By Rock Westfall
In 1966 the Miami Dolphins joined the American Football League as an expansion team. The Dolphins were not well-capitalized and practiced on a playground.
Their most famous team member was not a player. Flipper, the renowned TV show Dolphin, jumped in a pool during home games and when Miami scored a rare touchdown. Miami’s exotic team colors of aqua and orange further added to the perception of a strange franchise.
In their first four seasons, the Dolphins won 15 games. But in those lean years, the Dolphins drafted well. Future stars such as quarterback Bo Griese and running back Larry Csonka honed their craft in those expansion days.
Super Bowl Futures – A Winner Arrives
Don Shula took over as head coach in 1970 after a highly successful run with the Baltimore Colts. Shula led the Dolphins to a 10-4 playoff campaign in his first year and took off from there. He would become the NFL’s all-time winningest coach.
Super Bowl Predictions – A Christmas Gift
On December 25, 1971, the Dolphins won the longest game ever played at the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24 in double overtime. Miami was a decided underdog but capitalized on several Chiefs' mistakes, including a missed 31-yard field goal by future Hall of Fame kicker Jan Stenerud. After running the aging Baltimore Colts off the field in the AFC Championship Game, the Dolphins were dominated in a 24-3 Super Bowl VI loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But everyone agreed that the Dolphins had arrived.
Super Bowl Lines – The Perfect Season
Despite missing Bob Griese for most of the 1972 regular season, the Dolphins went 14-0. Miami played Shula’s way with a powerful ground game, timely passing, and the famed “No Name Defense” that lacked star players but was stocked with intelligence and determination. Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris chewed up defenses and the clock by rushing for 1000+ yards each. And wide receiver Paul Warfield was the game-breaker that forced defenses to play honestly. Griese returned for the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh. Miami won a 21-17 squeaker to make Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins.
In the Super Bowl, the No Name Defense rendered Washington helpless. But in the 4th quarter, Miami’s Garo Yepremian had a field goal attempt blocked. The tiny Cypriot tie-maker picked up the ball and batted it in the air. Washington intercepted the ball and ran it back for a TD to cut the Dolphins lead to 14-7. But the Dolphins held off the Redskins late rally to preserve the NFL’s only perfect season. For Shula, it was vindication for his humiliating Super Bowl III loss with the Colts.
Super Bowl Bets – The Exclamation Point of 1973
At the onset of the 1973 season, the Dolphins were prohibitive Odds to win the Super Bowl favorites to repeat as champions. What is ironic about the 1973 Dolphins is that although they didn’t go undefeated (12-2), they were probably a better team.
In ’73, the Dolphins had Griese for the entire season. They also had the experience and confidence of a 2-time AFC Champion, not to mention being the only team to pull off a perfect season.
Miami was hardly exciting and would often resemble a shutdown hockey team that would suffocate opponents with their ball-control offense complimented by the No Name Defense.
In the AFC playoffs, the Dolphins dominated the Cincinnati Bengals 34-16 and the tough Oakland Raiders 27-10. Oakland was a good team, and the win was a warning to Miami’s Super Bowl VIII opponents; the Minnesota Vikings.
In Super Bowl VIII, there was never any doubt. Miami dominated the game from the start and prevailed 24-7. The Dolphins became only the second repeat champions in Super Bowl history
Online betting Super Bowl – History’s Verdict
Don Shula’s Dolphins were not the most talented team to win Super Bowls. But a strong case can be made that, together, they were as good as any team. All of Miami’s parts complemented each other to perfection. Just as important, Shula drilled the Dolphins into not making mistakes as they forced opponents into costly errors.
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