FOLLOWING PERFECTION: THE 1973 MIAMI DOLPHINS

By: Randy Campbell (OLD DOLFAN)

dolphins 73
GAME 13: Miami @ Baltimore, Dec. 9, 1973

By Dec. 3, 1973, the Miami Dolphins had completed the second longest winning streak in their brief eight year history. Since losing to Oakland by 5 points in week #2, Miami had ripped-off 10 consecutive wins. (Indeed, that Oakland loss was the only thing separating Miami FROM A 29 GAME WINNING STREAK). Most of those 10 games had been won by lopsided scores. However, the Dolphins last two victories, 14-7 at Dallas and 30-26 over Pittsburgh, had pushed this team to the absolute limit. Don Shula guessed some of the players on his team were tired. But, in the 1970’s, there was no such thing as a bye week.

Shula believed his next opponent, the Baltimore Colts, offered him a chance to rest some of his star players. After all, Miami had shut out Baltimore during their last four meetings by a combined score of 104-0!! Most observers expected a fifth consecutive Miami blowout win over the 2-10 Colts. Shula’s decision to rest Bob Griese and start back-up Earl Morrall barely raised an eyebrow. Shula also said several reserve players from his 40 man squad would see plenty of action in this game.

Colts rookie head coach Howard Schnellenberger (who’d been Shula’s offensive coordinator during the 1972 Perfect Season) asked his Colt players to show some pride. He said “Miami’s going to play some back-up players because they don’t RESPECT YOU! If you guys don’t play a lot better, many of you won’t be playing pro football next year!” Left unsaid was the assumption Schnellenberger wouldn’t be a head coach in the NFL next year unless the Colts staged a miracle turn around.

Cold, dreary, weather greeted the two teams at the 2:00 PM kickoff. The temperature was 42 degrees (and falling into the 30’s during the second half). Winds of 15-20 MPH gusted around the full house at Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, their dreary performance this Sunday was a perfect match for the weather.

5527a35d99243b0b09e198a068b2326b84d3300dQuarterback Earl Morrall hoped to put on a shining performance for what he suspected would be his only start of the season. Morrall needed only 82 yards passing to become the 19th quarterback in NFL history to reach 20,000 yards passing for a career. But, by halftime, he had only 27 yards through the air.

Late in the third quarter, Morrall found Marlin Briscoe (subbing for Warfield) with a 53-yarder that put him exactly at 20,000 yards. That play would lead to an early fourth quarter field goal by Garo Yepremian. But it would not be enough. Not nearly enough.

Head Coach Don Shula observed “well we made every mistake in the books today.” Penalties, fumbles, interceptions and blown assignments were among the sins. Yepremian even missed a short field goal!!

Miami’s usually reliable ground game featured Csonka running for 70 total yards. But Kiick and Morris combined for just 14 yards on 12 carries! And the back-ups were worse!

Undoubtedly, the biggest disappointments of the day were serious injuries by star players Bob Kuechenberg and Manny Fernandez. “Kooch” fractured both his radius and his ulna in his left arm. The medical staff declared him “out for the year!!!”

“The hell I am,” responded tough as nails Kuechenberg. Eventually, surgeons partially hollowed out the two long bones in his left forearm. They inserted rods held in place by plates that were screwed into the length of his bones. A thick cast covered his injured forearm. After the surgery, Kuechenberg said “I’ll miss the last regular season game vs. Detroit. But I’ll be ready for the playoffs!”  Few doubted him.

In the Baltimore game, the Colts scored three times on Miami mistakes. Kicker George Hunt booted a 19-yard field goal in the first quarter. oldsFollowing a turnover, Colts running back Bill Olds scored on a two yard touchdown run late in the second stanza. Then, in the third quarter, Tom Mitchell caught a one yard TD pass from Marty Domres for a 16-0 Colts lead. Garo’s field goal early in thee fourth quarter made the final score 16-3, Baltimore. Miami’s 10-game winning streak was over.

A jubilant Howard Schnellenberger shook Don Shula’s hand as the game ended. Howard said, “Coach, I KNOW you’ll have Miami ready to play next Sunday!” “Indeed, I will, said a determined Shula.  Little did Shula know that NEXT WEEK one of Miami’s greatest players in history would have the GREATEST GAME of his Hall of Fame career!!

headlineThe 1973 Miami Dolphins were now 11-2.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/197312090clt.htm

POST SCRIPT: Howard Schnellenberger’s Colts would go on to defeat New England on the final day of the ’73 regular season. But Colts’ management decided to fire him after his 4-10 season. Baltimore’s loss was Miami’s gain as Schnellenberger later would lead the University of Miami to their first football National Championship in a 31-30 upset win over Nebraska Jan. 1, 1984 in (where else?) the historic Orange Bowl.

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281 Responses to FOLLOWING PERFECTION: THE 1973 MIAMI DOLPHINS

  1. getterdone says:

    (Tim comes home from work)
    Tim: Hi honey I’m home.
    Wife: Hi honey, how was work?
    Tim: Great, thanks for asking
    Wife: What did you do at work today?
    Tim: Uh…ya know, the ushge….did searches for trannies, dildos, male pocket BJ’s, & vagina feet. 🙄

    • Tim Knight says:

      LOL, gotta keep each day interesting.

      Believe me I start laughing to myself sometimes and my wife looks at me and says what are you laughing at, and I say I was just thinking about something and she says never mind I don’t want to know. LOL

      • getterdone says:

        LOL, I do that with the girlfriend. She asks why you laughing, and I say, nuttin, was just something I saw at work today. Then like a typical woman she’ll ask what, and I say, naw, would take too long to explain and you’d had to be there or else it wouldn’t be funny.
        OK 🙂

  2. manitobafinfan says:

    anyone let me know if this doesn’t work for ya.. Live draft scheduled for Wednesday, Sep 9, 2015 at 8:00pm EDT.

  3. manitobafinfan says:

    my mind is gone.. it just dawned on me that is coming fast… September kinda snuck up on me..

  4. finfanrob says:

    Tim Knight says:
    September 2, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Or if you like feet. LOL

    how the hell did you get in rex ryans closet

  5. olddolphan says:

    PIGGY: Tuesdays are fine for FOLLOWING PERFECTION!” Thankyou, sir.
    MISS GIGI: Things are OK in our household, altho’ Mrs. OD has had some “challenges” lately. –Our 6th Great Grandchild wil be born near NewYear’s in New Mexico!!
    MIKE E; Yes, Shula was VERY UPSET when Kooch and Manny Fernandez went down with injuries in the Baltimore game. But both came back for the playoffs!! Meanwhile, poor Detroit was next up on Shula’s schedule, the LAST regular season game for 1973. It featured the greatest performance of all time by Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield!!
    ——–
    Got to take Mrs. OD out to dinner. Will talk to you folks later tonight. 3 days until underdog FAU plays at Tulsa. Details coming.

  6. The Flying Pig says:

    If you ever think Skip Bayless has any credibility

    Think again

  7. finfanrob says:

    Rockphin says:
    September 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t get the whole mouth shaped masturbation device thing.

    the one that freaks me the hell out is the one that is just a torso. no arms and no legs. like wtf is that.

    sex toys for the serial killer in your life

  8. Brian in NY says:

    olddolphan says:
    September 2, 2015 at 7:24 am
    GLAD YOU enjoyed it, Brian. I look at my job as my friend. I look at it as my pathway to success and my chance to help people understand the sometimes complex and difficult world of numismatics. If you look at your job that way the word “UGH” will be far less prominent in your life. SO I widh you a GOOD DAY AT WORK. May you have many more GOOD DAYS!! (“wish” you).
    *
    Thanks OD. I like where I work (most days) but my going back to work at summer’s end means I don’t get to spend the days with my kids. I always miss that!

  9. getterdone says:

    Piggy, who listens to Skip Clueless?

  10. getterdone says:
  11. Tim Knight says:

    This is how Skip does it.

  12. manitobafinfan says:

    alrighty.. Home time….Still looking for 6 more victims for the Unleashed Fantasy league… myself, Piggy or MikeE should be able to send out email invites to anyone interested..

    Later …

  13. wyoming85 says:

    GDP
    Gotter done!

    Thanks

  14. herdfan says:

    Looks like an interesting day on here. Good thing I was too busy to try to open the site at work. lol

    I’ll do the FF thing but my have to auto draft which I hate. We shall see.

  15. olddolphan says:

    BACK FROM DIN-DIN. Mrs. OD has a smile on her face.–RE: FAU @ Tulsa. Last year FAU only won 3 games. But one of them was against Tulsa. The Owls rang up 51 points on the Golden Hurricanes!! The “spread” on Saturday’s game has fallen from Tulsa favored by17 to just 6 POINTS!! – – I say FAU WINS THIS GAME!!!!
    —————
    And, speaking of “Hurricanes” FAU hosts the Miami Hurricanes Friday night, September 11, at * PM on Fox Sports (Channel 219 on Directv). All seats are SOLD FOR THIS 8 PM CONTEST at Schnellenberger Field at FAU. I expect Miami to be favored by at least a couple of touchdowns in what undoubtedly is the BIGGEST FOOTBALL GAME ever played at FAU! NOW, if we coulf just bring back ALFRED MORRIS and D’JOUN SMITH!!!

  16. Tim Knight says:

    Piggy was that quote from Bayless during the 2012 draft or recent?

  17. herdfan says:

    We’re going to give a ‘live chat’ an audition for the game tomorrow night. The post with the chat box should appear about 5 minutes prior to the start of the game with basic instructions. Kudos to Twicethethe for doing the techy thing to make it happen!

  18. manitobafinfan says:

    That would be great. If the NFLN had not changed the Live game from Fins to Ragles. Bastards

    • steveccnv says:

      What a bunch of garbage, I couldn’t even get myself to look at the NFC. The jets at 10-6 ceiling was a joke, because if you say the cheats won’t be better than 12-4, because the division is tough, then you can’t say the jets can be 10-6 for the same reason.

    • Ken says:

      That is the dumbest fucking set of predictions I have ever seen. Well they could be 13-3 or they could 6-10. Which one fucking is it? Talk about room for error. Just another pundit afraid to make a prediction.

  19. ocalahowie says:

    OH BOY
    I just checked way ahead and everyone in the Orlando Market we are good to go…
    No Jaguars for the Redskins game, we will be on…
    HELL YEAH!!!

  20. finfanrob says:

    Ken says:
    September 2, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    She saw Ted 2 and realized he was having an affair with a stuffed animal.

    yeah but what really pissed her off it is was a male stuffed animal

  21. finfanrob says:

    Tim Knight says:
    September 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Transgender

    nnnaaaaaa, tommy doenst want any female parts. he is strictly a soft ball man

  22. Try Pod says:

    Hate to hear Dean Jones died. Always liked him in all those kid movies, like Herbie the Love Bug. He had been battling Parkinson’s. 84 years old. RIP

  23. olddolphan says:

    All right you great literary critics. Is it true that one of those grocery store checkout mags has the following headline? – – “GISELLE CATCHES TOMMY IN BED WITH CAITLIN JENNER!”

  24. olddolphan says:

    TIME to walk the Greyhound and call it a night. Y’all have a terrific evening!

  25. wyoming85 says:

    Nut up roster bubble guys!
    The Axeman Cometh!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CBS4Sports ‏@CBS4Sports 2h2 hours ago
    Catch the #Dolphins preseason matchup vs. Tampa Bay tomorrow night on CBS4, your official Dolphins station! #FinsOn4

  26. Tim Knight says:

    For you Mets fans. With the Mets up by 6.5 with 29 games to go and the Nats behind with 30 left to go this is what has to happen for the Nats to win the division.

    Nats go 20-10 playing .667 ball when they’re currently playing .508 ball, while the Mets have to go 13-16 at a .448 rate when they’re playing .556 ball.

    Without a bias if I was a Nats fan I’d think we’re not going to catch the Mets. It would have to be a colossal collapse for the Mets and I don’t see that happening with their pitching and current lineup options.

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