FanPost

Historical Perspective VI - 1973

After the epic run the 1972 Miami Dolphins completed with their 14-7 win in Super Bowl VII, the team came back to 1973 still hungry and looking to repeat as Champions. The celebration of the Perfect Season behind them, the front office quickly began working on the team and getting ready to march toward Super Bowl VIII.

The NFL Draft was held on 30-31 January 1973, with Miami settling in to wait for the last pick in each round. In fact, the Dolphins would not see their first pick until the 52nd pick, the last pick in Round 2. Miami's draft selections were:

Rnd

Overall Pick

Name

Position

School

Games Played

Season Starter

All-Pro 1st Team

Pro Bowl

HOF

Remarks

1

26

Traded Pick to Buffalo for WR Marlin Briscoe (07 June 1972)

2

52

Chuck Bradley

C

Oregon

19

0

0

0

No

3

78

Leon Gray

T

Jackson St.

142

8

3

4

No

4

104

Bo Rather

WR

Michigan

64

3

0

0

No

5a

111

Don Strock

QB

Virgina Tech

167

0

0

0

No

Received Pick from Buffalo for DT Frank Cornish (22 August 1972)

5b

130

Dave McCurry

CB

Iowa State

2

0

0

0

No

6

156

Ed Newman

G

Duke

167

6

1

4

No

7a

160

Kevin Reilly

LB

Villanova

25

0

0

0

No

Received Pick from NE for T Wayne Mass (28 August 1972)

7b

163

Ben Shephard

RB

Arkansas Tech

0

0

0

0

No

Received Pick from NE for G/C Bill Griffin (26 September 1972)

7c

178

Willie Hatter

WR

Northern Ill.

0

0

0

0

No

Received Pick from Cleveland for C Bob DeMarco (26 September 1972)

7d

182

Tom Smith

RB

Miami (Fla.)

2

0

0

0

No

8

206

Archie Pearmon

DE

N.E. Oklahoma

0

0

0

0

No

9

234

Karl Lorch

DE

Southern Cal.

90

3

0

0

No

10

260

Ron Fernandes

DE

Eastern Mich.

40

1

0

0

No

11

286

Chris Kete

G

Boston College

0

0

0

0

No

12

312

Mike Mullen

LB

Tulane

0

0

0

0

No

13

338

Joe Booker

RB

Miami (Ohio)

0

0

0

0

No

14

364

Greg Boyd

RB

Arizona

6

0

0

0

No

15

389

Bill Palmer

TE

St. Thomas

0

0

0

0

No

16

416

James Jackson

DE

Norfolk St.

0

0

0

0

No

17

442

Charley Wade

WR

Tennessee St.

22

1

0

0

No

(Bold players on Miami active roster at some point in career)

One interesting note from the 1973 Draft was Buffalo's selection with the Miami first round choice was G Joe DeLamielleure, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

The Dolphins then turned their attention to players other teams working looking to trade. Miami made its first 1973 trade on May 10th, when they send WR Otto Stowe to Dallas for a 2nd Round pick in 1974 and WR Ron Sellers. The trade activity increased dramatically in August, when the team made trades on 10 August (CB Dave McCurry to Chicago for a 9th Round Pick in 1974), 22 August (QB Jim Del Gaizo to the Packers for 1974 and 1975 2nd Round Picks), 27 August (DT Mike Kadish to the Bills for C/G Irv Goode), and 29 August (K Jeff White to the Saints for a 1974 7th Round Pick). Miami's final trade for 1974 came during the season, when on 2 October, the team sent RB Hubert Ginn to the Colts for FB Don Nottingham and a 1974 6th round pick.

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September 17, 1973 Sports Illustrated Cover via www.hollywoodcollectibles.com

Miami began the 1973 season at home against the San Francisco 49ers on September 1st. The 49ers challenged the defending Super Bowl champs, forcing 4 turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions), and led 13-6 going into the fourth quarter. However, the Dolphins rallied, scoring 15 points in the final period, winning 21-13.

Week 2 of the 1973 saw Miami do something they hadn't done since 1971 - lose. Facing the same franchise that had handed the Dolphins their first ever loss and their first playoff loss, the Raiders welcomed Miami to Oakland and ended the Dolphins 18-game win streak - tied for the NFL record at the time (since passed by the 2003-2004 Patriots). The Raiders' Kicker George Blanda kicked 4 field goals during the game, while the defense held Miami to a single fourth-quarter touchdown, as the Raiders won 12-7.

Week 3 saw the Dolphins return to their winning ways, as they welcomed the Patriots back to Miami. The Dolphins took a 20-3 lead into the half, and then stretched the lead throughout the second half, finishing the game 44-23.

During Week 4, October 7th, Miami again trounced on a division rival, this time beating the Jets in Miami 31-3.

Miami spent Week 5 of the season slugging it out against the Browns in Cleveland. The two teams traded scores throughout the game, with Miami pulling into the lead for good in the third quarter, adding a touchdown in the fourth, and winning the game 17-9.

Miami returned home for Week 6 and hosted the Buffalo Bills. The Bills held Miami to just 3 points - in the first quarter. Miami dominated the rest of the game, scoring 21 points in the second quarter, with the vaunted Miami "No-Name Defense" not allowing Buffalo to score again until a fourth quarter field goal. The game finished with a 24-6 Miami victory.

The Dolphins October 28th, Week 7 game against the Patriots in New England continued the team's domination of their Boston area rival, as the team won the game 30-14.

In Week 8, Miami traveled to New York to face the Jets. This game proved no easier for the Jets, as Miami swept the season series with a 24-14 victory.

Week 9 saw the Dolphins perform at their peak, dominating the Baltimore Colts 44-0 in Miami. The rushing attack for the Dolphins racked up 315 yards and 3 touchdowns on 41 attempts, highlighted by Mercury Morris' 144 yards and 2 end-zone visits (a 48 yard TD and a 53 yard TD).

Miami traveled to Buffalo in Week 10, looking to repeat their Week 6 result. After beating Buffalo 24-6 in Miami four weeks earlier, Miami shutout the Bills, winning 17-0 , even though the defense gave up 238 yards rushing.

Week 11 saw Miami once again reach the double digit win mark, when they improved their record to 10-1 with a 14-7 victory over the Cowboys in Dallas.

Miami hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 on Monday night. The game proved to be a close one, with Miami scoring all 30 of their points in the first half, and then holding on as the Steelers rallied. The game ended with Miami leading 30-26.

Miami again faced the Baltimore Colts during Week 13. After the 44-0 drubbing in Miami, the confidence of the team was high. However, the Colts were not going to be embarrassed again. The Colts, 2-10 at this point of the season, upset the Dolphins, led by QB Earl Morall in his only 1973 start, 16-3. The Dolphins fell to 11-2, losing for only their second time in the last 30 games.

Week 14 of the 1973 season was played on December 15th, with Miami hosting the Detroit Lions. The Non Name Defense once again dominated the game, with the Lions only scoring one touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Miami racked up 34 points on 165 yards rushing and 157 yards passing.

Game Date

Team

Score

Result

September 16, 1973

San Francisco

21-13

Win

September 23, 1973

@ Oakland Raiders

12-7

Loss

September 30, 1973

New England Patriots

44-23

Win

October 7, 1973

New York Jets

31-3

Win

October 15, 1973

@ Cleveland Browns

17-9

Win

October 21, 1973

Buffalo Bills

27-6

Win

October 28, 1973

@ New England Patriots

30-14

Win

November 4, 1973

@ New York Jets

24-14

Win

November 11, 1973

Baltimore Colts

44-0

Win

November 18, 1973

@ Buffalo Bills

17-0

Win

November 22, 1973

@ Dallas Cowboys

14-7

Win

December 3, 1973

Pittsburgh Steelers

30-26

Win

December 9, 1973

@ Baltimore Colts

16-3

Loss

December 15, 1973

Detroit Lions

34-7

Win

With the regular season finished, Miami finished the year with the 5th ranked offense. Quarterback Bob Griese threw for 1,422 yards on just 116 completions, with 17 touchdown passes and only 8 interceptions. Running back Larry Csonka finished the season with 1,003 yards, his third consecutive 1,000 yard campaign, with Mercury Morris missing the 1,000 yard mark by 46 yards (954 yards and 10 touchdowns) and Jim Kiick throwing in 257 rushing yards and 208 receiving yards. WR Paul Warfield led the team in receiving with 29 receptions for 514 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Dolphins' No-Name Defense once again finished the year as the league's number one ranked defense. The team had only surrendered 150 points through the 14 game season, and the No-Name Defense had repeated as the top unit in the league. The 12-2 team also had the best record in the AFC, tied with the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams for the top record in the league . Dick Anderson, Safety, had a team high 8 interceptions, with 163 return yards and two touchdowns and was named AP Defensive PLayer of the Year. Safety Jake Scott, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, had an additional four interceptions. Linebacker Nick Buoniconti had three fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown. And linebacker Bob Matheson was still entering the games as a fourth linebacker in a 3-4 set, with Manny Fernandez sliding over to be the nose tackle, the defense known as the "53 defense," named after Matheson's jersey number.

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Defensive Player of the Year Saftey Dick Anderson via www.sportsecyclopedia.com

Miami hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in the Division Playoffs on December 23, 1973. Miami easily dispatched the Bengals, gaining 400 yards of total offense, while only surrendering 194 yards in route to a 34-16 win. Mercury Morris again led the team with 106 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Larry Csonka had 71 yards rushing and a touchdown of his own. Not to be left out, Jim Kiick broke the 50-yard mark with 51 yards rushing on 10 attempts.

The AFC Championship game, Miami's third straight trip to the game, was played in Miami against the visiting Oakland Raiders. The Raiders, having broken the Dolphins 18-game win streak in Week 2 of the season were preared to again stop the Dolphins. However, Miami had retribution on its mind. The Dolphins quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead at the half, stretched it to 17-0 in the third, only to see Oakland come back to within 3, as the third period ended 17-14. Miami put the game away in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 additional points, winning the game 27-14. Miami's rushing offense again dominated, this time with Csonka leading the way with 117 yard and all 3 Miami touchdowns. Morris gained 86 yards of his own, with QB Bob Griese adding 39 yards on 3 rushes.

Miami was once again on their way to the Super Bowl - the first team to ever appear in three straight Super Bowls. Super Bowl VIII was played on January 13, 1974 at Rice University in Houston, Texas (which was the first time a Super Bowl was played in a Stadium that no NFL team called its home), with the AFC Champion Dolphins looking to defend their title against the new NFC Champs, the Minnesota Vikings in front of 71,882 fans. The Dolphins, having been 2 point underdogs in Super Bowl VII despite being undefeated going into the game, played the role of the favorite this year, being favored by 6-1/2 points. The Dolphins were so highly regarded that New York Jets QB, Joe Namath, said "If Miami gets the kickoff and scores on the opening drive, the game is over."

Superbowl_viii_medium

Super Bowl VIII Ticket via www.sportspool.com

Prior to the game, reports of dissension amongst the Dolphins surfaced, due to owner Joe Robbie's decision to allow wives to accompany players at the team's expense. The reports stated that several of the single players were upset with the owner's policy, because it barred them from bringing their girlfriends or mothers and showed favoritism towards married players.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had their own pre-game complaints. The Vikings were given a local high school to utilize as their training complex, but they found the facility unacceptable due to the lack of carpets, lack of lockers, and shower heads that didn't work. Head Coach Bud Grant stated that he didn't think his "players had seen anything like this since junior high school."

Pre-game injuries for the Dolphins included WR Paul Warfield who had an injured hamstring in his left leg and G Bob Kuechenberg played the game with a cast on an arm he broke during a game played back in the regular season.

Super Bowl VIII was hosted by the AFC, making Miami the home team. Although Miami traditionally wore white when at home, the NFL's policy at the time stated that the Super Bowl home team would wear their color jerseys, leading to Miami to play the game in their aqua jerseys. The game also featured two different Miami Dolphins logos. The majority of the players wore the 1969-1973 Miami Dolphins logo on their helmet. However, several players, particularly the lineman, had already changed to the new logo that would go into effect for the Dolphins' 1974 campaign.

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1969-1973 Miami Dolphins Logo via www.sportslogos.net

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1974-1989 Miami Dolphins Logo via www.sportslogos.net

The Super Bowl began with Miami remaining perfect in Super Bowl coin tosses, again winning and electing to receive the opening kickoff. Jake Scott returned the kick 31-yards to the Dolphins' 38-yard line. The Dolphins immediately turned to their running attack, eating up yards with runs by both Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris. Quarterback Bob Griese completed two passes during the drive, which was capped off by a Csonka five-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins became the first team in Super Bowl history to score on the opening drive. The team never looked back, proving once again, Jets QB Joe Namath could predict the outcomes of Super Bowls.

Super Bowl Starting Lineups:

Miami Dolphins

Position

Minnesota Vikings

Bob Griese

QB

Fran Tarkenton

Mercury Morris

RB

Oscar Reed

Larry Csonka

FB

Chuck Foreman

Paul Warfield

WR

John Gilliam

Marlin Briscoe

WR

Carroll Dale

Jim Mandich

TE

Stu Voigt

Wayne Moore

LT

Grady Alderman

Bob Kuechenberg

LG

Ed White

Jim Langer

C

Mick Tingelhoff

Larry Little

RG

Frank Gallagher

Norm Evans

RT

Ron Yary

Vern Den Herder

LDE

Carl Eller

Manny Fernandez

LDT

Gary Larsen

Bob Heinz

RDT

Alan Page

Bill Stanfill

RDE

Jim Marshall

Doug Swift

LLB

Roy Winston

Nick Buoniconti

MLB

Jeff Siemon

Mike Kolen

RLB

Wally Hilgenberg

Lloyd Mumphord

LCB

Nate Wright

Curtis Johnson

RCB

Bobby Bryant

Jake Scott

SS

Jeff Wright

Dick Anderson

FS

Paul Krause

The Vikings went three-and-out on their opening drive, punting the ball back to the Dolphins. Miami immediately drove down the field, 56-yards in 10-plays, and scored on Jim Kiick's first and only touchdown of the 1973 season.

The first quarter ended with Miami leading 14-0 on 20 plays and 118 yards of offense. The No-Name Defense had dominated the Vikings during the quarter, giving up only 25-yards on 6 plays, with the Vikings never making it to their own 24-yard line.

Miami scored again on their second drive of the second period, a seven play drive capped with a 28-yard field goal from Garo Yepremian. During the drive, Csonka was cut above the eye when Vikings LB Wally Hilgenberg threw an elbow, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The Vikings attempted to respond on their next drive. The successfully drove the ball against the Miami defense, making it all the way to the Dolphins' six-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-one, however, the Vikings chose to go for the first down, rather than kick a field goal. With less thana minute remaining in the half, the Vikings handed the ball off to RB Oscar Reed , but Dolphins' Buoniconti forced a fumble, which Scott recovered.

Miami led Minnesota 17-0 at the half, and would never look back.

The opening drive of the second half was once again a three-and-out by the Vikings. Scott returned the kick into Minnesota territory. The Dolphins immediately drove down the field and scored on a two-yard Csonka run. Due to his hamstring injury, Paul Warfield, primarily being used as a decoy, caught only his second pass of the game during the drive. He would remain at two receptions for the rest of the game, as the Dolphins did not attempt another pass during the last 24 minutes of the game.

Two possessions later, with only 13 minutes remaining in the game, Minnesota finally scored on a four-yard run by QB Fran Tarkenton.

During the ensuing kick-off, the Vikings received an offsides penalty, erasing the on-side kick they had just recoved. The team elected to kick deep following the penalty, and the Dolphins proceeded to go three-and-out.

Miami punted the ball away, and Minnesota immediately drove back down the field. Reaching the Dolphins' 32-yard line, Tarkenton dropped back to pass, only to thrown an interception to Dolphins' CB Curtis Johnson.

With just 6-1/2 minutes to play, Miami pounded the rock straight into the Vikings defense, using Csonka and Kiick to kill the clock. Future Hall of Famer, Dolphins' center Jim Langer later wrote that, "We hit the Vikings defense so hard and so fast that they didn't know what hit them. Alan Page [Vikings DT and former Notre Dame teammate of the Dolphins' Bob Kuechenberg - who was tasked with blocking Page throughout the game]later said he knew we would dominate them after only the first couple of plays."

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Center Jim Langer via www.profootballhof.com

The Dolphins' running game had once again dominated. QB Bob Griese only attempted 7 passes, completing 6 of them for just 73-yards - the fewest passes attempted ever in a Super Bowl. Miami's rushing attack gained 196 yards. The team had no turnovers and received their first penalty with just eight minutes remaining in the game - an offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Kuechenberg and Page scuffled follwing a late hit by page on QB Griese the play before . Vikings's QB Tarkenton set the then record for completions in a Super Bowl by going 18 for 28 for 182 yards and one interception. He also ran for 17 yards and the Vikings' lone touchdown.

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Super Bowl VIII Championship Ring via www.sportspool.com

Larry Csonka was named the game's MVP for his145 yards rushing on 33-attempts with two touchdowns. He was asked after the game about the elbow thrown by the Vikings LB Wally HIlgenberg. He replied, "It was a cheap shot, but an honest cheap shot. He came right at me and threw an elbow right through my mask. I could see the game meant something to him."

Csonka_medium

Super Bowl VIII MVP RB Larry Csonka via dolphinfaned.tripod.com


With three straight Super Bowl appearances and two championships, the young Dolphins appeared destined to become the next NFL dynasty. However, 1974 would begin a downfall no one saw coming.

1973dolphins_medium

1973 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins Team Photovia www.sportsecyclopedia.com

References:

www.pro-football-reference.com

www.wikipedia.org

www.miamidolphins.com

www.profootballhof.com

www.philadelphia-eagles.net

www.sportsencyclopedia.com

Past Editions:

Historical Perspective V - Nineteen seventy-perfect

Historical Perspective IV - 1971

Historical Perspective III - 1970

Historical Perspective II - 1967-1969

Historical Perspective I - 1965-1966

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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