Miami's Perfect Season

perfection_rotunda_250The Anatomy of a Perfect Season ... that's the theme of the Pro Football Hall of Fame display that commemorates the magnificent record of the 1972 Miami Dolphins when they became the first team in National Football League history to go through an entire season undefeated and untied.

The Dolphins' 17-0-0 season culminated with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. It is a unique feat that has stood the test of time.


Will there ever be another perfect season? Every year that passes makes the remarkable record seem less and less likely to be matched. The latest serious challenger was the 2007 New England Patriots who finished the regular season with a 16-0 mark. The Pats added two playoff wins and entered Super Bowl XLII undefeated. But, the quest for the perfect 19-0 season fell just short as Patriots lost 17-14 to the New York Giants in a thriller. 

The 1972 season was legendary coach Don Shula's third with the Dolphins. Under his strict no-nonsense approach, the young Dolphins team gelled into a cohesive unit. Though the team featured players, like Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka (left), Larry Little, Bob Griese, Jim Langer and Paul Warfield - all Hall of Famers - it was often contributions from the lesser-knowns that made the difference. In fact, the team featured a defense that, although very good, lacked "star-power." Capitalizing on their anonymity, they accepted the nickname the "No-Name Defense." Eventually, even the "No-Names" of defensive linemen Manny Fernandez and Bill Stanfill became familiar names. 

In week five a name from the past surfaced when 38-year-old veteran quarterback Earl Morrall came off the bench to replace a severely injured Bob Griese. Morral kept the unbeaten streak going through the remainder of the regular season and a 20-14 playoff victory over the Cleveland Browns.

In Week 16, it was a healthy Bob Griese who came from the bench to direct his team to victory with a hard-fought 21-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two weeks later, Griese started and finished Miami's 14-7 victory over the Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

1972 Miami Dolphins Game-by-Game Results

No. 1 -- Dolphins 20, Chiefs 10

No. 2 -- Dolphins 34, Oilers 13

No. 3 -- Dolphins 16, Vikings 14

No. 4 -- Dolphins 27, Jets 17

No. 5 -- Dolphins 24, Chargers 10

No. 6 -- Dolphins 24, Bills 23

No. 7 -- Dolphins 23, Colts 0

No. 8 -- Dolphins 30, Bills 16

No. 9 -- Dolphins 52, Patriots 0

No. 10 -- Dolphins 28, Jets 24

No. 11 -- Dolphins 31, Cardinals 10

No. 12 -- Dolphins 37, Patriots 21

No. 13 -- Dolphins 23, Giants 13

No. 14 -- Dolphins 16, Colts 0

No. 15 -- AFC Divisional Playoff -- Dolphins 20, Browns 14

No. 16 -- AFC Championship -- Dolphins 21, Steelers 17

No. 17 -- Super Bowl VII -- Dolphins 14, Redskins 7