FOLLOWING PERFECTION: THE 1973 MIAMI DOLPHINS

By: Randy Campbell (Old Dolfan)

dolphins 73GAME 14: Detroit @ Miami, Dec. 15, 1973 (Sat.)

The team we know as the Detroit Lions was founded in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio. The Portsmouth Spartans attracted players from semi-pro teams in the West Virginia-Ohio-Kentucky tri-state area. The residents of Portsmouth loved their new team. They agreed to build their team a new home known as Universal Stadium, a venue comparable to football stadiums in nearby communities along the Ohio River. This prompted the fledgling National Football League to offer full league membership in 1930. Portsmouth became the NFL’s second smallest city, barely exceeding the population of Green Bay, Wisconsin, at that time.

Portsmouth’s inaugural NFL season saw them compile a 5-6-3 record in league contests. Two years later (1932), Spartans’ coach Potsy Clark refused to make even a single substitution against the defending NFL champion Packers. Portsmouth would go on to win the “iron man game” 19-0 with the same 11 men playing EVERY PLAY IN THE GAME!!

spartans players circa 1932At the end of the 1932 season the Spartans were tied for first place with the Chicago Bears. That prompted the very first NFL title game to decide the league championship. (In prior years the team with the best regular season record was awarded the NFL title.) The Bears’ home field, Wrigley Field, was unplayable due to a severe blizzard. The title game thus was moved INDOORS to Chicago Stadium, home of hockey’s Chicago Black Hawks. The smaller indoor playing surface necessitated an 80 yard playing field.

Bears fans packed the indoor stadium. To their absolute delight, Chicago’s “Monsters of the Midway” defeated Portsmouth 9-0, keyed by a touchdown pass from Bronko Nagurski to “The Galloping Ghost,” Red Grange. The resulting interest in the title game led to the creation of Western and Eastern conferences, with the respective winners subsequently meeting in an NFL Championship Game yearly since 1933.

HeadlinesubtitlePortsmouth would continue to have success on the football field. Off the field, poor revenues and the Great Depression threatened the Spartans’ survival. In 1934 Detroit radio executive George Richards purchased the struggling franchise for just under $8,000. Richards moved the team to the Detroit area where they became known as the Lions. A year later (1935, the Detroit Lions won their first NFL championship, beating the New York Giants 26-7.

Detroit enjoyed their greatest triumphs in the decade of the 1950s. Led by legendary quarterback Bobby Layne, Detroit defeated Paul Brown’s Cleveland Browns 17-7 in the 1952 title game. A year later the Lions repeated as champions when Layne found receiver Jim Doran with a 33 yard touchdown pass in the game’s final minute for a 17-16 victory! In 1954 Layne again got the lions to the championship game where they were defeated by the Browns.

Detroit fielded another championship team in 1957 under the direction of rookie head coach George Wilson, Sr., who, in 1966, was named the first head coach of the AFL expansion Miami Dolphins. Bobby Layne was injured during the course of the ’57 season. His back-up, Tobin Rote, passed for FOUR touchdowns and ran for another as Detroit CRUSHED Cleveland 59-14 in the championship game, bringing the Lions their third NFL crown in six years!

Not long after that game, Detroit shocked Layne by trading him to the Siberia of the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers. An incensed Layne placed a curse on the Lions’ franchise, saying they’d NEVER WIN another NFL title because of their mistreatment of him. 57 YEARS LATER, the Lions have failed to even get to another title game, winning only ONE playoff game during that period of time!

Detroit head coach Joe Schmidt (an NFL Hall of Famer) led the Lions to an 8-5-1 record in 1972. However, he was fired and replaced by ex-Colts head coach Don McCafferty. McCafferty, an assistant under Don Shula when Shula was the Colts head coach, went on to succeed Shula in Baltimore. He was the winning head coach when the Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V in the historic Orange Bowl. Two years later, while Don Shula was completing the NFL’s one and only Perfect Season, McCafferty was fired as Colts head coach. A few months later, McCafferty was hired by Detroit.

The slow starting Lions got hot midway through the 1973 season. Detroit had won five of their last seven games coming into the final game of the regular season. Meanwhile, Shula’s Dolphins were coming off their WORST PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, an embarrassing 16-3 drubbing by the lowly Colts. When asked about this, Baltimore head coach Howard Schnellenberger said, “I feel sorry for whoever plays the Dolphins next week.”

Miami head coach Don Shula wanted the offense, the defense and the special teams to come up big in the Detroit game. “We’ve GOT to regain our momentum for the playoffs” said the Don of Miami. Somebody would HAVE to step up. But who???

A bright, sunny, 69 degree day greeted the players for this 1:00 PM kickoff on Saturday, December 15, in the historic Orange Bowl. The fans were noisy. The players were jumping with enthusiasm. Soon, very soon, we’d have the answer to the question “Who is going to step up for Miami?”

On the game’s third play, Lions running back Mel Farr was CRUSHED by defensive end warfield 2 Vern Den Herder, who recover Farr’s fumble at the Detroit 21. Next play, wide out Paul Warfield made eye contact with QB Bob Griese. Rookie cornerback Levi Johnson had NO CHANCE! Warfield blew by Johnson and caught Griese’s perfect pass for a 21 yard touchdown! One possession, one play, one touchdown! It was just that easy!

csonka

On Miami’s second possession, Griese and his offense started a drive from their own 18. Tough running by Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick got the Dolphins into Detroit territory. Later, from the Lions’ seven, Griese called on Warfield again. TOUCHDOWN MIAMI!! The Fins led 14-0 after one quarter.

The Dolphins’ defense continued to stifle QB Greg Landry and the Lions’ offense. Detroit would run the ball 38 times for just 3.8 yards per carry. Landry, and back up QB Bill Cappleman (a Florida State product) would combine for 10 completions in 21 attempts for 73 net yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. A trick pass play by reserve player Mickey Zolfo netted Detroit 35 yards later in the game.

anderson punt return

Miami continued their merciless destruction of Detroit. A Yepremian field goal on Miami’s third possession expanded the lead to 17-0. On their fourth possession, Miami drove the ball all the way down to the Lions’ 16 yard line. This time veteran DB Miller Farr was covering Paul Warfield. It didn’t matter. Warfield easily faked-out Farr, turned on his olympic speed, and scored his THIRD TOUCHDOWN OF THE FIRST HALF! 24-0, MIAMI!!

Once, again, the “No-Name Defense” stopped Detroit cold. A Larry Ball interception gave Miami another chance. Griese used the clock carefully as he drove his team down the field on their fifth possession of the first half. Miami was at the Detroit four with less than a minute left to go in the second quarter. On the very next play, Warfield unbelievably BEAT A DOUBLE TEAM AND SCORED HIS FOURTH RECEIVING TOUCHDOWN OF THE FIRST HALF!! It WAS, and still IS, AN ALL-TIME MIAMI RECORD!! The man who had “stepped-up” was the INCOMPARABLE PAUL WARFIELD!! The Dolphins had an insurmountable 31-0 lead at halftime!! –Five possessions; five scores!!

A merciful Don Shula pulled both Griese and Warfield at the half. Other star players took a seat as the Dolphins concluded the regular season with a 34-7 win over an outclassed Lions team. In the Lions’ locker room, head coach Don McCafferty confessed “I was trying to get the officials to call the game at the half. But they said they couldn’t do that!”

grieseIn the winners’ locker, Bob Griese and Don Shula emphasized that Miami’s first objective (making the playoffs) had been achieved. “Now it’s a new season,” said the Don of Miami. But while Shula talked to the media, the other players were alternately shaking their heads and giving hugs to the man who had truly amazed EVERY PLAYER and EVERY FAN lucky enough to have witnessed this historic performance. Paul Warfield had given the greatest performance of all time by any Miami receiver. And he had removed whatever doubts may have existed after the Baltimore game. Make NO mistake about it; the Miami Dolphins were THE TEAM TO BEAT in the 1973 playoffs!!

The 1973 Dolphins were now 12-2.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/197312150mia.htm

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304 Responses to FOLLOWING PERFECTION: THE 1973 MIAMI DOLPHINS

  1. drg says:

    Mike,

    Yeah, I’m hoping we can get to 10 wins early so we don’t have to sweat the last couple games as much and (shudder) rely on our coach too much. The real key to our demise last year was the defensive collapse. Other than injuries and maybe age, I don’t have much of an explanation for it. Hopefully we see different results this year.

  2. herdfan says:

    Ok, so here are pics of the prize choices. Flask or a Travel coffee cup. Rock, what’s your choice?



  3. herdfan says:

    Wow, that was a bit larger than I expected.

  4. Mike E. says:

    drg

    I’m all for a strong start, but we’re going to have be a tough team mentally and physically to win at the end of the season, and that includes our Coach. I’m hoping he’s turned the corner, because talent wise, we should be there.

  5. Rockphin says:

    NICE FLASK

  6. finfanrob says:

    herdfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I’ll need you to email me a shipping address….don’t worry…your not stanger! 😉

    there, thats better

  7. CavalierKong says:

    I have that exact flask. My wife got it for me a year or two ago. I said I would only use it to make rum and cokes for Dolphins playoff games. The flask is still dry 😦

    Hopefully that changes this year! 😀

  8. D says:

    herdfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm
    Wow, that was a bit larger than I expected.
    Reply
    Mike E. says:
    September 8, 2015 at 6:27 pm
    That’s what she said . . . 😉
    —————————————-
    Or he said, you cant be discriminating like that these days Mike.

  9. BoulderPhinfan says:

    Adam Schefter ✔ @AdamSchefter
    Former Patriots RB Jonas Gray will sign with Miami’s practice squad, according to @seanstellato. Gray once played on Dolphins’ PS.

  10. Mike E. says:

    D

    I wasn’t discriminating, that’s what she said. lol

  11. herdfan says:

    Boulder, you are also a winner….so I need to hear from you too.

  12. herdfan says:

    This was a really great post by a Purdue fan about tailgating at the game Sunday.

    http://www.hammerandrails.com/2015/9/8/9275133/a-part-of-football-that-is-forgotten

  13. BoulderPhinfan says:

    I just lost a lot of respect for walker. He has us getting swept by the bills and average 22 points a game this year when we averaged 24 last year. What an idtiot.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/miami-dolphins/post/_/id/16482/2015-miami-dolphins-game-by-game-predictions

  14. BoulderPhinfan says:

    herd,
    I’ll take a flask. thanks!

  15. ditmcodave says:

    I’m excited to play in the ffb league with you guys this year. It will be fun. I’m sure it will be slim pickings on phins though.

  16. ditmcodave says:

    I didn’t get to pick boulders w/l pick Em but put me down for 16-0. Every year.

  17. herdfan says:

    Speaking of our FF league, here’s what the winner gets. I think we need one more player, draft is tomorrow so what you waiting for??????

  18. ditmcodave says:

    This guy I work with picked Russell Wilson and then Tanny as his backup. He’s a cowboys fan. I think I convinced him to start Tanny.

  19. BoulderPhinfan says:

    herd,
    sorry i don’t have your email.

  20. herdfan says:

    I think it’s funny our winners are Rock and Boulder…..anyone see a trend there? And for those two, the rest of you cover your eyes, send me your address at nativewv@hotmail.com
    🙂

  21. BoulderPhinfan says:

    signing of jonas gray is interesting. i wonder if we’re downloading what he knows of pats offense right now 🙂

  22. son of a son of a shula says:

    I would be in the fantasy league if I can be assured of having Tannehill, Landry, Miller and our D, if I don’t get them I’ll quit. LOL

  23. son of a son of a shula says:

    Welcome back Jonas. We probably shouldn’t have let him get away to begin with. He should be all up to speed on how to properly deflate game balls now.

  24. son of a son of a shula says:

    And my new name is Stoney. Did I win a prize?

  25. herdfan says:

    BoulderPhinfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm (Edit)

    I thought Mike e and naples also had 47.

    Mike E said he would pass, but he can always change his mind. And if Naples had the same score, then he’s a winner too. We need to come up with tiebreakers going forward. lol

  26. finfanrob says:

    toba,

    if you still need some one i will volunteer for the last team. just as long as i can auto draft for some of the draft.

    i am only joining to win and then have herd beg me for my address.

  27. The Flying Pig says:

    Do we have 10 for ff football?

    • manitobafinfan says:

      i’m on some pretty good cold and sinus drugs… i have 9 in at the moment, 10 mins ago i could have sworn was 10.. i have one invite pending, that i may have sent to a wrong address.. i anticipate that will be filled right away.. then FFR if he is serious and sends me an invite.. i will count again.. i may still want one more if FFR wants in..

  28. The Flying Pig says:

    If we signed Gray
    Who did we cut?

  29. The Flying Pig says:

    Does anyone think Gray is going to struggle adjusting to properly inflated balls

  30. olddolphan says:

    TRYPOD and TIM; Just found out about your losses. How very sad. I hope both of you, in your grief, can find the strength to move on and honor those two good people who so positively impacted your lives. PEACE to both of you.

  31. Rockphin says:

    herdfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I’ll need you to email me a shipping address….don’t worry…I’m not a stalker! 😉
    Could you repost that E-mail address? Thanks

    WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

  32. herdfan says:

    Mike E. says:
    September 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm (Edit)

    I thought we were going to have 1 winner, and I thought Rock should get it,

    We didn’t have a tie breaker, setting one afterwards isn’t really fair. So if you and Naples had the same score, then you win. I don’t mind. I think having prizes makes it more fun.

  33. BoulderPhinfan says:

    Herd,
    I’m fine with only 1 prize and Rock getting it.

  34. finfanrob says:

    Auto draft is no problem, may prove interesting on the IDP’s though..

    WAIT WAIT WAIT. IDP’s hell if i knew Intense Double Penetration was a possibility i would of been the first team to sign up

  35. finfanrob says:

    manitobafinfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Intensley DEEP penetration…. get it straight..

    what, not double……fuck it then, count me out

  36. Rockphin says:

    Nevermind Herd I saw it above. I sent you my info! Thanks again. You are swell.

  37. Mike E. says:

    Herd

    Coffee mug please! Thank you!

  38. finfanrob says:

    i bet omar is confused as fuck about gray. he doesnt know whether to like him or not. he watches him play and goes.. ‘damn, the dude isnt black, he isnt white. i dont know what to do’

  39. Rockphin says:

    I AM THE WINNER! LET IT GO TIERS! (Tie-ers)

    It means a lot to me. I never win anything. LOL j/k

  40. Mike E. says:

    OK, closing up here. I’ll catch you guys/gals later. Herd, I’ll get you my address either later or tomorrow. Thanks again for being a sweetheart!

  41. ocalahowie says:

    Nightly Update
    DOLPHINS-REDSKINS
    Old 27-10 MIA
    Piggy 38-3 MIA
    TryPod 38-10MIA
    MikeE 30-6 MIA
    Herd 31-10 MIA
    Ken 27-13 MIA
    ALinMIA31-13MIA
    Cav 30-13 MIA
    Howie 24-19 MIA
    CCNV 31-3 MIA
    GDP 34-12 MIA
    BrianNY37-13MIA
    Boulder24-17MIA
    Wyo 28-9 MIA
    Stang 21-17 MIA
    Rock 24-16 MIA
    Book 35-13 MIA
    NewAge34-13MIA
    Toba 41-13 MIA
    Dog 41-3 MIA
    Knight 38-13 MIA
    Naples35-10 MIA
    Springs24-10MIA
    Realist 20-16MIA
    GO PHINS!!!

  42. manitobafinfan says:

    Okay Fantasy League is set.. we have 10 teams now confirmed and signed up…. Live draft scheduled for Wednesday, Sep 9, 2015 at 8:00pm EDT Thank you all for coming out to play.. Look forward to Slaughtering some Pig.. OINK !!! And Herd thanx for finding a championship Cape…

  43. son of a son of a shula says:

    Cousins?
    You better get Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews, Brothers, Sisters and most of all your Momma.
    In a Suh does the DC whomp the Fins D still thinks its pre-season and no one scores on them.

    Fins 24-0

  44. naplesfan2010 says:

    well now Herd even though I was the other one in the 3-way tie for the roster pick, i certainly do not want a prize for that. I just enjoyed thinking about the possibilities.

    • herdfan says:

      Oh come on. Of the current prizes, I have a flask left. If you’re not a drinker, I’ll come up with something else.

      • naplesfan2010 says:

        wow I did not mean to be rude or anything … i would be honored to receive a flask. I am actually a whiskey guy much more than a beer drinker so a flask is great.

  45. BoulderPhinfan says:

    thanks herd.

  46. manitobafinfan says:

    Rockphin says:
    September 8, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    LOL I think they peed themselves a little. (Ken too) LOL

    Pretty sure i did too … ssshhh

  47. herdfan says:

    naples….I didn’t think you were rude, quite the contrary. Send me your address at the email thats up the page. 🙂

  48. ocalahowie says:

    Cool Dolphins stuff I see up there and on our outing tonight I got me a new Dolphins hat. Very stylish, you’d think I spent 40 bucks at the team store but at K-Mart only 15.69
    GO PHINS!!!

    • herdfan says:

      There will be prizes if anyone ever gets your score picker correct. They will probably change the logo again before that happens. lol

      • steveccnv says:

        As hard as it was to pick the scores it’s going to be even harder with the new extra pt, screwing things up.

  49. ocalahowie says:

    Thanks for the input Son. cause right now I pretty much have nothing, except for Piggy’s deranged version us us maiming and killing half the Redskins team.

  50. naplesfan2010 says:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000524420/article/andrew-gardner-eagles-reach-3year-47m-extension
    Our ex who was the unnamed victim in the bullying scandal signed a new contract.

  51. The Flying Pig says:

    Toba

    Anyway you can make the draft at about 830
    I might not make it to a compute at 8pm
    Even 815 works

  52. ocalahowie says:

    Allright Prizes
    Last season I was thinking of sending anyone who won a box of Pop Tarts but we’ll take yours instead
    HELL YEAH!!!

  53. naplesfan2010 says:

    am watching 5 easy pieces … still an amazing film

  54. finfanrob says:

    herdfan says:
    September 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    There will be prizes if anyone ever gets your score picker correct. They will probably change the logo again before that happens. lol

    maybe ross can make that the prize. the winner gets to pic the new logo. anything is better then that horrible shit they have now.

  55. finfanrob says:

    wow, i cant believe how rude naples was. and the worst part he did it on purpose

  56. ditmcodave says:

    38-3 phins. Start of a non-cheating dynasty.

  57. ditmcodave says:

    New logo has grown on me. I like my new hat.

  58. finfanrob says:

    naplesfan2010 says:
    September 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    am watching 5 easy pieces … still an amazing film

    yeah it is, i cant believe some of the things that blonde does. talk about no gag reflexes.

  59. ocalahowie says:

    I got a new hat too, just tonight…

  60. finfanrob says:

    ditmcodave says:
    September 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    New logo has grown on me. I like my new hat.

    yeah, kind of like genital warts, they grow on ya.

  61. naplesfan2010 says:

    Blondes rock.

  62. The Flying Pig says:

    tomorrow’s Oddyssey takes on how lucky the Dolphins were not to draft RGIII

  63. steveccnv says:

    Look how much has changed since July 8th.

    • steveccnv says:

      This popped up next, a simulated game against the ‘Skins.

      • steveccnv says:

        We’re virtually 1-0, with a 38-21 win over the ‘Skins. RT calls timeout with 2 seconds left leading 31-21, then Ajayi goes over the top for the clinching TD.

  64. The Flying Pig says:

    new poll up
    RGIII special

  65. olddolphan says:

    DID YOU GUYS NOTICE that Buffalo just cut that O’Leary kid, the Tight End out of Florida State?–Maybe we should release one of the two TE’s we have on the practice ssquad and give O’Leary a shot??? –WHAT do you folks think??

  66. ocalahowie says:

    I thought Freeman was gone

  67. D says:

    Looks like we signed EZ Nwachiku(sp) or hard knocks is a liar. I also found his wiki page lists him as a phin.

  68. D says:

    Also supposedly signed lynden trail, though I can’t find confirmation. Also looks like we signed Jonas gray again to the PS.

  69. D says:

    I got Wilson as my QB in my work ff league and am trying to trade kaepernick for Tanny

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