The 2015 Super Bowl is this Sunday. For the next five days, Tuesday through Saturday of Super Bowl week, we take a look at the Miami Dolphins' five Super Bowl appearances. Their first berth in the NFL championship came just six seasons after they came into existence, and in just the second season of Don Shula's reign as the team's head coach.
Super Bowl VI was held on January 16, 1972 in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Dallas Cowboys came into the game as the NFC Champions after an 11-3 regular season, followed by playoff wins over the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins had posted a 10-3-1 record in the regular season, then beat the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Colts in the postseason.
Looking to avenge their 16-13 loss to the Colts in Super Bowl V, the Cowboys dominated the Dolphins throughout the entire game.
Miami won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff, but would be forced to punt after going three-and-out. The Cowboys started their first possession at their own 21-yard line, and would gain a first down before a sack from Manny Fernandez forced the Cowboys back five yards and, ultimately, to a punt three plays later.
Miami running back Larry Csonka would gain 12 yards on a first down sweep, before fumbling the handoff on the next play, with Dallas recovering near mid-field. An 11-play drive would gain the 50 yards needed to put the first points on the board, capping the drive with a Mike Clark nine-yard field goal.
The Dolphins would lose 28 yards on their next drive, after a Jim Kiick one-yard gain on first down was followed by an incomplete pass then a sack of quarterback Bob Griese 29 yards behind the line of scrimmage. After a Miami punt, the Cowboys would match the result, gaining 14 yards before having to punt for themselves.
Miami would drive 38 yards, on the next possession, with kicker Garo Yepremian lining up for a tying field goal on fourth down. Unfortunately, the 49-yard attempt would come up short and Dallas would take over, still clinging to a three-point lead.
Another set of traded punts followed, before the Cowboys would again move down the field and deep into Miami territory. A 10-play drive, covering 76 yards in five minutes, highlighted by a Roger Staubach pass to wide receiver Lance Alworth for 20 yards and 25 yards on three carries from running back Calvin Hill, would lead to a 10-0 lead for Dallas on a Staubach to Alworth seven-yard touchdown pass.
Miami would finally put together a scoring drive just before the end of the first half, moving 44 yards in just four plays, including a 23-yard pass from Griese to Paul Warfield to move down to the Dallas 24-yard line. After a Warfield drop at the two-yard line, Miami would have to settle for the 31-yard field goal from Yepremian with four seconds remaining before the break.
Beginning the second half with a 10-3 lead, it would not take long for Dallas to build on the advantage. After receiving the second half kickoff, the Cowboys would move down the field, primarily using their rushing attack, to add another touchdown, this one on a Duane Thomas three-yard sweep.
A back-and-forth punt fest for four possessions appeared to end as Miami began to move the ball at the end of the third quarter. Starting at their own 28-yard line, the Dolphins used Csonka, Kiick, Griese, and Warfield to get the ball to midfield. On 3rd-and-4, Griese would throw a pass intended for Kiick only to have it picked off by linebacker Chuck Howley and returned 41 yards to the Miami nine-yard line.
Three plays later, Staubach connected with tight end Mike Ditka for a seven-yard touchdown reception and a Dallas 24-3 lead.
Miami again mounted a drive, moving from their own 23-yard line after the kickoff all the way down to the Dallas 16-yard line before Griese fumbled the snap and Dallas recovered.
In a mirror of Miami's drive, the Cowboys would go from their own 20-yard line down to the Dolphins' 1-yard line before a fumble would give the ball to Miami.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins would only have 1:48 remaining on the clock. Miami would use Csonka and Kiick to kill the remaining time and get out of Tulane licking their wounds following the 24-3 loss. Staubach would be named the game's MVP, finishing the contest 12-for-19 passing for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Super Bowl VI still stands as the coldest Super Bowl played, with temperature at kickoff just 39-degrees Fahrenheit. Miami would take the loss, then not be on the wrong side of a scoreline for 19 more games, a streak that would not end until September 23, 1973.