Sunday, July 24, 2016

Miami Dolphins

Here are the 1972 Miami Dolphins, about to embark on their magical 17-0 season, culminating with a win in Super Bowl VII.

The previous season, they made their first Supe appearance, but lost to the Cowboys. The Dolphins starting lineup in '72 was the same as in '71, except for the following positions:
HB - Mercury Morris replaced Jim Kiick
C - Jim Langer replaced Bob DeMarco
LDE - Vern Den Herder replaced Jim Riley
QB - Earl Morrall started 9 of 14 games for the injured Bob Griese. The starting QB missed 9 games, and they STILL went undefeated!

Bob Griese was injured in game #5, and didn't return until late in game #14. He missed the first playoff game, played part of the AFC championship game, and all of the Super Bowl. Bob was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Earl Morrall was drafted by the 49ers in 1956, and played for the Lions, Giants, Colts, and Dolphins from 1959-1976, mostly as a backup. Topps didn't usually print cards for more than one QB per team back then, but it's good they did in 1972, as Morrall started more games than Griese. (Morrall had also played most of the 1968 season as the Colts' starting QB, including Super Bowl III.)

Mercury Morris was drafted by Miami in 1969 and spent his first 3 seasons primarily as a kick returner. Taking over the running back chores in 1972, he collected 1000 yards rushing and led the NFL with 12 TDs.

The Dolphins drafted Jim Kiick in 1968 and was the starting halfback for his first 4 seasons. He was relegated to backup status for 2 seasons (in favor of Morris) but started the majority of games at halfback in 1974. After a season in the WFL, Jim played for the Broncos in '76 and '77.

Larry Csonka was the Dolphins' #1 pick in the 1968 draft, and was their starting fullback for seven seasons. In 1975 he jumped to the WFL (with teammates Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield), then returned to the NFL with the Giants from 1976-78. He finished up his career in 1979 as the Dolphins' fullback. A 5-time Pro-Bowler, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Paul Warfield began his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1964. He played 6 seasons with the Browns and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, as well as his last 2 in Cleveland. Moving to Miami in 1970, he made the Pro Bowl in all 5 seasons with the Fish. After a year in the WFL, he returned to Cleveland for '76 and '77, then again to Miami for 1978. Warfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Larry Little began his career with the Chargers in 1967 and 1968, then played 11 seasons (1969-79) as the Dolphins' starting right guard, making the Pro Bowl 5 times. He finished his career in 1980 playing 5 games for the Dolphins, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

Here's Garo Yepremian, not wearing his traditional #1 jersey (must have been a 1st-year training camp photo). Garo kicked 2 years for the Lions ('67, '68) then played for the Dolphins from 1969 to 1978, including 2 Pro Bowls. He later kicked for the Saints and Buccaneers, retiring after the 1981 season.

Manny Fernandez was the Dolphins' starting right defensive end as a rookie in 1968, then held down the left DT spot from 1969 to 1974. He finished up with the Dolphins in 1975 as a part-time player.

Nick Buoniconti was drafted by the Boston Patriots in 1962 and was their starting MLB for his 7 seasons there, while making 5 Pro Bowls. He was acquired by the Dolphins prior to the 1969 season, and spent the next 6 seasons captaining their defense, with 3 more Pro Bowl appearances. After missing the 1975 season, he returned in '76 as a backup. Buoniconti was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Dick Anderson was drafted by Miami in 1968, and played 9 seasons (1968-74, 76-77) with the Dolphins, starting at safety in all but his last 2 seasons. He returned punts every season, and did some punting in '69 and '72.

Jake Scott was drafted by the Dolphins in 1970, and was a starting safety for 6 seasons, making the Pro Bowl every year but his rookie season. He was also the Redskins' free safety from 1977-79.

12 cards, 5 Hall of Famers!

Also check out the 1968 and 1971 Dolphins.

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