run double with 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning to extend FAU’s lead over the baseball Hurricanes to 3-0 going into the bottom of the 5th. –This game is still very much up for grabs BUT an FAU win here would improve the Owls’ RPI, as calculated by the NCAA. –Currently FAU’s RPI is 10th in Division I; Miami’s RPI is #2 in the nation. These RPI rankings are VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to seeding in the Post-Season baseball tournament, otherwise known as “JUNE MADNESS.”

  18. Tim Knight says:

    Watch us pick Shaq Thompson and play him at safety and nickel LB – meaning he’s always on the field.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      That can work
      It would not be a horrible pick actually

      • Tim Knight says:

        I agree, a box safety and LB like mentality patrolling the open field. He might be a good 2015 type player. That’s the same thing I thought about Landon Collins. They are both similar in size with similar skill sets.

  19. stangerx says:

    Report is that the Yets signed Stevan Ridley. He ain’t bad.

  20. stangerx says:

    “Hernandez is charged with illegally possessing a .45-caliber handgun and .22-caliber ammunition. Jurors asked whether they needed to find Hernandez intended to use the item. The judge said no.”
    —————————
    They were all told that in the jury instructions, but some dumb-dumb who is going to get Hernandez off made the rest of them ask the judge again cause he didn’t get it the first time.

  21. stangerx says:

    Sounds like he liked more than just Pina Coladas and walks in the rain…..not a shocker though.
    ———————-
    Barry Manilow, the famed 70s pop singer who brought us such delightful hits as “Copacabana” and “Looks Like We Made It” recently got married to his manager, Garry Kief.

  22. jetsssuck says:

    I wonder how close Israel is to bombing and destroying Iran’s nuclear sites. They have carried out nuclear attacks before that destroyed reactors before in Syria, Iraq and yes Iran. We can’t have a President who is so naive to believe Iran is going to obey the rules of the agreement when they lied every chance with the tightening of sanctions. Why couldn’t the agreement have included a US reporter who is being held hostage?

  23. The Flying Pig says:

    Tim

    When it comes to DGB going in the 1st round

    I really think a lot if teams have varying grades in DGB, Strong and Perriman

    I actually think there probably is a lot of variation over the top 6

    But if the draft goes like ours for WRs
    And a team is going to take the 4th WR
    Than I really think DGB is as likely the pick as strong and Perriman

    And I think the possibility of 4 WRs in the 1st round is high

  24. getterdone says:

    Jets signed RB Stevan Ridley to a one-year contract.
    Five months removed from ACL surgery, Ridley will attempt to reestablish his value in New York. He should be part of a rotation with Chris Ivory and third-down back Bilal Powell, giving him limited fantasy value. Ridley has averaged 4.1 YPC since breaking out for 1,263 yards in 2012. He reportedly turned down offers from Washington and Miami for a chance to play in Chan Gailey’s offense. Ridley is questionable for the start of training camp.

  25. Ken says:

    What’ up FUers?

  26. getterdone says:

    Free agent Wes Welker left his visit with the Dolphins without a contract.
    The Dolphins are Welker’s only free-agent visit. He wouldn’t give Miami more than veteran depth behind slot WR Jarvis Landry. Entering his age-34 season, Welker is reportedly considering retirement.

  27. The Flying Pig says:

    What’s up Ken

    Make sure you vote on the draft poll

    You too Steve

  28. The Flying Pig says:
  29. The Flying Pig says:

    • Ken says:

      I am thinking Amari Cooper is the target. One of the big 2 WRs is likely the move if they do that.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      Basically

      Rang is suggesting we might trade the 14 and next years no 1 for Kevin white

      Moving Into the top 5

      Believe it ?

      It’s kind of crazy

      But I would live to acquire Kevin white

      • Ken says:

        I normally am conservative when it comes to draft trades but I think Miami is creating a small window of opportunity with the signing of Suh and Cam Wake’s advancing age. They need to load up to make a run in the next couple of years so I would welcome an aggressive move to go and get a couple of key pieces toward such a run.

      • son of a son of a shula says:

        I like Cooper best but would love White too.
        I’ve been saying we will trade up, I really feel we will.
        Like Ken just said with the small window but also worthwhile talent to go and get as well.

      • Ken says:

        Son:
        I am starting to feel trade up as well. I have to give some props to Tim. He said it the day after the Suh signing that we should trade up and get Kevin White.

  30. son of a son of a shula says:

    Piggs, I cheated and looked at the schedule so I know who it is but I held off on reading it.

  31. son of a son of a shula says:

    Also Piggs I sent you an email

  32. son of a son of a shula says:

    Ken do your bosses know how much they’ve cut into your blogging time? Is there someone I can send an email to?

  33. Tim Knight says:

    Ken, I posted last week that my brother-in-law who is a big Giants fan liked what we’ve done this offseason and he doesn’t think we’re done. He also thinks we will try to move up for Cooper who I think will fit great in our offense. You can line him up anywhere. You don’t sign Suh and say we’re building for the future. We’re gearing up to go for it. Cooper or White works for me. I like them much more than Parker. I think they’re more versatile and explosive.

    • Ken says:

      My rankings are Cooper, White and Parker in that order. Cooper and White definitely a notch higher imo than Parker but I like Parker a lot too. I would have no hesitation drafting him at 14. I don’t think you move up to take him but if he is there at the other 2 are gone I would be fine with that. However, I think the other 2 are guys you can move up for.

      • Tim Knight says:

        Agreed. Just saw your props to me about trading up. The direction of this franchise has changed from we’re building to now. Tannehill, Suh and other key parts point to winning now, no more we’re working on it.

        One thing I’ll say about Tannebaum, that’s his mentality as an executive. He brought that gusto to win now to the org even though I feel Hickey wasn’t about a rebuild either. He was handed a shit storm on the OL in his first year as GM. The result was Albert, James #1 and Turner #3. That showed me he had a feel for this team.

        I like the direction we’re going in.

      • Ken says:

        My only concern with Tannebaum is that he does mortgage the future for the immediate and he made some questionable deals that way with the Jets. He did get them 2 AFC championship games but then they fell off a cliff. So I like the win now stuff but I want a team that is built to win now and later much like the Steelers have been or the Packers have been. Very consistent long term successful franchises.

  34. Ken says:

    Well my night time drive needs to end. In the past day I had my son at the doctors, my car broke down and needed to get towed and I was at a wake for a friend that died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday. So I have had enough shit for one day. Going to get some sleep and pretend this day never happened. Peace to you all.

    • son of a son of a shula says:

      Dang dude, sorry about your friend and I hope things start getting better for you. Stay tough.

  35. Tim Knight says:

    Ken, I don’t view the past of Mr. T as a sign of failure. The Jets did get to two AFC championship games two years in a row with him as their GM. I’d sign up for that right now because it’s not the same team and the games haven’t been played yet. People tend to focus on his mistakes and ignore his success. He admitted his mistakes on WFAN with Francesa and said like any of us would say you learn from your mistakes. His biggest mistake was signing Sanchez to an extension when he didn’t have to.

    When you look at our current situation we signed Suh to a major deal but also released 5 major contracts simultaneously.

    That said, don’t think Hickey didn’t have anything to do with it because he’s the guy doing the personnel work and Mr. T signs off on it. Mr. T is Ross’ football eyes. Carl Peterson is no longer involved for those who need that release. LOL

  36. Tim Knight says:

    Ken, geez man. Sorry for the tough and sad times. Sending positive vibes your way.

  37. Ken says:

    Thank you both. Tomorrow has to be better. It was tough losing a friend of ours very unexpectedly. Her son and my boys have been together since nursery school. She thought she had a chest cold for the last week, couldn’t breath on Sunday, went to the ER and had a massive heart attack. They think it was a viral infection around the heart, endocarditis that induced the heart attack. My wife took it hard. She was all freaked out because my son has bronchitis so she made sure he went to the MDs today. j

  38. The Flying Pig says:

    Son
    I got your email and replied
    (Piggy shrugs)
    I think its the embed code that an issue
    Maybe Herd can figure it out…

  39. The Flying Pig says:

    Dallas is on the clock

  40. The Flying Pig says:

    New mock draft on nflcom
    Look who we take now!
    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/mock-drafts/lance-zierlein/245608

  41. son of a son of a shula says:

    Piggy I got it to work

  42. jetsssuck says:

    KEN—-Sad to hear the loss of your family friend. My prayers will go out to them and your family in this time of sadness.

  43. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I guess we didn’t learn from the dion jordan mistake if we move into top 10.

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