Miami Dolphins have an opportunity to mark an historic day with a win. Tua Tagovailoa and co take on Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals at the Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday (local time).
The Dolphins play on the 50th year anniversary of their 1972 Super Bowl win. That season for the franchise was historic as they became pro football’s only team to finish undefeated.
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The team of 1972 was led by third-year head coach Don Shula. His appointment changed fortunes for the side that won a combined 15 games during its first four seasons in the league. Shula took on the job prior to the start of the 1970 season. Miami made the playoffs for the first time in 1970, and then again in 1971. They won their first playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. It is the longest game in league history.
Miami were coming off a disappointing Super Bowl. Facing the Dallas Cowboys, they became the first team to not score a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
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“Dallas made us look bad that day. Dallas made us look bad because we already made ourselves look bad, and I knew that. That served as the launchpad for the undefeated season,” Dolphins star fullback Larry Csonka said in a documentary of the ’72 team.
Shula, in his short postgame message to his team after their 24-3 loss, said that ‘this is not going to happen to us again’. He also refused to have a parade for the runner-ups.
“I refused to have the parade. I said, ‘I don’t believe in having a parade for losers. Hopefully, in the future, we’re going to have a parade recognizing us as winners, and we’ll be there for that’,” Shula said.
Bob Griese was the starting quarterback for the team when the season began. But his backup, Earl Morrall, replaced Griese after the latter was injured post five games.
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Shula reinserted Griese into the lineup during the AFC Championship game.
“When I look back at my coaching career and all the quarterbacks that I’ve coached, I’ve got Hall of Famers in Johnny Unitas, Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Well, Earl Morrall is in my personal Hall of Fame,” Shula said.