By: Randy Campbell (OLD DOLFAN)

dolphins 73

GAME 12: Pittsburgh @ Miami, Dec. 3, 1973 (Monday Night)


The Pittsburgh NFL franchise was founded in 1933 by Pittsburgh area sportsman and entrepreneur Arthur J. (Art) Rooney. The impending end to Pennsylvania’s puritanical “Blue Laws” (which banned professional football on Sundays) made the Pittsburgh area a prime candidate for a franchise.

The new team took the nickname “Pirates,” in honor of their baseball landlords at Forbes Field. After several frustrating seasons, the team changed their nickname to “Steelers.” But their performance on the field remained, in a word, awful. The Steelers became known as the Siberia of the NFL. When Detroit’s star quarterback, Bobby Layne, was traded to Pittsburgh, he angrily placed a curse on the Detroit franchise. He said, “Detroit will never win another NFL title because of this dastardly deed.” 56 years later, Detroit has faiked to even REACH another NFL Championship Game. The Curse of Bobby Layne lives on in Detroit.

Pittsburgh’s football fortunes improved dramatically when Chuck Noll was hired as head coach in 1969. By 1972, Noll’s Steelers had improved to the point that, for the first time in their 40 year history, Pittsburgh finally would qualify for an NFL playoff game! That playoff game would forever be known as the “Immaculate Reception!” In that game, Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris caught a deflected fourth down desperation pass and SCORED WITH JUST 22 SECONDS LEFT ON THE CLOCK! Pittsburgh defeated Oakland 13-7 in one of the most famous games in NFL history!

A week later, the 12-3 Steelers hosted the undefeated 15-0 Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game at Three Rivers Stadium. Trailing early in the third quarter, Bob Griese entered the game in relief of Earl Morrall and led Miami to a stirring comeback victory, 21-17. The Dolphins would advance to Super Bowl VII and complete the NFL’s one and only Perfect Season.

During the off season, the NFL ruled that the team with the best record henceforth would host all playoff games. Thus, in 1973, if Miami defeated Pittsburgh, the Dolphins would clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That’s EXACTLY what head coach Don Shula wanted!


Beating the ’73 Steelers this Monday night in Miami would be no easy task. This team’s pass defense arguably was the greatest in post-merger NFL history. Opposing QB’s completed only 164 of 359 passes (45.7%) for only 11 TD’s and 37 interceptions. Opponents QB passer rating was a puny 33.1!!! Mike Wagner led Pittsburgh with eight picks. 10 other players had at least one interception!  On Nov. 11, this Steeler secondary paced Pittsburgh to a 17-9 victory at Oakland. In September, those same Raiders had handed Miami a 12-7 defeat.

The Miami Dolphins thought they had a pretty good secondary, too. Miami’s defensive coordinator, Bill Arnsparger, developed a plan he believed would confuse rookie quarterback Joe Gilliam. It worked to perfection!

anderson intJust three plays into the game, Dolphins’safety Dick Anderson picked-off Gilliam, bounced off another player and roared 27 yards TO A TOUCHDOWN! Two subsequent Miami drives produced 28 and 46 yard Yepremian field goals, putting the Fins ahead 13-0. Late andersonin the first quarter Anderson intercepted Gilliam AGAIN and returned it to Pittsburgh’s THREE YARD LINE! Griese’s two yard TD pass to TE Jim Mandich made the score 20-0, Miami, after one quarter! “I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” said Monday Night Football’s Frank Gifford.

A furious Chuck Noll yanked Gilliam and replaced him with the man he had beaten out of a job – – Terry Bradshaw!! On Bradshaw’s very first pass, Dick Anderson stepped in front of a receiver and returned the interception 38 yards for HIS SECOND TOUCHDOWN OF THE GAME! A Roy Gerela FG was matched by Garo Yepremian’s third 3-pointer, putting the Dolphins ahead 30-3 at halftime. “What a performance by Dick Anderson,” said ABC’s Howard Cosell.

bradshaw tacked by fernandez

Pittsburgh’s stellar defense totally dominated Miami’s offense in the third quarter. The “Steel Curtain,” led by future Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene, shut down Miami’s running game. Terry Bradshaw’s 5 yard touchdown pass to Preston Pearson narrowed Miami’s lead to 30-10 after three quarters. By this time, it was after 11:00 PM Eastern Time. Much of America would  completely miss the Steeler’s furious come from behind effort in a fateful fourth quarter.

shula griese

Earlier in the game, Dick Anderson picked off his FOURTH INTERCEPTION of the contest. He returned Bradshaw’s pass 25 yards to the Steelers’ 45. Yepremian’s miss on a 33-yard field goal seemed meaningless, given Miami’s 27 point halftime lead. But that miss did play a role later in the game.

pathIt was still 30-10, Miami, with just over 10 minutes left to play. Dandy Don Meredith said, “If Pittsburgh’s going to get in this game, they’ve got to score real fast!” Next play, Franco Harris bolted off tackle through a huge hole and scored from the Miami 21. Now the score was 30-17.

Time was running out. With just over four minutes to go, Bradshaw found back-up receiver Barry Pearson open for a 17 yard touchdown. Dolphin fans gasped as a 30-3 lead had evaporated to 30-24! “That missed field goal sure looks bigger now,” said Cosell.

Miami received the ensuing kickoff. A penalty moved the Dolphins all the way back to their two yard line. Then, it was fourth and one from the 11. Another penalty moved Miami back to the six! Shula decided NOT to send in punter Larry Seiple! The fans and the Monday Night broadcast crew were dumbfounded!

MEREDITH: “I don’t get it.”
GIFFORD: “I don’t get it.”
COSELL: “I don’t get it, either.”
GIFFORD: “All right, let’s watch. Griese’s going to take a safety.”
MEREDITH: “There it is, a safety.”
COSELL: “Shula’s way ahead of us all!”

In one of his most brilliant moves ever, Don Shula decided to have Griese take a deliberate safety, thereby avoiding a dangerous punt out of Miami’s end zone. Trailing 30-26, Pittsburgh STILL needed a touchdown to win the game. See:

Seiple boomed an amazing free kick from the Miami 20 that sent Pittsburgh’s Glen Edwards back inside his own 10 yard line! Edwards was tackled at the seven! With 54 seconds to play, Bradshaw’s desperate pass was intercepted by Jake Scott! It was Miami’s SIXTH interception of the game. Miami had defeated Pittsburgh 30-26 in one of the most memorable Monday Night games of all time!


The game statistics clearly favored Pittsburgh. The Steelers had 19 first downs to Miami’s 8. Pittsburgh out-gained Miami both on the ground and in the air. But one statistic overwhelmingly favored Miami: those SIX INTERCEPTIONS, FOUR OF WHICH WERE BY ALL-PRO SAFETY DICK ANDERSON! This was ironic because, prior to tonight, it was PITTSBURGH’S 37 interceptions that had grabbed the limelight.

In the last three games Miami had won at Buffalo, at Dallas, and at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. WOW!!

The 1973 Miami Dolphins were now 11-1.

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


  1. The Flying Pig says:

  2. finfanrob says:


    ok, kind of figured it didnt show much. i still wont watch it. it is like clicking on a kardslutagain article. probably dumb but just my way of not promoting any of that crap.

  3. Tim Knight says:

    Piggy, I don’t believe I saw the posts from last night that you refer to.

  4. steveccnv says:

    This is funny!
    James Walker retweeted Cut4
    This play pretty much sums up #Marlins baseball this season.

    James Walker added,

    Cut4 @Cut4 .@Starlingmart nailed a runner at third with perhaps the chillest throw in baseball history:

  5. finfanrob says:


    you kind of answered your own post. he does it under his name cause he wants the attention.

    and i have no issue with espn suspending him. he works for them, they have every right to not like what he says. it is once again someone not being responsible for his own actions. he said what he said so now be responsible for it.

    it just comes with the territory. if you want to be in the public’s eye then you just cant say whatever you want whenever you want

  6. The Flying Pig says:

    Tim he started with the rebel flag, moved into evolution and at some point compared muslims to nazis
    I will see if I can find a link or something

  7. The Flying Pig says:

    Here is some info on Curt schilling

    He has been an outspoken guy for some time actually

  8. The Flying Pig says:

  9. The Flying Pig says:

  10. Rockphin says:

    From PFF ranking of the top 10 QB’s in 1015

    10. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (80.2)

    Is he among the best five quarterbacks in the league yet? No, but Ryan Tannehill has quietly put himself in the top 10 with his play over the past two seasons. He was the sixth-most accurate QB in the league last year. Our sixth-highest graded passer in 2013, he dropped slightly to 10th this past season, but looks poised for a big year with the Dolphins and an improved supporting cast.

  11. getterdone says:

    Here we find Dr. Throwspoo esteemed colleague Dr. Balzsack greeting fans after another hairy surgery. His research is widely recognized and he is seen in the medical community a very big in treating testicular cancer.
    Dr. Balzsack is said to have a lot of, ahem, well courage fighting such a horrible disease.

  12. Rockphin says:

    From the follow up article the next day: PFF

    After releasing our top 10 quarterbacks article yesterday, the biggest objection we heard from fans was about the inclusion of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill at No. 10, and Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck.

    This wasn’t a surprise to us, and the truth is that the ratings of the two QBs are incredibly close – with Luck coming in just behind Tannehill at No. 11. Luck is without question one of the best quarterbacks in the game, having led the Colts to the playoffs in all three of his seasons, including the AFC championship game last season. He recently ranked No. 5 in a poll of league coaches and executives by ESPN’s Mike Sando on the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

    But while his physical talent is unquestioned and we certainly expect him to be a top-5 QB in the league very soon, his performance hasn’t yet matched that projection on a consistent basis.

    While Luck has shown himself to be capable of impressive late-game drives, he still has too many plays every season that simply leave you scratching your head – mistakes that put him in position to have to lead comeback attempts in the first place. He has improved on this with each season, but he still has room to grow to become the quarterback he is capable of being – and frankly, the quarterback he is already credited with being.

    As for Tannehill, he needs to become more consistent, too. As we mentioned, he barely edged out Luck in our ratings, so it’s not as though he’s a finished product, either. But based on how they’ve played to this point, the gap between these two players is much smaller than what is generally perceived. In fact, during thee 2014 seasons, Tannehill’s highest-graded game of the year was better than Luck’s, while his lowest-graded game of the year was also better.

    • Tim Knight says:

      Luck has a lot of bad moments in games but people only focus on his great ones.

      • BoulderPhinfan says:

        he wins.

      • Rockphin says:

        Reply to boulder:

        While Luck has shown himself to be capable of impressive late-game drives, he still has too many plays every season that simply leave you scratching your head – mistakes that put him in position to have to lead comeback attempts in the first place

  13. Tim Knight says:

    Boulder, why can’t anything be said about Luck without a defense team? LOL

    Have you ever watched him play, there are times where he’s totally reckless. That doesn’t mean he’s not very good overall. Also there are some guys on his team who make plays as well, he’s not a one man show. 😉

    • getterdone says:

      I like Tanny’s progression, nice and steady, improving each of his 3 years. In time he could end up recognized as the best QB of that 2012 draft and then some.
      He’s been brought along nicely by Philbin, Sherman, & now Lazor.

      Go #17 !

      • Tim Knight says:

        Yeah and I’m not even comparing them though. I was just commenting on what they said about Luck and I agree. They also said his talent is undeniable which I also agree with.

  14. getterdone says:

    Armando Salguero @ArmandoSalguero
    Philbin on not going after Evan Mathis: “we always do what we feel is best for football team.” Says happy with players on the roster.

    Armando Salguero @ArmandoSalguero
    Joe Philbin says “chemistry of the football team is better than it’s ever been.”
    Well if the chemistry is that good, then maybe the mad scientist can put together a playoff rich season.

    The time is right as NE & Denver seem to have issues.

  15. Tim Knight says:

    Big excuse maker and probably similar to Jonelle Martin.

  16. ocalahowie says:

    Nice article Old
    That must be the Monday nighter my dad took me and all my friends for my Birthday. Unless we played the Steelers again on MNF around 12/01 maybe ’74 or ’75

  17. ocalahowie says:

    did you see the 5:00 update? Its shifting east off the coast of West Palm

    • getterdone says:

      I saw a 5pm update showing a beeline for central Florida…I’m in east central area….going to start prep plans tmrw if it keeps on that path.

  18. getterdone says:

    Andrew Abramson ✔ @AbramsonPBP
    Today in 1996: Dark day in #Dolphins history. Joe Robbie Stadium renamed Pro Player.

    Andrew Abramson ✔ @AbramsonPBP
    I’m rooting for Tootsie’s to get the naming rights. It’s a South Florida institution and it’s right down the street

  19. BoulderPhinfan says:

    playoffs or bust. If not now when? Lets go phins!

  20. ocalahowie says:

    Yes Tim
    Henry’s dad came too and like 5 of my friends.
    I’ll be damned, that was so long ago and I was only 9 I couldnt remember if we won or not.
    Any one recall who won the home steJ game in ’69?
    That was my 1st game…
    GO PHINS!!!

  21. ocalahowie says:

    Dont bother GDP
    by 2:00pm Mon it will be east of Grand Bahama and heading for Bermuda

  22. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I agree about luck. And I actually don’t think he’s that much better than tanny. He’s been lucky to get drafted into AFC south. If he was playing in AFC east I’m not sure he’d do much better than tanny has. And BTW he was a lot more polished when he came out of college.

    I want to compare their stats after this year.

  23. Mike E. says:

    People! Sorry to bother you, been busy with car buying activities today, but I’m back, and I need a couple more questions for tomorrows Ask Mike

  24. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I’m not sure I agree with suh regarding our defense. The lions were # 2 total defense and 3rd points allowed in the league last year. I doubt we’ll be that good this year,.

  25. Rockphin says:

    Tim Knight says:
    August 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm
    I’m shocked that attractive female reporter in that link pulls her top up.

    You ALMOST got me to click the link. LOL

  26. Rockphin says:

    Boulder, I can agree that Andrew luck has looked better than Ryan Tannehill overall if you look at results only but I think a lot of that has to do with the competition he is been going up against as you said A lot of my bias is due two ours versus theirs. But statistically they’re not far off Most of my dislike for Andrew luck is due to the hype. Both before he came out of college and after. I hate the hype machine and will tend to form a dislike for anybody who is overly hyped. Can’t stand Tim Tebow

  27. finfanrob says:

    lol, that all NE sports station reportin that Mathis saying he wanted to go to a super bowl contender. lmfao, who the fuck doesnt. it isnt like players like suh or other FA say ‘well i want to ply to the worse team in the league’.

    and really? if he has his choices of the entire nfl he picks denver. i am not saying denver is bad but they have a lot of question marks and a qb that played before they even knew what psi was

  28. finfanrob says:

    Tim Knight says:
    August 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    That was really cool of your dad.

    yes tim, it was. but that was back in the good ole days when tickets were $2.29 a game

  29. Rockphin says:

    He’s almost MY age for fuck’s sake!

  30. finfanrob says:

    Rockphin says:
    August 26, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Yeah but you only took home $128.00 per week


    ssssssshhhhhhhh only good things about the good ole days. we dont want to focus on the 35 inflation rate in the 70’s. lol

  31. finfanrob says:


    i would send you a question but i would have no idea if you ever answered it

  32. BoulderPhinfan says:

    Luck threw for more yards and more TDs last year than tanny, but I agree he plays an easier conference and also the colts really didn’t have a running game so they passed for a lot more.
    I bet their close stat wise in 2015.

    • steveccnv says:

      The guy on the radio talking about Fantasy Football said to take the Colts D and the Houston D, because together they play 8 games against Jax/Tenn., then also play TB, Buff, NYJ, and Atl, so every week just about one of the two plays a crappy O.

  33. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I want denver to win as many games as possible because they don’t play us and they play a lot of AFC teams that we’ll be competing with for the playoffs.

    This is the first time in a long time that I think the phins can win the AFC east.

  34. Tim Knight says:

    We’re due to make the playoffs. We have a good young QB and some other very good players including the best DT in the game. No team is strong at every position. You have to win some close games as opposed to losing most of them. We also have to play well down the stretch something Philbin’s teams have not done. That has to change or he’ll likely be done. I hope that doesn’t happen because I like his football IQ and the type of team he’s been trying to build.

  35. finfanrob says:


    i wasnt hating on denver. i actually like manning. i think one of the class acts in the league. and if them winning is good for the fins all the better.

    as far as luck, also remember the colt didnt have a defense last year so they were in a lot having to pass the ball situations. kind of like some guy named dan was all the time

  36. finfanrob says:

    wow these little league umps are horrible. i get they are volunteers but maybe it is time to pay them.

    what is a strike one inning isnt the next and from game to game, or at least the japan team is just shameful. their catcher lines up in the opposite batters box. all the way in it and if you hit the glove the majority of the time the ups give them the strike. just horrible

    • steveccnv says:

      That’s the way the college WS used to be in the 80s. At least they have an excuse for why they don’t use technology to call balls/strikes.

  37. finfanrob says:


    even the mlb is horrible with the strike zone. it leaves way to much questions about the honesty of the game when you allow umps to make calls that are not in the rules.

  38. ocalahowie says:

    I just had my first preminission of the year; Tanny and the D play lights out again…
    Fins up 28-0 six minutes into the 3rd.
    Final score Falcons 31 Dolphins 28

  39. Rockphin says:

    My buddy just asked me if I wanted to go to New York for the Jets game. he has decided to go whether I go or not. It is Thanksgiving weekend on the 29th but I’m really considering doing it now I’m going to check out for details on the Metlife take over. The tics are only $65.00

    • Ken says:

      I am going to try to be there and going to see if I can get Piggy, Mike E and Tim to come along.

      • Tim Knight says:

        I might be in. Need to get closer because I’m going to Miami for the Giants game in December a couple of weeks later. 🙂

      • Ken says:

        Cool Tim. I gotta get in touch with the rest of the gang to see if we can do this. I think Brian is going to be there again but with some friends of his who are Jet fans.

  40. Ken says:

    What’s up FUers? Been crazy busy last several days. Just done picking a jury and start evidence next week. So I what I have I missed around here?

  41. finfanrob says:

    Ken says:
    August 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I am going to try to be there and going to see if I can get Piggy, Mike E and Tim to come along.

    aaaahhhhhh, i dont remember telling you i would let you out.

  42. Rockphin says:

    How far is your couch from the Meadowland Tim?

    • Ken says:

      I am guessing Tim is about an hour away from the Met Life

      • Tim Knight says:

        No I’m actually up in the hills from the Meadowlands. With no traffic can be there in 15 minutes. That’s not usually the case though. LOL

      • Ken says:

        Even closer than I thought. Everyone’s crashing at Tim’s after the game. Left over turkey and cranberry all around. LOL.

  43. olddolphan says:

    Mike E; My computer cannot access your email site. Something about needing to “activate a wizard,” whatever the hell THAT is!! Anyway, if you need a question this week or next week, here it is: “Brandon Albert has failed to play a 16 game schedule for the last 3-4 seasons. In NONE of those seasons was he coming off major knee surgery. SOO-O-O, in your opinion, what’s the over/under on the number of regular season games completed in 2015 by Brandon Albert? –And WHO takes his place when he has to sit??”
    MY THANKS to all of you who left me kind comments regarding today’s episode of FOLLOWING PERFECTION.” –And, to YOUNG STANGER, yes, i DID ATTEND THAT VERY FAMOUS mONDAY nIGHT football game!!!!! —CELEBRATED A BIT TOO MUCH AFTER THE GAME BUT, HELL, WHEN I GOT HOME I STILL GOT 4 HOURS SLEEP BEFORE GOING TO WORK!! –Ah to be 27 again!!

  44. Tim Knight says:

    LOL @ Ken

    I grew up north of there about 30-35 minutes but we relocated about 6-7 years ago, Not even sure exactly anymore. LOL

    • Ken says:

      I can probably get to Met Life in under 2 hours with favorable traffic. I think when we did this 2 years ago I was there in like 1 hour 40 minutes minus stops to pick up Stanger and my buddy Jeff. It’s just the traffic through the city that sucks and you never when it is going to be bad.

  45. finfanrob says:

    dddddooooooooooooonnntttt do it, when you do it mike e shows up in your house

  46. Ken says:

    Alright I need to catch up on some sleep. I am out. Peace to you all

  47. Tim Knight says:

    Mets win again, up by 6.5. 🙂

  48. stangerx says:

    Something about sports makes you a little kid. I’m yelling my ass off for the Pirates the whole game today and not like the first time my Bucs have sat in a dugout. They ignore me and everyone else in the stands.

    Then I said something — don’t even remember what — and Francisco Cervelli turns around makes eye contact and gives me a nod. Even though I was sitting……I felt a little weak in the knees like I was some high school girl. Dude is twenty years younger than me…..and for all I know might be a stupid as hell.

    Marlins Stadium is pretty cool btw……even if I was just waiting for a tumbleweed to come rolling bye.

  49. The Flying Pig says:

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s