In a visit 41 years in the making, Coach Shula and his undefeated Dolphins team will finally go to Washington.
President Obama will welcome the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins to the White House on Tuesday for the first ceremony honoring their historic season.
Nearly every living member of the team is expected to make the trip, including coaches Don Shula and Howard Schnellenberger, who are 83 and 79, respectively.
Its been 40 years, but Im thrilled, said Nick Buoniconti, a linebacker on the team.
Added Dick Anderson, a safety: To be honored by the president of the United States is special.
So why now? They werent asked back when they won, but it wasnt any kind of snub. Although it has become an annual tradition, the White House didnt start hosting NFL champions until later in the 1970s.
But in recent years, Anderson, Marv Fleming a tight end on the team and Nat Moore, who oversees the Dolphins alumni association, revived the idea and worked with the White House to make it happen. Moore recently got a call asking if the date Aug. 20 would work. It did, and the Dolphins are making every effort to ensure its well-attended.
Steve Ross, the Dolphins owner, has offered to pay for travel for any member of the 72 who wants to go. There are more than 40 living players and coaches, and nearly all have RSVPd. Theres even a push to bring down Larry Csonka, who lives up in Alaska and doesnt often leave.
Its a high point in Dolphins history, Anderson said.
The ceremony will take place just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.