Bob Griese, Dick Anderson, Charlie Babb, Larry Ball and Jim Kiick were all on hand at the Dolphins training facility Wednesday to kick off a season-long, 40th anniversary celebration of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins.
But this was not your average news conference. In fact, it felt more like a reunion. Throughout the 30-minute session, the former teammates joked about their old age, their past antics and their curfew-dodging ways.
“The reason [fullback Larry] Csonka never blocked was because he couldn’t,” Kiick said at one point about his former fellow running back, only half-jokingly.
The 1972 Dolphins aren’t just unique for their perfect 17-0 record — they are also notable for the remarkably close ties they have kept over the past four decades.
“To this day, we’re all close friends,” Anderson said. “I can tell you where every guy on our team lives and what they’re doing and how they’re doing.”
Indeed, Anderson said that every surviving member of the team was planning on returning to Miami in December for a team dinner and the “Perfect Season Golf Tournament” at Doral’s Blue Monster.
In addition to the Alumni Weekend events, the organization will be handing out “Still Perfect” caps to every fan at the Sept. 16 season opener. Later in the year, the Dolphins plan to release a documentary tentatively entitled, Perfect in the Magic City.
“I still don’t get why the greatest team in the sport that gets more attention than any sport in the world has never really been celebrated,” said Bob Potter, the CEO of film production company Bombo Sports & Entertainment.
Despite the fact that it is the 17-0 record that has made the Super Bowl VII champions so famous, Griese and Anderson said they never expected an undefeated record to be such a rare feat.
“All along we thought someone [else] would go ahead and [go undefeated],” Griese said. “… I can’t believe it’s been 40 years.”
• The Dolphins defensive line is going through a transition period — and not just in terms of its shift from a 3-4 to a 4-3 system. Three of the four second-string defensive linemen listed on the current depth chart are rookies. Coach Joe Philbin said he has been impressed by the young crop, particularly right end Olivier Vernon, Miami’s third-round pick out of the University of Miami. Philbin said the final roster will likely be capped at eight defensive linemen, meaning that six of the 14 current linemen will probably be cut by the end of camp.
• Third-year left defensive end Jared Odrick said the team has studied the Tampa Bay offense somewhat, but he said the main focus for the Dolphins during Friday night’s game will be on practicing their new system.
“Probably the biggest challenge of the new system is having everything become second-nature to you,” Odrick said. “The calls, your body movement in those calls, it all needs to come naturally.”
With the Dolphins yet to make their debut in the new scheme, the fact that Friday’s game is against the Buccaneers — last season Tampa Bay was 30th in the league in rushing — could prove to be a nice warmup for Miami’s still-adjusting defensive line.
• After 19 years of being known as the Miami Dolphins Training Facility, the team’s Davie training camp headquarters was renamed the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, NSU president George L. Hanbury II and Doctors Hospital CEO Nelson Lazo — as well as four Dolphins cheerleaders — were on hand to announce the partnership and unveil the new entrance sign.