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The Perfect Season: An Achievement Unlikely to Ever Occur Again

This year as the Super Bowl comes to Hard Rock Stadium, Dolphins fans would have loved to have their team in the big game, but that is something that has not occurred since 1983. However, Dolphins fan have one achievement that no other team to date has been able to achieve, the perfect season.

In 1972 under the tutelage of head coach Don Shula the Dolphins had a regular season record of 14-0. There were nail bitters during the season for sure, the week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings which the Dolphins won by a score of 16-14, and the week 6 game against the Buffalo Bills with a score of 24-23. As the playoffs started the Dolphins looked to make history knowing that with three wins a Super Bowl championship would come to Miami by the only undefeated team in history.

In the first game of the playoffs the Dolphins went up against the 10-4 Cleveland Browns. In front of a crowd of 80,010 at the Orange Bowl, the Dolphins defense would cause Browns quarterback Mike Phipps to throw five interceptions and only have nine completions through the entire game. In the first quarter Charlie Babb blocked the punt from Garo Yepremian for a touchdown giving the Dolphins a 7-0 lead. From this point on in the game the Dolphins would not score another touchdown until the fourth quarter on an eight-yard rush by Jim Kiick. The Dolphins would scratch and claw through the entire game to advance to the Conference Championship game with a score of 20-14.

The following week the Dolphins would come into Three Rivers Stadium to go against the 12-3 Pittsburgh Steelers The Steelers would strike first when their quarterback Terry Bradshaw fumbled the ball but it was recovered by Steelers offensive lineman Gerry Mullins and illrun in for a touchdown giving the Steelers an early 7-0 lead. The Dolphins would tie the game in the second quarter on pass from Earl Morrall to Larry Csonka, knotting the game up at 7 a piece. After halftime, Shula replaced Morrall with returning quarterback Bob Griese. Griese had not played a game since week five when he broke his leg and dislocated his ankle. The Dolphins would not have a passing touchdown for the rest of the game. In the third quarter Jim Kiick would rush for a touchdown, followed by another touchdown in the fourth quarter. These two touchdowns would give the Dolphins just enough to squeak by the Steelers and advance to the Super Bowl.

The Dolphins were on the brink of immortality with one win left to become the first undefeated team to win the Super Bowl. The Dolphins would come into Super Bowl VII in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the 13-3 Washington Redskins. Even with the Dolphins being the undefeated team coming into this game the Redskins were favored by one point before the game. The Dolphins would start the game with Griese throwing a 28-yard touchdown to Howard Twilley for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Jim Kiick would continue his running excellence in the playoffs by rushing for a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Dolphins a 14-0 lead. This would be enough to hold off the Redskins to secure the Dolphins their first Super Bowl, as well as becoming the first team to ever have an undefeated team win the Super Bowl.

This feat has not been able to be matched since the 1972 season, the closest being the 2007 New England Patriots who entered Super Bowl XLII with an 18-0 record against the 10-6 New York Giants. The Patriots would lose to the Giants leading to the Dolphins remaining the only undefeated team to win a Super Bowl. Part of the reason this feat is so difficult to match is because the NFL regular season expanded to 16 games in 1978. Since this occurred the Patriots were the only team to complete an undefeated regular season. This makes it easier for a team to lose during the regular season causing them to not be able to match the feat. At this point in history the likelihood that another team will ever match the 1972 Dolphins is slim to none. This is because of the extended regular season and the unpredictability of the playoffs. This shows just how special the 1972 Dolphins were as a team and how talented of a coach Don Shula was during his career.